Everything we know (so far) about the Google Pixel 5

Fifth time’s the charm?

If there’s one way we could describe the Pixel 4, it would be “frustrating.” Google made a lot of smart moves with the phone, notably its phenomenal cameras and ultra-fast face unlock, but inexcusably bad battery life held it back from being an easy recommendation. As you might guess, this has left us eager to see how things can be improved for the Google Pixel 5.

Using the Pixel 4 is a wonderful thing, but there’s no getting around the compromises required to use it as a daily driver. All the Pixel 5 needs to do in order to be a great phone is to give us the same Pixel 4 experience, use a reasonably-sized battery, and add an ultra-wide camera.

Is that what’s happening? Read on to find out everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 5!

Pixel for less

Google Pixel 4a

$350 at Amazon
$350 at Best Buy

No need to wait

The Pixel 5 will undoubtedly be an interesting handset, but there’s no sense in waiting until October just to buy a Google phone. If you want that Pixel experience right now, get the Pixel 4a. It has an outstanding camera, a compact design with a great display, reliable battery life, and software that’s backed by guaranteed updates.

Jump to:

When will the Google Pixel 5 be released?

Starting with the first Pixel in 2016 and every year since then, Google has held an event in early/mid-October to formally unveil its latest Pixel phones. Unless something drastically changes, we foresee that pattern continuing this year.

To give you some context, here are the exact dates for all past Pixel events:

  • Pixel — October 4, 2016
  • Pixel 2 — October 4, 2017
  • Pixel 3 — October 9, 2018
  • Pixel 4 — October 15, 2019

On August 3, Google confirmed that the Pixel 5 is coming “this fall” — making that October time-frame even more likely. A couple of days later, Google France accidentally mentioned that the “Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 will be available for pre-order from October 8, 2020.”

Fast forward to August 19, however, and it was reported that the Pixel 5 could arrive sooner than we were expecting. According to leaker Jon Prosser, the Pixel 5 will launch on September 30 in black and green colors (along with the Pixel 4a 5G).

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 3 were announced at press events in New York City, with the Pixel 2 and Pixel getting their unveilings in San Francisco. It’s unlikely Google will hold a physical launch event given the current global pandemic, so instead, we can probably look forward to a virtual event similar to what Apple showcased for its WWDC 2020 keynote.

How much is the Pixel 5 going to cost?

In regards to price, this is another area where Google has remained consistent. Pixel phones are never cheap, as shown by the following retail prices:

  • Pixel — $649
  • Pixel 2 — $649
  • Pixel 3 — $799
  • Pixel 4 — $799

Based on the limited history of the Pixel line, those numbers would suggest that we’re due for another price increase — potentially $849, $899, or stick at $799 for another year. However, we could be in for a pleasant surprise this year in which the price is actually lower than past releases.

Rumor has it that the Pixel 5 will utilize the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor instead of the flagship 865 found in the Galaxy S20. This should see the Pixel 5 costing quite a bit cheaper than that phone, though specifics remain unclear.

On the subject of availability, the Pixel 5’s launch will be considerably smaller than years past. The phone is only launching in a total of nine countries, including:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • Australia

This is more than likely due to other countries not having a strong 5G infrastructure established, which looks to be one of the biggest selling points of the phone.

What does the Pixel 5 look like?

On July 6, the folks at Pigtou gave us our first render of the Pixel 5. The design looks a lot like the upcoming Pixel 4a, featuring a left-mounted cutout for the selfie camera and a square camera housing on the back. Just like the Pixel 4 before it, it looks like we’re going to get two sensors for the rear camera package (likely a primary and telephoto camera).

9to5Google reported on July 10 that Google’s 2020 release strategy consists of a Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 5. Even more interesting, the Pixel 4a 5G is expected to have the exact same Snapdragon 765G processor as the Pixel 5.

Jump ahead to August 21, and we saw another leak of the Pixel 5 — this one showing off a render that appears to be a bit more complete. We once again see the dual rear cameras, hole-punch display with minimal bezels, and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. This particular render confirms rumors that the back will be made of metal and have a different texture/appearance compared to the 4a.

How many cameras will the Pixel 5 have?

If you were hoping for Google to jump aboard the three-camera bandwagon this year, we have some bad news. While early leaks had hinted at three cameras for the Pixel 5, we now know there will only be two. What is interesting, however, is that Google is dropping the telephoto camera from the Pixel 4 and equipping the Pixel 5 with a standard and ultra-wide sensor.

