Sarah Tew/CNET

Google’s $449 Pixel 5A with 5G is the second main Pixel announcement this yr, sizzling on the heels of the Pixel 6 teaser earlier this month. It contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor that powers a 6.34-inch OLED show. The telephone additionally has IP67 water- and dust-resistance.

So whereas Google’s highest-end Pixel 6 and 6 Professional telephones will embrace the brand new in-house Tensor chip, the 5A (as I will name it any further) may have extra in widespread with final yr’s Pixel 4A 5G. For Pixel followers with deeper pockets, the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional’s chip and redesign could possibly be thrilling, however this Pixel doubtless might be taking pictures for a extra budget-conscious crowd. 

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If you happen to’re in search of a less expensive Pixel, you will not have to attend for the Pixel 6’s launch date someday this fall, because the 5A might be launched on Aug. 26 and could be purchased within the US carrier-unlocked instantly from Google or with Google Fi. The telephone may also be accessible in Japan. (Whereas it isn’t coming to the UK or Australia, the worth converts to roughly £320 or AU$630.)

I’ve spent the previous few days with Google’s new telephone. Whereas it looks like a worthy successor to the Pixel 4A 5G to this point, this is what you will need to bear in mind in order for you a less expensive 5G Pixel or Android telephone on a price range. We’ll replace this ongoing evaluate as we proceed to check out the telephone.

Snappy efficiency, acquainted design

The 5A’s chip is similar because the one utilized in final yr’s 4A 5G: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor. The similarities do not finish there, as each telephones even have 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. They every have related entrance and rear cameras with a gap punch for the entrance digital camera, and each have a fingerprint reader on the again and a 3.5mm headphone jack on high. 

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The digital camera system is similar as final yr’s Pixel 4A with 5G. It has all the identical options, together with a portrait mode, Evening Sight and an ultrawide lens able to taking pleasing photographs at evening and in the course of the day. 

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The variations start with a bigger 6.34-inch OLED show with a 20:9 side ratio that is much like the Galaxy S21. That is in comparison with a 6.2-inch show on the 4A 5G at a 19.5:9 side ratio, which we have seen on gadgets such because the Pixel 5 and iPhone 12. 

The 5A is operating Android 11 in my checks, but when previous Pixel tendencies maintain true the telephone will doubtless be among the many first to get Android 12. The brand new OS will embrace the brand new Materials You design, refreshed notifications and much more customizable choices that could possibly be unique to the Pixel collection.

Watching movies on YouTube, Netflix or Disney Plus labored effective. Video games on Stadia or Xbox Recreation Cross additionally performed effectively, although some (significantly these on Xbox) had been letterboxed and would not play in full display screen. I encountered the same problem with YouTube TV (although not the common YouTube app). 

Pixel 5A with 5G YouTube TV

The Pixel 5A letterboxes sure apps like YouTube TV. 


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Efficiency, nonetheless, was strong and it was definitely playable with a very good web connection. Extra intensive localized video games resembling Name of Responsibility: Cell additionally labored largely as anticipated. 

The stereo audio system, nonetheless, lack readability. Whereas they will get loud they are not as full or wealthy at most quantity as different gadgets. 

The telephone’s IP67-rated water and mud resistance ought to assist stand up to the weather and contains a considerably bigger battery (4,620 mAh in comparison with 3,800 mAh) that may be fast-charged utilizing the included 18-watt USB-C wall charger. 

The Pixel’s quick charging wasn’t significantly speedy in my checks, going from empty to 21% in 20 minutes and needing round 47 minutes to hit 50%. The OnePlus Nord 2 can go from zero to 70% in an hour utilizing its 30-watt quick charger. 

Getting as much as a virtually full cost took round two hours on the Pixel. I do like that the battery indicator within the notification tray continues to indicate how a lot battery you’ve gotten left, versus a obscure share. 

Google claims the battery ought to be capable of run a full day, and from my restricted testing these few days the telephone appears to carry as much as that estimate.

Affect of the chip scarcity

The worldwide chip scarcity seems to have affected the Pixel line’s custom of providing a bounty of colours, with the 5A simply coming in “largely black” (which to me seemed a bit of inexperienced in sure mild). Brian Rakowski, vp of product administration at Google, advised reporters that this was a results of “provide chain challenges.”

“It is an industry-wide scarcity,” he stated, noting that the restricted chips accessible has additionally meant limiting the locations Google will promote the 5A versus providing a large distribution via quite a lot of carriers and retailers. 

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“We positively couldn’t get as many chips as we wished for this.” 

