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Google’s Launch Night In is almost upon us, where we expect news of the Pixel 5 to be finally unleashed upon the world. Following-up on the smash-hit Pixel 4a, Google’s latest “flagship” already has plenty of critics. Whether you like the picture painted by the last few months of leaks or not, our image of the upcoming phone is virtually complete.
What will it look like?
Both real-world photos and renders of the upcoming Pixel 5 have leaked, showing off the phone in both black and green from pretty much all angles. Note that the photos are for a “Pixel 5s,” but based on what we know right now, that name corresponds to the Pixel 5 (or, at least, a version of the Pixel 5).
Images of the phone side-by-side with the larger Pixel 4a 5G also leaked:
A prototype spotted in the wild, with some folks claiming it might be a Pixel 5, had a pretty different two-tone rear design, but it didn’t seemingly pan out.
The pace of leaks has been picking up since Google officially outed the phone together with the 4a 5G. Previously, @xleaks7 published a handful of renders based on leaked CADs (via Pigtou) that showed what we considered a plausible design and more recent leaks have confirmed it.
The industrial design is immediately identifiable as a Pixel if you’ve seen last year’s Pixel 4, the Pixel 4a, or leaked renders of the
Pixel 4a XL Pixel 4a 5G. The physical configuration for the rear cameras appears mostly unchanged compared to the Pixel 4, though the flash has been moved to the top, and the cameras themselves might be tweaked — more on that later.
The Pixel 5 in its green colorway.
Google also looks to be dropping the Pixel 4’s fancy face unlock tech, returning to the tried-and-true, much-loved, rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor. The big, nearly bezel-less screen also means it probably won’t have Soli Motion Gestures. We do get one of those snazzy modern hole-punch front-facing cameras, though, like the Pixel 4a. Unlike the Pixel 4a, the Pixel 5 may manage perfect bezel symmetry, too, including the bottom. (It’s a small point, but I live for these sorts of tiny touches.)
Details regarding the Pixel 5’s body have conflicted. Some sources have claimed it will sport an all-aluminum design, while one person that had a hands-on experience claimed it “felt like” plastic. Wireless charging usually has problems with metal (hence the glass backs on phones these days), and based on the disagreements recently, we aren’t sure exactly what to expect. Personally, I anticipate it should have a (recycled, according to leaks) aluminum frame at the least, likely with the same sort of thick textured coating last year’s Pixel 4 had — and hence the “plastic” confusion.
One phone or two?
Just one. While earlier this spring, we thought “bramble” might be a Pixel 5 XL, that’s since been confirmed as the Pixel 4a 5G. (The Pixel lineup is weird now.) Based on specs, you could think of the Pixel 4a 5G as being a bigger and simultaneously cut-down version of the Pixel 5, as they share some internals. But Google places the name in a different lineup, and the Pixel 5 stands alone.
There may be one vague exception to this: The phone might come in different versions with and without mmWave support based on FCC listings, and it’s possible (but unlikely) that the “Pixel 5s” leak could correspond to a slightly different name for those two versions. However, these could simply be carrier or regional variants. Either way, there won’t be a bigger and smaller size like last year.
What are the specs?
We know it will have a Snapdragon 765G chipset — the same as the recent OnePlus Nord, Moto Edge, and Vivo X50 Pro. While that means it might not have “flagship” level performance like some thousand dollar phones packing the Snapdragon 865, we’re not worried.
Confirming details that were dug up earlier in software, the Pixel 5 will have reverse wireless charging for topping up other devices. The primary camera configuration sounds similar (if not identical) to last year’s Pixel 4, but the secondary camera this time around is wide-angle. Google appears to have given up its telephoto (which I personally prefer to a wide-angle).
Based on leaks, Google is also seriously stepping up battery longevity on its flagship phones — finally. Last year’s Pixel 4 and 4 XL had okay-to-poor battery life, and this sort of bump will be an appreciated change. The same goes for storage, with several sources now confirming that 128GB will likely be the “base” size as it was for the Pixel 4a.
The Pixel 5 also marks a return of the rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor, which brings us to…
What features will it lose versus the Pixel 4?
Based on leaks, we are confident that the Pixel 5 will technically “lose” a few features compared to the Pixel 4. With the new edge-to-edge screen design, there’s no real space left in the bezels. That means a more svelte design, but it also means we’re losing both Soli’s Motion Sense gestures and face unlock — all those sensors need some serious space, and hence the Pixel 4’s bezelicious forehead. Unless Google is somehow able to embed them beneath the screen and simultaneously hide that fact until now (which is basically impossible), you can probably count them out.
There’s just no space for all those sensors.
We’re also sure there won’t be an “XL” version of the Pixel 5. Although the Pixel 4a 5G may fit the bill as an XL-variant for some, and it has similar specs, Google has placed it in a different series.
Will it have 5G?
Yes. The Snapdragon 765G chipset supports 5G and the FCC filings for the phone show 5G frequencies. However, some models at the FCC don’t have 5G mmWave support, and there might be slightly different versions of the phone with and without that technology (though they could just be carrier or regional variants, we aren’t sure).
In short, all this means the Pixel 5 should support 5G networks — if you care. We don’t.
How much will it cost?
An earlier survey that some attributed to Google asked respondents to compare a $349 “Google Pixel Phone” to a $699 “Premium Google Pixel Phone.” We’ve seen numbers since then bandied about ranging from $699 to $629. At this point, we personally think lower is more likely, but $699 leaks continue to surface, so we can’t be sure. Either way, it should cost that price or less.
When will it come out?
Announcement on September 30th.
Google has revealed its next hardware event will happen on September 30th (and you can anticipate our live coverage then). At the event, the company promises we’ll learn about “new Pixel phones,” all but name-dropping the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, so expect the phones to be announced then.
However, Google previously outed another date on its French blog, saying that pre-orders would open on October 8th. Historically, you’ve been able to pre-order Pixels on the date of their announcement, so either Google is changing how it’s handling pre-orders, not all regions are getting it at the same time, or the timeline has changed since that leak. This has been a year of delays for Google, so the dates could easily have been shuffled around. We also haven’t seen as many retailer leaks for the Pixel 5 as we have other products expected to be announced on September 30th, though that’s not necessarily proof in itself of anything.
Also note, Google has been upfront that the Pixel 5 isn’t coming to India or Singapore at all.