The Google Pixel 5 is finally here and it’s loaded with a number of cool features and specs even though the device looks exactly like the previous Google’s entry-level device, Pixel 4a released around this same period back in 2020.
Being a mid-range device, you get specifications such as the Snapdragon765G chipset, a moderate 6.34-inch OLED display, and of course 5G because it’s 2021. The Pixel 5a is also IP67 water and dust resistant which all makeup for its US$449 price tag.
You might still think the price point is still a bit much but considering the fact that this is a Google Pixel and the fact that you don’t get baked-in ads like Xiaomi’s mid-range devices, you’re definitely paying for those value as far as the Pixel 5a is concerned which is probably why the device sits at the US$449 price range.
The Tensor chip will power the next-gen Pixel 6 and 6 Pro and will be quite pricier. If you are really fond of the Pixel phones, you might want to wait for the redesigned smartphone which will launch later this fall.
However, the Pixel 5A will be released on August 26th and can be purchased in the US carrier-unlocked straight from Google or with Google Fi. The other official market the Pixel 5A is being released in Japan but can definitely be purchased and shipped to other markets like India, West Africa, or Southern Africa.
Nothing has really changed in terms of the design language of the new Pixel 5A, it’s definitely packed with some new upgrades that make it a new smartphone.
Looks a bit like the Pixel 4A
Google decided to stick with the design of the Pixel 4A 5G which was released last year. It in fact inherited a couple of features from the previous model such as the Snapdragon 765G processor as well as 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.
In terms of design similarities, the rear camera and the front-facing camera all look alike and are placed at the same location. The fingerprint scanner resides right at the back of the device just as in the older version and there is a 3.5mm headphone jack right at the top of the device.
In fact, the camera configuration of the new Pixel 5A is the same as that of the previous Pixel 4A 5G and that includes the same portrait mode, Night Sight as well as an ultrawide lens.
Pixel devices are great with photography and this one will surely never disappoint. It’s definitely going to win the heart of some even though others might just wait for the Pixel 6 series instead.
Now, some noticeable differences on the new Pixel 5A include its larger 6.34-inch OLED display with a 20:9 aspect ratio while the previous Pixel 4A 5G only had a 6.2-inch display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
The new device is based on the current Android 11 OS even though it might be among the first devices to be ported over to the Android 12 platform and that will further give it a great user experience especially with the Material You design and a better notification center.
In terms of performance, the Snapdragon 765G chipset is a big deal, and thanks to its 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, browsing through applications and playing games or watching videos all worked fine without any hiccup which is another big plus for the device.
The Pixel 5A is also rated IP67 which makes it water and dust resistant – in case of accidental splash or if it ever falls into water, you can rest assured that the device will be okay.
Away from the protection and to the power of the Pixel 5A, you get a bigger 4,620mAh battery on this device which is quite better than the previous model which was only 3,800. It can also be fast-charged with an 18W wired charger.
While the 18W charging capacity might be surprisingly good as it’ll take you about 2 hours to completely charge up the device from 0% to 100%, the kind of wired charger you use can also have an impact on the overall speed of the charging.
Google might just be trying to save the life of the battery so it can last pretty long. The 4,620mAh battery on the Pixel 5A should be able to last a full day but this will also depend on how heavy you use the device.
Impact of chip shortage
First, it was Huawei that got hit by the global chip shortage before Samsung announced it was going to halt the production of the Galaxy Note 21 series (probably until next year), and then there is the case of the Pixel line.
Google vice president of product management Brian Rakowski explained to reporters that the fact that the Pixel 5A will only be released in black color has everything to do with the supply chain challenges
“It’s an industry-wide shortage,” he said, noting that the limited chips available has also meant limiting the places Google will sell the Pixel 5A (US and Japan) as opposed to offering a wide distribution through a variety of carriers and retailers.
“We definitely could not get as many chips as we wanted for this.”
There is no wireless charging support on the new Pixel 5A just as the previous Pixel 4A 5G and there have been a number of features left out of the device such as the spectral and flicker sensor.
One good thing though is the fact that users of the new Pixel 5A will be getting three years of Android software and security updates in addition to the features it has routinely offered for Pixel smartphones.
“The hardware is capable but there hasn’t been a lot of deployment yet in the US so the software work would still need to be done,” Rakowski said. “We don’t have any plans to announce on that front.”
When pressed, Rakowski added that Google will “stay in touch with the carriers and evaluate” future support but added that “we’re not going to commit, we’re not going to make a statement now about future support for what might come in an update.”
The fact that Google may not be supporting upcoming network upgrades despite the fact that the hardware of the Pixel 5A supports this can be a big issue with consumers considering the fact that many people hold on to their devices longer than before.
If you’re with T-Mobile or a carrier that runs on its network (like Google Fi) you have less to worry about when it comes to accessing a speedy midband 5G network. As for prospective buyers who have AT&T or Verizon, that lack of future support could muddy what’s otherwise a solid $449 phone.
PIXEL 5A 5G vs Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 3A
|Bluetooth 4.2 BLE
|Temperature display resolution
|Humidity display resolution
Other cool things about the device are Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection for the glass as well as the display featuring the Always-on technology. The placement of the fingerprint scanner continues to feel more natural compared to the under-display scanners found on devices that use the OLED technology on their display.