Google Launches Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G

BY Asif Shaik

Published 30 Sep 2020

Almost one year after launching its last set of Pixel devices, Google has launched two new Pixel smartphones today, the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5.

The Pixel 4a 5G, as the name suggests, is a 5G-equipped version of the Pixel 4a along with a bunch of upgrades to the hardware. The Pixel 5, on the other hand, is a successor to the Pixel 4 that was launched last year. And it brings plenty of new features to the table compared to its predecessor. Just as leaks and rumors had suggested, there is no XL version of the Pixel this time around. Maybe Google is saving it for a later date. Anyway, let us dive deeper and have a look at what the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a 5G have to offer.

Google Pixel 5

The Pixel 5 is the brand’s flagship smartphone for 2020. However, it is not a high-end device like the Pixel 4/Pixel 4 XL. Instead, it is a mid-ranger.

The Pixel 5 is the first smartphone from the brand to feature a high-refresh-rate display. It gets a 6.0-inch 90Hz OLED with FHD+ resolution. You won’t get the smoothness of a 120Hz screen with this display but it is still a significant upgrade over the 60Hz unit on the Pixel 4. And we guess most people will be happy with the 90Hz refresh rate.

Powering the Pixel 5 is the same Snapdragon 765G chipset that is in the more affordable, Pixel 4a 5G. And that, in our opinion, could be a deal-breaker for some people. Because most people expect a flagship phone to offer a flagship chipset like the Snapdragon 865. What is even worse is that the Pixel 5 is less powerful than its predecessor, which has the Snapdragon 855 processor. Anyway, the phone comes in a single memory configuration, 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, and it runs on the Android 11 OS that was announced recently. Google is guaranteeing a 3-year OS and security upgrade with the Pixel 5.

The Pixel 5 features the exact same dual-camera setup as the Pixel 4; it has a 12.2MP primary camera with dual-pixel PDAF and OIS, and a 16MP ultrawide camera. Just like previous Pixel smartphones, Google hasn’t offered a telephoto camera on this phone either.

However, there is one big upgrade the rear camera of the Pixel 5 offers over its predecessor and that is 4K60FPS video recording, making the Pixel 5 the first Pixel phone to offer this video recording option. Along with it, the Pixel 5 offers Locked, Active, and Cinematic Pan modes for video recording, which, according to Google, “make the everyday look like a movie.”

The Pixel 5 comes with ‘HDR+ with Bracketing,’ which, according to Google, offers a huge upgrade in image quality. What is even interesting is that Night Sight now works in Portrait Mode, which means that you will be able to capture portrait images in dark environments with better clarity. The selfie camera on the Pixel 5 is the same 8MP unit that is in the Pixel 4.

The Pixel 5 is backed by a 4000mAh battery and it supports 18W USB Power Delivery 2.0 fast charging. There is also wireless charging and reverse wireless charging on offer. The Pixel 5 even comes with an ‘Extreme Battery Saver’ that can help you extend the phone’s battery life by up to 48 hours.

On the connectivity front, the Pixel 5 offers 5G cellular support, making it the first Pixel smartphone with 5G connectivity. And it will be one of the main selling points of the smartphone. The Pixel 5 also gets dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and IP68 water and dust resistance.

The Pixel 5 comes with a price tag of $699 in the US. It will be available in two colors, Just Black and Sorta Sage. You can pre-order the Pixel 5 starting today and it will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States starting 15th October.

Google is offering  3 months of subscription to Stadia and YouTube Premium, 100GB of Google Drive storage, Google Play Pass, and Google Play Points for free with the purchase of the Pixel 5.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

The biggest change that the Pixel 4a 5G brings over its predecessor is, you guessed it right, the 5G connectivity. To offer 5G connectivity, Google has used the Snapdragon 765G SoC in the Pixel 4a 5G instead of the Snapdragon 730G that is in the Pixel 4a.

Along with 5G connectivity, the SD765G also offers a faster CPU and GPU performance compared to the SD730G.  Speaking of performance, the Pixel 4a 5G has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and that is the only memory configuration on offer. On the software side of things, the Pixel 4a 5G runs on the Android 11 OS and it will get 3 years of OS and security updates, just like the Pixel 5.

The second biggest upgrade the Pixel 4a 5G brings over its predecessor is in the camera department. The phone features the same 12.2MP main + 16MP ultrawide dual-camera setup at the back that is in the Pixel 5. And it is a significant upgrade over the single 12.2MP rear camera setup that was offered with the Pixel 4a. The Pixel 4a 5G also comes with 4K60FPS video recording just like the Pixel 5. As for selfies, the Pixel 4a 5G uses the same 8MP unit that was in its predecessor.

The Pixel 4a 5G features a larger display than the Pixel 4a; it is a 6.2-inch IPS LCD with FHD+ resolution. Sadly, there is no high refresh rate on offer, which is a bummer, especially when you consider that other phones in the segment offer it. The display has the same top-left mounted punch-hole for the selfie camera and the same size of bezels as that in the Pixel 4a. The new smartphone also retains the same matte black finish on the back panel – which Google calls Just Black — as its predecessor. And yes, that is the only color option on offer.

Powering the Pixel 4a 5G is a 3800mAh battery equipped with 18W USB PD 2.0 fast charging. The phone has stereo speakers and the brand has also retained the 3.5mm audio jack, just like that in the Pixel 4a. You get a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth v5.0, and dual-band Wi-Fi ac.

Google has priced the Pixel 4a 5G at $499 for the US market. The pre-orders of the device start today and it will be available in Japan starting October 18. According to Google, the Pixel 4a 5G will be rolled out in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States starting November.

Buyers will get the same offers on the Pixel 4a 5G as that on the Pixel 5, which includes a 3-month subscription to YouTube Premium and Stadia, 100GB of Google Drive storage, Google Play Pass, and Google Play Points for free.

Our Take

Google has taken a rather unusual step with the Pixel 5 by offering it as a mid-ranger rather than a flagship smartphone. And Pixel fans who were expecting the Pixel 5 to be a true flagship smartphone will be highly disappointed. That being said, the Pixel 5 is a great smartphone for its price. And it has the potential to be the king of the mid-range segment. As for the Pixel 4a, it is a great option for anyone who wants an affordable 5G phone.

We need to see how do the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a 5G impact the sales of affordable iPhones.