Now that we’ve $1,800 luxurious foldable smartphones, persons are unsurprisingly taking inventory of what they really want in a smartphone. Google is aware of this, and it’s exactly why it’s been specializing in the mid-range and higher mid-range smartphone markets lately.

The Pixel 3a, Pixel 4a, and Pixel 4a 5G impressed us with their strong cameras, wonderful software program, and — most significantly — their inexpensive worth tags. It appeared Google struck the appropriate steadiness between options and worth. That sentiment resonated with our readers, too.

Google is about to impress once more with its newest launch. The Pixel 5a gives extra options for much less cash — who can argue with that? Learn Android Authority’s Google Pixel 5a evaluation to study extra.

About this Google Pixel 5a evaluation: I examined the Google Pixel 5a over a interval of seven days on T-Cell’s community in america. It was working Android 11 on the June 5, 2021 safety patch. The Google Pixel 5a evaluation unit was supplied to Android Authority by Google.

What you’ll want to know in regards to the Google Pixel 5a

the google pixel 5a on a piece of cement showing its back in mostly black color with a camera close up

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Don’t consider the Pixel 5a because the direct successor to the Pixel 4a. The Google Pixel 5a is an higher mid-range smartphone that builds on 2020’s Pixel 4a 5G, which itself shared loads of DNA with the Pixel 5. The 2 gadgets are almost the identical, save for just a few {hardware} upgrades. The Pixel 5a provides a steel unibody design, a barely larger show, a a lot bigger battery, and an IP67 score for mud and water resistance — a primary for the A-series lineup. The SoC, reminiscence, and digital camera setups are an identical, although.

Associated: All Google Pixel telephones launched to date

It is available in one shade possibility, Largely Black, and is now accessible for pre-order from the Google Retailer. This gadget will see a way more restricted launch in comparison with the 4a 5G, a minimum of initially. You should purchase it from the Google Retailer or Google Fi within the US and SoftBank in Japan (retailing for 51,700 Japanese yen). It’ll formally go on sale Thursday, August 26, for $449.

As per ordinary, Google throws in free trials to YouTube Premium, Google Play Cross, and Google One with every buy.

How’s the improved design?

the google pixel 5a on a bench with water splashed droplets

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The {hardware} is essentially the most “upgraded” a part of the Google Pixel 5a. Whereas all different A-series gadgets have had plastic chassis, the Pixel 5a has a steel unibody design. It feels very nice to make use of and not using a case. It has a barely soft-touch coating to make it grippier than different telephones.

I like that Google is utilizing steel in its telephones once more. (It’s your entire motive I bought the Pixel 5 final yr.) Nonetheless, the added weight is noticeable. The Pixel 5a weighs 183g in comparison with the Pixel 4a 5G’s 168g, although the 2 are almost the identical dimension. That may not look like a lot, however it’s noticeable if you’re holding the telephone for a couple of minutes at a time.

the google pixel 5a on a bench compared to the pixel 5 and pixel 4a 5g with back panels showing

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Left to proper: Google Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 4a 5G

The Google Pixel 5a can also be the primary A-series gadget to supply an IP67 score for mud and water resistance. Someway a typical omission on telephones on this worth vary, your Pixel 5a can now take a dip within the pool or get caught within the rain with out you having to soak it in a bag of rice afterward.

The steel unibody design and IP67 score assist make telephone nice.

The Pixel 5a has a pleasant OLED show. It’s barely larger and taller this time round, measuring 6.34 inches in comparison with the Pixel 4a 5G’s 6.2-inch display screen. It has almost the identical decision and pixel density, too. Nonetheless, the Pixel 5a’s show is extra sturdy, due to its Gorilla Glass 6 coating.

The one subject I’ve with the show is that there’s no choice to bump it as much as 90Hz — a typical function at this worth level. Maybe that will make manufacturing prices dearer, however I believe it’s a type of options that may finally make its method to all mid-range telephones and is already widespread for mid-tier smartphones offered in Europe and India. Nonetheless, even at 60Hz, the show is ok.

the google pixel 5a display with app icons on the pixel launcher home screen

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

A number of different design niceties:

