Google arrives with new ambitions with its Pixel 5. It is no longer a question of competing with the high-end of the market, but of offering a well-optimized smartphone benefiting from the latest software features and excellent photo capabilities at an affordable price, even if it means having to make some concessions.
While far from a hit in terms of sales, Google’s Pixel smartphones are generally popular with the Android community. Each time, these are great photophones, which benefit, Google obliges, from excellent software monitoring with regular and rapid feature updates. The Pixel 5 should respect this tradition, but also stand out from previous models. The Mountain View firm has indeed made a shift in its strategy on the mobile market.
Will there be a Pixel 5 and a Pixel 5 XL?
For a few years now, Google has accustomed us to launch each of its new Pixel series in a standard version and another XL, benefiting among other things from a larger screen. More recently, we have also seen the appearance of the Pixel Xa, more mid-range devices.
In 2020, the situation will be different. We should only have a Pixel 5 at the moment, without an XL variant. It would be the most premium model in the series, replacing the expected Pixel 5 XL. More affordable, we should then have a Pixel 4a 5G, which we expected earlier this year and which should finally be marketed in the same waters as the Pixel 5. Then later, in 2021, it would be logical to see a Pixel 5a.
What is the price of the Pixel 5?
The trend in the high-end market is to see higher prices. No one is surprised to see Apple and Samsung launch smartphones at more than 1000 euros today, and even manufacturers historically oriented on the value for money like OnePlus or Xiaomi are also following this direction.
This is not the case with Google, which believes it is not competitive enough to compete with the big brands in the premium segment. We will see it later by referring to its technical sheet, the Pixel 5 is not intended to be an ultra high-end and makes concessions.
As a result, the price is falling. In France, the Pixel 4 was sold for 769 euros at its launch, while the Pixel 4 XL was available for the trifle of 899 euros. A leak tells us that the Pixel 5 will be on German stalls at a price of 629 euros after application of the 16% VAT (it has been reduced from 19% to 16% temporarily until December 31, 2020 across the Rhine to meet the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic). In France, VAT is set at 20%. The Pixel 5 could thus be a little more expensive than these 629 euros with us.
What is the Pixel 5 release date?
The Pixel 5 has already been certified by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the United States, a sign of an imminent launch. Leaker Jon Prosser, who has proven to be reliable on numerous occasions, announces that the mobile will be officially presented on September 30, 2020. Pre-orders to buy the Pixel 5 would be open on October 8, 2020, for a little more effective availability. ‘a week later, October 16.
Remember that all these dates come from leaks, so they should be taken with a grain of salt. Google for its part only communicated an exit in the fall.
What is the design of the Pixel 5?
Aesthetics have never been the strong point of Google smartphones, which rather shine by their software capabilities. It will still be better this year since we are finally rid of the huge border on the top of the phone. This signals the end of the 3D radar that the group touted last year for its authentication and remote control capabilities of the smartphone by gestures.
Engineers from the Mountain View firm have followed the fashion of the moment by opting for a punch in the upper left corner of the screen to house the selfie camera. We would have liked to see more effort on the edges of the sides and bottom, but there is better.
On the back, there is a square-shaped module that houses two photo sensors and the LED Flash. Big surprise, the fingerprint reader would return to the back of the device and would no longer be integrated under the screen, probably to reduce costs. A choice all the same surprising, the fingerprint reader under the screen is essential even on the entry level Android nowadays.To cut costs, Google is expected to ditch the glass back and aluminum chassis and replace those materials with plastic. The quality of plastic in smartphones is excellent these days, but this choice is still a serious decrease in range. Unsurprisingly, there is a deadlock on the 3.5mm jack port when it comes to audio.
What is the technical sheet of the Google Pixel 5?
