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Everything we know (so far) about the Google Pixel 5

Fifth time’s the charm?


If there’s one way we could describe the Pixel 4, it would be “frustrating.” Google made a lot of smart moves with the phone, notably its phenomenal cameras and ultra-fast face unlock, but inexcusably bad battery life held it back from being an easy recommendation. As you might guess, this has left us eager to see how things can be improved for the Google Pixel 5.

Using the Pixel 4 is a wonderful thing, but there’s no getting around the compromises required to use it as a daily driver. All the Pixel 5 needs to do in order to be a great phone is to give us the same Pixel 4 experience, use a reasonably-sized battery, and add an ultra-wide camera.

Is that what’s happening? Read on to find out everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 5!

Current Pixel

Google Pixel 4 XL


From $784 at Amazon
From $900 at Best Buy
From $890 at B&H

No need to wait

The Pixel 5 will undoubtedly be an interesting handset, but there’s no sense in waiting until October just to buy a Google phone. The Pixel 4 XL is still worth a look, especially at its lower price. Performance is fast, the dual cameras take outstanding photos, and the XL model has passable battery life.

Jump to:

  • An October announcement is likely
  • Here’s what we know about price
  • The design sure is something
  • Let’s talk cameras
  • Here are all the specs
  • Motion Sense is done for
  • Google’s also making the Pixel 4a
  • The Pixel 4 still has life in it

When will the Google Pixel 5 be released?


Starting with the first Pixel in 2016 and every year since then, Google has held an event in early/mid-October to formally unveil its latest Pixel phones. Unless something drastically changes, we foresee that pattern continuing this year.

To give you some context, here are the exact dates for all past Pixel events:

  • Pixel — October 4, 2016
  • Pixel 2 — October 4, 2017
  • Pixel 3 — October 9, 2018
  • Pixel 4 — October 15, 2019

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 3 were announced at press events in New York City, with the Pixel 2 and Pixel getting their unveilings in San Francisco. It’s unlikely Google will hold a physical launch event given the current global pandemic, so instead, we can probably look forward to a virtual event similar to what Apple showcased for its WWDC 2020 keynote.

How much is the Pixel 5 going to cost?


In regards to price, this is another area where Google has remained consistent. Pixel phones are never cheap, as shown by the following retail prices:

  • Pixel — $649
  • Pixel 2 — $649
  • Pixel 3 — $799
  • Pixel 4 — $799

Based on the limited history of the Pixel line, those numbers would suggest that we’re due for another price increase — potentially $849, $899, or stick at $799 for another year. However, we could be in for a pleasant surprise this year in which the price is actually lower than past releases.

Rumor has it that the Pixel 5 will utilize the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor instead of the flagship 865 found in the Galaxy S20. This should see the Pixel 5 costing quite a bit cheaper than that phone, though specifics remain unclear.

What does the Pixel 5 look like?


On February 14, we kinda sorta got our first look at the Pixel 5 XL. Let me explain.

The above render you see was shared by YouTube channel Front Page Tech, and it’s apparently a CAD render for a prototype Google is working on. The video goes on to explain that there are three designs Google’s testing, with the other two prototypes featuring square camera bumps similar to what’s on the Pixel 4.

In other words, the Pixel 5 XL you see above may not be what the final product looks like at all.

That might be a good thing depending on what you think about the render, because the Pixel 5 XL we have here is quite polarizing. It’s certainly a fresh design language for Google, but the oddly-designed camera housing and the 😮 face arrangement of the sensors are both pretty strange.


Fast forward a few months to July 6, and the folks at Pigtou gave us our first render of the regular Pixel 5. The design is much more subdued compared to the 5 XL render above, looking a lot like the upcoming Pixel 4a. The display has much slimmer bezels compared to the Pixel 4, with the top bezel completely gone in favor of a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. The back has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and two year cameras in a Pixel 4-esque camera housing, which is different from the three cameras that are rumored for the Pixel 5 XL.

How many cameras will the Pixel 5 have?


Assuming the above information is correct, the Pixel 5 XL is shaping up to be the first phone from Google with three rear cameras. Last year’s Pixel 4 was the first phone to offer two cameras, including a primary and telephoto sensor.

Google was pretty adamant last year about deliberately choosing a telephoto camera for the Pixel 4 over an ultra-wide one, arguing that telephoto is more important. However, this wouldn’t be the first time Google has backed down on a certain feature or design choice year-to-year.

When the original Pixel was released in 2016, the promotional video made a big deal about the phone having a 3.5mm headphone jack — something Apple had gotten rid of on the iPhone 7 just one month earlier. Fast forward to the Pixel 2 a year later, and the headphone jack was gone.

Despite what Google said last October, three cameras on the Pixel 5 XL — including an ultra-wide lens — seems pretty likely. The regular Pixel 5 render and its two-camera layout suggests otherwise, though we could see it stick with two sensors while the larger Pixel 5 XL steps things up to three cameras.

Will the Pixel 5 have a Snapdragon 865 processor?


