Pixel 5 review: Google’s newest phone hasn’t pulled ahead of its rivals

by tobiniumu
0 comment

Google’s jumping on the 5G train with the $499 Pixel 4A 5G (£499, AU$799) and $699 Pixel 5 (£599 and AU$999). The phones run the latest Android 11 OS, have a second ultra-wide camera and bigger batteries than any previous Pixel phone. But as the marquee device, the Pixel 5 is equipped with a few more features.

These goodies include a 90Hz display, 2GB more RAM, a bigger battery and a water-resistant, aluminum body. It also has wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. (For more on the differences, check out CNET’s video, Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G spec comparison.)


  • 90Hz display
  • 5G-enabled
  • Reverse wireless charging
  • Terrific camera

Don’t Like

  • Pricey for its hardware offerings

Other than that, the phones have the same camera setup, processor and general look and feel. And because they have so many overlapping features, I lean towards the Pixel 4A 5G. While I love the higher refresh rate on the Pixel 5 and wireless charging, that $200 I’d be pocketing by going with the 4A 5G makes it worth skipping out on those features, at least for me. After all, with that chunk of change I could buy a pair of wireless earbuds or more storage on Google One. Plus, it still has 5G and a bigger screen, which makes the Pixel 4A 5G my pick of the three new Pixel phones this year (yes, don’t forget about that Pixel 4A from August) and one of my top overall picks for Android phones in its price range.

As for the Pixel 5, it’s hard to recommend given its price. True, it is $100 cheaper than the Pixel 4 ($390 at Back Market) was when it launched last year. And Google knows people aren’t willing to spend a lot right now and is producing only 800,000 Pixel 5 phones this year. But while the Pixel 5 is Google’s flagship phone, it isn’t exactly an ultra-premium flagship phone. There are plenty of alternatives from Samsung, Apple, OnePlus and even LG that boast better hardware.

Most cost as much or more than the Pixel 5, but not all. The OnePlus 8 ($699 at Amazon), for example, is currently $600 for the 8GB/128GB model. It too has 5G, an ultra-wide lens, a 90Hz display and the T-Mobile variant is water-resistant. Though it doesn’t have wireless charging or reverse wireless charging, it has a larger display and the more powerful Snapdragon 865 chipset, as opposed to the Pixel 5’s Snapdragon 765G. And if you’re looking for even more flagship features, like 8K video recording, a faster processor, expandable storage or more cameras (like a telephoto lens), it’s best to look elsewhere altogether.

Pixel 5’s camera: New ultra-wide camera and stabilizing options

Like in past years, the Pixel phones’ main selling point is the camera. Google got rid of the telephoto lens that we saw on the Pixel 4 and replaced it with an ultra-wide camera. Though I like having a telephoto lens, the ultra-wide camera works well and I do enjoy having the wider field of view for sweeping landscapes or just fitting more content in a single frame.

Tweaking a photo using the Portrait light tool.

Lynn La/CNET

The camera’s low-light mode, branded as Night Sight, takes great pictures in dim lighting and now it works in portrait mode so you can still take those polished, dramatic pictures in the dark. The effect isn’t always perfect, however. In the photos I took I did see some patchiness around my flyaway hairs and instances where my fingers in the foreground (holding up a peace sign) was confused and blurred out as part of the background. Google also added a tool that lets you play around with portrait lighting. It’s easy to use and it came in handy whenever I took a generally nice image, but the lighting just didn’t quite come out right.

For video, the phone still uses a mix of optical and electronic image stabilization that gives video a smooth, almost drone-like quality. And there are now different types of optimizations you can choose for stabilization, including Cinematic Pan. This offers a slower, more cinematic look for panning. (I also like that Google included quick explainers and samples of when to use each of these options and what they look like; it makes the phone quite user-friendly.) And for slow-motions fans, the phone can now record 60fps in 4K resolution.

