Google Pixel 5aSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

The Google Pixel line has suffered from deadly flaws in earlier generations, however the one which crops up time and time once more is brief battery life. The Pixel 4 was primarily killed by its personal small battery, and the Pixel 3 was barely any higher. Final yr’s Pixel 5 had a ok battery to get by means of an excellent day, and that was a banner achievement for Google after years of battery woes.

Final yr’s Pixel 4a 5G was in the identical boat: it may get by means of the day with its battery, however it was too costly to compete with the mid-range telephones and too underpowered to battle with among the finest Android telephones within the $500-$700 vary final yr — just like the Pixel 5 as soon as it bought right down to $600. Efficiency was wonderful, however it simply did not match wherever in the USA market.

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This yr’s Pixel 5a is just launching in the USA and Japan, so Google had to make sure that it may correctly compete on each options and value. And whereas it actually seems like Google simply copied final yr’s telephone, the few modifications they’ve made make an enormous distinction, particularly within the present mid-range market.

At a look


Google Pixel 5a 5g Product Render

Google Pixel 5a

Backside line: Water resistance and for much longer battery life assist final yr’s neglected mannequin flip into the belle of the mid-range ball. Google has lastly listened to what customers need and given us sensible upgrades slightly than fairly colours and glossy surfaces.

The Good

  • Two day battery life
  • Display screen is simple to learn outside
  • Easy efficiency from 765G
  • Respectable digicam for the value
  • IP67 mud and water resistance
  • Nonetheless has rear fingerprint reader and headphone jack

The Dangerous

  • No mmWave mannequin this yr
  • Boring design

Google Pixel 5a Value and availability

Google Pixel 5aSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Google is releasing the Google Pixel 5a in solely two international locations: the USA and Japan. It’s obtainable in each international locations for preorder as of August 17 at $449 and ¥51,700, releasing on August 26. The unlocked Pixel 5a is appropriate with all main American networks, however with out mmWave 5G, it will be unable to make use of Verizon’s Extremely Wideband community, solely sub6 5G and LTE 4G.

If you don’t stay in these two international locations, the Google Pixel 4a 5G will proceed to be offered in your market if it is already on sale. We’ll discuss extra concerning the 4a 5G within the subsequent part, however the cliff notes model for 4a 5G house owners and non-People is: you are not lacking a lot right here.

Google Pixel 5a: {Hardware} (and the way it varies from the 4a 5G)

Google Pixel 5aSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

I will preserve this quick as a result of the Pixel 5a’s design is just about similar to final yr’s Pixel 4a 5G, and many of the inside specs are the identical, too. The title Google got here up with this yr is “Largely Black” versus final yr’s Simply Black, and whereas it might be a couple of shades brighter than final yr, it is positively nonetheless a black telephone, although an argument might be made for deep charcoal.

The ability is a lighter grey — no vivid colours right here like on the 4a 5G, sorry — and it has a wavy texture throughout it to assist distinguish it from the quantity rocker. All buttons are good, agency, and clicky, with no wobble or mushiness. The USB-C port and stereo audio system are nonetheless on the backside whereas the headphone jack sits up high and the SIM tray slot is on the decrease left bumper.

Google Pixel 5aSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

The telephone has a nice heft with out feeling heavy, and whereas it is a bit large for my small palms, it was simple sufficient to achieve the highest left nook (I maintain my telephone left-handed), however I rapidly grabbed a PopSocket to make reaching the suitable aspect of the display screen simpler. I want that the Pixel 5a was small just like the Pixel 4a was, however most of you want greater screens and this was constructed for you. The scale here’s a teeny bit taller than the Pixel 4a 5G for the display screen and a teeny bit thicker for the battery.