  • Largely Black: The Pixel 5a is available in one shade, Largely Black. It’s really extra of a darkish gray with olive undertones, which matches properly with the sunshine grey-olive energy button. The ability button has a wavy texture to it, so you already know you’ve discovered it. Random reference, however assume bottom-of-the-Pixelbook-Go wavy.
  • New instances: Google is forgoing the material instances with the Pixel 5a launch, as an alternative launching a brand new collection of plastic instances constructed from recycled supplies. I like this case. It’s grippy and protecting, and the Perhaps Moon colorway goes effectively with the telephone’s shade. Google simply might’ve charged $49 for this case, however it’s promoting them for simply $29.
  • Headphone jack: There may be one, proper on the highest of the telephone.
  • Fingerprint sensor: The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor operates simply because it normally does on Pixel telephones. It’s quick, and you need to use it to drag down the notification shade if you happen to don’t need to attain your thumb to the highest of this very tall telephone.
  • Haptics: The Pixel 5a’s haptics are nice — surprisingly nice for a telephone that prices this a lot.
  • Punch-hole digital camera: The Pixel 5a has a smaller punch-hole selfie digital camera than the Pixel 5. To me, it’s much less noticeable in day-to-day use.

Does the battery ever give up?

the google pixel 5a display close-up with battery stats

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

No, it doesn’t. Effectively, I couldn’t get it to give up. I believe if you happen to’re a traditional human — or perhaps a energy person who video games greater than anything — you’ll have hassle killing this telephone in a day.

I examined the telephone for a whole week, and I solely wanted to cost it just a few occasions. The primary day I had it, I ran velocity exams, downloaded apps, scrolled social media, shot images and movies, streamed ~45 minutes of YouTube and round an hour of podcasts, and left it off the charger in a single day, and I used to be nonetheless in a position to get round eight hours of screen-on time. That’s a full day of use whereas nearly by no means placing the telephone down.

The Pixel 5a’s battery does not give up.

On extra regular days of use, I used to be going to mattress with ~60-65% battery left within the tank.

Since it is a Pixel telephone, you not solely get your customary battery saver mode, there’s additionally excessive battery saver mode if you wish to eke out as a lot juice as potential.

Notably, Google elevated the Pixel 5a’s battery dimension to 4,680mAh, up from the Pixel 4a 5G’s 3,885mAh cell. There’s no Pixel 5 wi-fi charging trickery right here — the Pixel 5a doesn’t assist wi-fi charging. Not unusual for this worth vary, however nonetheless value mentioning.

The telephone takes a bit over two full hours to cost from zero to 100% utilizing the provided 18W charging cable by the USB Energy Supply customary. That’s sluggish, however contemplating it is a big battery that you simply’ll solely must cost each few days, I’d say it’s a wonderful trade-off.

Associated: The very best telephone charging equipment

How are the Pixel 5a cameras holding up?

the google pixel 5a camera module and fingerprint sensor

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

I’ll strive to not rehash an excessive amount of of what my colleague Ollie talked about in his Pixel 4a 5G evaluation. The Pixel 5a’s digital camera setup is an identical to the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G’s. It has the identical ol’ 12.2MP primary digital camera sensor that Google has been utilizing for ages. “If it ain’t broke, don’t repair it.” Proper?

Google Pixel 5a camera sample building with bright light

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Sure and no. There’s nothing inherently improper with the Pixel 5a’s primary digital camera sensor. It nonetheless offers top-of-the-line point-and-shoot experiences you will get on a smartphone on this worth vary. The primary digital camera produces images with correct colours, above-average publicity ranges, and huge dynamic vary.

See additionally: The very best digital camera telephonesThe very best funds digital camera telephones

Images are sharp sufficient for social media use, however don’t zoom in — there’s a motive the corporate is shifting to a a lot higher-resolution sensor within the Pixel 6. The 12MP sensor simply doesn’t present as a lot element as bigger sensors, even with Google’s computational pictures prowess bettering issues yearly.

Google Pixel 5a camera sample night sight

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Night time Sight on

Daytime images are nearly all the time spot-on, and low-light snaps are made even higher with Night time Sight. Google just lately tweaked the (wonderful) Pixel Digital camera app to make the Night time Sight mode kick in by default with out switching to it manually. This makes capturing evening photographs a lot simpler and faster.

Google Pixel 5a camera sample night sight 2

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Night time Sight on

The primary sensor is coupled with a 16MP ultra-wide lens with a 107-degree subject of view. This successfully provides you three zoom ranges — simply accessible within the digital camera app — at .6x, 1x, and 2x utilizing Google’s Tremendous Res Zoom function. The latter received’t change a real telephoto lens, however it does a serviceable job on this worth vary the place devoted zoom cameras aren’t all that widespread.

Google’s machine studying algorithms forestall distortion across the edges of huge photographs, which is usually a pitfall of many mid-range smartphone cameras. Coloration accuracy between the 2 lenses is strong as effectively. However if you actually dig into the ultra-wide photographs, you’ll see colours are a bit extra muted in comparison with the principle lens, and there’s a small however noticeable loss in sharpness when zooming into the 16MP photographs. This doesn’t make or break the digital camera expertise by any means, however these after the best-looking wide-angle photographs ought to look elsewhere.