In general, the cameras are still fantastic and remember the Pixel 5 and 4A 5G share the same cameras. Pictures have great dynamic range, shots are vibrant and clear and Night Sight does an excellent job at handling low-light. Digital zooming maxes out at 7x and while it works well enough, details do get muddied on faraway objects. Also, the delta between the Pixel’s camera and other phones isn’t as wide anymore. Compared to the OnePlus 8T, for example, pictures looked pretty on par with one another. Though, when it came to low light, the Pixel had better dynamic range and white balance.

This shot of boats in the evening were taken with the main 12-megapixel camera.

Lynn La/CNET

The same scene captured with the 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera.

Lynn La/CNET

A closeup shot of this succulent shows sharp detailing.

Lynn La/CNET

This photo of the building was taken across the street using the main camera and no zoom.

Lynn La/CNET

The same shot of the building using the 7x digital zoom.

Lynn La/CNET

This picture exemplifies the Pixel’s wide dynamic range. When the OnePlus 8T took the same image, the signage on the building was blown out and unreadable.

Lynn La/CNET

Night Sight now works with portrait mode to take bokeh-like photos in the dark. Here, my only light sources were a nearby candle and a computer monitor a few feet away.

Lynn La/CNET

Night Sight lit up this very dim scene near a lake, and you can see details in the foreground shrubbery as well as the apartment lights in the background.

Lynn La/CNET

Pixel 5 previews Hold For Me and other Android 11 goodies

The Pixel phones run Android 11 and there isn’t a huge amount of new software things we haven’t already seen since the OS has been rolling out. That includes Dark Mode, Quick Controls and a feature I’ve used often to help with this very review — the built-in screen recorder.

Hold For Me lets Assistant take your place while you’re put on hold.

Lynn La/CNET

The devices do preview something called Hold For Me, which lets Google Assistant take your place when you’re on hold and notifies you when a real person is back on the line. It builds off the same AI technology as Call Screen and the interface is quite efficient when I used it to call a dummy line that Google setup. You still have to hover around the phone when a person takes up your call, but I’ll take any relief I can get from crappy hold music.

The native recorder app also has more tricks up its sleeve since the last time I took a look at it on the Pixel 4A. I’m not too sure why Google has really leaned in on this app, but as someone who uses it all the time for taking notes and recording interviews, I’m not complaining. You can now edit text and copy or remove chunks of audio. Unfortunately, you can only edit text one word at a time for now, which prevented me from breaking a misheard word into two (it transcribed me saying “their powers,” into “empowered”) and it was tedious when I had to correct a handful of mistakes in a row. I do like this new tool in the Recorder app, which creates a little graphic if you want to share some quote or audio snippet on social media.

Pixel 5’s natural, minimalistic aesthetic and 90Hz display

Compared to the Pixel 4, the Pixel 5 and 4A 5G have thinner bezels and a hole-punch camera display on the front. The rear camera bump is more flushed on the Pixel 5 too, which looks much nicer. 

When designing the Pixel 5, Google said it wanted the phone to have a soft look that’s reminiscent of a pebble or stone. Perhaps because the cozy, Scandinavian aesthetic is trendy right now, but I dig the phone’s matte, natural appearance. It reminds me of high-end Japanese washi paper and the sage green color looks especially good. The reflective accents of the power button and “G” logo on the back are also a lovely touch. On the surface, I couldn’t tell the difference between the Pixel 5’s aluminum design and the Pixel 4A 5G’s polycarbonate, or plastic, encasing. But in the hand it does feel denser, despite being smaller. 

The Pixel 5 also has a 90Hz display, meaning the screen refreshes 90 frames a second. Most phones, including the Pixel 4A 5G, refresh 60 times a second, though there are some that have 120Hz displays, like the OnePlus 8T and Galaxy S20. For the Pixel 5 to have a higher refresh rate means that scrolling through news feeds and web pages feel much smoother and almost bouncy. To save on battery life, there are some situations that the phone will revert back to 60Hz, like when the screen is static or when an app doesn’t necessarily call for a high refresh rate. 

