Google Pixel 5 Overview: Holding Issues Easy

Scorching on the heels of the Pixel 4a, Google has expanded its 2020 cell portfolio but additional to now embrace the Pixel 4a 5G and the long-rumoured Google Pixel 5.

On the floor, the Pixel 5 serves to proper the wrongs made by final 12 months’s faulty Pixel 4; particularly by dropping the experimental Movement Sense gesture tech, buying and selling its secondary telephoto digicam in for an ultrawide sensor and virtually doubling battery capability in order that the telephone truly lasts past a couple of hours at a time.

Whereas these adjustments could appear apparent, the Pixel 5 – and the place it sits within the wider smartphone panorama – is indicative of a shift in Google’s smartphone technique and factors to a really completely different future to the one which older Pixel telephones have been designed for.

This assessment has been up to date because of the launch of the
Pixel 6. Google not sells the Pixel 5 however you should buy it from different retailers whereas shares final.

Design & construct – Fantastically balanced

Essentially the most putting factor concerning the Pixel 5 isn’t its digicam tech or how effectively the Google Assistant is built-in into its software program expertise, it’s its design and that’s thanks to 2 foremost components: its measurement and its end.

It’s honest to say that there simply haven’t actually been any good small Android telephones lately, with a couple of exceptions that hardly scrape by. Most producers have pushed for greater shows so as to exhibit their multimedia capabilities however generally, that’s been on the expense of portability, weight, ease-of-use and luxury within the hand.

Google Pixel 5 on table perspective

The Pixel 5, with its 6in show, undoubtedly cements its place on our
Greatest Small Telephones listing (ousting the ageing Pixel 3) due to its diminutive footprint, paired with a cushty hand really feel that’s wholly distinctive to this machine.

It sports activities a superbly balanced design, being the one telephone with what seems to be equally-sized bezels alongside all 4 edges of the display (most normally sport a thicker backside bezel).

The transfer away for the Movement Sense radar array of final 12 months’s Pixels, plus using an in-display hole-punch entrance digicam (a development Google first adopted with the
Pixel 4a), is why the bezels of the Pixel 5 are a lot thinner; after which there’s the rounding.

It’s a small element however each the physique and the show of the Pixel sport rounded corners that share proportionally complimentary radii; one thing you may overlook on paper however in actuality faucets into that a part of your (are at the least my) unconscious that’s appeased by the visually congruent.

It brings a satisfying stability to the look of the Pixel 5 that’s additionally supported by its comparatively skinny 8mm waistline, rounded sides and impressively low weight (simply 151 grams).

Google Pixel 5 fingerprint

There’s additionally the end, you received’t readily discover metal-bodied smartphones these days, with glass or plastic being the popular materials of alternative, particularly when it comes a telephone’s again panel.

The Pixel 5 is an enigma on this regard, as, together with sign efficiency, wi-fi charging is one key motive you don’t wish to use a steel again and but the Google has clad the 5’s internals in recycled aluminium, while additionally retaining help for wi-fi charging. How has it achieved this feat? Easy, it lower a gap in it.

It’s very arduous to understand however in the suitable gentle, you possibly can truly
see the shield-shaped cut-out Google has sliced out of the telephone’s aluminium body to permit the wi-fi charging coil to perform. The Pixel 5 is roofed in what it describes as a “bio-resin” which gives the look of a steady unibody and the general impact is wholly convincing; with the Pixel 5 presenting itself as a clear, well-built machine.

Google Pixel 5 (left), Google Pixel 4 XL (right)
Google Pixel 5 (left), Google Pixel 4 XL (proper)

There’s a light-weight floor texture that gives a contact much less grip than a shiny again would and picks up small abrasions disappointingly simply however it’s, at the least, good at repelling fingerprints and feels good within the hand.

This 12 months, potential patrons solely have two color choices to decide on between: Simply Black or Sorta Sage – a muted pale inexperienced that serves as a notable distinction to final 12 months’s Clearly White and Oh So Orange colourways. Google says this 12 months’s alternative of simply two finishes comes as a direct results of provide chain limitations within the face of the worldwide pandemic.

Google Pixel 5 buttons

The color-accented energy button has additionally been changed with a chromed button (together with a chromed ‘G’ brand on the decrease half of the telephone’s again) which Google says helps differentiate the extra premium Pixel 5 from the
Pixel 4a (5G) that it was introduced alongside (which encompasses a white energy key).

