Pixel 4a 5G & Pixel 5 Announced: Back To Basics

google pixel 4a 5g 5

Google has just announced two new Pixel smartphones – the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. Both are 5G capable, but only one has it in its name.

The Pixel 4a 5G is basically a bigger version of the Pixel 4a that was released in August and comes with 5G support – and thus a newer and more powerful chipset. The Pixel 5 is the higher-end of the three Pixel devices announced this year, though most people would not call it a "flagship" due to its processor choice.

The specs

Google Pixel 4a 5GGoogle Pixel 5
Screen size6.2-inch FHD+ OLED 60Hz6-inch FHD+ OLED 90Hz
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 765Qualcomm Snapdragon 765
RAM6GB8GB
Storage128GB128GB
Cameras12.2MP main sensor, 16MP ultra-wide sensor
8MP front-facing sensor
12.2MP main sensor, 16MP ultra-wide sensor
8MP front-facing sensor
Battery3800mAh4000mAh
Price$499$699
Release DateNovember 19October 15

Pixel 5 design looks familiar

This year, the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 design language is mostly the same as the Pixel 4 last year. That's expected, seeing as companies don't do a big redesign to their smartphones every year. It's more like every three to four years. They simply iterate on them.

With the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5, Google did make a few changes. It got rid of the large forehead on the Pixel 4, and gave us a hole-punch camera. It also ditched the Project Soli Radar Chip, which was the reason for the larger bezel. The backside is also now polycarbonate, instead of glass with a metal frame. This helped bring down the cost, and since most people put it in a case anyways, it's not that big of a deal.

There's nothing about the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 design that is cutting edge. As we mentioned at the top, this is a "back to basics" approach for Google.

The Pixel 4a 5G comes in two colors: Just Black and Clearly White, meanwhile the Pixel 5 comes in two colors as well: Just Black and Sorta Sage

Pixel 5 also has wireless charging, along with reverse wireless charging. Allowing you to charge your Pixel Buds on the back of your Pixel 5.

The Pixel software experience gets updated

Google has also added a few new software features to the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. Like extreme battery saver mode. So you can really squeak out every drop of that 3800mAh or 4000mAh capacity battery.

There's also a few new Google Assistant features, like "Hold for Me" and Google Assistant will hold the line for you. You know, like an assistant might do.

 

Finally an ultra-wide

Pixel fans have been asking Google to add a second camera to the Pixel for years. Last year, Google finally did it. Giving Pixel users a second sensor, but it was a telephoto sensor to help with the High-Res Zoom feature. Google famously said that telephoto was more useful than ultra-wide. Not a single soul believed that. And considering there's an ultra-wide in the Pixel 5 (and 4a 5G) this year, it looks like Google saw the light.

So new this year, is a 16-megapixel ultra-wide sensor. And it is paired with the same 12.2-megapixel sensor that Google has been using since the original Pixel in 2016. It's time that Google upgraded that sensor, if we are being honest.

The ultra-wide sensor sports a 107-degree field-of-view. Which puts it right on par with most other smartphones on the market today. With the new ultra-wide sensor, you're going to be able to capture the entire scene without needing to backup.

There are more camera features this year, like Night Sight in Portrait Mode, which is going to look incredible. Especially with the bonfires that we are all doing this time of the year. Portrait Mode was also improved with Portrait Light. So you can illuminate your portrait with light. You can also change this in Google Photos after the fact. Even on photos you took five years ago.

Google also added new stabilization modes like locked, unlocked and cinematic pan. The cinematic pan is a lot like using a gimbal to get some smooth shots on the Pixel. And since it now supports 4K60, you can actually get some really great video out of this phone. It looks like Google is finally taking video seriously, as well as photos.

It doesn't cost $1,000

Most flagships are priced around $1,000 these days, partly due to 5G. But Google decided to make some cuts, and offer a Pixel 5 that is cheaper than its predecessor, by over $200. The Pixel 5 is priced at $699 and the Pixel 4a 5G at $499. These are some of the most affordable Pixel devices Google has ever launched. And it also brings back memories of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 from many years ago.

Both devices will be sold at AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Google Store, Google Fi and other retailers. Pre-orders open up later today and the official launch date is on October 15.

Google Pixel 4a 5G vs Pixel 5

The big question this year with these two Pixel devices is, what's the difference? There's a big price difference between the two, with the cheaper one being larger, otherwise the two look almost identical.

Well, on the spec sheet there are a few differences. For one, the Pixel 5 has a bigger battery at 4000mAh, and it also has a 90Hz display versus 60Hz on the Pixel 4a 5G. It also has a bit more RAM at 8GB, which is much needed on the Pixel.

Finally, the Pixel 5 is also available in one other color, the 'Subtle Sage' in addition to the Just Black color that Google always offers the Pixel in.

Which makes choosing between the two of them a bit tougher. Particularly since the screen size isn't that different.