The Pixel 5 has a 90Hz display

Angela Lang/CNET

Pixel 5 performance and battery

The Pixel 5 and 4A 5G feature a Snapdragon 765G processor. It’s an interesting choice given that a lot of current flagships and last year’s Pixel 4 have the more robust Snapdragon 855 chipset. While that means the Pixels’ benchmark scores aren’t as high as, say, the OnePlus 8 or Galaxy S20, the phones are comparable to devices that have the Snapdragon 765G processor, like the LG Velvet for example. It’s still fast and reliable too, and during my time with it, I didn’t experience any hiccups or lag time throughout my day-to-day tasks.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited


Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 single-core


Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 multicore


Longer bars indicate better performance

The Pixel 5 has a 4,000-mAh battery while the Pixel 4A 5G has a 3,800-mAh battery. It’s the highest capacity of any Pixel phones in years past, but keep in mind plenty of other phones — like the OnePlus 8 and the Galaxy S20 have batteries that are as big or even bigger than that.

From what I’ve seen so far, the Pixel phones are able to go without charging for more than 24 hours with mild usage. I remember last year with the Pixel 4, that phone’s battery noticeably drained pretty quickly through the day and fortunately I’m not seeing the same thing here. Battery tests on the Pixel 5 for continuous video playback on Airplane mode clocked an average of 21 hours, 11 minutes. This is an excellent time, especially when considering that the Pixel 4 averaged half that time at 10 hours. But we’re going to conduct streaming tests on the Pixel 5, so check back for an update. Lastly, Google is introducing a new mode called Extreme Battery Saver. It’s an option on top of the regular battery saver mode and it severely limits app usage to extend battery life. 

Pixel 5 vs. Pixel 4A 5G, OnePlus 8 and Galaxy A71

Google Pixel 5 Google Pixel 4A 5G OnePlus 8 Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
Display size, resolution 6-inch FHD+ OLED; 2,340 x 1,080 pixels 6.2-inch FHD+ OLED; 2,340 x 1,080 pixels 6.55-inch AMOLED; 1,080×2,400 pixels 6.7-inch AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels
Pixel density 432ppi 413ppi 402ppi 399ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 in 6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 in 6.3 x 2.8 x 0.31 in 6.39 x 2.97 x 0.31 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 144.7 x 70.4 x 8.0 mm 153.9 x 74 x 8.2 mm (Sub-6 only) 153.9 x 74 x 8.5 mm (mmWave + Sub-6) 160 x 72.9 x 8.0 mm 162.5 x 75.5 x 8.1 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.33 oz; 151g 5.93 oz; 168g (Sub-6 only) 6.03 oz; 171g (mmWave + Sub-6) 6.35 oz; 180g 6.52 oz; 185g
Mobile software Android 11 Android 11 Android 10 Android 10
Camera 12.2-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide) 12.2-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide) 48-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide), 2-megapixel (macro) 64-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth-sensing)
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 16-megapixel 32-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon Qualcomm 7250, Snapdragon 765G
Storage 128GB 128GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB
RAM 8GB 6GB 8GB, 12GB 6GB, 8GB
Expandable storage No No No Up to 512GB, 1TB
Battery 4,000mAh 3,800mAh 4,300mAh 4,500mAh
Fingerprint sensor Rear Rear In-screen In-screen
Headphone jack No Yes No Yes
Special features 5G enabled; water resistant (IP68); 90Hz refresh rate display; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); reverse wireless charging; fast charging 5G enabled; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); fast charging 5G enabled; Warp Charge; 90Hz refresh rate 5G enabled
Price off-contract (USD) $699 $499 $699 (8GB RAM/128GB), $799 (12GB RAM/256GB) $600 (AT&T and T-Mobile); $650 (Verizon)
Price (GBP) £599 £499 £599 (8GB RAM/128GB), £699 (12GB RAM/256GB) £420 (4G), £520(5G)
Price (AUD) AU$999 AU$799 UK converts to: AU$1,180 (8GB RAM/128GB), AU$1,370 (12GB RAM/256GB) AU$750 (4G), AU$800 (5G)