The ending touches that spherical out the Pixel 5’s design are its pleasingly small digicam bump, the return of a centrally-positioned rear fingerprint sensor – which is undoubtedly extra responsive and handy than the Pixel 4’s face unlock or in-display fingerprint sensors (each optical and ultrasonic) – and IP68 mud and water resistance.

Show & audio – Clear display, muddy sound

A taller, slimmer 19.5:9 facet ratio means the Pixel 5 affords a bigger 6in show in comparison with final 12 months’s Pixel 4, with out changing into that a lot wider in-hand.

Google hasn’t pushed the boat out with the panel on this 12 months’s Pixel nevertheless it’s nonetheless a pleasingly crisp and clear HDR10+-compliant, 90Hz, Full HD+, OLED providing.

Google Pixel 5 display

That adaptive increased refresh fee is enabled by default and though technically consumes extra battery life than locking the telephone all the way down to 60Hz, offers you a much more responsive and premium-feeling person expertise consequently, so it’s finest left on.

Most brightness might be a contact increased however generally-speaking, there’s little that detracts from the visible expertise on the Pixel 5; with pleasing colors, distinction and viewing angles at play.

You have got the choice to alter between Pure and Boosted color profiles or go for Adaptive mode, which is enabled by default (I by no means felt the necessity to change it), whereas Night time Mild will heat up the display color temperature within the evenings to assist scale back eye pressure.

Google Pixel 5 on table 43

As for the Pixel 5’s audio chops, a headphone jack doesn’t characteristic and there’s no in-box 3.5mm adapter or USB headphones, so that you’re left both forking out additional for Bluetooth headphone or sourcing your personal USB-C to three.5mm adapter (Google, little doubt, hopes that you just select to select up a pair of its newest
Pixel Buds [£179] or its own-brand adapter [£12]). If that is an essential consideration for you, the Pixel 4a (5G) does characteristic a headphone jack.

With no seen earpiece it was assumed that the Pixel 5 would host an under-display speaker and positive sufficient, it really works effectively in calls however doesn’t convey a lot to the desk when serving as a loud-speaker. It handles the upper frequencies whereas a downward-facing secondary speaker does many of the heavy lifting relating to the mids and bass tones.

That mentioned, regardless of the promise of stereo sound and the frequency break up throughout each audio system, the general sound profile lacks punch or readability, particularly the louder you push it.

Software program & options – Delicate upgrades

There was by no means any doubt concerning the software program expertise that the Pixel 5 could be working out-the-box.
Android 11 is the most recent and biggest of Google’s cell OS’ and as ever, this latest Pixel serves to point out it off at its finest.

This primarily takes the type of iterative enhancements throughout plenty of established options, with apps like Google Duo and
Google’s Recorder getting some further performance (the latter now helps you to edit audio recordings and auto-transcriptions by highlighting every one to have an effect on the opposite – it’s fairly spectacular in follow).

Google Pixel 5 Android 11 straight

Maintain For Me – the Google Duplex-powered automated name holding characteristic – sounds promisingly useful on paper however isn’t accessible at launch and in case you’re exterior the US, received’t be coming to your Pixel telephone for the foreseeable, which is an actual disgrace.

It’s actually the small tweaks the elevate the software program expertise on the Pixel 5; the power to each screenshot or seize on-screen data in a context-aware format with a easy swipe up, help for Dwell Captions (launched final 12 months) and the improved wallpaper and residential display customisation instruments.

Greatest Android Telephones

None of that is groundbreaking stuff however Google has managed to each add and enhance options with out leaving the resultant software program expertise feeling bloated. That’s earlier than you fold within the promise of three years of each safety and OS updates, in addition to a handful of digicam and battery-related additions that we’ll come to in a second.

Digicam – Software program first

The Pixel line has grown to symbolize the facility of computational pictures on smartphones and because the years have gone on, that reality has solely solidified additional.

Google Pixel 5 back angled close

The Pixel 5’s major 12.2Mp (Sony IMX363) sensor is identical unit utilized by the Pixel 4 collection and even the Pixel 3 collection earlier than that; it’s a decidedly ageing element that’s remained in excessive regard, solely due to what Google’s engineers have been in a position to obtain on the software program and picture processing facet.

This 12 months, it’s accompanied by a 16Mp ultrawide sensor, which sports activities a 107° field-of-view; not as extensive as its rivals (the iPhone 12’s ultrawide sensor sports activities a 120° FoV, for instance) however nonetheless an effective way to achieve a brand new perspective on a topic or match extra in-frame with out having to maneuver place.

