Google launches the Pixel 5a with 5G support and a big battery
The Pixel 4a from Google last year was a smartphone that was well-received all over the world. Of course, its affordable price tag played a big role in its popularity, and the fact that consumers got a clean UI with software support assurances sealed the deal for many. The Pixel 4a was available in two variants — one with 4G and one with 5G. For the successor, Google has skipped the 4G model in favor of a single model called the Pixel 5a (5G). After months of speculation and some doubts about the phone’s existence due to the worldwide chip shortage, the Pixel 5a (5G) is finally official.
Google Pixel 5a (5G) Specifications
|Specification||Google Pixel 5a (5G)|
|Memory||6GB LPDDR4X RAM+ 128GB internal storage|
|Battery & Charging||
|Front Camera||8MP, f/2.0, 1.12µm pixel size|
|Security||Rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner
Titan M security module
|Sensors||Proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, barometer|
If you’re familiar with last year’s Pixel 4a 5G, you might realize that the Pixel 5a (5G) isn’t too different. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the Pixel 4a 5G was a phone that fared well in most aspects. You get the same familiar build and design that we’ve been seeing on Pixel phones over the years, which is of course set to change thanks to a radical shift in design with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro expected to launch later this year.
On the inside too, the Pixel 5a (5G) remains largely identical to the Pixel 4a 5G. The mid-range Snapdragon 765G SoC should be just fine for day-to-day activities as well as some casual gaming. Since the software is coming directly from Google, it’s lighter than most custom skins on top of Android, resulting in a smoother overall experience. The display is a 6.2-inch OLED panel with a hole-punch cutout for the 8MP selfie shooter. The refresh rate is still limited to 60Hz which is slightly disappointing given that most Android phones nowadays even at this price offer high refresh rate displays.
A slight change in design comes in the form of a ridged power button on the Google Pixel 5a 5G, making it easier to differentiate between the power button and the volume keys. While this particular change is subtle, the battery has gotten a big upgrade, quite literally. The 3,885mAh battery from last year has been replaced by a 4,680mAh cell, making the Pixel 5a (5G) the Pixel phone with the biggest battery ever. If endurance is high on your priority list, the Pixel 5a (5G) surely won’t disappoint.
Given that it’s a Pixel device, you are going to get extended software support with the Pixel 5a (5G). Google promises 3 years of Android version upgrades as well as security patches, something that you don’t see very often with phones from other OEMs at this price point. Apart from software, cameras have been a major selling point of Pixel phones over the years, and the Pixel 5a (5G) retains the same set of reliable cameras from the Pixel 4a 5G. There’s a 12MP primary shooter that Google has been using for ages, but thanks to their computational prowess, the sensor still holds up in 2021. It’s accompanied by a 16MP ultra wide-angle lens.
Google Pixel 5a (5G): Pricing and Availability
Unlike the Pixel 4a from last year, the Pixel 5a is only launching in two countries — the U.S. and Japan. This can probably be attributed to the global chip shortage but is surely disappointing for consumers outside of these two nations. The Pixel 4a was well-received even in countries like India where the market is highly spec-driven, thanks to its clean software and a no-frills experience. However, the Pixel 5a will not make its way to the country or to other parts of the world, at least through official channels.
In the U.S., the Pixel 5a (5G) can be purchased in a “Mostly Black” color for $449 unlocked via the Google Store which is $100 more than the vanilla Pixel 4a from last year, but $50 lower than the launch price of the Pixel 4a 5G. Given that there’s just one Pixel ‘a’ series device this year and the Pixel 5a is a better version of the Pixel 4a 5G, the price seems justified.
Pre-orders start today, and the phone is expected to arrive on August 26th. You can also pick up the Pixel 5a through a Google Fi subscription and save a few extra bucks with device protection and upgrade plans starting at $15 per month.
What are your thoughts on the Google Pixel 5a (5G)? If you’re located outside of the US and Japan, are you bummed that the device isn’t launching in your country? Let us know in the comments below!
Correction: The Pixel 5a does not support mmWave 5G. The official spec sheet was updated to fix this error, so we have made adjustments accordingly.