Google Pixel 5a – Tiny Upgrade but Huge Impact

Pixel 5a

After the success of Pixel 4a and Pixel, 4a 5G Google upgrade the lineup with an almost identical device called Google Pixel 5a. This time with Pixel 5a they created a device that was placed somehow in between the flagship and commercial categories.

To spot the difference between Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5a, you have to hold both phones side by side then noticed 5a has a slightly bigger screen and is a bit heavier than its predecessor.

Just like Pixel 4a 5G, the new Pixel brings the same camera module, same processor, same 60 Hz refresh rate, same 18-watt fast charging so the question naturally comes what is the significance of creating almost the same device 11 months later?

But everything happens for a reason and here Google made the Pixel 5a and doesn’t want to change a lot of things but add some important features which we think are pretty necessary for a mid-range flagship phone in 2021.

Inclusion of a bigger battery, IP 67 water, and dust resistance, metal unibody construction, a raised pattern textured power button, 5G with Sub- 6 categories all these tiny changes make Pixel 5a a nice value offering from Google.

Although the inclusion looks minor but very practical for a day-to-day phone. The first and foremost thing is the battery, the battery is bumped up by 20% from the Pixel 4a, and having a great battery backup is always welcome in today’s world.

Now in this post, take a look at the tiny little changes that Pixel 5a brought for us and try to find out is it relevant today to buy this phone.

Price and purchase options:

As of now, the Google Pixel 5a has been launched for the US and Japan markets only but according to some sources, the phone may be available in more countries like India in the upcoming month. Although we don’t hear anything officially from Google.

If you are planning to buy Pixel 5a then you can order the unlocked version via any international vendor or you can buy from e-commerce sites like Amazon, e-Bay but before placing an order check the vendor and terms and conditions carefully.

The Pixel 5a comes with 5G and is only available in one single storage and RAM configuration. The Mostly Black clour is the only option and is available in 6GB RAM and 128 GB inbuilt storage.

The Phone is priced in the US at $449 and comes in a metal body as compared to a polycarbonate shell on the Pixel 4A.

Detailed Specifications:

Display, Screen FHD+ 161 mm/6.34″ OLED display with (1080 x 2400) resolution, Auto HDR,

Aspect ratio 20:9, Always On Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Pixel density  413 PPI
Dimensions 6.1 height x 2.9 width x 0.3 depth (inches), 156.2 height x 73.2 width x 8.8 depth (mm)
Weight 183 Grams (6.46 Oz)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G octa-core,  1X Kyro 475 prime, 1XKyro 475 gold, 6XKyro 475silver. Integrated with Titan -M Security Module.
Software Android 11 with three years of software and security updates
Camera 12MP dual-pixel rear cameraƒ/1.7Auto-focus with OIS+EIS,  16 MP Ultrawide f/2.2 118.7° field of view sensor.
Front camera 8 MP fixed focus ƒ/2.0 camera with  83° field of view, 1.12 μm pixel width
Video 4K @30/60 FPS from the rear camera and 1080p @30 FPS from the front cam
Sound Stereo Loudspeakers
Storage 128 GB onboard and Unlimited cloud storage in Google One
Fingerprint reader Rear-mounted
Battery 4680 mAh battery with 18W fast charging support. No wireless charging

USB-C® 18 W adaptor with USB-PD 2.0,  18 W fast charging

Connector USB- Type C 3.1
Headphone Jack  Yes, 3.5 mm
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer
Connectivity Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA
Tracking GPS,GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS  and NFC support
Price  launched at $ 449

Design and Display of Pixel 5a:

The Unibody design is the same and you can’t feel any difference if you already using the Pixel 4a or 4a 5G. This time the body is made out of aluminum but covered with a rubberized texture that gives you a nice grip and feels when you hold the device.

An increase in size doesn’t impede the phone’s overall comfort in the hand it’s still a device that you can comfortably use in one hand. For most actions and navigating around the UI is still very easy to do you can access all the buttons easily without any issue.

The Mostly black color is a kind of greenish tint in it and it’s the only option available. The phone has 6.1 inches in height, 2.9 inches in width, and 0.3 inches in depth and the weight is 183 grams little heavier than Pixel 4a 5G.

