Google Pixel 5a review
Without sacrificing too much of the pixel experience, that means a relatively clean version of android, some ai tricks and a heavy focus on photography. But apparently google thinks they nailed it last time out with the pixel 4 a5g, because the pixel 5a is basically the same exact phone. Now there are some differences, notably the addition of ip67 water and dust resistance, but most of the tweaks are extremely minor. Even the processor and ram are the same. So if we said you could do better way back in october of 2020, what does that mean for the 5a in the fall of 2021? Well, for one, it makes the pixel 5a about as unexciting as a phone can be, but look boring, isnt necessarily a bad thing, especially when youre talking about the lower end of the market. By keeping things kind of staid, google is able to focus on things like battery life and performance. Optimization and just like the last generation of pixels, the 5a feels pretty responsive despite the aging snapdragon 765g inside. That said, the 765g was hardly top of the line. Last year and its starting to show its limits, while scrolling through the ui and doing simple things like sending emails and text messages, the pixel 5a is indistinguishable from any flagship phone. It even handles most mobile games. Without a hiccup. I spent some time playing the elder scrolls, blades and wild castle and the phone barely broke a sweat, but i did notice it stutter a few times while navigating youtube and editing photos and jotting down my thoughts for this review in evernote.
Now, the latter of those im willing to chalk up to evernotes questionable development decisions over the last few years. But the pauses when switching to full screen and youtube and changing filters in google photos are a little bit more. Concerning the plus side of going with something slightly older and lower powered is power efficiency. The 4a 5g was already something of a beast in this department. It lasted over 17 hours in our battery drain test. Before reviews, editor, shirlin low simply gave up and moved on with her life now that device had a 3 85 milliamp hour battery. The 5a has a 4 680 milliamp hour battery. It lasted almost 23 hours in our battery rundown test. After 24, hours of heavy usage playing games repeatedly running 5g tests, installing apps watching videos on youtube and even playing sleep, sounds overnight. The battery was still at 40 percent. It didnt finally crap out on me until 2 a.m on day 2. and if you turn on extreme battery saver, things will get even more absurd im fairly confident that under normal usage, you should have no trouble getting a full 48 hours out of the pixel 5a Battery life isnt the only difference between the 5a and 4a 5g. The new phone also has ip67 rating for water and dust resistance at a time when most smartphones have at least some form of water resistance. The pixel 4 a5g was somewhat of a disappointment. In fact, the lack of waterproofing was one of the big cons we cited in our review, but the pixel 5a should easily survive getting caught out in the rain or being dropped in the toilet, its able to withstand being submerged in water up to one meter.
Deep for up to 30 minutes now, i wouldnt push that to its limits. Definitely dont go swimming with this in your pocket. The last difference between the pixel 5a and the 4a5g is in size and construction, but its subtle. The 5a has a metal unibody as opposed to a polycarbonate one, but the finish is still matte and very similar to the soft touch on the previous models and the upgrade to gorilla glass 6 from gorilla glass, 3 is notable, but not noticeable in everyday use. Now the 5a comes in just one finish: mostly black, some might find it a little bit dull and its certainly on the utilitarian side, but i actually quite like the feel of the phone. The finish is a nice contrast to the seemingly endless sea of smooth glassy surfaces out there, and the heft is just right now. The 5a is ever so slightly larger and heavier than the 4a 5g, but youre talking about a few millimeters and grams here. Even if you had a pixel, 4a 5g and a 5a in each hand, i think youd be hard pressed to figure out, which is which now the change in size is mostly down to the slightly larger screen. The oled panel here is 6.34 inches versus 6.2. On the 4a 5g, otherwise, though, the screens are basically the same, the increased resolution of 2400 by 1080 makes up for the size difference, so they both have a density of 413 pixels per inch and both also sport.
