Google Pixel 5: A Fantastic 5G Phone With A Killer Camera But For A Price
So, Google appears to be taking a gamble and trying something different this year. It’s targeting the popular $600 to $750 price range and joining the wild world of premium mid-range phones and affordable flagships with the $699 Pixel 5 -- its very own Snapdragon 765G-equipped 5G “flagship.” Does the Pixel 5 finally deliver the goods? Should you buy the similar but more affordable Pixel 4a 5G instead? Read on in the pages ahead to find out...
Google Pixel 5 Hardware And Design
Speaking of the 1080p screen, it’s the same overall design too, with a hole punch in the top left corner for the 8MP selfie camera, and thin bezels all around. Another design element the Pixel 5 inherits from its siblings is the back-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor and black square camera pod, which is shared with the Pixel 4a 5G -- including the same 12MP main lens, 16MP ultrawide, LED flash, and flicker sensor.
What’s different then? The Pixel 5 packs a 90Hz display, 8GB RAM, 4080mAh battery, and bi-directional wireless charging, but lacks a headphone jack and a visible earpiece. It’s also IP68 water and dust resistant, and made of aluminum instead of plastic. Unlike other unibody designs, a groove is machined into the aluminum shell for the wireless charging coil, then filled with a resin which spills over to coat the entire phone.
This makes the surfaces of the Pixel 5 feel like paper, which is both unique and pleasant to hold. Hopefully, it’s also durable. Everything else is what you’d expect. There’s a metallic green power/lock button and sage volume rocker on the right side, and the SIM tray is located on the left. You’ll find the primary mic, USB Type-C port (USB 3.1), and speaker along the bottom edge, plus a secondary mic on top.
|Processing and 5G Platform||Qualcomm
|Display||6.0" FHD+ OLED, 2340x1080 resolution, 90Hz, HDR 10+|
|Storage||128GB UFS 2.1
12MP f/1.7 OIS, dual-pixel
16MP f/2.2 107º Ultra-Wide
|Front-Facing Cameras||8MP f/2.0
|Video Recording||Up to 4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080p slow-mo|
|Dimensions||144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm|
|Connectivity||802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1+LE,
NFC, USB-C, LTE, 5G
Sage, Just Black
|Pricing||Find the Google Pixel 5 At Amazon, Starting at $699
Google Pixel 5 Display Quality
Pixel 5 Camera Hardware, Software, Performance And Image Quality
In front, the Pixel 5 uses a 8MP f/2.0 1.12-micron selfie camera (also shared with the Pixel 4a 5G). But specs only tell half the story. Google’s computational photography chops are still second to none. Most of the Pixel 5’s imaging goodness comes from proven features like HDR+, Night Sight (night mode), AI portrait mode, and astrophotography. And now there’s even more, thanks to a new camera app and updated Photos app.
First, Night Sight now works for portraits as well as regular photos, and will automatically turn on when necessary (this can be disabled). Second, Portrait Light lets you illuminate your subjects after the fact using a virtual light source. It’s similar to Apple’s Portrait Lighting, but is only available when editing portrait images in the Photos app. It also lets you position the virtual light source anywhere relative to your subject.
There are also new video stabilization modes. Beyond Standard, these include Locked (for zoomed scenes), Active (for heavy motion), and Cinematic Pan (for smooth pans). It all works, and it’s super slick. The rest of the shooting modes are pretty familiar (panorama, Photo Sphere, slow motion, and time lapse), but the camera app still lacks a pro/manual mode, which is rather disappointing. Are you listening, Google?
Pictures taken with the Pixel 5 are spectacular for a smartphone. Exposure and white balance are always on point, dynamic range is excellent (thanks to HDR+), and low-light performance is impressive (and even better with Night Sight). Google’s Super Res Zoom, which enables clear shots up to about 4x with the main sensor -- plus the new ultrawide lens -- makes the Pixel 5 (and the Pixel 4a 5G) an extremely versatile shooter.