Google Pixel 5 is official: the Android phone for the masses

Google Pixel 5 is official: the Android phone for the masses
After the usual path of leaks, rumors, renders and teasers, the Google Pixel 5 is finally here. Google has a new flagship and this year, it’s flying solo. No XL version, no mini version, no nothing. Well, that’s if you don’t count the Pixel 4a 5G, which can easily be considered a first cousin of the Pixel 5.

If you’ve been following the development of the Pixel 5, you probably know almost everything about it already. But if you’re coming here spoiler-free, well, lucky you! Let’s take a dive into the Pixel 5 pool together!

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Pixel 5 design

The looks of the Pixel 5 can be described as a mix between utilitarian and cute. The soft curves and rounded corners give off a friendly vibe as if the device is saying “Hey, I’m just here to be of help!”, far from the message phones like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are sending.

And that’s how it has always been with Google products. They look as if they’re trying their best not to make a fuss about themselves and just do their job. That philosophy might not be to everyone’s taste but the warm feeling that comes with it is definitely appealing to many.

But back to the Pixel 5. At the front, you get a hefty border around the display and a hole for the camera. The display is a 6-inch OLED one with a 90Hz refresh rate and 1080p resolution. No radar gimmicks this year, just the necessity. Plain and simple. The same goes for the back. While the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 6, this year, the rest of the body is made from 100% recycled aluminum. This is great news, as it means the body will be much more durable. Of course, the Pixel 5 is also water resistant.

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The other noteworthy thing on the back is the return of the fingerprint sensor. A battle-proven feature that just works. Sensing a theme?

Pixel 5 specs

So, what’s hiding behind that friendly exterior of the Pixel 5? Well, not a beast, that’s for sure. If you came without any prior knowledge of the device, you might have assumed it’s powered by the Snapdragon 865 as is tradition.

And you’d be wrong. Instead, the heart of the Pixel 5 is the Snapdragon 765G, which you might be familiar with from a slew of other phones like the LG Velvet, OnePlus Nord and Motorola Edge. Quite a popular chip and with good reason. It’s right where performance, affordability and features intersect. Pretty much exactly what Google is aiming for with the Pixel 5.

Google Pixel 5 specs at a glance:

  • Display: 6-inch OLED, 90Hz refresh rate
  • Chip: Snapdragon 765G
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Battery: 4,080mAh
  • Rear cameras: 12MP wide, 16MP ultra-wide
  • Front camera: 8MP

While the chip change might be considered a downgrade, the rest of the specs are unquestionably improved. The memory has been bumped to 8GB and the base storage is now doubled from last year, or in other words: 128GB. It was about time for that change and we’re happy to see it.

The battery capacity is now 4,080mAh which is more than that of the Pixel 4 XL despite the Pixel 5 having a smaller body. Glad to see Google heard all those complaints and made the appropriate changes. With the bigger battery, Google added reverse wireless charging. You might wonder how does wireless charging work with the aluminum body? Well, we are wondering as well, but Google makes two things very clear: the casing of the Pixel 5 is aluminum and there is wireless charging. We're sure details will be available as soon as it's released and torn down.

Pixel 5 cameras and camera features

It's safe to say that the camera is the most important feature of every Pixel phone. Over the last few years, Google established itself as the benchmark for smartphone photography. And the best part about it is that Google achieves its superiority mainly through software. That means it can spare you the cost of fancy high-megapixel sensors and still come up with pictures that you'd be happy to keep and share.

That's why the main sensor of the Pixel 5 is still a 12MP one, just like last year, so you know what to expect. Google is still keeping the number of cameras to a minimum and with the change in philosophy this year, we're not surprised there are still only two of them. This year, however, the telephoto camera is replaced by an ultra-wide-angle lens paired with a 16MP sensor. Some might see that as a loss, others as a win, it depends on what you like shooting. We'd have loved to see the telephoto camera kept as well, that's become the classic camera trio, but with Google trying to fit into a tighter budget, it took a leave of absence. Hopefully, we'll see it again next year.

Night Sight in Portrait Mode

A new addition to Google's camera app is the option to use its awesome low-light tech to take portrait photos. Pixels were already making some of the best portraits around and now you'll be able to get more creative with the lighting.

Portrait Light

Another extra added to benefit portrait photos. This one will "drop in extra light to illuminate your subjects" Google states. It will use AI to make the subject appear brighter using the photo editor. 

Pixel 5 camera samples

Here are some photos taken with the Pixel 5 that Google chose to highlight its photography prowess:

Of course, they look great, but you can't expect anything else from promotional materials. Once we get our hands on the Pixel 5, we'll see how good it really is. Speaking of getting your hands on it...

Pixel 5 price and release date

So, after Google went for a cheaper system chip, got rid of wireless charging and “saved us” a camera, what is the end result? Well...

Google Pixel 5 price: 
  • $699 

There are no storage options, 128GB is the only variant you get. Some of you probably expected an even cheaper price, but it’s in line with the LG Velvet and the Motorola Edge, which have similar specs. Sure, some might think they offer more for the money but Google’s exclusive Pixel features also have a cost. When you buy the Pixel 5, you get 3 months of Stadia Pro, 3 months of YouTube Premium, 100GB of cloud storage with Google One, Google Play Pass and Google Play Points for free.

And if you feel like $699 is too much for the Pixel 5 anyway, don’t worry, chances are there will be discounts before the end of the year, so just have some patience. Or, you can get the Pixel 4a 5G.

If you don’t have any patience, you can pre-order the Pixel 5 starting today. It comes in Just Black and Sorta Sage. Shipping starts October 15.

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