As soon as you progress from the skin to the within, issues get much more comparable. Now we have the identical Snapdragon 765G that is been in such excessive demand throughout this yr’s chip scarcity, and it is paired with the identical reminiscence, storage, and cameras. I’ve bolded the variations between the 2 generations to assist distinguish how little has modified right here:

Class Google Pixel 5a Google Pixel 4a 5G
Working system Android 11 Android 11
Show 6.34-inch 60Hz OLED
2400x1080px (20:9)
HDR, Gorilla Glass 3
6.2-inch 60Hz OLED
2340x1080px (19.5:9)
HDR, Gorilla Glass 3
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
1 x 2.4GHz A76
1 x 2.2GHz A76
6 x 1.8GHz A55
Adreno 620
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
1 x 2.4GHz A76
1 x 2.2GHz A76
6 x 1.8GHz A55
Adreno 620
RAM 6GB 6GB
Storage 128GB 128GB
MicroSD slot
Rear digicam 1 12.2MP, f/1.7
Optical and digital picture stabilization
Twin pixel section autofocus
4K at 60fps,1080p at 240fps
12.2MP, f/1.7
Optical and digital picture stabilization
Twin pixel section autofocus
4K at 60fps,1080p at 240fps
Rear digicam 2 16MP, f/2.2
Ultrawide lens
117-degree field-of-view
16MP, f/2.2
Ultrawide lens
117-degree field-of-view
Entrance digicam 8MP, f/2.0
Mounted focus lens
83 diploma discipline of view
8MP, f/2.0
Mounted focus lens
83 diploma discipline of view
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, A-GPS
Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, A-GPS
5G Sub-6: N1, 2, 5, 12, 25, 28, 41, 66, 71, 77, 78
mmWave: ❌
Sub-6: N1, 2, 5, 12, 25, 28, 41, 66, 71, 78
mmWave: n260/261 (Verizon mannequin)
Audio 3.5mm jack
Stereo audio system
3.5mm jack
Stereo sound
Battery 4680mAh
18W wired charging
3885mAh
18W wired charging
Water resistance IP67
Safety Rear Pixel Imprint
Titan M safety module
Rear Pixel Imprint
Titan M safety module
Dimensions 156.2×73.1×8.8mm
183g
153.9x74x8.2 mm
179g
Colours Largely Black Simply Black
Clearly White

The 6.34-inch display screen could be very simple to see exterior, and whereas many had been hoping or anticipating this to be a 90Hz display screen, Google opted to maintain it 60Hz for the 5a, and I am content material with that. 120Hz and 90Hz look nice however burn extra battery, and the Pixel 5a would not need to waste it on one thing most “common” customers will not discover. Heck, I have been on the Galaxy S21 for six months earlier than this telephone, and I do not actually discover the 120Hz distinction except I’m gaming. 60Hz performs simply wonderful for me.

Google Pixel 5aSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android Central Water-resistant ultimately

Talking of efficiency, the Pixel 4a 5G was an honest telephone, and Google determined to not break the mould for its successor. As a substitute, we get the water-resistance that Pixel a-owners have spent years begging for and a 20% greater battery that Google’s optimizations and the Snapdragon 765’s effectivity can sip for hours, if not days. Living proof, I took the 5a off the charger 21 hours in the past, it is now sitting at 41% after 7 hours of display screen on time, however we’ll get to battery in a bit. First, let’s discuss concerning the software program that gives that optimized battery and efficiency.

Google Pixel 5a: Software program and efficiency

Google Pixel 5aSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

There’s numerous issues I might like to dive into with the Pixel 5a’s software program however cannot but. What it runs proper now’s Android 11 with the entire Pixel-exclusive options like Duplex-powered name screening and the very best spam blocker in the marketplace, and it runs that simply wonderful. Apps are fast to open, I can multitask between 2-4 apps simply with the 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage means there’s loads of room for my YouTube Music downloads and loading up on Disney+ earlier than my subsequent journey.

I’ve seen a couple of occasions the place the Twitter app turns into unresponsive till I again out and return in, however I am on the Twitter Beta and suppose it has extra to do with that. App hangs have been scarce, the Overview menu is easy and fast to swipe apps out of after I’m achieved with them, and the Pixel Launcher does okay — although I nonetheless opted for Sensible Launcher 5 after a day simply because it is what I am used to.

