Google has been peddling its own-brand Pixel smartphones since 2016, so it knows a thing or two about creating top-notch Android smartphones. Its latest flagship, the hotly-anticipated Google Pixel 5, is due to launch in autumn and is said to feature a ‘radical design’. Curious to know more about Google’s next-gen iPhone rival? Here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 5, from its price to the features it will offer.
Google has officially confirmed the existence of the Pixel 5 but that’s about it. Luckily, the many rumours, leaks and gossip surrounding the handset speak volumes. So far, we know that the Pixel 5 will succeed last year’s Google Pixel 4, the company’s best smartphone yet, which picked up a healthy four stars in our review.
We also know that the Google Pixel series has made a name for itself in the world of mobile photography by packing in the most cutting-edge camera tech. The Pixel 5 should be no exception, but how will the state-of-the-art super-snapper fare against rival devices made by Apple and Samsung?
And, is Google planning to release a more affordable PIxel 5a in 2021?
With official details scarce, we’ve pieced together all the most reliable leaks, rumours and news to build up a credible picture of the Google Pixel 5 and its capabilities, including speculation around the price, release date, performance and more…
Google Pixel 5: release date
Google has been predictable when it comes to unveiling its Pixel smartphones. The Pixel 1, 2, 3 and 4 were all unveiled in the month of October. The most recent, the Pixel 4 debuted on 15th October 2019 and shipped nine days later.
However, the latest leak – spotted in an official blog post published by Google France – states that the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 will be “available for pre-order from October 8, 2020.”
The date sounds legit as Google typically hosts major hardware events in October. Besides, Google has already stated that the 5G Pixel 5 will arrive “this fall” alongside the 5G version of the Pixel 4a.
And since pre-orders typically open the instant that Google unveils a new product, we can expect a major, Made by Google hardware event on 8th October.
Looking further ahead, Google is rumoured to be working on a PIxel 5a, a more affordable spin on the 5G Pixel 5, as well as a foldable Pixel.
Google Pixel 5: price
The Pixel 4 cost £629 ($799, AU$1049) upon release in 2019. UK consumers were treated to the Pixel 4 for a cheaper price than the Pixel 3, which debuted at £739. Could the Pixel 5 continue the trend and come in at an even lower price point?
According to a Reddit user, Google surveyed US consumers to gauge their reaction to smartphone prices – including a device said to be the Pixel 5. The survey suggested that the Pixel 5 would start at $699 – a whopping $300 less than a Samsung Galaxy S20.
It’s not hard to see why Google is keen to put the PIxel 5 into as many hands as possible. According to GlobalStats, as of July 2020, Google holds just 1.5% of the smartphone market in the UK, compared to Apple with 46% and Samsung with 30%.
If the latest rumour is true, it could see Google undercut other mid-range Android phone manufacturers such as Huawei.
However, Google may also announce a Pixel 5a, which, like the Pixel 4a, would exist and a cheaper, pared-down version of flagship of the day. Leaked Android documents seen by 9to5Google suggest that the 5a, codenamed “Barbette”, could be released in “Q2 2021”.
However, it’s probably best to take the rumours with a pinch of salt at this stage.
Google Pixel 5: design and camera
Back in May, a leak published by The Information suggested that Google was ‘disappointed’ with the Pixel 4, and that a number of key Pixel staff had quit as a result.
Could the Pixel 5 be something of a reboot for the Pixel brand? And if so, will the Pixel 5 sport a radical new design to make that point?
Previous Pixel phones haven’t made much of a splash when it comes to design – ‘conservative’ is the word that springs to mind – but recent leaks suggest that Google is ready to up its game for the Pixel 5.
In February 2020, Jon Prosser of FrontPageTech tweeted a picture of a claimed “Pixel 5 Prototype Render”. It appears to show a distinctive new aesthetic, complete with a trio of rear cameras arranged to mimic a rather cute ‘smiley face’.
The idea behind the design of the camera module could be to ensure that the Pixel 5 is instantly recognisable anywhere in the world – the equivalent of a chef’s signature dish.
According to Prosser, the sensor at the bottom is a wide-angle lens. If true, the Pixel 5 would be the first Pixel phone with this feature. Given that both the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S20 flaunt an ultra-wide-angle lens, it’s likely Google will want its camera to be suitably specced.
More recently, a 1st July leak posted on Slashleaks by a user named Udagawa Ako claimed to show a Pixel 5 case. It appeared to reveal the return of two major features: a rear fingerprint sensor (the Pixel 4 relied solely on 3D Face Unlock) and a headphone jack.
