Google’s much anticipated ‘Launch Night In’ broadcasted on YouTube last night, and amongst a range of great new tech, the event culminated with the launch of not one, but two new phones: The long awaited Google Pixel 5, and a 5G-enabled version of the Pixel 4a.
So, how do the latest instalments in the Pixel series build on the success of 2019's Pixel 4?
Google meets 5G
One thing we’ve always loved about Google Pixel phones is their intuitiveness. Everything you do, whether you’re flicking between apps or streaming a show while downloading the next episode, feels like second nature. Pair that with the speediness of 5G connectivity and it just gets better.
The Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 both feature 5G, promising clear calls that don’t sound robotic, lightning fast data downloads and app loading. They’re also powered by the same Snapdragon 765G chip that’s designed to deliver the best of the 5G experience. However, while the Google Pixel 5 comes with 8 GB RAM, the 4a 5G is a little more restrained at 6 GB. That’s still plenty (more than many laptops, in fact), but worth considering if you like to run multiple apps at once.
Big screen detail
At 6-inches, the Pixel 5 takes screen size up a notch from its predecessor, while the 4a 5G goes further still at 6.2. Both screens are OLED, meaning you get pinpoint accurate colours and a subtle but sharp always-on display. Games and movies look fantastic, as the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G support HDR content. So, even the darker areas of each image still pack bundles of detail.
The Pixel 5 has another trick up its sleeve, too. With its adaptive refresh rate, even basic actions like swiping and scrolling through menus appear much smoother and easier on the eyes. It also means that on compatible games, you can go for glory with the realistic motion and aim you need to get the upper hand. Oh, and both handsets work like a dream with Google Stadia, so you can play console-style wherever you go.
The one big design difference you’ll notice on this generation of Pixel phones is the move to a pinhole-style selfie camera. As it sits within the top left of the screen on both handsets, there’s no big border at the top of either phone. In fact, all the borders are minimal. And because the camera’s so small, it doesn’t get in the way of your viewing, browsing or gaming. Ideal.
Whichever Pixel you go for, the cameras make light work of photography and footage. While many phones offer three or four lenses, ‘more’ doesn’t always mean ‘better’. Google’s super-smart AI, combined with the dual-lens setup make for a camera as versatile and sharp as we’ve seen.
There’s a 12MP dual-pixel lens for all your quick snaps, portrait style photos and videos, and a 16MP Ultrawide lens to fit the whole scene in the picture. But really, it’s more about the software at work here. There’s a choice of three image stabilisation options: Locked, Active, and the exciting Cinematic Pan setting. It’s inspired by the sweeping shots you see in blockbuster movies, and it’ll definitely make the adventures you capture look that much more epic.
Elsewhere, Night Sight is now available in Portrait Mode – perfect for a low-light profile pic without the practise shots. And for photos that capture colour exactly the way you see it, HDR+ automatically enhances your shots the moment you take them. No editing needed.
While the batteries of the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 aren’t exactly the same (there’s a tiny 200 mAh in it), you’ll get over a day’s use out of both handsets on a single charge. Adaptive Battery makes a return, learning the way you like to use your phone and channelling power to the apps that need it most.
Both support fast charging, which always comes in useful, but the Pixel 5 can be wirelessly charged and can even charge other Qi compatible devices. That’ll come in handy if you need to recharge your headphones when you’re far from a power source.
If you’re concerned about keeping your private data safe, both phones have got your back. The Titan M Security Chip secures your most sensitive data, like your passwords and transactions, away from the main processor and effectively keeps them away from any potential threats. That way, you can browse, log into social media and shop online with peace of mind.
When will they be released?
Google have announced that the Pixel 5 will be released on 15 October while the Pixel 4a 5G will arrive on 19 November. However, you can pre-order both handsets right now at Carphone Warehouse.