The Pixel 5a is supplied with an 8MP front-facing sensor — once more, the identical one we’ve seen in earlier Pixel gadgets. It’s a single lens, although Google’s software program permits for 1.4x software program zoom. Night time Sight will also be used with the front-facing digital camera, which might be your saving grace for late-night bar photographs. Selfies come out wanting pure, and particulars on faces are clear.

Portrait mode photographs with the front-facing digital camera normally come out someplace between acceptable and superb. Google’s software program can wrestle with blurring out hair or the perimeters of glasses at occasions, however that’s normally the case for portrait photographs.

Some extra digital camera options:

  • Video seize: Final yr, Google made the leap into 4K video seize at 60fps. I’ve had no points with video high quality general, and Google offers wonderful software program stabilization. You’ll be able to select between customary stabilization, locked (for faraway photographs), energetic (for heavy motion), and cinematic pan (for smoother panning photographs). These are all enjoyable, however I count on most individuals will depart it on customary mode.
  • Portrait Gentle: If the lighting of your selfies isn’t fairly proper, you need to use Portrait Gentle to readjust it by including a software-based gentle supply. It’s fascinating to make use of and might actually assist enhance the general high quality of your photos.

The picture samples on this evaluation have been compressed. You’ll be able to take a look at the full-resolution digital camera samples in this Google Drive folder.

I must also observe that all through the evaluation course of, the Pixel 5a gave me a “Machine is just too sizzling” discover when capturing images exterior. This occurred 4 occasions within the week I examined the telephone, and it normally confirmed up within the first jiffy of capturing images. So far as I do know, this has not affected efficiency in any noticeable means. Regardless, we’ve notified Google of this potential subject and can replace once we hear again.


the google pixel 5a on a bench compared to the pixel 5 and pixel 4a 5g

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Left to proper: Google Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 4a 5G

  • All-around good efficiency: The Pixel 5a has the identical inner specs because the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, so it runs fairly easily. The Snapdragon 765G backed by 6GB of RAM has been in a position to deal with nearly each job I’ve thrown at it, and I not often bumped into efficiency hiccups. The Adreno 620 GPU could not maintain up effectively for 3D gaming, nevertheless. Whereas I’ve had few points with the efficiency general, the 765G is over a yr previous at this level and there are different Snapdragon 700-series chips Google might’ve used as an alternative to future-proof the gadget a bit extra. Simply know there’s an opportunity the chip could not maintain up as effectively in a yr or two.
  • Android 11 now, Android 12 quickly: The Pixel 5a ships with Android 11 — the present secure model of the software program — out of the field. It’s the identical model of Android you get on the Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, and 4a. In just some weeks, although, Google is anticipated to roll out Android 12 — a serious improve to the OS that features aesthetic and usefulness modifications galore. Fortunately, the Pixel 5a can be among the many first to obtain the improve. You’ll be able to learn all about Android 12 proper right here.
  • Software program guarantees and good Google add-ons: The Google Pixel 5a will obtain a minimal of three years of main OS upgrades and safety updates. That’s nice information for individuals who care in regards to the longevity and safety of their telephone over time. The 5a additionally comes with Pixel-exclusive options just like the Google Recorder app, Name Screening for spam calls, and common Pixel Characteristic Drops which deliver new software program options to the telephone.
  • 5G succesful, with limitations: The Google Pixel 5a is 5G-capable, although just for sub-6GHz networks — no mmWave assist right here. As you could recall, the Pixel 4a 5G noticed a wider (and barely delayed) launch on Verizon, possible because of its finicky mmWave community. So, you’re nonetheless getting 5G, simply not all of the 5G capabilities you could possibly need. Actually although, it doesn’t sound like mmWave assist is all that vital to have in 2021 anyway. It additionally misses out on Wi-Fi 6 assist, which is a disgrace.
  • Booming audio system: The Pixel 5a’s stereo audio system get very loud. Too loud, in some instances. They’re considerably louder than the Pixel 5’s audio system, although audio high quality will get noticeably muddy when cranked as much as full quantity.