Google Pixel 5 camera sample zoom

The most important improve isn’t a lot the choice to swap out the Pixel 4’s telephoto for this new ultrawide (regardless of that being one of many largest criticisms of the digicam setup on final 12 months’s Pixels) however that Google has expanded standout options like Night time Sight to work throughout all the Pixel 5’s varied sensors, mechanically.

There’s additionally the addition of digital portrait lighting, a mess of recent specialised video stabilisation choices and the power to prime out at 4K 60fps recording (up from 4K 30fps on the Pixel 4). And all this whereas Google has seemingly dropped using a devoted chip, like its predecessors’ Pixel Visible Core and Pixel Neural Core.

Google Pixel 5 screenshot video stabilisation

In side-by-side testing, the Pixel 5 was in a position to seize and course of Portrait pictures as rapidly as, or quicker than final 12 months’s Pixel 4, so it seems to be as if Google’s confidence on this transfer appears legitimate.

As for image high quality, you’re getting a really comparable outcome to final 12 months’s Pixels. Crop in and also you’ll see some variation in sharpness, dynamic vary and color science – with the Pixel 5’s photographs being sharper, dynamically wider and a fraction cooler in these three regards – however the completely different choices the digicam is making over final 12 months’s Pixel are each extraordinarily refined and extra a matter of non-public desire, somewhat than an empirical enchancment.

Video high quality does appear improved, particularly because of the choice of that increased body fee, in addition to completely different stabilisation for various use instances. It’s undoubtedly value familiarising your self with these modes forward of time although, as all of them deal with footage in a different way and most significantly, crop in on the body to a unique diploma; relying on what sort of content material the telephone thinks you’re going to seize.

Google Pixel 5 camera test

Click on the above picture to see the total digicam pattern gallery

Normal stabilisation is on by default and appears wholly succesful in case you’re merely strolling down the road or panning round from a hard and fast spot. Locked is nice for a zoomed, tripod-style fastened place shot, whereas hand-held, though the crop is kind of heavy (beginning at 2x).

Lively is the Pixel’s try at GoPro-style stabilisation and whereas helpful, nonetheless allows noticeable judder relying on the movement the telephone is making an attempt to counteract. Cinematic Pan is probably the most artistic but additionally probably the most specialised – trimming out audio and slowing footage all the way down to half pace whereas serving to you seize a super-smooth horizontal pan while capturing handheld.

You may as well disable picture stabilisation (though there’s no actual want) though it’s clear that this solely actually kills the EIS (digital picture stabilisation), whereas the principle digicam’s OIS (optical picture stabilisation) stays on.

Google Pixel 5 screenshot portrait lighting
Digital portrait lighting is effectively applied on the Pixel 5

HDR processing has additionally been improved and the feature-set expanded upon, together with a richer post-capture modifying suite, however the different stand-out characteristic is digital portrait lighting, which helps you to add a digital gentle towards your topic’s face you can drag round on-screen, change depth or have the telephone mechanically place and alter.

Whereas the characteristic isn’t new to smartphones on the whole, the Pixel 5 has one of the vital impressively dependable and easy-to-use implementations of such performance.

Efficiency – Past the numbers

The Pixel line has at all times been a few software program and person expertise that outshine – and aren’t explicitly restricted by – the {hardware} that helps them. That is most evident within the telephone line’s digicam know-how however with the Pixel 5 it’s additionally true of the processor working the present.

Google has at all times caught Qualcomm’s flagship chip into its mainline Pixel telephones however close to the tip of mentioned chip’s time within the highlight. This was initially as a result of a successor was at all times scheduled to be introduced by Qualcomm solely a month or so later, or in newer years, as a result of Qualcomm began to push out superior mid-lifecycle revisions, equivalent to within the case of the Snapdragon 855+ and 865+.

This 12 months, Google is taking a unique tack altogether, dropping from Qualcomm’s flagship-tier Snapdragon 800 collection all the way down to its 700 collection chips as a substitute.

Admittedly, the Snapdragon 765G that powers the Pixel 5 is the very best that the 700 collection has to supply and holds a bonus over the present 800 collection in relation to one of many telephone’s key promoting factors – 5G.

The 765G sports activities an built-in 5G modem, whereas the 865 nonetheless depends on a standalone unit. This implies better energy effectivity however the 765G has additionally confirmed to be an excellent processor in its personal proper, no matter its standing in Qualcomm’s portfolio. It’s the identical chip present in top-notch telephones just like the
Nokia 8.3 5G,
Vivo X50 Professional and
OnePlus Nord.

Greatest 5G telephones

In real-world use, the Pixel 5 handles as you’d anticipate any flagship telephone to and paired with the light-weight Android 11 software program and 8GB of RAM (probably the most of any Pixel thus far), makes for one of many cleanest and most responsive person experiences available on the market, proper now.