As with final yr’s Pixel 4A 5G, there isn’t any wi-fi charging on this new mannequin. Google additionally seems to have dropped the “spectral and flicker sensor,” which might influence taking footage or movies of screens or taking pictures below synthetic lighting like fluorescent lights. (These modifications might not essentially be associated to the chip scarcity.)

The excellent news is that the 5A retains most of Google’s Pixel software program options, together with name screening for preventing robocalls, automobile crash detection and a recorder app that may transcribe in actual time, in addition to pictures options like Evening Sight for improved photos in low mild.  

Google is promising three years of Android software program and safety updates along with the function updates it has routinely supplied for Pixel telephones. 

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5G… with a catch 

5G help is certainly a part of this cheaper Pixel, however the particulars of that help get sophisticated. You must be capable of hook up with low-band 5G networks from T-Cell, AT&T and Verizon. 

However whereas final yr’s Pixel 5 included help for higher-frequency millimeter-wave 5G networks, the 5A doesn’t. This implies sooner speeds, from what Verizon calls Extremely Wideband and what AT&T calls 5G Plus, will not be supported. For a midrange telephone this is not a deal-breaker, nevertheless it is not supreme. 

Since Google Fi runs on T-Cell’s community, it really works effective on that service’s low-band in addition to its sooner midband 5G providing, which it calls Extremely Capability 5G. 

Trying into 5G’s future, the 5A’s help might be much more sophisticated. The telephone’s help of 5G networks operating on the C-band is unclear. That is wi-fi spectrum that Verizon, AT&T and T-Cell spent billions on earlier this yr. For Verizon and AT&T, that ought to present a major velocity enhance past only a handful of metropolis blocks. 

The primary of those networks from AT&T and Verizon ought to arrive later this yr, with Verizon stating earlier this yr that this C-band community will permit it to supply peak obtain speeds of 1 gigabit per second. The Pixel 5, satirically, was introduced as one of many first telephones to help Verizon’s C-band community

On a {hardware} stage, the 5A ought to help these forthcoming networks because it has the right band help inside (what’s often known as band N77 or N78). The problem is that Google will not decide to updating the software program on the Pixel 5A with 5G to allow it. 

“The {hardware} is succesful however there hasn’t been quite a lot of deployment but within the US so the software program work would nonetheless have to be completed,” Rakowski stated. “We haven’t any plans to announce on that entrance.” 

When pressed, Rakowski added that Google will “keep in contact with the carriers and consider” future help however added that “we’re not going to commit, we’re not going to make a press release now about future help for what may are available an replace.”

We already know that extra individuals are holding onto gadgets for longer, so the dearth of help from Google for this upcoming community improve — particularly when the bodily {hardware} helps it — is regarding. 

If you happen to’re with T-Cell or a service that runs on its community (like Google Fi) you’ve gotten much less to fret about in the case of accessing a speedy midband 5G community. As for potential consumers who’ve AT&T or Verizon, that lack of future help might muddy what’s in any other case a strong $449 telephone.

Pixel 5A 5G specs

Pixel 5A 5G Pixel 4A 5G Pixel 3A
Show dimension, decision 6.34-inch OLED, 2,400×1,080 pixels 6.2-inch OLED, 2,340×1,080 pixels 5.6-inch OLED, 2,220×1,080 pixels
Pixel density 413ppi 413ppi 441ppi
Dimensions 156x73x8.8mm 154x74x8.2mm (Sub-6 solely); 154x74x8.5 mm (mmWave + Sub-6) 151x70x8.2mm
Weight 6.45 oz; 183g 5.93 oz; 168g (Sub-6 solely); 6.03 oz; 171g (mmWave + Sub-6) 5.19 oz; 147g
Software program Android 11 Android 11 Android 9.0
Digital camera 16-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (twin pixel) 12.2-megapixel (customary), 16-megapixel (ultrawide) 12.2-megapixel
Entrance digital camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video 4K 4K 4K
Chipsets Snapdragon 765G (processing energy chip) Titan M chipset (safety chip) Snapdragon 765G 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
Storage 128GB 128GB 64GB
RAM 6GB 6GB 4GB
Headphone Jack Sure Sure No
Battery 4,680 mAh 3,800 mAh 3,000 mAh
Particular options 5G, IP67 water resistance, twin SIM, stereo audio system, 18W quick charging 5G, dual-SIM (nano-SIM and e-SIM), quick charging AR in Google Maps, time-lapse video taking pictures
Value (USD) $449 $499 $399

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