Google quietly launched the Google Pixel 5A which is the successor to Pixel 4A. After the incredibly successful Pixel 4A that was announced last year, many of us wondered how the company could get ahead of itself with its successor. Pixel 4A is still one of the smartphones that appear on the list of best smartphone cameras every now and then.
But the Pixel 5A has impressed me more than 4A ever did. The phone this year is bigger and better than its predecessor in terms of both display and battery. The phone is so good that you won’t hear me complain about how Google increased the phone price by $50 (Rs. 3,500 approx).
The Pixel 5A this time costs around $449 (Rs. 33,300), and for that price point, you get 5G connectivity with the biggest battery that we have ever seen in a Pixel phone. This translates to real-world practical benefits to the Pixel 5 lasting longer than any of Google’s other smartphones and you get more screen on time. It is also the first device in the Pixel A series to have a water resistance that we mostly see in the flagship Pixel devices from Google.
The phone is simply a perfect midrange device, looks universal, has excellent cameras, has longer battery life, and is affordable, unlike its flagship brothers. I tried very hard but couldn’t find anything to complain about while testing out this phone.
That being said, this is my comprehensive review of the Google Pixel 5a smartphone.
The launch of Pixel 5A is yet to be confirmed in India. Google has not given a green signal, but it is expected to launch in India. The company launched the Pixel 4A in September last year on Flipkart, and it is likely that we might see the Pixel 5A around the same time. The device is sold for $449 in the US, which is around Rs. 33,300.
Google Pixel 5A is made available in four colour variants in the US, which are Black Moss, Maybe Moon, Likely Lime, and Partially Pink and each case colour creates unique shades for personalization. Not sure how many of these colours will make their way into the Indian market.
Google Pixel 5A includes the following in the box. Thank god at least Google didn’t ditch the charging adapter.
- Google Pixel 5A handset
- Charging Adapter 18W
- USB-A to USB-C cable
Here are the on-paper specifications of the Google Pixel 5A:
- Display: 6.34 inches OLED Display with 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution
- Camera: 12.2MP + 16MP | 8MP Front Camera
- Battery: 4680 mAh Battery with 18W fast-charging
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Processor
- RAM & ROM: 6 GB RAM | 128 GB ROM
- Dimensions: 154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6 mm
- Weight: 183 grams
Similar to Google’s previous designs, the Pixel 5A features a minimalistic design. You can’t say it is ugly, but it is not that awesome or elegant like the iPhone design. The phone has a metal unibody design which ensures that it looks and feels closer to a premium phone than other mid-rangers usually found with plastic bodies in this price range. The display and buttons are all metal and feel solid and durable. Google also added IP67 water resistance for this price range, which you won’t find in many other smartphones.
Unfortunately, due to its design, the phone also attracts many fingerprints that appear prominently on the black color variant. Moreover, unlike fingerprints on glass back phones, these oils can be difficult to remove with just your shirt or a cotton cloth due to their plastic finish.
There is nothing on the Pixel 5A’s back but a simple square camera module that includes a dual-camera setup, and below it has a fingerprint scanner. There is also a tiny Google logo near the bottom of the device. Around the front, there is nothing much more than the display. The big 6.3 4 inch display nearly covers the whole face of the phone with incredibly slim bezels all around. It certainly looks much more premium compared to the Pixel 4A.
The Pixel 5A uses a 1080p OLED screen 6.34 inches in size, which is a bit bigger than the 6.2-inch screen on the Pixel 4A. It also uses a standard 60 Hz refresh rate, so you don’t get any smooth scrolling experience of a faster 120 Hz or 144 Hz rate. This missing high refresh rate feature is an unacceptable downside for a device at this price range. It is available to many devices with price points similar to Pixel 5A, like OnePlus Nord 2, which supports a 90 Hz refresh rate, and Samsung Galaxy A52 5G with a 120 Hz panel.