A contrast, ratio of 100 000 to 1 and support hdr and are stuck at a pretty outdated 60 hertz refresh rate and both are just bright enough to use outside in direct sunlight, though high brightness mode is definitely a necessity. If you plan to watch videos outdoors, even the hole punch for the front facing camera is in the same place. That said, i do appreciate googles four fun wallpapers that camouflage that hole by incorporating it into the design uh. My favorite is the record player where the camera becomes the hole at the center of an lp and that eight megapixel front facing camera by the way is one of the five as weak points. It does the job in perfect lighting and for video calls. But details can be a bit soft in low light, it gets noisy and portrait mode is hit or miss. Overall, i found googles portrait feature to be a bit too aggressive, even on the main camera. Now you can dial in the blur and depth after the fact, but the default settings could stand to be a touch more subtle. The selfie cam, though, is the same one found on the pixel 4 a5g. So none of this is a surprise. In fact, all the cameras are the same. The two sensors around back, though, are significantly better than the one on the front: theres a 12.2 megapixel main shooter, with optical image, stabilization and a 16 megapixel ultra wide lens.
They have a somewhat moody vibe when compared to shots from an iphone or a galaxy device, but theyre not obviously inferior, and even though images taken with the wide angle lens can get a little bit fuzzy. If you start trying to zoom in too much on the details, googles processing does a really excellent job. At minimizing barrel distortion, google isnt at the top of the smartphone camera heap anymore, but its not far off and photography, is still an undeniable strong suit of the pixel family theres. Nothing new to report, though these are all the same. Excellent photography features you got last year. Portrait lighting can help clean up and add contrast to pictures of people. Night sight turns on automatically in dim settings and can at times produce mind blowing results, and the video stabilization features are excellent. Cinematic pan in particular, which combines slow motion with super smooth movement, is fun also just like every other. A model pixel. This one has a headphone jack and all i can say, is thats great. Now, please bring the headphone jack back to flagship phones. I know im not the only one clamoring for this, and it drives me nuts that the only way i can get an old school 3.5 millimeter headphone jack on my phone, is by going down market. One last thing to mention the actual full name of the phone is the pixel 5a with 5g. So guess what it has. 5G connectivity, uh thats not really surprising, since the snapdragon 765g has an integrated 5g modem, but unlike the pixel 4 a5g, there is no millimeter wave variant and even though technically its capable of c band support its not currently enabled and google wont commit to enabling it In the future, now thats not a huge deal right now, since there are no active c band networks in the us, but it might irk some when a t and verizon start flipping the switch most likely later this year.
That being said, full c band rollout isnt expected to happen until at least late 2023.. Those caveats out of the way 5g still seems stuck in a state of arrested development. I tested the pixel 5a on google five, which means i was essentially on t mobiles, network and speeds were all over the place. In my home it was often slower than verizons lte network averaging about 35 megabits per second down quick note. By the way, verizon is still engadgets parent company, but two and a half miles up the road at a local subaru dealership. I was routinely getting over 300 megabits per second down and topping out at 370., of course, 5g and excellent cameras, arent really a rarity. At this price point anymore, mid tier phones have come a long way in the last few years. The problem for google is it no longer clearly owns the mid range uh part of that is down to price, while the 5a is 50 cheaper than the 4a 5g. Its not the obvious bargain that the 4a was at 350.. The samsung a52 5g is slightly more expensive at 500, though its regularly on sale for less, and it also has a slower, snapdragon 750g chip, but its super amoled screen clearly outclasses the pixels, and it has a 120hz refresh rate plus its camera system is much sharper And feature packed, but that doesnt necessarily mean better in addition to the primary camera and the ultra wide lens theres, also a macro shooter and a depth sensor for helping with portrait mode and while both the a52 and the 5a ship with 128 gigabytes of storage uh.
The samsung phone has a big advantage here in that it has a micro sd card slot. Of course, if youre more into ios than android, the seemingly obvious comparison would be the iphone se its the same price as the pixel 5a for a 128 gigabyte model, but uh. It does feel quite a bit dated. It still uses the old iphone 8 form factor with a touch id home button, instead of face id its positively minuscule at 4.7 inches and it doesnt support 5g. Frankly, if youre dead set on ios, i might save up your pennies a little bit longer and spring for the 699 dollar iphone 12 mini. So no google doesnt own the mid range anymore uh. The pixel 5a is almost aggressively boring, but its not a bad phone.