Google Pixel 5A review: Snappy performance, familiar design

    Sarah Tew/CNET
    Google’s $449 Pixel 5A with 5G is the second main Pixel announcement this 12 months, scorching on the heels of the Pixel 6 teaser earlier this month. It includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor that powers a 6.34-inch OLED show. The cellphone additionally has IP67 water- and dust-resistance.So whereas Google’s highest-end Pixel 6 and 6 Pro telephones will embrace the brand new in-house Tensor chip, the 5A (as I’ll name it any further) can have extra in widespread with final 12 months’s Pixel 4A 5G. For Pixel followers with deeper pockets, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro’s chip and redesign may very well be thrilling, however this Pixel doubtless will likely be taking pictures for a extra budget-conscious crowd. 

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    If you are searching for a less expensive Pixel, you will not have to attend for the Pixel 6’s launch date someday this fall, because the 5A will likely be launched on Aug. 26 and might be purchased within the US carrier-unlocked instantly from Google or with Google Fi. The cellphone may even be obtainable in Japan. (While it isn’t coming to the UK or Australia, the value converts to roughly £320 or AU$630.)I’ve spent the previous few days with Google’s new cellphone. While it looks like a worthy successor to the Pixel 4A 5G thus far, here is what you may need to bear in mind if you would like a less expensive 5G Pixel or Android cellphone on a funds. We’ll replace this ongoing assessment as we proceed to check out the cellphone.Snappy efficiency, acquainted designThe 5A’s chip is similar because the one utilized in final 12 months’s 4A 5G: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor. The similarities do not finish there, as each telephones even have 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. They every have related entrance and rear cameras with a gap punch for the entrance digital camera, and each have a fingerprint reader on the again and a 3.5mm headphone jack on prime. 
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    The digital camera system is similar as final 12 months’s Pixel 4A with 5G. It has all the identical options, together with a portrait mode, Night Sight and an ultrawide lens able to taking pleasing pictures at evening and in the course of the day. 
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    The variations start with a bigger 6.34-inch OLED show with a 20:9 side ratio that is just like the Galaxy S21. That’s in comparison with a 6.2-inch show on the 4A 5G at a 19.5:9 side ratio, which we have seen on units such because the Pixel 5 and iPhone 12. The 5A is operating Android 11 in my exams, but when previous Pixel traits maintain true the cellphone will doubtless be among the many first to get Android 12. The new OS will embrace the brand new Material You design, refreshed notifications and much more customizable choices that may very well be unique to the Pixel collection.Watching movies on YouTube, Netflix or Disney Plus labored positive. Games on Stadia or Xbox Game Pass additionally performed effectively, although some (notably these on Xbox) had been letterboxed and would not play in full display screen. I encountered the same difficulty with YouTube TV (although not the common YouTube app). The Pixel 5A letterboxes sure apps like YouTube TV. 
    Eli Blumenthal/CNET
    Performance, nonetheless, was stable and it was definitely playable with an excellent web connection. More intensive localized video games equivalent to Call of Duty: Mobile additionally labored largely as anticipated. The stereo audio system, nonetheless, lack readability. While they’ll get loud they don’t seem to be as full or wealthy at most quantity as different units. The cellphone’s IP67-rated water and dirt resistance ought to assist stand up to the weather and includes a considerably bigger battery (4,620 mAh in comparison with 3,800 mAh) that may be fast-charged utilizing the included 18-watt USB-C wall charger. The Pixel’s quick charging wasn’t notably speedy in my exams, going from empty to 21% in 20 minutes and needing round 47 minutes to hit 50%. The OnePlus Nord 2 can go from zero to 70% in an hour utilizing its 30-watt quick charger. Getting as much as an almost full cost took round two hours on the Pixel. I do like that the battery indicator within the notification tray continues to indicate how a lot battery you’ve got left, versus a imprecise proportion. Google claims the battery ought to be capable of run a full day, and from my restricted testing these few days the cellphone appears to carry as much as that estimate.