On the right, we have a volume rocker and greenish textured power button and on the left the single physical sim card slot for nano sim. USB type C port and stereo speakers are resides at the bottom and on the top, we have the microphone and 3.5 mm port for connecting your favorite wired headphones.

The backside features the camera module which is slightly bumped up and square in size same as Pixel 4a 5G and on the front we have a 6.34 inches 2400X1080 Full HD +  OLED panel which offers 413 Pixels per inch and have a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera.

The screen supports HDR and the larger display is super nice content consumption and watching HD movies and gaming is engaging in this display where you have more screen space in full screen.

Although the refresh rate is 60 Hz which is less these days where every other mid-range phones have at least a 90 Hz display but for most of us it doesn’t matter and seeing the selling price it’s absolutely fine.

Always on display functions well and when you upgraded to Android 12 there are more widgets and clock options available to you.

The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and on the back, we have the physical fingerprint sensor that works flawlessly every single time.

The Great Pixel Cameras: 

Pixel phones always offer great cameras and there is no difference here the Pixel 5a is paired with great sets of cameras. Google was already well ahead of the rest of the mid-range class in terms of camera capabilities and they carry forward the same tradition here.

As far as the cameras are concerned, the Google Pixel 5a on the rear packs a dual-camera setup featuring a 12.2-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.7 aperture, and a 16-megapixel ultrawide camera with an f/2.2 aperture.

At the front, we have an 8 MP f/2.0 fixed focus shooter that captures an 83-degree field of view and the pictures are sharp and the edge section is good.

The primary camera has Optical and Electronic Image Stabilization and has autofocus with dual-pixel phase-detection and produces some of the best if not the best still images on any smartphone right now.

With Google’s image processing tweaks and adjustments, the pictures are taken sharp and full of vibrant colors. You get a nice contrasty look that Google is known for and a pretty stellar dynamic range we don’t think there’s another phone out there that makes getting these types of high-quality pictures.

And in low light, the camera excels even more in different lighting conditions the camera captures great details and intact every bit of color. The night sight portraits help you capture people with rich stunning detail in low lights.

Now with the Portrait Light features in Google Photos, you can adjust the brightness and position of the light so portraits look more professional. Even if you took the photo on a different device.

The Ultrawide lens also captures a 119-degree field of view and the 16 MP shooter takes pretty impressive shots in all conditions but the low light photos from an ultrawide sensor are soft compared to the main sensor and detail is less when you zoom in the photos.

Here are some camera samples …

Apart from that the Pixel 5a supports 4K 60 FPS videos and videos are came out ok and the features like Cinematic Pan automatically remove the shakiness while you’re filming, so your videos are smooth, steady, and sleek.

Performance and Battery Life:

Snapdragon 765G with Titan M security Module

The phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G octa-core processor with one 2.4 Ghz Kyro 475 prime core, one 2.2 Ghz Kyro 475 gold, and six 1.8 Ghz Kyro silver cores.

The 7 nm processor is very energy efficient and the all-new Qualcomm® Hexagon™ Tensor Accelerator is 2x faster than the previous generation. New Adreno 620 offers 10% faster graphics rendering compared to the standard Snapdragon 765.

Although the processor is gaming-friendly on paper, the Adreno 620 GPU also supported a higher resolution, but in reality, it performs well but not super fast. You can feel some hiccups when playing High-end games but most of the time it performs normally and Considering the price it’s ok.

You won’t get flagship-level smoothness or the highest frame rates like other flagships. Along with stock Android software you will get a nearly seamless, lag-free experience in day-to-day use, what we expect from these kinds of phones.

For casual gaming, the phone performs as usual but in terms of 3D graphics-enabled games the phone tends to slow down, and working with video rendering and editing are not the fastest. Apart from that in most casual usage like surfing, watching videos, texting, and mailing, capturing snaps work fine.

Apart from that Google also integrated their Titan™ M Security Module inside the Pixel 5a which means now your Pixel is more secure than other Android Phones. Makes it harder to bypass the lock screen and tamper with the firmware.

A Large 4680 mAh Battery:

By far the most noticeable upgrade done by Google in the battery department by implementing a Large 4680 mAh battery inside the Pixel 5a. Most pixel phones including Pixel 4a 5G offers good battery life but this time they increase the capacity to the next level.

