Google’s new Pixel 5 phone delivers flagship features at a mid-range price, $699. To keep the price relatively low, Google downsized the technology just slightly compared to its top-of-the-line $1,000-plus Android competitors. But while the Pixel 5 may be slightly smaller and less powerful than other Android flagship models, like the Samsung Galaxy S20, it includes many advanced hardware and software features.
Pixel 5 hardware upgrades
- Pixel 5 will be one of the first smartphones to run Google’s latest Android 11 operating system out of the box.
- An improved camera includes a new ultrawide lens on the rear for wider scenic shots, Super Res Zoom for less grainy zooming, Night Sight for better low light results, Portrait Light lets you properly expose faces even when your subject is brightly backlit, HDR+ Bracketing helps get the right scene exposure, and Cinematic Pan, a video stabilized 2x slow motion in 4K or HD resolution; you can even add some of these improvements to old photos via Google Photos
- You can create a 5G hotspot so other WiFi devices or people can share your speedy 5G connection
- Not only can Pixel 5 fast-charge wirelessly (with a charger sold separately) at 18 watts, but it can be used for wireless charging other Qi-certified chargeable devices
- Security and protection are improved thanks to the Titan M chip, which protects your personal data, passwords, and transactions, Android security updates are automatically received, the phone scans for potential threats, and “car crash detection” helps you reach 911 if the phone senses you’ve been in an accident
New software upgrades
- When you call a toll-free number, the new Hold For Me functions allows you to assign waiting on hold to Google Assistant, which will ping you when a human actually comes on the line, while Call Screen filters robocalls. This feature will be available for earlier Pixels models soon.
- Extreme Battery Saver lets you limit or eliminate power draw from multiple functions to stretch out single-charge battery life to up to 48 hours. This feature will be available for earlier Pixels models soon as well.
- HD screen sharing in Google Duo video chatting now lets two people watch the same video or stream
- Recorder voice recorder now automatically transcribes recordings and lets you edit the audio recording or create an audio clip by editing the transcription text
How Google cut costs
You get a 6-inch FHD+ HDR display (1080 x 2340 pixels) on the Pixel 5, slightly smaller than other top Android models, and it runs at up to 90Hz rather than 120Hz, which pricier models have. The phone runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip rather than the company’s top-of-the-line 865 processor, the latest WiFi 6 wireless connectivity isn’t included, and it’s merely IPX8 water-resistant – rain, spills, and splashes – rather than waterproof from dunking and submersion.
Pricing and availability
The Pixel 5 can be pre-ordered now and will be available on October 29, 2020, around the same time Apple plans to start selling its first 5G iPhones. The Pixel 5 will start at $699 and will be available in a matte black and a “Sorta Sage” light green finish. With the purchase of a Pixel 5 you get three free trial months of Stadia Pro streaming gaming service, YouTube Premium, 100GB of Google One storage, Google Play Pass, and Gold/Silver Status on Play Points.