Even if we’re stuck with two cameras yet again, Google does appear to be adding some new things that you’ll be able to do with them. Looking at a teardown for the Google Camera app, there’s mention of a “motion blur” mode that should allow you to create a blur effect when taking a picture of a moving subject (much like you can do on a DSLR). There’s also an audio zoom feature, allowing you to zoom in on a subject while recording video and have the microphone focus on them specifically. Finally, it seems that we’ll gain the ability to choose the intensity of the LED flash.

While not confirmed, it’s highly suspected that these features will debut on the Pixel 5 whenever it’s released.

Will the Pixel 5 have a Snapdragon 865 processor?

When it comes to specs, Pixel phones have a history of being a mixed bag. Qualcomm’s latest processor is a given, but whether we’re talking about small amounts of RAM, tiny batteries, or poor display panels, there’s always something that puts a damper on the experience.

History would lead us to believe that the Pixel 5 will be powered by the Snapdragon 865, but for 2020, Google might be planning something a bit different. We’ve been able to confirm that the Pixel 5 will have the Snapdragon 765G chipset, which is the same one found in devices like the LG Velvet and Motorola Edge.

The Snapdragon 765G is incredibly capable, offering native 5G support and being the second highest-end processor in Qualcomm’s 2020 lineup. That said, Google’s departure from the 800 series of Snapdragon chipsets would be a notable shift. This would suggest that Google isn’t designing the Pixel 5 to be a typical “flagship” Android phone to compete with the likes of the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 Pro. Whether or not that’s a smart move remains to be seen, but it’s certainly something we’ll be keeping our eyes on over the coming months.

Along with the 765G processor, there are a few other specs we know are coming. They include:

Category Google Pixel 5
Display 6-inch
OLED
90Hz refresh rate
Operating System Android 11
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Rear Camera 1 Primary camera
Rear Camera 2 Ultra-wide camera camera
Memory 8GB of RAM
Storage 128GB
Charging 15W wireless charging
5W reverse wireless charging
Security Fingerprint sensor

Google’s been known to be stingy with storage options, so stepping up to 128GB as the base offering is great to see (though it looks like that’ll be the only option we get this year). Having 8GB of RAM is also a nice treat, as is the inclusion of reverse wireless charging.

Is Google including Motion Sense on the Pixel 5?

One of the more unique features of the Pixel 4 is its Motion Sense gestures. Powered by Google’s Soli radar system, Motion Sense allows you to wave your hand over the Pixel 4 to control music playback, dismiss incoming calls, and snooze alarms. It’s a fun idea and one that had a lot of potential, but the end result ultimately fell flat.

Likely because of the mostly negative response to the feature, Google is already giving up on it. This has all but been confirmed through the various Pixel 5 renders that have come out, which showcase a fingerprint sensor on the back and no room for the Motion Sense sensors above the display.

This isn’t all that surprising, but given all of the tech behind Soli, it’ll be interesting to see what Google does with it going forward.

What’s this I hear about a Pixel 4a?

We’re happy to keep talking about the Pixel 5, but it’s also worth mentioning the Pixel 4a. Google announced the phone on August 3, making it the first Pixel device of 2020.

Just like the 3a before it, the Pixel 4a delivers a quality Android experience at an excellent price. The standout features of the phone are its camera performance and software, but you also get a reliable display, battery, and processor. The Pixel 4a may not be the most visually-interesting phone we’ve ever seen, but if you’re in the market for that Pixel experience without spending a ton of cash, it’s well worth considering.

Similarly, Google will launch a Pixel 4a 5G later this fall alongside the Pixel 5. The phones are expected to be quite similar to one another, with the 4a 5G starting at $499.

Google Pixel 4a: Everything you need to know!

Should I still buy the Pixel 4?

With the Pixel 4a currently dominating as the budget champ and the Pixel 5 coming soon, it can be easy to forget about the Pixel 4. And, to be perfectly honest, it’s probably not a bad idea that you do.

The Pixel 4 was a really excellent phone that was held back by unbearable battery life, and that was enough for most people to ignore it. At this point in 2020, the phone has been discontinued by Google and is officially no more.

Although you can still find some Pixel 4 units available at certain retailers, we’d advise against picking it up. If you want a Pixel phone and can’t wait for the Pixel 5, do yourself a favor and just get the Pixel 4a.

Pixel for less

Google Pixel 4a

$350 at Amazon
$350 at Best Buy

No need to wait

The Pixel 5 will undoubtedly be an interesting handset, but there’s no sense in waiting until October just to buy a Google phone. If you want that Pixel experience right now, get the Pixel 4a. It has an outstanding camera, a compact design with a great display, reliable battery life, and software that’s backed by guaranteed updates.