Google has been doing better in this department ever since the poor performance of the Pixel 4, but the new battery finally puts it on even ground with the competition.

After a day of intensive usages like playing a ton of games, watching a ton of youtube, and sharing photos and videos, the battery only drains to 70% which is pretty awesome for a phone of this size. The 7 nm chip and 60 Hz screen also consume less power helping the battery last longer.

For a normal and light user, the battery probably lasts for a couple of days and heavy and moderate users spend a day and a half without charging. It will give you at least 7 to 8 hours of screen time easily.

On the charging section, the Pixel 5a comes with an 18-watt fast charger in the box and this 4680-mile ampere battery takes one and half hours to charge fully. The phone misses the wireless charging.

The new Android 12 operating System:

One thing that differentiates the Pixel phones from others is the operating system and with stock Android software the phone gives its users a great mix of productivity and utility in the best possible way.

The Pixel 5a initially comes with Android 11 but you can update the latest version of Android 12 with an Over the Air update. And more importantly, Google promises to give three years of software and security updates which is a big plus if you want to stay updated ahead of others.

Android 12 delivers even more personal, safe and effortless experiences on your device. Featuring a reimagined UI just for you, new privacy features that are designed for your safety and put you in control, and more seamless ways to get right to your gameplay or even switch to a new device.

WIth a remodified material UI design, newly modified widgets, a Privacy dashboard, new modified quick settings for easy access, freedom to choose selective app running in the background and other useful features takes your Android experience to a new height.

For more detailed information about Android 12, you can check this post where we discussed everything about the new OS.

Other Features:

  • Pixel 5a supports the Sub-6 category of 5G and 12 5G bands so the device can operate in different frequencies and supports most of the carriers.
  • The IP 67 rating is official and it means you can submerge the device in about three feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
  • There is a 3.5 mm headphone jack available so you can plug in your favorite headphone and listen to high-quality music.
  • The physical fingerprint sensor is mounted at the back and unlocks the device in less than a second.
  • The Dual stereo speakers reside at the bottom and produce better outputs you can differentiate multiple sounds and the Dolby effect in case you want to.
  • You can insert your physical nano sim card or use any e-sim but the phone supports a single sim. Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth v5.00, NFC, and USB Type-C are all the connectivity options available here.

Why did Google launch an almost identical phone in 2021?

And the answer is pretty simple the Pixel a series is the budget offering from google and responds well worldwide. The less expensive and value-for-money segments are appreciated by the Pixel fans. So to continue that trend, Google launched the Pixel 5a with some positive refinements.

The Pixel 5A is essentially the 4A 5G with a few updates that look minor on paper but are kind of major. The 6.34 inches OLED screen, official IP 67 rating, bigger 4680 mAh battery, and Android 12 all are major updates when you compare it with other mid-range smartphones.

Although there are some definite drawbacks like it misses the 90 Hz refresh rate, face unlocking, Wireless charging, limited RAM and storage option, and occasional heating issues when using the camera for videos.

If you want something more exciting in the $400 to $500 range, there are other options like the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has a faster refresh rate screen, the TCL 20 Pro has a fancy curved display and wireless charging. and the Moto G Stylus 5G has a much bigger screen and naturally comes with a stylus.

But the biggest advantage Pixel 5a has over others is the software, the user interface is simple and functional, updates arrive quickly, and you’ll get three years of OS upgrades and security support. And considering the $449 price point, we recommend the device.

Ok, that’s all guys let me know what you think about Google Pixel 5a in the comments section below and if you have any more queries just drop them as well, we will more than happy to answer all your questions.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Wow. You did a great job of reviewing this phone. You’re right. If something is working, why change it? I like how you emphasized the small changes included in the new model. Even small changes can make a big difference. By the way, I love how you included photo samples. Instead of you just telling me about the camera, I can see the quality of pictures for myself.

    1. Pixels are always good in the camera department and Google maintains the same tradition here by giving a great pair of lenses to capture wonderful moments. Great to know Chris you liked the review and it help you to know more about the device. In my opinion, the Pixel 5a is a great all-around phone apart from the cameras.

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