So talking about the screen quality, the 5A’s screen doesn’t stand out, but it is big enough that it doesn’t look quite as out of place next to the competition compared to 4A and 4A 5G. It is also just a good quality screen due to the OLED technology, which delivers rich contrast and is bright enough to be viewable outside in the direct sun without too much effort. The OLED panel is protected with a flat slab of Gorilla Glass 3, and it has a speaker slit that sits above the screen. The speaker also doubles as one of the phone’s loudspeakers.
In terms of brightness measurements, the maximum brightness that I achieved was 850 nits which is comfortable enough to view content in bright daylight.
As you would expect, the Pixel 5A should be a serious step up over its predecessor in terms of hardware, but that’s not the case. Packing a Snapdragon 765 which is the same processor that Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G has from last year and 6GB of RAM, this is decent enough for many of your day-to-day tasks and multitasking. So as far as performance goes to Pixel 5A, it is pretty decent on that part.
The Snapdragon 765G is not a bad chipset, and it is undoubtedly an improvement over the Pixel 4A’s Snapdragon 730G processor. But the Snapdragon 765G certainly does not hold well against the A13 bionic chipset in the iPhone SE. Apple silicone magic makes the Rs, 33,000 iPhone SE a little powerhouse that even the best Android flagship phones struggle to match. At $449 (Rs. 33,300), the Pixel 5A is about as powerful as any Android device in this price category.
In my experience playing games on the device was an acceptable experience though some of the more intense titles like BGMI, COD Mobile, and Asphalt 9 caused the phone to heat up. You may have to lower the graphic settings to reduce the temperature, but the Pixel 5 isn’t truly proficient at gaming in the way many more powerful flagship phones are. However, for day-to-day tasks like browsing on the Internet and using social media, the Pixel 5A feels buttery smooth.
Google software magic shines on the Pixel 5A and the Snapdragon 765G does help Pixel 5A process photos quickly. If we talk about the benchmarks, I ran into some compatibility issues with the Geekbench 5. First, I couldn’t download the app from the Play Store, and once I did manage to install it, the multi-core testing results were much lower than the ones we saw from the Pixel 4A with its Snapdragon 730G.
On the bright side, the Pixel 5 did pass through the 3D mark WildLife Unlimited graphics test, managing a score of 1678 with an average fps of 10. This once again seems very low for Snapdragon 765G. Regardless this is nothing but loose change when compared to the iPhone SE’s 47.9 fps average. The A13 Bionic chip is still very powerful, making the iPhone SE the performance champ in this subcategory.
Still, even if the Pixel 5A’s performance seems average, this is not a very bad thing. Pixel phones from Google do almost everything a phone ought to without any trouble.
We are right around the time of the final release of Android 12, which the Pixel 5A will be getting once it is available. This is one of the best benefits of owning a Google phone; you get the latest Android versions on the day they are released. It’s interesting to see whether the Pixel 5A would be supported for as long as older iPhones.
Well, Google is working on their custom-built processor line in their upcoming Pixel 6 series; maybe we’ll see if future Pixel devices remain updated as long as the iPhones do. Nevertheless, with Pixel 5A, we will still see three years of platform updates and a minimum of 3 years of security updates.
Check Out: iPhone 13 Price Comparison
Currently, the Pixel 5A comes with standard stock Android 11. There is nothing new to see here since Android 11 is a year-old operating system. You have some options to customize gestures like sliding on the fingerprint scanner to pull down notifications shade. That’s about it; if you are coming from smartphones like Samsung or OnePlus, or even Motorola, you might find the lack of customization a bit of a downside of owning the Pixel phone. The new Android 12 is going to change that.
As usual, the biggest highlight of this smartphone is the edition of the 16MP 117-degree ultra-wide camera, which joins the primary 12.2MP shooter. Last year the Pixel 4A only had a single 12.2MPcamera. Pixel 5A has an 8MP selfie camera that sits nestled in the top left corner of the display in a hole punch cut out for all those selfie lovers.