Oddly, by comparability, it benchmarks comparatively poorly to comparable gadgets, so poorly in reality one thing appears amiss. The numbers produced by our performance-focused benchmarks don’t replicate the real-world efficiency that the telephone clearly delivers and exams from different Android 11-based telephones additionally present notably decrease scores than Android 10-toting gadgets powered by comparable {hardware}.

As such, we’ve concluded that both the benchmarking apps or Android 11 require higher optimisation. The unique level nonetheless stands, nevertheless, the Pixel 5 delivers very good real-world efficiency and is as well-suit to gaming as it’s multi-tasking or pictures.

Battery – Again on monitor

The Pixel 4 was a promising Android telephone undone by a number of the worst battery life in current reminiscence. It was a problem essentially brought on by the small 2800mAh cell that the telephone used and it was on the prime of our wishlist of enhancements that the Pixel 5 wanted to make.

Fortunately, Google seems to be to have listened and whereas the bump in battery capability isn’t transformative, it turns the Pixel 5 right into a telephone that you just’d be glad to reside with, somewhat than one that you just’d be scared to make use of for concern of it dying the second the display lights up.

Google Pixel 5 screenshot extreme battery saver
Excessive Battery Saver is helpful in a pinch

Regardless of its small proportions and comparatively skinny body, the Pixel 5 encompasses a far bigger 4080mAh cell, in comparison with its predecessor. Like earlier than, it helps quick charging (nonetheless 18W PD charging, thoughts) and as much as 12W wi-fi charging. Reverse wi-fi charging is now a part of the Pixel recipe too.

In battery benchmark exams the Pixel 5 delivers promising numbers, lasting 12.5 hours below synthetic situations. In real-world use, the telephone proves to be much more pedestrian, with a considerably unexciting common of 5 hours of screen-on time per cost. Nonetheless, this works out to a day’s use with out fear and with the bar as little as it was, that’s all Google actually wanted to hit. It’s no battery champ, although.

Android 11 on the Pixel 5 does additionally introduce the Excessive Battery Saver characteristic (coming to older Pixel gadgets in future), which if enabled locks down app entry to the telephone’s base capabilities, save for any apps you whitelist.

Google proudly guarantees as much as 48 hours of use utilizing this mode, however that’s one thing different telephones are able to throughout regular use, so wouldn’t be the very first thing we shout about when recommending the Pixel 5.

Value & availability

Be aware: Now the
Pixel 6 telephones have arrived, Google has eliminated the Pixel 5 from the official retailer. Nonetheless, you possibly can nonetheless purchase it at third-party retailers whereas shares final.

The Google Pixel 5 prices £599/US$699. It’s accessible from the likes of
John Lewis,
Argos and
Currys within the UK, together with US retailers like
Greatest Purchase and

For extra, together with service pricing, take a look at our
The place to purchase the Google Pixel 5 characteristic.


The Google Pixel 5 sheds a number of the collection’ extra experimental options to ship a extra centered smartphone expertise that exemplifies a number of the finest qualities of Android as a platform.

The {hardware} isn’t aggressive to the identical diploma as choices from the likes of Oppo, OnePlus or Realme however that doesn’t cease the Pixel 5 from being better than the sum of its elements.

This machine is a dependable all-rounder, an important long-term buy – each by way of software program help and primarily based on the truth that 5G infrastructure continues to enhance – an excellent small Android telephone and an impressive digicam telephone as well.

Google’s lastly realised that the Pixel can’t compete with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink strategy of some top-tier smartphones, but additionally that it doesn’t should. The Pixel 5 is maybe probably the most balanced Android smartphone available on the market and in case you associated to any of the use instances I simply talked about, then that is undoubtedly value contemplating, even when rivals provide extra for much less.

Learn subsequent:
Greatest smartphones


Google Pixel 5: Specs

  • 6in 19.5:9 90Hz Full HD+ (2340×1080) OLED show
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB storage (non-expandable)
  • 12.2Mp foremost digicam w/ OIS+EIS
  • 16Mp ultrawide digicam w/ 107° FoV
  • 8Mp hole-punch front-facing digicam
  • Stereo audio system
  • Recycled aluminium physique
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 6
  • IP68-certified
  • Android 11
  • 4080mAh battery
  • 18W quick charging
  • 12W quick wi-fi charging + reverse wi-fi charging
  • 151 grams
  • 144.7mm x 70.4mm x 8mm
  • Colors: Simply Black, Sorta Sage

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