The Google Pixel 5 series is expected to come out in October of 2020 and rumors and leaks have already started appearing about Google's next flagship phone. And it seems that this one will be different.
The big theme with the Pixel 5 has to be fixing the mess that Google itself created with the Pixel 4. The Pixel 4 and the 4 XL were two of the most viciously criticized flagships of 2019, and shortly after the launch, the two phones were discounted sharply, not least because of all the bad press around the two devices. Most people were disappointed with the small size of the battery on the Pixel 4, but other key features were also missing. But before we dive in the details, here is when we expect to see the new Pixel 5 family appear.
Google Pixel 5, 5 XL Price and Release date
Based on Google's established routine for releasing its Pixel phones so far, the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5 XL official launch event is expected to happen on Wednesday, October 14th, 2020, with the release date set for eight days later, on Thursday, October 22nd.
Considering the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, however, and all the uncertainty that comes with it, changes are certainly possible.
Finally, let's once again recap the expected prices for the Pixel 5 series. These are our predictions considering the possibility of the Pixel 5 featuring the lower tier processor:
- Pixel 5 128GB: $600
- Pixel 5 256GB: $700
- Pixel 5 XL 128GB: $700
- Pixel 5 XL 256GB: $800
- Pixel 4a: prices from $400
With this in mind, here are our expectations of what the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5 XL will look like, and what changes they will bring.
Google Pixel 5 specifications (rumored):
- Lower-tier Snapdragon 765G chip
- Lower price, expectations are for $600 to $700 MSRP
- Improved power efficiency, bigger battery size
- Improved camera
- 5G support
Pixel 5 series bring 5G and a new processor
Google is likely to use a lower-tier chip on the Pixel 5 to make the phone more affordable
The first major leak about the Pixel 5 series came courtesy of 9to5Google in the middle of March 2020. The publication got early access to the Google Camera app from an unreleased Pixel 4a unit, and found an indirect mention of the new Pixel 5 family. The very same camera app has been the source of reliable leaks about earlier Pixel phones in the past, so chances are high that the new details mentioned below are also true.
The first thing we learn is two codenames obviously referring to the Pixel 5 series: "Bramble" and "Redfin" (one for the regular Pixel 5 and one for the XL version). Google has been using types of fish to codename its pixels for years, and these new names fall in that same tradition.
The major takeaway from this leak, however, is the processor that the new series will use: the Snapdragon 765G, a lower tier chip than the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 865.
Yes, Google will likely skip the Snapdragon 865 processor and instead opt for the lower priced yet still quite capable Snapdragon 765G. This move will allow it to price the phone much more affordably, possibly in the $600 to $700 price range. At those prices, the Pixel will really stand out with its camera and has a much better chance to compete than when you put it in the fiercely competitive $1000+ price range. The Snapdragon 765G is also a chip capable of 5G connectivity, so you won't sacrifice connection speeds in any significant way.
In terms of performance, the Snapdragon 765G is definitely slower than the 865, with Geekbench scores showing a considerable difference of somewhere between 30% and as much as 50%.
Pixel 5: Battery Improvements
More power efficient chip and bigger size of the batteries
While performance on the Pixel 5 might take a hit, the newer chip might also be more power efficient.
In late 2019, the industry started moving towards bigger phones with bigger batteries, a trend that so many reviewers and users have been wishing for. Google ignored that trend in the Pixel 4 series and paid the price as the phone was getting short battery life (especially the smaller Pixel 4).
Right below, you will find a quick summary of the battery capacity on the Pixel 4 series and the changes we expect to see in the Pixel 5 lineup. We expect Google to benefit from the more power-efficient Snapdragon 765G and from a bigger battery cell. Note that the numbers for the Pixel 5 are our guesses, there have been no leaks as to the actual battery size on the Pixel 5 series yet:
- Pixel 4: 2800 mAh
- Pixel 5: 3080 mAh (+10% battery size increas)
- Pixel 4 XL: 3700 mAh
- Pixel 5 XL: 4030 mAh (+10% battery size increase)
Pixel 5: Cameras
The one key camera feature that is missing
In its phone releases, Google is this strange company that says one thing this year and does the complete opposite next year.
In 2016, it was praising the headphone jack and taking jabs at Apple for not having it in their iPhones, then, one year later, in 2017 it killed it on the Pixel 2 series and deleted that promo video from the previous year.
In 2017, Google was again laughing at Apple and saying there was "no need" for a secondary camera on the Pixel, then, in 2019, what do you know, the Pixel 4 launched with a secondary camera and a telephoto one just like what iPhones used for years.
Fast forward to 2019, and Google is now saying it feels there is no need for an ultra-wide angle lens. You know what this means, right? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me... and we now know better: the Google Pixel 5 will surely have an ultra-wide angle lens. And honestly, we hope it will as that camera is one of our favorite feature on other flagship phones.
No radar gimmicks
The Project Soli radar system on the Pixel 4 has been of little use and might be discarded
For years, Google worked on a secret super sensitive radar idea called Project Soli and in 2019, that super-advanced technology came to a real phone, the Pixel 4. And it was a complete and utter nonsense, just like most such ideas in the past.
The new "Motion Sense" technology that was supposed to change the way we navigate our phones from using swipes and taps to just gestures, turned out to be yet another gimmick that allowed you to weirdly swipe above your phone to skip to the next song and that was about it for functionality. What a waste of space!
And indeed, it did take a lot of space. While most modern smartphones have beautiful designs with minimal bezel, the Pixel 4 has a gigantic bezel at the top for all of that gimmicky tech. Our expectation and sincere hope is that Google realizes the idea does not really make sense and remove it in the Pixel 5, so it has a modern design.