This is a Pixel device, though you would expect the photography experience to be excellent because the 5A has almost the same hardware like the Pixel 5. In terms of comparison, the Pixel 5A’s cameras meet the expectation that you will find best when compared to other devices under the $500 price tag.
Surprisingly, the 4A and 5’s image capabilities due to the similar hardware is also true for the 5A. It handles high contrast scenes well, and colors come out rendered a bit more naturally than you will get from a Samsung phone. Portrait and night mode photos are among the best that you can get from a mid-range smartphone.
Zoomed telephoto photos are also possible, but they are cropped from the main camera since there is no dedicated telephoto lens and there is a 2X option marked throughout the camera’s UI. A subtle softness is visible in the photos resulting from the crop, but taking photos of anything with a geometric print may cause a moire effect because of the image processing.
Google’s edition of night mode aka night-sight kicks in automatically when it needs to and you will know because a little moon symbol appears over the shutter button. It works best on still subjects so it can still catch the subject in motion without too much blur. You can even click the night sight photos with the wide-angle camera as well unlike on the iPhone. With the aperture of the ultra-wide camera lens, ultrawide night sight shots are generally softer than those from the main camera.
The main selfie camera has an excellent dynamic range, so you shouldn’t see shadows crushing or missing highlights. All the selfies that I clicked with the camera presented distinct softness to them, resulting from image processing on the 8-megapixel selfie camera. Still, the focus distance is pretty good, and selfies come out sharp enough. White balance and contrast constantly remain accurate between both front and rear cameras.
Despite the 8MP selfie camera, it can click some nice-looking portrait selfies without a secondary depth sensor. By default, zoom remains 1.2 X when switching from the portrait mode on the front camera. The portrait shots come out well when the lighting is ideal.
The Pixel 5 sports the biggest battery you have ever seen in any Google Pixel phone. It has a 4680 mAh power pack that helps the device run with one of the better screen on times that we have seen from a Pixel phone.
Talking about the complete rundown of a day’s battery life of the Pixel 5A, it remained powered up through the day with 2 hours of phone calls, 3 hours of media consumption, 2 hours of web browsing, and 1 hour of BGMI, with about 10% battery left at the end of the day. This is quite good and on par with most smartphones in this price range. It still beats the Pixel 4A’s time by nearly an hour, and it is roughly 30 minutes longer than that of the iPhone SE 2. Given how Google often struggles on the battery test, it is nice to see that the phone outperforms any mid-range smartphone in terms of battery.
The charging rate of Pixel 5 is a little bit less encouraging with a max of 18W and the device got from 0 to 23% in 15 minutes and 43% in 30 minutes. This beats the iPhone SE’s charging time which only reached 29% in 30 minutes. Also, there is no wireless charging with the Pixel 5A which can be seen in Apple’s budget iPhone.
In terms of audio quality, the speakers on the phone are perfectly good enough to answer video calls without using earphones. The speakers are also loud enough for you to enjoy movies for gaming on the smartphone. It is great that Google still provides a headphone jack in their A-series of devices.
For security, you get a physical fingerprint scanner which I found to be quick and snappy enough to unlock the device on the go. It is also located at a decent place on the smartphone, which can be easily reached.
The Pixel 5A is worth strong consideration if you are looking for Google’s software and an excellent camera experience in a budget price range. Despite the $449 (Rs. 33,300), the Pixel 5 delivers almost everything that the Pixel 5 manages to offer.
Google claims that their budget smartphones have the best cameras and take to deliver on their promise and we found that true in our experience. The Apple’s budget iPhone SE isn’t that bad in terms of camera performance, but the 5A is just better all around. I will not be surprised as everyone knows that Pixel smartphones are regularly featured having the best smartphone cameras on the planet.
Despite the average processor and lack of a high refresh rate display, I like the Pixel 5A. It does everything that the Pixel 4A 5G did well, and that is very impressive. While you might be excited about buying the device, sadly, it is only available in the US and Japan; you can’t get the smartphone if you live in India as of now. But the device is expected to be launched in India very soon. Stay tuned for that.