*prices are at launch

Source link



Xiaomi Redmi 9 6.53 inch 4G Smartphone NFC Global Version – Green 4GB+64GB (NFC Version)HK
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro 4G Smartphone Snapdragon 720G Octa Core 2.3GHz 6.67 inch 64MP + 8MP + 5MP + 2MP Camera 5020mAh Battery Global Version – White 6GB+128GBHK
Xiaomi Redmi 9C 4G Smartphone 6.53 inch Media Tek Helio G35 2.3GHz Octa-core 13MP AI Triple Camera 5000mAh Battery Global Version – Gray 2GB+32GBHK
DOOGEE N20 Mobilephone Fingerprint 6.3inch FHD Display 16MP Triple Back Camera – Purple Hong KongCN
DOOGEE N20 Pro Quad Camera Mobile Phones Helio P60 Octa Core 6GB RAM 128GB ROM Global Version – Space GrayCN
Ulefone Power 6 4G Smartphone 6350mAh Battery – Black EU VersionHK
DOOGEE S40 Rugged Mobile Phone 5.5inch 4650mAh MT6739 Quad Core 3GB 32GB Android 9.0 8.0MP IP68 – Orange Hong KongHK
KUMI Mi1 2G GSM DCS Mobile Phone with Thermometer Function MTK6261D 2.4 inch 32MB RAM 32MB ROM 1700mAh Battery Global Version – BlackCN
Cubot KINGKONG MINI 4G Smartphone 4.0 inch Android 9.0 MT6761 Quad Core 3GB RAM 32GB ROM 13.0MP Rear Camera 2000mAh Battery Global Version – OrangeHK
Cubot X19 S 4G Smartphone 5.93 inch Android 9.0 MT6763 Octa Core 4GB RAM 32GB ROM 2 Rear Camera 4000mAh Battery Global Version – BlackHK
CUBOT KingKong CS 3G Smartphone Android 10 (Go Edition) 2GB RAM 16GB ROM Face ID IP68 Waterproof Global Version – BlackHK
Ulefone Armor X3 3G Smartphone – Black EUHK
Ulefone Armor X7 4G Smartphone 5 inch Android 10.0 Helio A20 MT6761VWE 2GB RAM 16GB ROM 2 Rear Camera 4000mAh Battery IP68 IP69K Waterproof Global Version – BlackHK
Ulefone Note 8P 4G Phablet 5.5 inch Android 10 Go Edition MT6737VW 2GB RAM 16GB ROM 8MP + 2MP Rear Camera 2700mAh Battery Global Version – BlackHK
OUKITEL C19 4G Smartphone Android 10 Go 2GB RAM 16GB ROM 6.49 inch HD + 13.0MP + 0.3MP + 0.3MP Rear Camera 4000mAh Global Version – BlackHK
World Premise DOOGEE X95 Android 10 4G-LTE Cellphones 6.52 Display MTK6737 16GB ROM Dual SIM – Green Hong Kong 2+16GBCN
HOMTOM HT80 IP68 Smartphone 4G LTE Android 10 5.5 Inch MT6737 Quad Core NFC SmarthoneWireless charger – Original green RAM 2GB ROM 16GB Hong Kong CN
BMAX X15 Laptop 15.6 inch Intel Gemini Lake N4100 Intel UHD Graphics 600 8GB LPDDR4 RAM 128GB SSD ROM Notebook – Dark GrayCN
Xiaomi Mi Laptop 15.6 inch Pro 2020 Upgrade MX350 Notebook Intel i7-10510U 16GB 1TB SSD Computer – I5-10210U 8G 512G ChinaCN
CHUWI AeroBook Pro 13.3 inch Notebook Intel Core m3-8100Y 8GB DDR3 256GB SSD Windows 10 OS – PlatinumHK
Jumper EZbook X3 Air Notebook 13.3inch IPS Screen Intle Gemini Lake N4100 8GB DDR4 128GB eMMC 1.1cm Ultra-thin design Laptop – Mocha brown US plug ChinaCN
