Google has struggled to make its premium Pixel phones a success, but the company’s budget-minded A-series Pixels have been great from the start. These phones merge the best of Google’s software with less expensive hardware for a budget experience that blows the competition out of the water. Google has just unveiled the long-rumored Pixel 5a, a phone we weren’t even sure would exist earlier this year. It looks a lot like last year’s Pixel 4a 5G, but it’s got a bigger battery and it’s a little less expensive.
Last year’s Pixel 4a 5G had a 6.2-inch 1080p OLED paired with a 3885 mAh battery, and the Pixel 5a has a 6.2-inch 1080p OLED with a 4620 mAh battery. That’s the largest battery ever in a Pixel phone. It’s definitely nice to see Google get with the program. The company even made the phone a little bit heavier to fit in all that battery. As a result, early reviews peg the device’s battery life as incredible.
The 5a also takes incredible photos, but that’s not because of any hardware changes. It has the same camera setup as last year’s Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. There’s a 12.2MP primary shooter and a 16MP ultrawide. Both cameras benefit from Google’s advanced photo processing and features like Night Sight and astrophotography mode.
The internal specs are a blast from the past, as well. The Pixel 5a has a Snapdragon 765G ARM chip, the same part that was in last year’s phone. There are newer SoCs in this niche like the Snapdragon 778G, but Google didn’t bite. I’d wager this has something to do with the ongoing semiconductor shortage, which has caused Google to limit the release of the 5a to just the US and Japan. It could be worse — there were rumors the 5a was being canceled entirely earlier this year, and Samsung actually did end up canceling the 2021 Note release.
Introducing the budget-friendly #Pixel5a with 5G 👋
🎮 Play games 📹 Take amazing video🎬 Watch HD movies 🔋 Power all day🔒 Keep your stuff secure
Available exclusively in 🇺🇸 and 🇯🇵. Pre-order at the Google Store https://t.co/GrPuLV3rvk pic.twitter.com/AFfFOFN1iB
— Made By Google (@madebygoogle) August 17, 2021
The phone runs Android 11 out of the box with Google’s raft of custom features like on-device Assistant processing and advanced Call Screen features. It also gets three years of full update support, so it should get Android 12, 13, and (probably) 14.
Sadly, there is no smaller, cheaper Pixel A this year. Last year’s Pixel 4a might end up being a one-off amazing deal. Rumors suggest Google wanted to charge $400 for that phone, but it dropped the price to $350 to compete with the iPhone SE. The Pixel 5a is a bit more expensive, but it’s cheaper than last year’s 4a 5G (Yes, Google’s naming is confusing). This phone will run you $450, which seems like a good deal for what you get.
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