Google Pixel 5a specs

Google Pixel 5a
Show 6.34-inch OLED show
2,400 x 1,080 decision
20:9 side ratio
60Hz refresh price
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
2.4GHz + 2.2GHz + 1.8GHz
Octa-core, 64-bit
Titan M Safety Module
GPU Adreno 620
Storage 128GB
No expandable storage
Cameras Fundamental:
12.2MP dual-pixel
1.4μm pixel width
Autofocus with twin pixel section detection
Optical + digital picture stabilization
ƒ/1.7 aperture
77° subject of view
16MP ultra-wide
1.0μm pixel width
ƒ/2.2 aperture
117° subject of view (107° after distortion correction)
1.12μm pixel width
ƒ/2.0 aperture (fastened focus)
83° subject of view
Sensors Proximity
Ambient gentle sensor
Pixel Imprint
Buttons and ports USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
3.5mm headphone jack
Audio Stereo audio system
2 microphones
Noise suppression
Battery 4,680mAh
18W quick charging
USB-C 18W adapter with USB-PD 2.0
IP score IP67
Connectivity Wi-Fi 2.4GHz + 5GHz
802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO
Bluetooth v5.0 + LE, A2DP7
HD codecs: AptX, AptX HD, LDAC, AAC
ROW: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, BeiDou
SIMs Single nano-SIM
Software program Android 11
Minimal 3 years of OS and safety updates
Dimensions and weight 156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm
Colours Largely Black

Worth and competitors

google pixel 5a press image mostly black

Google Pixel 5a

Water resistance involves the Pixel A-series

Google’s Pixel 5a gives just a few quality-of-life upgrades over its earlier gadgets that will make you need to be part of Crew Pixel. It has a steel unibody design, an IP67 score for mud and water resistance, and a battery that simply will not give up.

At $449, the Google Pixel 5a has some respectable competitors in america, although it’s actually the one possibility to contemplate at its precise worth level.

Let’s get this out of the best way first: the Pixel 5a is about to exchange the Pixel 4a 5G ($499), so don’t count on the 2 to be offered on the Google Retailer in tandem. And even if you happen to do discover the older telephone on sale, I’d nonetheless suggest choosing the Pixel 5a as an alternative. It’s a very nice improve over what was an already nice telephone.

You may also nonetheless discover the Pixel 5 ($700) on sale at some retailers, however Google has discontinued the telephone in preparation for the Pixel 6 line. The Pixel 5 continues to be an improve decide over the Pixel 5a, although we wouldn’t suggest spending full worth on it.

Don’t miss: The very best low-cost smartphones you should buy

Google and Samsung are in a race to debut their higher mid-range 2021 telephones. Samsung is rumored to launch the Galaxy S21 FE this month, which might pose a risk to potential Pixel 5a patrons who’re searching for one thing a bit extra highly effective. Nonetheless, the telephone isn’t out but, so we’ll want to attend to match the 2 telephones. Samsung’s gadget can also be anticipated to price just a few hundred {dollars} greater than the Pixel 5a.

For these wanting a Pixel 5a various proper now, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE ($550) is a superb, albeit pricier various. It’s quicker, helps 5G, and has a greater show and a extra versatile digital camera setup. The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G ($499) can also be various with the next refresh price show, although you’ll take a success on efficiency when dialed as much as 120Hz.

And for an out-there decide, Motorola’s Moto G Stylus ($400) is a good, cheaper possibility with 5G assist. It comes with a stylus (duh), although its efficiency and cameras don’t fairly stack as much as the Pixel 5a’s.

We can also’t ignore the iPhone SE ($399), essentially the most inexpensive iPhone that has digital camera, speedy efficiency, and a protracted shelf life due to Apple’s software program replace coverage.

Google Pixel 5a evaluation: The decision

a close up of the google pixel 5a home screen at a glance widget on the display

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Google has subtly proved some extent over the previous few years: it is rather good at making primary smartphones that work effectively. The Google Pixel 5a is not any exception, and it’s made even higher due to the IP67 score and gigantic battery. No, it’s not essentially the most thrilling telephone you’ll see in 2021, however it works, and that’s precisely what it’s imagined to do.

Google made an incredible telephone even larger, and known as it the Pixel 5a. This is without doubt one of the best telephones to suggest in 2021.

I, and lots of others, would have beloved to see a extra highly effective processor and a 90Hz show on this yr’s mannequin, however that possible would’ve bumped the value as much as $500 or so — then we’d be having a unique dialog. And let’s be trustworthy, asking Google so as to add notable digital camera {hardware} enhancements to a mid-range telephone is just about out of the query.

Whereas the telephone is all-around good, it’s that $449 price ticket that actually makes the Pixel 5a stand out. I’ve loved utilizing it, and I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it to anybody searching for a sub-$1,000 telephone that “simply works.”

At this level, Google has this all the way down to a science.