While waiting for the official announcement of the mobile by Google, we can dig into the various leaks relating to the Pixel 5 to get an idea of its specifications.
|Definition||1080 x 2340 pixels 90Hz|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes (on the back)|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G (7nm)|
|Internal memory||128 GB|
|Camera||Main: 12.2 MP, f / 1.7, 27mm, 1.4µm
Ultra wide angle
|Selfie sensor||8 MP, f / 2.0, 24mm, 1.12µm|
|Reverse wireless charging||Yes|
What screen does the Pixel 5 have?
No large format for the Pixel 5, Google betting on the compact. While a 6.67-inch diagonal has been suggested by early reports, more recent information points to a much more measured size of 6 inch. Surprisingly, it would therefore be smaller than the Pixel 4a and its supposed 6.2-inch panel. As for the Pixel 4, the smartphone has a refresh rate of 90 Hz for better fluidity of images and animations.
The screen is based on technology OLED, more responsive than the LCD, offering pure blacks, and allowing the integration of the Always-on functionality to display information on the screen continuously: time, battery level, new notifications… The definition remains blocked simple FHD + 1080p, while the Pixel 4 XL was treated to QHD + 1440p quality last year. The panel is HDR10 + compatible for more vivid colors and a display calculated by scene by scene to obtain the most reliable rendering possible.
What performance can you expect from the Pixel 5?
We warned you, the Pixel 5 isn’t aimed at the high end. This is verified with the choice of SoC for this smartphone: no Snapdragon 865 to run the device, but a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G mid-range oriented. Engraved in 7nm, this SoC is still powerful and for most users, it is more than enough to enjoy their phone in good conditions. It is a bit slower than the best on the market, but the difference is barely noticeable to the naked eye for everyday use. For tasks requiring a little more resources, such as downloading or running a game, the Snapdragon 765G remains good (the GPU of the 765G is better optimized than that of the 765), even if it falls short of high-end chips.
The good news is that the Snapdragon 765G still supports 5G. The Pixel 5 will be compatible with the new generation of mobile network. A point to underline as the auctions of 5G frequency bands will begin on September 29, 2020 and that operators should market their first 5G packages by the end of the year. And even if we do not intend to switch to 5G immediately, it is better to invest now in a compatible mobile if we want to keep it for several years.
Like the iPhones, the Pixels are historically devices equipped with little RAM compared to their competitors. Google has always favored software optimizations over the race for RAM. The Pixel 5 should still evolve in this area and carry 8 GB of RAM, against 6 GB on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.
As for internal memory, there should also be better. The Pixel 5 is expected with 128 GB of storage space, like the Pixel 4a. On the previous generation, storage started at 64 GB and you had to pay more to get a variant with 128 GB of internal memory. The microSD card slot that would extend this space is not making a comeback with the Pixel 5, which is devoid of it like the Pixel 4. We can also regret the fact that this new model ignores UFS 3.0 storage technology, which allows much better transfer rates and better energy consumption than the UFS 2.1 which the Pixel 5 is satisfied with.
What is the autonomy of the Pixel 5?
This is clearly one of the main weak points of the range. Google integrates batteries with little capacity on its smartphones, which is necessarily felt on the endurance of the devices. Difficult to maintain while the increase in the size of screens and their refresh rate increases the energy consumption of our devices.
After the Pixel 4 debacle in this area, the Mountain View firm would not yet have planned to revolutionize the batteries included in its mobiles. The Pixel 5 would be content with a 3080 mAh battery, a very low capacity while most competitors exceed 4000 mAh. So let’s hope that Google manages to optimize its smartphone with small onions to avoid starving autonomy. Let us add that another source mentions a 4000 mAh battery, so hope is not lost as to a real improvement in the battery capacity on this Pixel 5.
The latter should benefit from 18W fast wired charging and 10W wireless induction charging. We have seen much better, but such power seems sufficient to quickly recharge the supposed small battery of the device. Reverse wireless charging is also part of the game, allowing you to charge accessories (like the Pixel Buds headphones) with the smartphone’s battery.
Which camera for the Pixel 5?
