Google Pixel 5 is Now Available, Pixel 4a (5G) Can Be Preordered

Posted on October 29, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 11 Comments

One month after the announcement, the Google Pixel 5 is now available for purchase and the Pixel 4a (5G) can be preordered. That latter handset will arrive in about three weeks.

“[The] Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 pack more helpful Google features into phones backed by the power and speeds of 5G,” Google’s original announcement post from late September reads. “From Google’s latest AI and Assistant features, to the biggest ever batteries we’ve put in a Pixel, to industry-leading camera features, Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 join our much-loved Pixel 4a in providing more help at a more helpful price.”

How does one even begin to explain these handsets?

Despite the names, these new handsets, plus the Pixel 4a that Google released back in August can be considered part of the same product family. Each comes in at a lower price point than Google’s previous-generation handsets, and none can be considered a true flagship. Instead, Google is trying to meet its customers’ most important needs at lower price points.

The Pixel 4a (5G)—sometimes called the Pixel 4a with 5G—and the Pixel 5 both include the same basic innards, with mid-tier octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processors and Adreno 620 graphics, a step up from the lower-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G and Adreno 618 in the Pixel 4a. Both include 128 GB of non-expandable storage, the Titan M security chipset, and rear-mounted Pixel Imprint fingerprint readers. Most important, both new handsets have the same dual-camera setup, with a 12.2 MP main wide lens and a 16 MP ultra-wide lens; the original Pixel 4a only has the single 12.2 MP main wide lens.

But the two handsets diverge in some interesting and curious ways, too. The Pixel 4a (5G) includes 6 GB of RAM, like the Pixel 4a, but the Pixel 5 provides 8 GB of RAM. The Pixel 4a (5G) comes only in a black polycarbonate body, like the Pixel 4a, but the Pixel 5 has a unique 100% recycled aluminum body with a rough resin exterior, in two color choices, and unlike the other handsets, it supports wireless charging and Battery Share, which is reverse wireless charging.

The weirdest difference, perhaps, is the display size used by each handset. Where the low-end Pixel 4a provides a tiny 5.8-inch Full HD+ OLED display with HDR, the new Pixel 5 has a 6-inch Full HD+ OLED display with HDR, and the Pixel 4a (5G) has an even larger—but not Pixel XL class—6.2-inch Full HD+ OLED display with HDR. The Pixel 4a and 4a (5G) have older Gorilla Glass 3 protection, but the Pixel 5 brings more modern Gorilla Glass 6.

The Pixel 4a (5G) costs $499 and can be had in black, and when you consider that the original Pixel 4a costs $350, it’s almost a reasonable upgrade. But the Pixel 5 costs $699 and can be had in either black or “Sorta Sage,” a unique green color. This is far too much for this handset: $599 would be a lot more reasonable given its mid-level specs and that far superior handsets—like the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, the OnePlus 8T, and the iPhone 12—can be had for the same price or just a bit more.

I previously wrote that I was giving up on Pixel this year for the first time, and I still can’t wrap my head around the Pixel 5. But I’ve decided to preorder a Pixel 4 (5G) and trade-in my Pixel 4 XL, and I will review it when it arrives late next month.

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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Google Pixel 5 is Now Available, Pixel 4a (5G) Can Be Preordered”

  1. yoshi

    I have added the Pixel 5 and removed it from my cart so many times today. I know it's not worth the price, and I know I'd regret it. I don't know why I do this to myself.

  2. JH_Radio

    Hey Paul, you did an oops...

    "The Pixel 4a (4G) costs $499"

    I'm sure you meant 5G there.


  3. djross95

    Look forward to your Pixel 4a 5G (what a horrible name!) review, Paul. As I've said previously, I think this is a pretty decent phone at a fair price. The Pixel 5 is just too much money for what you get.

  4. richfrantz

    Waiting another month for the sales on the 5.

    I'll trade in my 4xl to get back to the fingerprint scanner. The face unlock almost always works, but when it doesn't it makes me crazy.

  5. rmlounsbury

    I'm still tempted by the Pixel 5. Having used the Pixel 4a as my daily driver for the past month I've at least concluded a few things. I do actually miss the 90hz refresh panel as scrolling feels muddy on the Pixel 4a (I wouldn't complain about the 6" screen either). I also really would like to have the wide angle lens as well (though the 4a main shooter takes fine photos).

    But, as everyone points out the $699 price point for the Pixel 5 is puzzling and too high for the device. It would make more sense if it was $549-$599. At that price I would probably consider swapping the Pixel 4a for the 5. So, perhaps, if the price comes down during the holiday season I'll make the swap.

    I will say, smooth scrolling 90hz and missing a second lens for wide angle the Pixel 4a continues to be a remarkably solid phone.

  6. winner

    I also preordered the 4a 5G to replace my 3 yo Pixel 2 XL.

  7. anthonye1778

    Not going to lie, I got my Pixel 5 on release day, and I love it. The size is perfect, and that aluminum finish feels great. Google's software runs very well, and the battery life is pretty spectacular. That High Refresh Rate screen is pretty great, and to me is worth the price of the upgrade, though your preferences will vary. Since I have a Pixel Stand, the 5 was the obvious choice of the new phones due to its inclusion of wireless charging.

    So far as Black Friday sales, the only one I know about is that Best Buy will be offering it for $50 off unlocked (you can see their black friday ad right now), and if you activate through Verizon it's $200 off (spread out over 24 monthly payments, of course). So all in all, not too shabby. Great device that can be had for a pretty good price if you know where to look.

  8. lightbody

    As a former Nexus 4 & 5 owner, I then switched to Oneplus because Pixels were too expensive.

    My 3T was bought new for around the same price the Nexus' had been for a similar flagship-level spec, but the 5T and 7T I have now had to be bought used to keep the price at that level.

    I'd love a Pixel phone but they're just too expensive for what they are.

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