The Pixel 5 is now official and in past years Android fans would have certainly taken notice. But alas, the Pixel flagship is no more, at least for the moment. You might recall how different things were last when Google planned to take on Apple and Samsung with the Pixel 4 series. But now it seems to some that Google’s new motto is one step forward, two steps back.
Gone is Face Unlock, replaced by the old-school fingerprint scanner. The Motion Sense gestures that allowed you to use your hands to dismiss a phone call, skip over your playlist, silence an alarm and more, turned out to be useless for most, and the widely touted astrophotography feature was lost in space. The Pixel 5 is powered by the Snapdragon 765G which powers other handsets that would now be considered in the Pixel 5’s class such as the Motorola Edge, OnePlus Nord and the LG Velvet. Google did bump up the battery to 4,080mAh and hike the memory to 8GB; base storage has been doubled to 128GB. While there will be some who miss the idea of the flagship Pixel, others will embrace the lower pricing (starting at $699).
Check out the first television ads for the 5G Pixel models
Along with today’s unveiling, Google released some videos to help promote the new Pixel 5 and the 5G version of the Pixel 4a. In the first video, Pixel marketing manager Maya Lewis introduces the 5G version of the Pixel 4a, Google’s latest mid-range series. The 5G version of the phone has a larger 6.2-inch OLED display compared to the 5.8-inch OLED screen on the non 5G variant of the phone. It is priced at $499 and up, bringing 5G to the masses. Returning to the Pixel 5, Lewis notes that device will sport wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. The latter allows users to share what is left of their battery life by using the rear panel as a wireless charging pad. Compatible devices like the new Google Pixel Buds can be charged in this fashion by placing the wireless charging case on the back of a Pixel 5. Shenaz Zack, Pixel Product Manager, discusses the software in this video and it was all about the 5G experience. She points out how movies can be downloaded in just seconds over a 5G network, and that YouTube videos are optimized for 5G speeds.
Other features discussed by Lewis include the “instantaneous gaming experience” available with Stadia. “Today’s biggest games ready wherever you are,” she says. Another Pixel Product Manager, Soniya Jobanputra, points out that to make 5G more affordable, Google didn’t have to reduce the performance of the rear cameras. Both new 5G phones unveiled today share the same front and back camera systems which Jobanputra calls the best Pixel camera system yet. This includes a main 12.2MP camera anchoring the dual camera set up in the back (the other camera is a 16MP ultra-wide camera) with an 8MP front-facing selfie snapper. And adding Night Sight to Portrait Mode means that those bokeh blurs that are sooooo important to you will be available when you shoot portraits in low-life environments.
The above video clocks in at over seven minutes which means it is more of a new product introduction video rather than a television commercial. However, a 30-second spot called Help at the Speed of 5G might just make it on to your television screen as soon as tonight. The ad shows all of the users who will benefit from the 5G speed available from the new Pixels including game players, those who download and stream movies, and people looking to stay in touch during the pandemic. With its reasonable pricing, even consumers watching every penny will be a winner with the new 5G Pixels.
The last video also is a 30-second commercial. Google says that the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5 “were designed with helpfulness in mind. It all starts with a stunning bezel-less display, with an uninterrupted view thanks to a punch-hole camera.” The Pixel 5 supports sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G signals. With the former, users should be able to find a 5G signal throughout the states. With the latter, users in certain locations will experience super-fast 5G speeds.