Google is “putting the G in 5G” with their two latest smartphones, the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4A.
As top-of-the-line phones from the likes of Apple and Samsung get more expensive, Google’s game is affordability.
The new Pixel 5 starts at $999 in Australia.
The Pixel 4A with 5G is priced at $799.
Google’s strength has always been its software, rather than hardware. For years the Pixel’s comparatively meagre cameras have been out-punching their competitors with smart AI alone. Both the new Pixel 5 and 4A feature the same 12.2 megapixel camera which now comes with a new ultrawide lens.
Night Sight has been added to portrait mode and lighting subjects (like people’s faces) in older photos can now be improved with smarter editing tools.
Video has also been improved with three new stability options.
On paper, neither phone is technically impressive.
They’re both powered by the same Snapdragon 765G chip, which is a generation behind the latest Samsung phones.
The Pixel 5 and 4A come with just 128 GB of storage and feature 8 and 6 GB of RAM respectively.
The 4A is made entirely of plastic, while the Pixel 5 has Gorilla Glass 6 on its front only.
The Pixel 5’s 6.0-inch display is actually smaller than the 4A’s 6.2-inch display (fingers crossed for a 5XL), but has a slightly higher pixel density. The new edge-to-edge displays also mean that the Pixel 4XL’s underused radar features are lost on the new models.
Google is trying to drill down to the essentials; how do you use your phone most and how can they deliver that quality experience at the cheapest price.
In both cases their answer is better software.
“Extreme Battery Saver” promises to keep your phone going for 48-hours in a pinch.
You’ll never have to listen to hold music again with the new “Hold for Me” feature on Google Assistant, which will notify you as soon as the person on the other line starts talking again.
Finally, Smart Downloads proactively save your YouTube music playlists “so even when you don’t have connectivity your entertainment continues.”
It’s hard to quantify how important these software improvements are until we get our hands on the new phones, but finding and embracing similar features – which are unavailable on most other phones – was one of my favourite things on the old Pixel 4XL. Recorder has now been improved so cutting out text from the transcript EDITS THE AUDIO. It’s a TV journalist’s dream and still the best internet-free voice transcriber on any phone hands-down.
It’s important to note that the Pixel 4A is missing some of the premium features on the Pixel 5, including:
- A 90Hz “smooth display”
- Fast wireless charging
- Battery share
- And water resistance.
The 4A does however come with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack which the Pixel 5 doesn’t.
The Pixel 5 will be available in Australia on October 15.
The Pixel 4A won’t arrive in retailers until November.