Another area in which Google has never tried to do like the others, systematically offering fewer photo sensors than other smartphones in its category and relying on its software capabilities to (successfully) stand out from the crowd. The Pixel 5 is no exception, and it’s with just two modules for the main camera that it’s going to have to get by.
The most important sensor would have the following characteristics: 12.2 MP, aperture f / 1.7, 27mm, 1.4µm and optical image stabilization. He would be accompanied by a ultra wide angle whose specificities are not yet known. Last year, the Pixel 4 also had two modules on the back, but with a telephoto lens instead of the ultra-wide-angle. We expected in 2020 a Pixel 5 with both ultra wide-angle and telephoto, it is missed for this time. We will therefore have to deal with a digital zoom in the absence of optical zoom.
The front camera (8 MP, f / 2.0, 24mm, 1.12µm) for selfies, facial recognition and video calls does not offer any special functionality.
If the hardware is not a dream, remember that the Pixels have always been excellent in photography thanks to Google’s algorithms. This fifth iteration should not escape the rule. We hope in particular for improvements to the already very good night mode since it is when the light conditions are bad that we can really compare mobiles, even the mid-range are now very good in broad daylight.
What software innovations with Android 11?
The Pixel 5 will launch on Android 11, the latest major version of the mobile operating system. Android 11 recently came out of beta on a few smartphone models, including older generations of Pixels. Google has already announced that the software tracking of its mobile devices is three years. The Pixel 5 will therefore receive three major updates, Android 12, 13 and 14 as soon as they are available.
But let’s come back to the new features enjoyed by the Pixel 5 when it was released. We find in the notification center a new space dedicated exclusively to conversations, which groups together messages received both by SMS and by an instant messaging application such as WhatsApp or Messenger. This space is customizable, with the possibility of giving priority to certain contacts for example.
The floating notification bubbles Messenger has accustomed us to for years land for all messaging applications. Users who appreciate this format will be able to adapt it to services that do not integrate it natively.
Android 11 natively supports video screenshots, a feature already present on many Android overlays. We are also entitled to quick settings for controlling media playback. For example, it is much easier to switch from one audio device to another.
Our smartphone is increasingly becoming the control hub of our connected home, Google has understood this and improves home automation management with an interface that is easy to access and use to control all the connected objects in your home.
Side security and protection of personal data, the permissions granted to the applications must be repeated in the case of an open app not used for a long time. History to remember all to which it has access whereas it does not serve us that often. Security patches are now dependent on the Play Store so they can be installed as soon as they become available. No need to wait weeks or months before the manufacturer of our mobile deigns to deploy the latest patch.
And that’s not all since the Pixel 5 also benefits from features exclusive to its range. For starters, the mobile takes advantage of what Google calls “live view with location sharing” in the Google Maps application. This tool allows us to better orient ourselves by helping to understand exactly our position and that of our objective. Coupled with the real-time location option, Google Maps becomes an incredible service for measuring the distance between a user and a contact that must be reached, and how to get to him. And this even if it is in motion.
Then, owners of a Pixel 5 can use smart answers. When receiving a message, the user is offered a selection of quick replies automatically generated based on the content of the messages received. This is a process similar to what already exists in Gmail, and it works quite well. The answers available are very often relevant to the context of the conversation and save time. The feature is integrated directly into the Gboard keyboard.
The predictive presentation of applications is just as interesting to gain in comfort of daily use. The system analyzes our habits, which allows it to highlight applications that are faster to open depending on the situation. If you’re going for a run with Spotify in your ears at the same time each day, the Pixel 5 will suggest you enter Spotify at that time. Ditto for the clock app to program the alarm clock before going to bed for example. It also works with location if you regularly use a service every time you go to a specific location.
Finally, we can present the automated suggestions of application folder names. This isn’t the most exciting feature, especially since it was already present on a few builder interfaces. When you create a folder to store your apps, the smartphone will suggest name suggestions. “Social networks” for a folder with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or “Games” for one with PUBG Mobile, Hearthstone and Asphalt.