When it comes to specs, Pixel phones have a history of being a mixed bag. Qualcomm’s latest processor is a given, but whether we’re talking about small amounts of RAM, tiny batteries, or poor display panels, there’s always something that puts a damper on the experience.

History would lead us to believe that the Pixel 5 will be powered by the Snapdragon 865, but for 2020, Google might be planning something a bit different. 9to5Google was given access to a pre-release build of the Google Camera app, and in the app, there’s mention of “photo_pixel_2020_config” — this likely referring to the Pixel 5.

XDA member Cee Stark previously shared that “photo_pixel_2020_config” has the codenames of “Bramble” and “Redfin,” with those codenames being associated with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G processor. In other words, it’s quite possible the Pixel 5 will use the 765G instead of the 865.

Backing up the above findings, Android Police’s David Ruddock shared the following tweet on May 19 — further confirming the existence of the Snapdragon 765 in the Pixel 5.

Can confirm via my own source that the Pixel 5 will use a Snapdragon 765. No phone with a top tier CPU from Google this year.

— David “bury me with my golden arm” Ruddock (@RDRv3) May 19, 2020

The Snapdragon 765G is a very capable chipset, offering native 5G support and being the second highest-end processor in Qualcomm’s 2020 lineup. That said, Google’s departure from the 800 series of Snapdragon chipsets would be a notable shift. This would suggest that Google isn’t designing the Pixel 5 to be a typical “flagship” Android phone to compete with the likes of the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 Pro. Whether or not that’s a smart move remains to be seen, but it’s certainly something we’ll be keeping our eyes on over the coming months.

Based on that information and other industry trends we’d anticipate Google to follow, here’s how the Pixel 5 is coming together right now.

Display 5.78-inch OLED Quad HD
Operating System Android 11
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Rear Camera 1 Primary camera
Rear Camera 2 Telephoto camera
Memory 6 or 8GB of RAM
Storage 64GB 128GB
Security Face unlock

Google’s been known to be stingy with storage options, so while having more than 64GB of base storage would be nice, history tells us to expect otherwise. As for RAM, a step up to 8GB would be great to see. Google finally upgraded to 6GB with the Pixel 4 after using just 4GB in all of the past models, though, so another jump just one year later could be pushing it.

Is Google including Motion Sense on the Pixel 5?


One of the more unique features of the Pixel 4 is its Motion Sense gestures. Powered by Google’s Soli radar system, Motion Sense allows you to wave your hand over the Pixel 4 to control music playback, dismiss incoming calls, and snooze alarms. It’s a fun idea and one that had a lot of potential, but the end result ultimately fell flat.

Likely because of the mostly negative response to the feature, it looks like Google is already giving up on it.

On May 15, Stephen Hall from 9to5Google reported that the Pixel 5 “will likely leave behind hobbies like Soli.”

In yesterday’s show, we also touched on some things we’re hearing about Pixel 5 from sources — specifically that it will likely leave behind hobbies like Soli

— Stephen Hall (@hallstephenj) May 15, 2020

This point was reaffirmed on July 6 with the leak of the Pixel 5 render, showing its use of a traditional rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and no fancy arrangement of radars above the display.

This isn’t all that surprising, but given all of the tech behind Soli, it’ll be interesting to see what Google does with it going forward.

What’s this I hear about a Pixel 4a?


We’re happy to keep talking about the Pixel 5, but before that phone is released, there’s another one that Google has up its sleeves — the Pixel 4a.

Just like the 3a before it, we’re expecting the Pixel 4a to be a wattered-down version of the flagship Pixel 4 with lower-tier specs and a more reasonable price. The phone should be announced and released at some point this year, though its release date has been pushed back a lot. We were originally expecting it in May, but it now looks like it may not be available for purchase until October 😬.

Rumored specs for the Pixel 4a include a 5.81-inch OLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor, 12.2MP rear camera, 3,080 mAh battery, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Google Pixel 4a: News, Leaks, Release Date, Specs, and Rumors!

Should I still buy the Pixel 4?


While we are excited to see what Google does with the Pixel 5, that doesn’t mean we should forget about the Pixel 4 — specifically the Pixel 4 XL.

This is what I carry as my daily Android phone, and despite its flaws, I love using it. It’s snappy and fluid, the 90Hz display looks fantastic, the cameras take outstanding pictures, and the clean build of Android 10 that’s backed by guaranteed updates is icing on the cake.

I do wish the battery lasted longer and I think the retail price of $899 is way too high, but if you can find it on sale, the 4 XL still has a lot of love left to give.

Current Pixel

Google Pixel 4 XL


From $784 at Amazon
From $900 at Best Buy
From $890 at B&H

No need to wait

The Pixel 5 will undoubtedly be an interesting handset, but there’s no sense in waiting until October just to buy a Google phone. The Pixel 4 XL is still worth a look, especially at its lower price. Performance is fast, the dual cameras take outstanding photos, and the XL model has passable battery life.


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