Man, I really wanted this phone! Google released three good phones, the Google Pixel 4a, Google Pixel 4a 5G, and the Google Pixel 5. After some consideration, I decided to go with the Google Pixel 5. Is it the right choice? Is this phone future proof? Can it compete with the best? Let’s see and find out if Google made a flagship worthy phone with a mid-range SOC.
Introduction & Specifications
Goole made a very clean phone, the Google Pixel 5. The bezels are evenly spread across the display, the punch hole camera on the front looks good, and there is not speaker gap on the front glass. The SOC they used is a mid-range one, the Snapdragon 765G. There is an IP rating of IP68, and you can wirelessly charge your Google Pixel 5, and it offers a 90Hz OLED display. This sounds like a great phone, to be honest! Besides the hardware, you get 3 years of Android updates, which is just lovely. Can this smartphone beat the market again? The price is lower, but are the performance top of the game again?
|Just Black, Sorta Sage
|IP68, dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
|6", Corning Gorilla Glass 6
|OLED, 90Hz, HDR10+
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
|128GB, no SD card
|12.2 MP, f/1.7, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55", 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS
|Wide Angle Camera:
|16 MP, f/2.2, 107˚ (ultrawide), 1.0µm
|4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps; gyro-EIS
|8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4.0", 1.12µm
|Fingerprint scanner, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
|4080mAh Li-Po, non-removable
|Fast Charging 18W, Reverse charging, Wireless charging
|144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm (5.70 x 2.77 x 0.31 in)
The Google Pixel 5 comes in a fairly simple box. It is not that big
Apple, notice the size of the box? and it has a picture of the Google Pixel 5 on the front. On the back, we find some information about this smartphone and on the bottom, we find some of the specifications. The first thing you see is the Google Pixel 5 itself. Lovely design! Underneath that, we find some information, like how to turn it on, and the SIM tray pin. Underneath that, we find the 15W charger block, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a USB-A to USB-C converter. I used that converter to copy the data from my Xiaomi Pocophone F1 to the Google Pixel 5.
Hardware & Design
I love the form factor of the Google Pixel 5! Finally, a phone that fits my hand well. Compared to the Xiaomi Pocophone F1, this feels like a tiny smartphone. The back is made from aluminum, but it does not feel like that at all. You can also wirelessly charge your device, so Google did something clever there.
The fingerprint sensor on the back is very well placed and it works fast as well. Since it is made from the same material as the casing, it is hard to feel where it is if you are not using a case. We can live with that being the only downside, right? The camera module sticks out a bit from the back, but we see that with almost all smartphones now. Not a big problem if you ask me.
There is no 3.5mm jack (I’m not going to discuss that). On the bottom, we find the speakers and the USB-C charging port. On the front of the display, which is a 90Hz display, we have the puncture hole camera, which I like actually. First I hated it, but now that I use this smartphone for a month or 2, I really like it.
As I said, the display is a 90Hz OLED display and it looks pretty good. Watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, or just TV on it is not a problem at all. Also, the puncture hole camera is not a big deal there. You get used to it pretty quickly.
Another thing that you need to get used to is that the power button is above the volume buttons. Yes, it is ABOVE it! I’ve not seen that lately and in the beginning, it bothered me a lot. Now, after months of using, I have to get used to the other way around.
Instead of the newest technology, a fingerprint scanner underneath the display, the Google Pixel 5 uses the “old” fingerprint scanner on the back. I like it in that position and it works faster than an in-display fingerprint scanner, like the one on the OnePlus Nord. The scanner that is used now is more snappy and never failed me to this day.
The same material is used on the fingerprint scanner as it is on the back. That makes it hard to feel where the scanner actually is without a case. When you are using a case, it is totally fine since you feel the hole in the case.
Well, we can just copy the specifications from the last two or three models. The main camera module is the same, again! Is that a problem? Not really. The software is good and makes it perform at the top of the market. Other brands, like Apple, Huawei, Samsung, and maybe Xiaomi, are closing the gap. Google needs to change the sensor again to be at the top of the market for the next years. Now, Google Pixel 5 also includes a wide-angle lens. This is a great addition compared to the Google Pixel 4a. Below are all the specifications of the camera modules:
Does it mean that the quality is not good enough anymore as the sensor is old? No. The quality of the photos is still amazing. I really like the default output of the pictures taken with the Google Pixel 5. Below, I will list some of the photo’s taken with the Google Pixel 5.
The camera modules are still the same! Google did not change the model since the Google Pixel 3. Is that surprising? Maybe. The quality is still really good, but it is time to upgrade since other smartphones are closing the photo quality gap now. These are the specifications of the rear cameras:
Taking photos with the Google Pixel 5 is a real pleasure. You just point and shoot and they come out crystal clear (most of the time). In a dark setting, like the evening or at night, you need to keep the phone steady for a second or 2. With the night mode, I’m really surprised how much quality it captures, even when you move a little bit. The only downside that I noticed when using the camera on my Google Pixel 5 is the time to process a photo. Once it is taken, it might take up to 5 seconds before it is ready to be viewed completely processed. Annoying? Yes, but nothing more than that. I can wait 5 seconds and still be very happy with the outcome.
Here are some of the shots I took on the Google Pixel 5 (no editing is done):
Looking for more comparison by DXO Mark? Click Here to get to their comparison post of the Google Pixel 5.
This is not a high-end SOC, but how fast is it? Do you notice the lack of speed in your day to day usage? I’ve had the Google Pixel 5 now for several days, and I just love it. I came from the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 and I notice no lack of performance what so ever. With the 90Hz display, it might even feel faster, to be honest. I can write a million words on how good and fast the Google Pixel 5 is, but I rather show the performance figures. Below are three different benchmarks I did on my Google Pixel 5 when I received it.