It true, it suggests that Google is willing to turn back the clock in order to broaden the Pixel’s global appeal.
You get a sense of the Pixel 5’s design in this unofficial concept video, created by Incosive Labs. It imagines how the handset might look if Google were to drop Motion Sense gesture support and go with a rear fingerprint scanner and a single front-facing hole punch camera.
And finally, rumours that Google is designing a foldable Pixel have resurfaced. Leaked internal Android documents seen by 9to5Google refer to a “foldable” Pixel device codenamed ‘Passport’, along with a release date of “Q4 2021”.
Google Pixel 5: display
According to display analyst Ross Young, who correctly predicted the size of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, the 5G version of “the next new Google phone” will sport a massive 6.67in display, sourced from Samsung and BOE (an OLED-specialist based in China).
If true, that would mean the gigantic 6.67in handset would be the largest Pixel ever. (For reference, the Pixel 4 has a 5.7in display while the Pixel 4 XL is a 6.3in device).
Since both the Pixel 4 and 4XL boast OLED displays with 90Hz refresh rates and HDR support, we’d expect the same – or better – from the Pixel 5.
Ideally we’d like to see Google step up the display to a 120Hz refresh rate to match Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and forthcoming Galaxy Note 20, but there’s no clear evidence to support that yet. An anonymous poster at Slashleaks claims that the Pixel 5 will stick with 90Hz, while display guru Ross Young has tweeted, “it is 120Hz!”
Either way, we’ll update this page with all the juicy screen specs as and when they drop.
Google Pixel 5: battery and processing
Qualcomm is one of the biggest chip-makers in the world, and its blazingly-fast Snapdragon 865 processor powers a slew of flagship phones including the Samsung Galaxy S20.
But while past Pixel devices debuted with Qualcomm’s top-of-the-range chips, it seems that the Pixel 5 may not. According to a report by 9to5Google, the camera app code for the forthcoming Pixel 4a suggests that the Pixel 5 will ship with the Snapdragon 765G, rather than the faster 865 chip.
But then, less processing power would explain the Pixel 5’s rumoured lower price point – and potentially widen its appeal. Besides, the 765G is no slouch and has been optimised for both gaming and video.
What’s more, the ‘G’ in 765G denotes 5G compatibility, so either way, it’s 99.9% likely that the Pixel 5 will be support 5G. And if Google does opt for the less powerful chip, the Pixel 5 could turn out to be one of the more affordable 5G flagships on the market.
There’s also talk of the Pixel getting the slighter punchier 768G processor but, either way, the Pixel looks unlikely to challenge the Apple iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy Note 20 in the speed stakes.
But again, there’s a silver lining: less processing power means better battery life. And if the Google Pixel 4 had an Achilles heel, it was its lacklustre battery performance – something Google will be keen to fix this time around.
For reference, the Pixel 4 has a 2800mAh battery, while the Pixel 4 XL has a 3700mAh battery. With a new case design and less demanding chip, Google could step that up considerably.
Lastly, 9to5Google has also claimed that the Pixel 5 could boast reverse wireless charging, allowing it to charge other compatible wireless devices. According to leaked Android 11 Developer Preview code, Google is calling the function Battery Sharing. (Samsung already offers a similar tech, called PowerShare, which enables selected phones to charge other Qi-enabled devices, such as the Galaxy Buds Live headphones).
Going by the leaks and rumours, the Pixel 5 won’t be ultra-fast, but it’s likely to be an affordable 5G phone capable of trumping mid-range rivals.
Google Pixel 5: Android 11 and Motion Sense
The Pixel 4 has a built-in radar sensor that allows you to control audio playback by gesturing with your hands. It’s a nifty way to swipe through tracks when you’re busy cooking dinner.
However, it sounds as though Google might kill off some of these gesture controls, which are powered by a Soli radar chip.
Sources speaking to AlphabetScoop have suggested that slow sales of Pixel phones have forced Google to scale back some of the Pixel 5’s cutting-edge features – including Motion Sense. On the upside, the removal of the Soli radar chip would boost the Pixel 5’s battery even further.
One thing that isn’t on the chopping block is Android 11, which is currently in beta. Google’s latest operating system will bring improved messaging, a host of 5G-centric features, plus new ways to control music and Google’s smart home gadgets, including Google Assistant speakers.
So, there you have it. That’s the story of the Google Pixel 5 so far. We’ll bring you more news and leaks about the Pixel5 price, launch date, and specs as and when we have them.