Google Pixel 5 Hands-on: A Premium Design in a Compact Package
The Google Pixel line of smartphones is dubbed by some to be the “iPhone of the Android world”, and I can see why. It’s made by Google and lauded by enthusiasts for its close-to-stock Android feel, which is unsurprising because Google is the one that develops Android! The Google Pixel 5 was announced just last week, and we can finally show you some photos of the device in its Just Black color. There’s not a whole lot more that we can get into at the moment past how it looks, but we’ll have a full review available for you when the embargo lifts!
About this hands-on: Google Ireland sent us the Google Pixel 5 for review on the 8th of October, 2020 in Just Black. This is a hands-on to show some pictures of the device and to talk about the specifications. We will have a full review soon!
Google Pixel 5 Specifications Table
|Specification||Google Pixel 5|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G:|
|RAM & Storage||8GB LPDDR4X + 128GB UFS 2.1|
|Battery & Charging|
|Front Camera||8MP Sony IMX355, f/2.0, 1.12µm pixel size, fixed focus, 83° FoV|
|Ports||USB 3.1 Type-C|
|Security||Pixel Imprint (capacitive rear fingerprint scanner)|
Titan M hardware security module
|Sensors||Proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, barometer|
Google Pixel 5 Design
The Google Pixel 5 isn’t too much of a departure from past Pixel smartphones, and in fact, it looks nearly identical to the Google Pixel 4a which just recently launched as well. Its most unique design trait is the 100% recycled aluminum back, and I do have to emphasize unique. It’s like no other phone that I’ve felt before as it feels nearly like a mixture of hard rubber and cardboard while still feeling sturdy. That’s not a problem though, and it makes it feel more premium if anything.
Also on the back is the slightly indented fingerprint sensor, along with the square camera module on the top left. The fingerprint sensor is at the exact same level of indentation as on the Pixel 4a, making it easy to swipe against it accidentally. That hasn’t been much of an issue for me in my short time with the device, and I suspect it won’t be for others unless you’ve enabled the fingerprint swipe gesture to pull down your notifications.
There’s no brightly colored power button this time around—it’s just a straight metal power button, though it can shine a bit in the right lighting. The button is not as clicky as it is on the Google Pixel 4a either, which if I’m honest, is kind of disappointing. It’s not that it’s weak, it’s that it now feels about as clicky as any other smartphone on the market.
The Google Pixel 5’s 6-inch display is interrupted only by a hole-punch camera cutout on the top left. It’s not too big and you won’t notice it in general usage, but it’s a first for the flagship Pixel line of smartphones.
Using the Google Pixel 5
I can’t talk about much more when it comes to the Google Pixel 5 at the moment, but I can mention the basic usage right out of the box. There are a few striking features to point out, such as the powerful haptics (as seen on previous Google smartphones) that feel as good as ever. The 90Hz display makes the setup feel smooth and quick, and general scrolling up and down is an experience that matches all of my previous experiences with 90Hz displays.
The Google Pixel 5 is easy to use with one hand, something I greatly appreciate in a sea of monster-sized smartphones, and it’s not too heavy either. It can charge on a wireless charging pad and can charge other devices through “Battery Share”, and packs a number of other Google-exclusive features that we’ll get into in our full review. So far I’m loving it, but you’ll have to wait a bit to find out all of the reasons why!
The official Google Pixel 5 Fabric Case
We also got the official Google Pixel 5 Fabric Case along with our device, and I took a couple of photos to show it off as well. It’s soft to the touch, but I’d certainly call it protective. I’m quite impressed with it, and while it looks a bit odd, I’ll certainly be keeping it on my Pixel 5. I personally quite like how it looks, but I can understand that it’s probably a polarising design. However, there are already other case options available – check out our Best Pixel 5 Cases guide for more info!
If you’re planning on picking up a Pixel 5 for yourself, act fast—it’s already out of stock in some countries! If you can wait, though, keep an eye out for our full review to see if Google’s latest Pixel phone is worth its price.