Google is under pressure to ensure the Pixel 5 is a hit after last year’s Pixel 4 was blighted by poor battery life and an uninspiring design.
Google is in a unique position as the developer of Android, making it the only company that can truly rival Apple for synergy between hardware and software. But for too long its phones haven’t been able to compete, making it hard to justify buying a Pixel device.
While we don’t know much just yet, Google is set to go big as it tries to catch up with the likes of Samsung and Apple in producing a killer flagship phone for 2020.
When is the Google Pixel 5 coming out?
Google has confirmed that the Pixel 5 is coming this fall, along with the Pixel 4a 5G – a follow-up to the recent mid-range Pixel 4a.
Previous Pixel phones have tended to arrive in October, and so far evidence points to a similar time frame this year. First, during the Pixel 4a announcement Google’s French site accidentally published a blog post – since edited – claiming that the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G would both be able to pre-order from 8 October.
Following that, prolific leaker Jon Prosser has claimed that the Pixel 5 will instead arrive on 30 September. These leaks may seem contradictory, but if 30 September is the announcement date, then pre-orders opening a week later wouldn’t be so unusual.
How much will the Google Pixel 5 cost?
The Pixel 4 started at £669, while you had to jump up to at least £829 for the Pixel 4 XL. We’d expect pricing to be fairly similar, undercutting the most expensive flagships but very much out of the mid-range bracket – with the caveat that this time around there’s only expected to be one model, with no XL version on the cards.
The processor Google ends up using will have the most notable effect on the final pricing, with the potential for a lower starting price compared to the Pixel 4 line.
What are we expecting to see in the Google Pixel 5?
While many people would assume that the Pixel 5 will come with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon processor, that might not be the case.
9to5Google has been exploring some unreleased code in the camera app. This suggests the Pixel 5 will come with a Snapdragon 765G, as opposed to the 865 we were all expecting. This processor is designed to support 5G, implying we’ll get that feature, even if the chip lacks the blazing speed of the 865. Make of that what you will.
We’ve already got an idea of what Google’s next flagship might look like, too. OnLeaks and Indian tech site Pricebaba partnered to release a set of renders of the device that at least appear to be official. There are more images and a 360-degree video, though remember that we haven’t been able to confirm the veracity of these images.
The renders show nothing too surprising. There’s a rear fingerprint sensor, a square camera module with two lenses, a punch-hole camera on the front, and a sandstone finish that matches that shown on the side of the Pixel 5 in Google’s official tease, above.
Perhaps the most interesting element is the claim that the screen will be between 5.7 and 5.8in, making it one of, if not the, smallest flagship phones around – even the regular Galaxy S20 boasts a 6.2in panel. The smaller size might put some off, but there’s clearly space in the market for smaller phones, and Google might do very well with the Pixel 5 in that regard.
As for colours, the above render is in black, which seems like a given. Alongside claiming a launch date of 30 September Jon Prosser also suggested the Pixel 5 would launch in black and green, so it seems there may be one other colour that we’re yet to see.
The design above matches a previous render created by Pigtou and xleaks7, using leaked CAD information and rumoured dimensions.
Not the design everyone was expecting but still the first look of #Google #Pixel5 based on leaked CAD drawings. + 4k video + dimensions. Enjoy guys!
Thanks to my partners at @pigtou_ – https://t.co/L3t4dnaFnU
p.s. this is not a cancelled Pixel 4a XL pic.twitter.com/xbYC0teUWO
— xleaks7 (David Kowalski) (@xleaks7)
July 6, 2020
Both designs are very different to one of the earliest designs we saw, an alleged prototype design that was presumably either incorrect or long ago scrapped by Google.
NO FREAKIN’ WAY @madebygoogle!!! ?https://t.co/eT3VlWC4Hf#Google #Pixel5 #Pixel5XL by @frontpagetech @jon_prosser pic.twitter.com/eRSGIyijxe
— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks)
February 14, 2020
This would serve as a huge design change from the Pixel 4 and 4 XL (or any previous Pixel for that matter), with what looks like a raised camera module in a more central position along the top edge of the phone’s back. The arrangement of the triple cameras may invite ridicule due to its likeness to a shocked face but it would at least help the device to stand out in a world where so many smartphones look so similar.
While we think this triple camera design is unlikely, we’re still curious to see what Google does with the Pixel 5’s camera setup, considering the person responsible for the excellent pictures Pixel phones have been taking up until now, left the company in March 2020; not long after another senior member of the Pixel team, general manager – Mario Queiroz, also walked.
The cameras would still be among the best in the business, even if Google made no changes to the setup, but expect it to be a priority once again. Don’t expect crazy specs such as the 108Mp sensor used on Xiaomi and (later) Samsung phones, Google instead relies on its software processing to produce great stills.
The battery life was the main reason we couldn’t recommend the Pixel 4 in our review, so improvements here must be imminent too. The latest rumours suggest the Pixel 5 will have a 3,080mAh, which is more than the 2,800mAh in the Pixel 4, but not by much – which makes us nervous.
What might not be kept from the Pixel 4 is Motion Sense, which was made possible by the Soli motion-sensing radar set into the phones’ bezel. It allowed users to interact with the phone with gestures but it looks like Google will ditch this feature for the Pixel 5 due to it not working well and users disliking it, according to a 9to5Google podcast.
Our Google Pixel 5 wishlist
While there has been no confirmation that any of these features will be making their way to the Pixel 5, we’d love to see them on Google’s next flagship:
More modern design – There was nothing wrong with the Pixel 4 and 4 XL’s design per se, but they seemed out of place in a market where manufacturers are constantly pushing the limits of their devices. Google appears to have overestimated people’s desire for a display free of cut-outs and notches, so its approach will surely have to change.
Improved video capture – Pixel devices have always had superb cameras for taking stills, but its video remains below par. Improving this would make for a more complete camera experience.
Support for expandable storage – The Pixel 4 and 4 XL start with 64GB of storage and although we’d like a boost here that was perfectly acceptable for 2019. What’s more disappointing, however, is the lack of expandable storage, which would allow users to add more storage as and when they needed it.
More RAM – Like Apple, Google will claim it doesn’t need as much RAM as other manufacturers as it is able to control both the hardware and software side, but 6GB of RAM is the only option on the Pixel 4 series. We’d like to see the option for 8 or even 12GB of RAM.
Wide-angle front and rear cameras – Google strangely chose a telephoto over a wide-angle for the second lens on the back of the Pixel 4, but we hope it adds a third, wide-angle sensor in 2020. All the software in the world won’t help when your field of view is just 77°.
Bigger battery – The paltry 2,800mAh cell on the Pixel 4 just didn’t cut it, with truly awful battery life for the price. We’d hope to see a big boost here, especially with some handsets having almost double that capacity nowadays.
We’ll update this article as and when we hear more on how the Pixel 5 is shaping up.