Google Pixel 5aSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

The one downside is that this software program will endure a giant change in 4-6 weeks. as soon as Android 12 arrives. The Pixel 5a shall be one of many first telephones to get it and its Pixel-exclusive dynamic coloration theming system in Materials You. It will be one of many first telephones to get the brand new permission dots and timeline views so it might know what apps had entry to your location, microphone, or digicam and when.

But it surely would not have any of this but, and I am not going to evaluate a telephone based mostly on the buggiest beta we have seen in 4 years. I’ve to evaluate what’s right here, not what’s coming.

What’s right here now’s the traditional, easy vanilla Android we have grown accustomed to after years of Materials Design and Google’s delicate sculpting of the Pixel aesthetic. Settings are the place they need to be, there’s little or no bloat put in at launch — versus the handfuls on my previous couple of Galaxy telephones — and every thing that is right here works effectively. It isn’t horny, however it works effectively, and there is no nonsense.

We’ll come again as soon as Android 12 arrives and see the way it handles Materials You, the permission overhauls, and new options like scrolling screenshots.

Google Pixel 5a: Battery

The 4680mAh battery is considerably bigger than final yr’s “first rate battery” Pixel 4a 5G, and with it powering the identical elements and a barely greater 60Hz display screen, the Pixel 5a will completely get you thru the day after which some. As I’ve stated earlier than, if you wish to stress take a look at a telephone, you are taking it to a theme park, and never even two journeys to the Magic Kingdom with gaming, studying, and digicam testing may kill the battery in a single day.

The Pixel 5a’s battery is solely unbeatable.

Even with six hours of display screen on time — no less than three of these at max brightness within the Florida solar — I used to be nonetheless at 21% by the tip of the evening. In actual fact, I bought over six hours of display screen time on daily basis of my week with the Pixel 5a, aside from the day of Samsung Unpacked, the place I completed the day with 60% battery and three hours of display screen time. I am sitting at 36% with 7.25 hours display screen on, and I unplugged the telephone from the charger 22 hours in the past.

If you happen to overlook to cost your telephone at evening, if in case you have a chaotic job the place your day may finish at 5 PM or preserve going until 3 AM, the Google Pixel 5a won’t depart you stranded. The one disappointment across the battery is that I can’t cost it wirelessly. Nonetheless, between a decrease capability however wi-fi charging and better capability however no wi-fi charging, larger capability will win each time.

Whereas battery-beast telephones just like the Galaxy A42 5G and Motorola Edge often ask you to sacrifice digicam high quality, software program high quality, or portability, the Google Pixel 5a offers you nice battery life alongside speedy software program updates and the newest Android options.

Google Pixel 5a: Cameras

If you happen to keep in mind again to the chart in the beginning, you will recall that the dual-camera setup on the Pixel 5a is identical because the Pixel 4a 5G (and Pixel 5). Which means that high quality right here is just about a identified amount, and should you’ve owned or learn our evaluations of both machine, you already know what I am about to say and might simply skim the pictures in your technique to our conclusion.

The Pixel a-series is thought for bringing wonderful digicam high quality to a cheaper price level by leveraging the computational pictures prowess that Google has perfected over the previous few years and utilizing the identical lenses because the flagship Pixels. The primary sensor takes good photographs throughout sunlight hours, even when shifting or making an attempt to get a zoom shot of some cute animals on safari, and whereas movement at evening can get a bit of dicey relying on the sunshine ranges, nonetheless photographs at evening look good, even when in comparison with the $800 Galaxy S21.

