Google Pixel 5a 5G review

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Introduction

The Google Pixel 5a is the third iteration of Google’s Pixel “a” Series: smartphones based on the Google Pixel experience made with lower-cost entry points in mind. There’s also now more emphasis on battery life and water resistance. The latter is a welcome feature to the “a” Pixel family. The phone Is very similar to the Pixel 4a 5G in size, appearance, and specs. They aren’t identical, but pretty darn close.

Google Pixel 5a 5g review

Although it has the same chipset, RAM, and layout, the dimensions are slightly different, less than a millimeter difference in each dimension. The battery capacity is significantly better: about 15% more capacity than the Pixel 4a 5G. The phone’s construction is now made of a sturdier aluminum and resin unibody construction like the Pixel 5. The new build is also IP67 water resistant.

Google Pixel 5a 5G specs at a glance:

  • Body: 154.9×73.7×7.6mm, 183g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), aluminum/plastic unibody; IP67 dust/water resistant (up to 1m for 30 mins).
  • Display: 6.34″ OLED, 60Hz, 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 415ppi.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SDM765 Snapdragon 765G (7 nm): Octa-core (1×2.4 GHz Kryo 475 Prime & 1×2.2 GHz Kryo 475 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 475 Silver); Adreno 620.
  • Memory: 128GB (non-expandable), 6GB RAM.
  • OS/Software: Android 11.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main):12.2MP, f/1.7, 27mm, 77˚ (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS; Ultrawide angle: 16 MP, f/2.2, 119˚, 1.0µm.
  • Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm, 83˚ (wide), 1.12µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps; gyro-EIS; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 4680mAh; Fast charging 18W.
  • Misc: Rear-mounted fingerprint reader; 3.5mm jack.

The Google Pixel’s cameras are of the biggest selling points for the Pixel phones, but you’ll soon learn that its hardware is exactly the same as the 4a 5G and the Pixel 5’s, verbatim. We don’t anticipate there to be any significant difference in camera quality. Performance is also predictably decent on the Snapdragon 765G paired with 6GB of RAM.

Google Pixel 5a 5g review

These changes do come with a price hike. The Pixel 5a is the most expensive “a” series ever at $449, but will the improvements to the hardware retain their value in the long term? Is the Pixel 5a a solid entry into the Pixel family?

Let’s start answering that by opening the box first and see what’s inside.

Unboxing

The packaging is similar to what we’ve seen from Google for years. The box shows a photo of the Pixel 5a to actual size and the phone lays face down when you pull the lid off.

Google Pixel 5a 5g review

Under the plastic-wrapped Pixel 5a you’ll find a USB-C to C charging cable, an 18W USB-C charger, and a USB-C to USB-A adapter which Google calls its “Quick Switch Adapter”. This lets you transfer data from another phone to the Pixel 5a.

Next up, we’ll take a closer look at the new Pixel’s hardware.

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