The Pixel 5 in black.
It also comes in this green color.
The back is made of metal. We're not sure how wireless charging works.
The Google Assistant is now waiting for you on hold.
After a thousand leaks, Google's flagship smartphone for 2020, the Pixel 5, is finally official. As we expected, this phone doesn't have top-notch hardware and instead is more in the mid-range with a Snapdragon 765G SoC. If you've been following the leaks, the main news we've been looking for today is the price, which is $ 699.
The technical data includes a 6-inch OLED display with 2340 x 1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 90 Hz, a Snapdragon 765G SoC, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage and a 4080 mAh battery. The phone features wireless charging, 18W fast charge via USB-C and is dust and water resistant to IP68. There are two cameras on the back, a 12-megapixel main camera which is supposedly the same sensor the Pixel line has used for years, a second 16-megapixel wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel front camera.
The Pixel 5 design looks the same as a Pixel 4a but is a bit higher quality. It has an all-screen front with narrow bezels and a pinhole camera. The Pixel 5 looks like it has fully symmetrical bezels all around instead of a thicker chin on the bottom like the cheaper 4a. On the back is a capacitive fingerprint reader – a contrast to the on-screen fingerprint readers that most phones come with – and a camera block. The back of the design is also very reminiscent of the Pixel 4a with a simple, solid color design that wraps around the sides. The two-tone motif of pixel 4 (with a flat back and contrasting sides) or of pixel 1/2/3 (with a contrasting upper half) was abandoned.
A groundbreaking surprise in the Pixel 5 saga is that the back is made of aluminum. As far as we can tell, the Pixel 5 is the first metal phone that also supports wireless charging. Typically, wireless charging forces a glass or plastic back as these materials are RF transparent but metal is not. We don't yet know how that works.
See you then, solos!
All of the Pixel 4's experimental gadgets appear to have been scrapped. The new phone doesn't have Google's Project Soli air gesture system, which the Pixel 4 uses to control music, take calls, and not much else. There's also no face-unlocking system that Google first created on the Pixel 4 in the style of Apple's Face ID. Another scrapped feature is Active Edge, which lets you squeeze the sides of the phone to trigger the Google Assistant on pixels 2, 3, and 4. There is no word on this device about a co-processor developed by Google for the camera or AI work. Previously, the Pixel line had the Pixel Visual Core in pixels 2 and 3 and the Pixel Neural Core in pixels 4. There is a Titan M security module for hardware-assisted safe booting and other security work, like devices before. The Pixel 5 is actually slower than the Pixel 4, as the Pixel 5's Snapdragon 765G is no match for the Pixel 4's older but premium Snapdragon 855.
Of course, the phone comes with the latest version of Android, Android 11, which has critical updates and monthly security updates for three years. A new feature is that the Google Assistant can now wait for you while you call a business. Instead of having to listen to the worst hold music in the world for half an hour, Google Assistant can do all of that and notify you when someone picks up. There is also an "extreme battery-saving mode" that cancels all background app processing in emergency situations and only lets important apps through.
Enlarge /. The Pixel 4a with 5G.
Today, Google is also announcing the "Pixel 4a with 5G," sort of a middle ground between the Pixel 5 and 4a, although there doesn't seem to be much space between them. Start with the Pixel 5, give it a bigger, slower display (6.2 inches, 60 Hz), less RAM (6 GB), a headphone jack, a slightly smaller battery (3800 mAh), remove the wireless charging and give it a plastic back and make it $ 499.
Google has done a lot with 5G compatibility in Pixel 5. This is one of the few cheaper devices that supports mmWave, a faster version of 5G that has no chance of widespread rollout outside of cities. Things are a little complicated though. The US version of the Pixel 5 supports mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G, while the non-US version does not support mmWave 5G. The Pixel 4a 5G is available in a US-only version, Verizon-only version, that supports mmWave, while a non-mmWave version should be available in the US and internationally. Given the choice, I think almost no one wants mmWave and definitely shouldn't pay extra for it, but that's not an option for the Pixel 5's US customers.
The Pixel 5 can be unlocked now or pre-ordered from Verizon and ships on October 30th. The Pixel 4a 5G only has a waiting list and no release date.
Listing image from Google