Google Pixel 5a Camera SampleGalaxy S21 Camera SampleSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android CentralPixel 5a (left) and S21 (proper) with fundamental lens

Google Pixel 5a Camera SampleGalaxy S21 Camera SampleSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android CentralPixel 5a 2x zoom (left) and S21 3x zoom (proper)

Google Pixel 5a Camera SampleGalaxy S21 Camera SampleSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android CentralPixel 5a (left) and S21 (proper) with fundamental lens

The Pixel 5a wasn’t as fast to choose up on delicate colours at evening (just like the lights on Cinderella Fortress), however the Pixel higher captured the correct mild degree and coloration energy whereas Samsung cranked up brightness at evening and cranked up colours on a regular basis. Samsung’s fashion appeals to some greater than others, and whereas I am all for a colourful picture, this fashion provides an excessive amount of grain to pictures from golden hour until daybreak.

The wide-angle lens was nice for capturing a bigger scope when in entrance of giant points of interest or large crowds, and I used to be pleasantly stunned with the 2x zoom photographs I bought whereas stationary. Selfies are okay for socials, however this telephone wasn’t made for TikTokers and vloggers. For $450, that is greater than sufficient.

Google Pixel 5a Competitors

The largest competitors the Google Pixel 5a will face, no less than within the quick time period, is the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, which includes a bigger, 120Hz display screen and extra cameras on the again, however that display screen is not as readable exterior, and the cameras on the A52 aren’t fairly pretty much as good because the Pixel 5a. The A52 5G can also be arduous to search out proper now, offered out at Amazon and greater than half of U.S. carriers proper now. We would possibly see some competitors right here from the Samsung A72 5G if/when it launches, however there is no clue when that could be.

One other telephone with an uncertain arrival date, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE ought to arrive someday within the subsequent two months — any later and it would be stepping on the Galaxy S22’s toes — and it may provide up a brighter, smoother display screen and cameras pretty much as good because the S21 and Pixel 5a. Pricing will possible put it above the Pixel 5a’s $499 price ticket, but when it is $550 or beneath, it may lure away loads of consumers as soon as provider subsidies kick in.

The opposite fundamental competitor for this telephone within the U.S., the place we do not have the OnePlus Nord 2 to make issues attention-grabbing, can be the Pixel 5 itself. It’d must see one other value drop to $550 or beneath, although, and I am uncertain of that taking place on condition that the Pixel 5 is getting tougher and tougher to search out forward of the Pixel 6’s launch this fall.

Google Pixel 5a Do you have to purchase it?

Google Pixel 5aSupply: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

You should purchase this if …

  • You need the newest Google options and full Materials You look
  • You want a telephone that may persistently offer you 6+ hours on a single cost
  • Water-resistance is a necessary function to your telephone
  • You hate in-screen fingerprint sensors

You shouldn’t purchase this if …

  • You demand the newest specs and options
  • Wi-fi charging is essential to you
  • You want mmWave protection in a congested city space

When my solely actual grievance a couple of telephone is that it is not launching in sufficient international locations, it is protected to say it is positively a telephone I like to recommend shopping for, If you happen to’ve been hanging onto an getting older Pixel 3a (XL), and even should you’re on a Pixel 2/3 and know the Pixel 6 goes to be too costly so that you can abdomen, the Google Pixel 5a offers you the very best of each worlds: you will get all the brand new Android and Pixel options for the following three years (or extra), and you will not break the financial institution doing it.

4.5
out of 5








Between a battery that you can cost much less, constant efficiency, a vivid, easy-to-read display screen, and that candy, candy Pixel software program, the Google Pixel 5a is shaping as much as be the finest low-cost Android telephone of 2021 and possibly the most effective Android telephones of 2021 interval. It will not be fairly, however that is what instances are for — and Google introduced some beauties this yr.

Sensible(ly good)


Pixel 5a 5g Render Both Sides Adjusted

Google Pixel 5a

A no-nonsense knockout for the plenty.

Lastly sporting water resistance and a sufficiently big battery to face up to even the longest marathon days, the Pixel 5a affords strong efficiency and the newest Android software program for a more-than-reasonable value.