Google has officially announced the much rumoured Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 devices. And was by and large known, Google is leaving that ultra premium, true ‘flagship’ territory, and getting into making phones for the masses. And honestly, for a company that owns and develops Android, this strategy makes so much more sense. Android is more like a people’s OS and it is high time that someone dedicatedly started making devices for the ‘people’.
Both devices are almost identical in all senses, except for a few minor specsheet changes. The Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 are carrying on the exceptional camera legacy that one has come to associate with Pixel phones, and are actually making it even better. Some features that would make even these ‘affordable’ Pixel devices take on the likes of an iPhone Pro or similar include:
- A new ultrawide lens: Google may have made the phones affordable, but thus flagship status cameras. With a new ultrawide lens alongside the standard rear camera, you’ll be able to capture the whole scene. And thanks to Google’s software magic, the latest Pixels still get the company’s proprietary Super Res Zoom.
- Cinematic Pan: Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 come with Cinematic Pan, which gives your videos a professional look with ultra smooth panning. Google says that it was inspired by “Hollywood directors use” for this pan. Now even though that may be an exaggeration, the feature, at least in the demo, does look breathtaking.
- Night Sight in Portrait Mode: Night Sight currently gives you the ability to capture amazing low-light photos—and even the Milky Way with astrophotography. Now, these phones bring the power of Night Sight into Portrait Mode to capture beautifully blurred backgrounds in Portraits even in extremely low light.
- Portrait Light: Portrait Mode on the Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 lets you capture beautiful portraits that focus on your subject as the background fades into an artful blur. If the lighting isn’t right, your Pixel can drop in extra light to illuminate your subjects.
In terms of other hardware level improvements, both the phones come with top of the line specs. These new pixel devices front an OLED panel, which is 6 inches for Pixel 5 and 6.2 inches for Pixel 4a. Both are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, which is probably the only spec that tells you this ain’t flagship. In terms of battery size, both come with massive batteries, more than enough to last you an entire day on single charge. The devices start with a 128GB storage option with the Pixel 5 getting 8 gigs of RAM and Pixel 4a getting 6GB.
As is usually the case with Pixel devices, Google has once again gone to do a ton of software specials with these pixel phones. Google is primarily a software company after all.
To start with, the Google Assistant is getting much smarter now. It comes with a new “Hold for me” feature, that basically lets you do other stuff on your phone while a toll free operator has put your call on hold. As soon as the operator comes back on line, the Assistant will alert you and you can resume your call from where you left. Pretty pretty neat, and so much needed.
Pricing and Availability
Coming straight to the pricing, the more expensive of the two, Pixel 5, retails at $699 in the US and comes in two colors. A greeinsh one called ‘Sorta Sage’ and the black one called ‘Just Black’. The devices are available for pre-orders in the US right away, and can be ordered here.
In our opinion though, it is the PIxel 4a 5G that is the real steal. The device, which has everything from its more expensive sibling, and actually comes with a larger screen size, is available at just $499. The device is not available for pre-orders though and one can only join a waitlist for now.
When you purchase a Pixel 4a (5G) or Pixel 5, you’ll also get Stadia and YouTube Premium trial for 3 months, 100 GB of storage with Google One for 3 months and Google Play Pass and Gold/Silver Status on Play Points.
Pixel 4a (5G) will be available in Japan on Oct. 15 and eight other countries starting in November, and Pixel 5 will be available starting Oct. 15 in the U.S. and eight other countries.