Benchmark Test 1: Geekbench 4
Benchmark Test 2: 3DMark
Benchmark Test 3: PCMark
The features that at present in the Google Pixel 5 made me pick it over the Google Pixel 4a. For example, wireless charging is available. There is an official IP rating of IP68. The extra wide-angle lens is important for me too. Let’s have a more in-depth look at the features of the Google Pixel 5.
This is a fun feature! If you take a portrait photo, you can change the lighting after you took the photo. You just move your finger (while in Portrait Light editing mode) and the point of the light will change. I’ve not seen this on other phones yet. Really fun to play with and you can really make your photos better after you took them.
Many new phones, especially from Samsung and Apple, seem to be getting bigger every year. There are smaller options available too, but the best device available is the biggest. I don’t have small hands, but I liked to have a smaller phone again. After some time thinking, I almost bought the Google Pixel 4a, but then they released and talked about Google Pixel 5, which is slightly bigger if we compare it to the Google Pixel 4a. I picked the latest model, and I really like the design. Coming from the Xiaomi Pocophone F1, I like that the Google Pixel 5 is smaller.
The size is 144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm (5.70 x 2.77 x 0.31 in), and it weighs just 151 grams. I enjoy using this, and I’m almost able to use it with a single hand now. Being a smaller smartphone doesn’t mean that you miss screen size. Almost the complete front of the Google Pixel 5 is the touchscreen, with just tiny bezels all around. The front-facing camera is a puncture hole in the top left corner, which I like actually. Personally, I love the compact design with the all-screen look.
Well, there is no physical front speaker. When I first heard about this technology, I was skeptical. Now that the Google Pixel 5 is using it and I was able to have some test phone calls, I like it actually. The sound is not as good as a physical speaker, but it gets the job done, and it works just fine. Normally coming from the physical top speaker, the sound is now coming through the glass via vibrations from a speaker below the display. It sounds super weird, but you will barely notice the difference.
When you are making a phone call now, it is slightly softer, and you hear it more through the complete Google Pixel 5 instead of just the physical speaker on top, but that is fine. This gives it a better look, as the complete front is now a display, and the is no speaker cut out from the glass anymore.
Another lovely feature of the Google Pixel 5 is the ability to wirelessly charge your phone. I’ve never had this on any of my personal phones before, but this technology is around for some time now. I use a wireless charger next to my work set up to give it a quick boost before I leave. It is just so convenient to place your phone on the wireless charging pad or stand without having to put in the charging cable every single time. Besides that, there are accessories now, like lamps or desks, that have built-in wireless charging pads making it even easier to charge your device.
Let’s take away the USB-C port like the iPhone is going to do?
Yes, another feature that makes it more future proof for me. The Google Pixel 5 is waterproof with an IP68 rating. Like wireless charging, another feature that made me pick the Google Pixel 5 over the Google Pixel 4a. I love to travel (see my travel account @WorldExploringCouple)
and hope I can do that soon again and having a waterproof phone might be handy than. When I was in Asia, it was very humid in some places. Also, taking pictures near a waterfall, on the beach, or next to the swimming pool feels way safer now.
A smaller phone means shorter battery life, right? Not if you come from the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 to the Google Pixel 5. The 4080mAh battery is very capable of getting me through the day with over 4 hours of screen on-time. Normally I have around 2 hours, and I have around 30% left when I go to bed. I’m really happy about this. During that day, I take photos of my cats, browse the internet, use WhatsApp, and check social media. Pretty good score with that amount of usage.
Coming from Google, this is the most stock Android experience you can get. There is no bloatware on there, no Facebook apps, or any unnecessary applications (besides the Google default applications like Google One, Google Drive, Google Photos, and Google Fit, for example). I know that is also considered bloatware by some people, but for me, a user of those services, I actually like that they are pre-installed on the Google Pixel 5. You are also guaranteed to get updates for 3 years. These are new Android versions and security updates, which is a great thing. I had the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 which rarely got an update. I’ve been waiting for MIUI12 for ages, and MIUI11 took some time as well.
The software from the Google Pixel 5 is a feature. There are so many smart things the software can do, that you do not have on other phones. A lot of these features are related to the camera, like the Portrait Light, Improved HDR+, and Night Sight Portrait. Other noteworthy features are the Extreme Battery Saver and the “Hold For Me” feature that keeps your place in the waiting line when making a phone call. That is a feature I would love to see in the Netherlands.
Google made some feature cuts compared to the previous model, but looking at the complete picture, I still think the Google Pixel 5 is worth it. The hardware is good, but it does not offer the best SOC. Just looking at the performance, I’m more than happy with it. It feels very fast, there is no lag at all, and the photos come out sharp and clear. Playing games is fine, and I can last a day, easily. I usually end my day with around 30% to 40% battery life left.
You can charge the Google Pixel 5 wireless, and it is waterproof with an IP68 rating. For the camera, we see an upgrade in the ultra-wide angle lens compared to the Pixel 4a for example. Since this phone comes straight from Google, you get the most stock Android experience you could wish for. You get 3 years of software updates, which is really nice.
We must realize that the Google Pixel 5 is not the High-End smartphone the Pixel 4 was. This is more a high mid-range model, and in that field, it performs really well.
Google Pixel 5$699
- Great battery and charging time
- Perfect sized display
- Camera is outstanding
- Premium features, like IP68 and Wireless Charging
- Stock Android with 3 years updates
- Price might be too high for some
- Sound from the front speaker is not as loud as a phyisical speaker