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    Impact of the chip scarcityThe international chip scarcity seems to have affected the Pixel line’s custom of providing a bounty of colours, with the 5A simply coming in “mostly black” (which to me regarded a bit inexperienced in sure mild). Brian Rakowski, vice chairman of product administration at Google, informed reporters that this was a results of “supply chain challenges.””It’s an industry-wide shortage,” he mentioned, noting that the restricted chips obtainable has additionally meant limiting the locations Google will promote the 5A versus providing a large distribution via a wide range of carriers and retailers. 
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    “We definitely could not get as many chips as we wanted for this.” As with final 12 months’s Pixel 4A 5G, there is no wi-fi charging on this new mannequin. Google additionally seems to have dropped the “spectral and flicker sensor,” which may impression taking photos or movies of screens or taking pictures beneath synthetic lighting like fluorescent lights. (These adjustments could not essentially be associated to the chip scarcity.)The excellent news is that the 5A retains most of Google’s Pixel software program options, together with name screening for preventing robocalls, automobile crash detection and a recorder app that may transcribe in actual time, in addition to images options like Night Sight for improved pictures in low mild.  Google is promising three years of Android software program and safety updates along with the characteristic updates it has routinely supplied for Pixel telephones. 
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    5G… with a catch 5G help is certainly a part of this cheaper Pixel, however the particulars of that help get difficult. You ought to be capable of connect with low-band 5G networks from T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon. But whereas final 12 months’s Pixel 5 included help for higher-frequency millimeter-wave 5G networks, the 5A doesn’t. This means quicker speeds, from what Verizon calls Ultra Wideband and what AT&T calls 5G Plus, will not be supported. For a midrange cellphone this is not a deal-breaker, but it surely is not preferrred. Since Google Fi runs on T-Mobile’s community, it really works positive on that service’s low-band in addition to its quicker midband 5G providing, which it calls Ultra Capacity 5G. Looking into 5G’s future, the 5A’s help will likely be much more difficult. The cellphone’s help of 5G networks operating on the C-band is unclear. This is wi-fi spectrum that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile spent billions on earlier this 12 months. For Verizon and AT&T, that ought to present a major velocity increase past only a handful of metropolis blocks. The first of those networks from AT&T and Verizon ought to arrive later this 12 months, with Verizon stating earlier this 12 months that this C-band community will enable it to supply peak obtain speeds of 1 gigabit per second. The Pixel 5, paradoxically, was introduced as one of many first telephones to help Verizon’s C-band community. 
    Google Pixel 5A with 5G refines the funds Android cellphone
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    On a {hardware} degree, the 5A ought to help these forthcoming networks because it has the right band help inside (what’s often known as band N77 or N78). The difficulty is that Google will not decide to updating the software program on the Pixel 5A with 5G to allow it. “The hardware is capable but there hasn’t been a lot of deployment yet in the US so the software work would still need to be done,” Rakowski mentioned. “We don’t have any plans to announce on that front.” When pressed, Rakowski added that Google will “stay in touch with the carriers and evaluate” future help however added that “we’re not going to commit, we’re not going to make a statement now about future support for what might come in an update.”We already know that extra persons are holding onto units for longer, so the shortage of help from Google for this upcoming community improve — particularly when the bodily {hardware} helps it — is regarding. If you are with T-Mobile or a service that runs on its community (like Google Fi) you’ve got much less to fret about with regards to accessing a speedy midband 5G community. As for potential consumers who’ve AT&T or Verizon, that lack of future help may muddy what’s in any other case a stable $449 cellphone.Pixel 5A 5G specs

    Pixel 5A 5G

    Pixel 4A 5G

    Pixel 3A

    Display dimension, decision

    6.34-inch OLED, 2,400×1,080 pixels

    6.2-inch OLED, 2,340×1,080 pixels

    5.6-inch OLED, 2,220×1,080 pixels

    Pixel density






    154x74x8.2mm (Sub-6 solely); 154x74x8.5 mm (mmWave + Sub-6)



    6.45 oz; 183g

    5.93 oz; 168g (Sub-6 solely); 6.03 oz; 171g (mmWave + Sub-6)

    5.19 oz; 147g


    Android 11

    Android 11

    Android 9.0


    16-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (twin pixel)

    12.2-megapixel (customary), 16-megapixel (ultrawide)


    Front digital camera









    Snapdragon 765G (processing energy chip) Titan M chipset (safety chip)

    Snapdragon 765G

    2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670









    Headphone Jack





    4,680 mAh

    3,800 mAh

    3,000 mAh

    Special options

    5G, IP67 water resistance, twin SIM, stereo audio system, 18W quick charging

    5G, dual-SIM (nano-SIM and e-SIM), quick charging

    AR in Google Maps, time-lapse video taking pictures

    Price (USD)




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