Google has officially launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Google Pixel 5. At an online event held today, title Launch Night In, we finally confirmed all the rumors and speculation surrounding the new device. We also got a closer look at the Pixel 4a 5G. Here’s everything that happened.
The Pixel 5 launch event was somewhat subdued compared to the excitement we have experienced in the past couple of years. There will be those who accuse Google of holding back on its mobile hardware for 2020. Whilst the Pixel 4a created a stir with its impressive price tag, the Pixel 5 is supposed to be the innovator that pushes technical innovation forward. So how did it stack up?
Google Pixel 5
The large bezel from the top of the Pixel 4 – where all of that fancy facial unlocking technology was held – has disappeared. In its place, Google has returned to the trusty rear fingering sensor we’ve seen on Pixel phones of past and present. The Soli Radar stuff was cool, but it had limited applications beyond fast facial recognition and it certainly contributed to the horrendous battery life of the Pixel 4. Google’s hardware boss, Rick Osterloh, did tell The Verge that Soli will be used in the future though.
Google did not explicitly say why it was ditching the technology, but the fact that it has gone with a more mid-range processor this year – the Pixel 5 features a Snapdragon 765G compared to a Snapdragon 855 in the Pixel 4, top of the line at the time of launch – suggests that perhaps the hardware was just not up to delivering the radar technology. It’s a move that few will have a problem with. You lose features like Motion Sense, but gain a better screen-to-body ratio and (probably) better battery life as a result. The display this year is a 6-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED screen, with an aspect ratio of, and a 90Hz refresh rate.
The Pixel 5 looks very similar to the Pixel 4a that launched earlier this year. There’s a hole-punch in the top left of the display for the selfie camera and you still get that square camera module on the back, only this time there are two lenses rather than one. Google’s trusty 12.2-megapixel main camera is there of course, plus a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. This is likely to appease fans who criticized Google for going with a main+telephoto setup last year, ignoring the trend for ultra-wide-angle cameras on smartphones. The selfie camera is an 8-megapixel shooter.
The rest of the hardware is pretty much as expected. You get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The battery has grown slightly from last year and is up to 4,080mAh. There is also IP68 resistance to protect against water damage. Fast charging is available up to 18W, and you get the charger in the box. There is also wireless charging and reverse wireless charging this year on the Pixel 5.
Of course, the Pixel 5 launches with Android 11 out of the box, and you’ll still get all of the Pixel-specific features we saw on the Pixel 4a earlier in the year.
Seemingly, you can’t launch a flagship smartphone is 2020 without having 5G on board. Qualcomm’s integrated X52 modem is in the Pixel 5 this year, but the phone only supports sub-6GHz 5G networks and not the much faster mmWave 5G. This is happening throughout the industry and is nothing to really kick up a fuss about.
Price and release date
Google had already confirmed that the Pixel 5 will come to the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia before the event today. It will launch on October 15th at a price of £599 in the UK and $699 in the US. Several colors are available, including the new and most striking ‘Sorta Sage’ variant.
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