Xiaomi RedmiBook 16 Laptop Ryzen Edition With AMD Ryzen 4700U/4500U 16.1 Inch Display Type C Charge 512G SSD – R5 8G 512G SSD ChinaCN
TECLAST P20HD 10.1-inch 4G Tablet Android 10.0 SC9863A Call Eight-core 1.6GHz 4GB RAM 64GB Bluetooth 5.0 EU – BlackCN
Teclast F6 Plus 13.3 inch Convertible Laptop 8GB 256GB 360° Flip-and-fold FHD IPS Display Touch Screen Intel N4100 Chip 38Wh(10000mAh / 3.8V)Battery – Cloudy GrayCN
Teclast T30 10.1 inch 4G Tablet MTK Helio P70 Octa-core CPU 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM 8.0MP + 5.0MP Camera 8000mAh Battery 5G + 2.4G Dual-band WiFi – BlackCN
CHUWI Hi10X 10.1 Inch Tablet PC Intel Gemini Lake N4100 Quad Core CPU Windows 10 OS 6GB LPDDR4 128GB EMMC with Keyboard Stylus Pen – Gray SETHK
CHUWI HeroBook Pro 14.1 inch Laptop Intel Gemini Lake N4000 Intel UHD Graphics 600 8GB LPDDR4 RAM 256GB SSD Notebook – Gray EU PlugHK
OPPO Realme Band Smart Bracelet Large Color Screen Motion Tracker 16mm Wrist Strap Heart Rate Monitor IP68 USB Charging Wristband International Edition – BlackHK
flash sale2603円509月17日3%-5%
Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Headset Over-Ear Headphones – Black CN
Amazfit Pace Smartwatch Amazfit Smart Watch Bluetooth Notification GPS Information Push Heart Rate Monitor for Android – Red Spain (entrepot EU)CN
Xiaomi Mijia Redmi Wireless TV Sound Bar Speaker Bluetooth 5.0 Audio Music Playback Redmi Soundbar for Home Theater – add EU adapter CN
Xiaomi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker Stereo IP55 Dustproof Waterproof Dual Microphone Noise Reduction Call Bluetooth 5.0 Sound – Black 3%commissionsCN
Xiaomi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker Stereo IP55 Dustproof Waterproof Dual Microphone Noise Reduction Call Bluetooth 5.0 Sound – Mini 3%commissionsCN
NEW 2020 Amazfit Neo Smart Watch Bluetooth Smartwatch 5ATM Heart Rate Tracking 28Days Battery Life For Android IOS Phone – Orange 3%commissionsCN
Xiaomi Airdots Pro 2 Air 2 Bluetooth Headset Wireless Earphone LHDC Tap Control Dual MIC ENC – Airdots Air 2 6%commssionsCN
2020 Xiaomi Airdots Pro 2 SE Earphone Mi True Wireless TWS Bluetooth Dual SBC/AAC Tap Stereo Control Dual MIC ENC 5%commissionsCN
Original Xiaomi Mijia New 1080P IP Camera 130 Degree FOV Night Vision 2.4Ghz Dual-band WiFi Xiaomi Home Kit Security Monitor – Standrad China EU Plug 5%commissionsCN
Aqara WSDCGQ11LM Temperature Humidity Sensor ( Xiaomi Ecosysterm Product )CN
Aqara Window Door Sensor ( Xiaomi Ecosystem Product )CN
Aqara WXKG11LM Smart Wireless Switch Asia Pacific Version ( Xiaomi Ecosystem Product ) – WhiteCN
CORN WB05 Bluetooth Call Smart Watch 90 Days Standby 1.2 inch 390 X 390 AMOLED Full Touch Screen 8 Sports Modes IP67 Waterproof Smart Watch – BlackCN

You may also like

Leave a Comment