LG Velvet vs Motorola Edge vs Google Pixel 5, battle of the affordable 5G

LG Velvet vs Motorola Edge vs Google Pixel 5, battle of the affordable 5G
Unlike the Snapdragon 855 chipset that could be bought from Qualcomm as a standalone unit, the 865 in spring 2020 high-end phones is only bundled with a separate 5G modem. This requires retooling of the phone's insides, and, if you wanted the much-touted gigabit 5G speeds, you need to pay Qualcomm more for adding mmWave filters, and a lot more antennas all around, as millimeter waves like Verizon's 5G network, can't travel very far, or penetrate even your palm easily. 

They surely look good in speed tests, though. Thus, manufacturers are straight out balking at the cumbersome and expensive Snapdragon 865 plus X55 modem kit altogether, and some are deciding to opt for the more cost-efficient Snapdragon 765 instead, Qualcomm's first integrated 5G chipset.

Soon, there will be more than one phone with Snapdragon 765 for the US market. Motorola already announced the Edge and Edge+ siblings, of which the non-plus version comes with Qualcomm's midrange 5G chipset.

Next was LG that detailed the Velvet as sporting Snapdragon 765. Given that the LG Velvet is what was rumored as LG G9, its chipset speculations were spot-on. Next in line will probably be the Google Pixel 5.

In the new Google Camera app version 7.3, code parsing found references to "sunfish," "redfin," and "bramble" referring to upcoming Pixel models. The chipsets that will power Google's 2020 generation of Pixels were re-iterated as well. "Sunfish" is built around the lowly "sm7150" platform, or Snapdragon 730, and thus we'd wager to guess that it refers to a Pixel 4a model.

"Redfin" and "bramble," however, will be based on "sm7250," or the new Snapdragon 765 midrange chipset that has Qualcomm's first built-in 5G modem, so we may be looking at two Pixel 5 models running on the much cheaper alternative to Snapdragon 865. Here's what to expect from the new upper midrange 5G onslaught in the US.

LG Velvet vs Motorola Edge vs Google Pixel 5 specs

Needless to say, the common ground between these three phones - one announced, one detailed, and one still in the rumor pipeline - is the use of the Snapdragon 765 processor. Just as the chipset suggest, 

LG Velvet vs Motorola Edge vs Google Pixel 5 prices and release dates

When we say that Snapdragon 765 is cheaper, we don't mean just the chipset costs, but the price for the whole processor/graphics/modem/antennas kit which when coupled with Qualcomm's licensing fees and the internal design reinventions necessary, could add up significantly to the final assembly cost of the phone. Snapdragon 765, on the other hand, is the only integrated, shovel-ready 5G solution that can be used on US carriers so far.

Thus, LG, Motorola and LG may be determined to put a lid on the ever-increasing prices by opting for the next best alternative to Snapdragon 865. After all, the S20 series ranges from $999-$1599, and part of those tags are covering their futureproof 5G abilities that you won't be able to use to their full extent this year anyway.

As for the expected prices and launch dates of the LG Velvet, Motorola Edge, and Google Pixel 5, here's the list:

  • LG Velvet price and release date: May 15, $699
  • Motorola Edge price and release date: June, $599
  • Google Pixel 5 price and release date: October, $699

The sheer use of the Snapdragon 765 chipset with integrated X52 modem instead of the Snapdragon 865 and X55 unit, is expected to slash the price of the upper midrange handsets with this processor with 20%-30%, depending on the rest of the specs. 

Whether or not that will translate to larger sales numbers compared to the "true" flagships, remains to be seen, but one thing is certain - in the second half of the year we will have a much broader choice of value-for-money 5G phones. Which one would you pick?

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