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Google Pixel 5 Review: A Not-So-Exciting Upgrade

Tunbosun Oyinloye

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Google Pixel 5 Review: A Not-So-Exciting Upgrade

Bottom Line

In this Google Pixel 5 review, it is evident that the brand retained the premium nature found amongst its flagship lines.

Regardless, in an attempt to break even with rivalry brands in terms of price, the Pixel 5 misses out on some key specs.

Quick Review

Since its inception in 2016, the Google Pixel Smartphone line has portrayed itself as a premium brand.

“The iPhone of Android” is what many of us tagged the brand when it initially debuted.

Of course, it was so promising, especially considering how the brand uniquely integrated its self-built software and hardware.

Apart from the unique nature of the device, Google Pixel devices are also popular for their unmatchable camera system.

Google Pixel 5 Review: A Not-So-Exciting Upgrade

Source: NextPit

The brand has managed to remain distinguished in the provision of a high-end camera system.

Also, being the maker of the Android Operating System, Google equipped the Pixel 5 with the purest and latest Android 11.

As stated earlier, the device lacked some high-end specs that were featured even in the previously-launched Pixel 4.

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While the absence of these features justified the lowered price, it left a dent in the device’s premium nature.

The Pixel 5 misses out greatly in some aspect of the camera system.

For instance, the device lacked an optical telephoto camera, and Google seems to be stuck with the same old glory.

Specifications

Ahead of the full Google Pixel 5 review, here are some key specifications of the flagship Pixel device.

  • Screen size: 6.0-inches (85.9%screen-to-b0dy-ratio)
  •  Screen resolution: 1080 X 2340 pixels (432PPI density)
  • Dimensions : 144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm
  • Rear camera:  Dual rear camera consisting of 12.2MP, f/1.7, 27mm (wide), 1 /2.55” , & 16MP, f/2.2, 107˚ (ultrawide)
  • Front camera: Single 8MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1 /4.0”
  • Android system: Android 11
  • Operating system: Android
  • Memory: 8G RAM | 128GB ROM (Non-expandable)
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SDM765 Snapdragon 765G (7nm)
  •  CPU: Octa-core (1×2.4 GHz Kryo 475 Prime & 1×2.2 GHz Kryo 475 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 475 Silver)
  • GPU : Adreno 620
  • Safety: IP68
  • Weight: 151g
  • Color: Just Black, Sorta sage
  • Battery: Li-Po 4080 mAh non-removable battery (18W fast-charging, reverse/wireless charging)
  • Sensors: Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer

Definitely, that’s not everything about the device. Find out what more in the rest of the Google Pixel 5 review.

Google Pixel 5 design

Looking at the Google Pixel 5, there seems to be a glaring shift from the norm.

The company decided to dump the accustomed rear glass cover that has been in use since inception.

Also, Google brought back the physical fingerprint sensor, leaving it at the former position.

However, this has left us wondering whether the company got bored with the previous design.

Placing the Pixel 4 and 5 side-by-side, there is a significant difference between the duo.

Google Pixel 5 Review: A Not-So-Exciting Upgrade

Source: ComputerWorld

Regardless, the Pixel 5 still maintains the bumpy dual square-shaped rear camera setup.

It’s also interesting to see Google finally dumped the spacious bezel surrounding the device’s display.

Now, the device sports a hole-punch front-facing camera, allowing for more screen space.

Also, similar to its predecessor, the Pixel 5 features fewer physical buttons.

There are just the power button and the volume keys. Both keys are situated on the right side of the device.

Google situated the SIM slot on the left side while every other thing falls below the device.

The speaker outlet, Type-C charging port, and mouthpiece are still lined-up at the bottom.

Google Pixel 5 display

Google joined the bandwagon by killing off the bezel around the Pixel 5 display.

While this is a breakthrough from the old way, the company introduced the now-conventional hole-punch front camera.

Now, unlike what we’ve been familiar with, the Google Pixel 5 sports a wider 6-inches OLED display.

In comparison, the latest Pixel boasts of a 0.3-inches bigger display than the Pixel 4.

That been said, the Pixel 5 maintains the same full-HD screen resolution as found on the Pixel 4.

Google Pixel 5 Review: A Not-So-Exciting Upgrade

Source: Cnet

However, ahead of its predecessor, the latest Pixel 5 screen refresh rate peaks at 90Hz.

This is about 30Hz extra SRR compared to the more conventional 60Hz found on Pixel 4.

On Pixel 5, you can choose between either 60Hz or 90Hx SRR or allow it to dynamically switch between either.

Also, there was an improvement in terms of adaptive brightness, as the Pixel 5 peaks at 610 nits.

Although this is quite a major upgrade from the Pixel 4 peaking at 450 nits, Pixel 5’s nit is still a shortfall behind rivalry brands.

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For instance, the previously-launched iPhone 11 peaks at 652 nits, while the Galaxy S20 FE sports about 679 nits.

On the other hand, Google boasts of a more exuberant sRGB space, covering up to 128.8%.

However, this percentage is slightly ahead of 122.8% sported on the more expensive Galaxy Note 20.

Overall, the big display is another major highlight to look out for on the Google Pixel 5.

Google Pixel 5 camera

The Google Pixel lineup shares a common heritage in terms of solid photography.

It will rather be unusual if the Pixel 5 doesn’t exhibit similar uniqueness in the camera aspect.

The device features a dual-lens rear camera system consisting of a primary 12.2MP wide lens and 16MP ultrawide lens.

Google Pixel 5 Review: A Not-So-Exciting Upgrade

Source: Techrader

Recall that we teased some key highlights that are missing in the device’s camera system earlier.

The 16MP ultrawide lens apparently replaces the telephoto lens that was found in the previous model.

The reason for this, however, cannot be far-fetched.

Google was called out for dishing out a telephoto lens that offers little optical zoom advantage on the previous model.

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Regardless, after trying out the camera, we discovered that there isn’t any major difference.

Instead, the ultrawide camera poses a more useful alternative, especially giving the availability of Google’s Super Res Zoom technology.

The SRZ technology allows users to achieve a lossless digital zoom that’s as efficient as using a telephoto lens.

Another conspiracy theory around the missing telephoto lens suggests that Google wants to cut down on cost.

Moving further, at the front of the device, there is an 8MP hole-punch selfie camera.

Obviously, this is a major breakthrough for Google who finally joined the moving train.

Going into detail, we decided to take a couple of pictures to ensure that Pixel 5 still maintains the old heritage.

Indeed it does, and everything about the camera output is sensational, to say less.

Like every other model of the Pixel, we are not disappointed with the camera output.

As such, we do still rate it number one on our list of the best camera phones.

The fact that it sells for a cheaper amount is even a different satisfaction compared to other rivalry brands.

Google Pixel 5 Security

Google appears to have discontinued the provision of a facial lock system with the latest Pixel.

That does not mean that the device has a weak security system; instead, there are now limited options.

Aside from the conventional fingerprint and passcode, Google Pixel 5 lacks the trending face unlock system.

The reason for the omission cannot be ascertained, but it could have to do with the series of complaints attached to the previous model.

With the introduction of a hole-punch camera, one would expect to see Google include it in the latest Pixel device.

However, despite the introduction of a hole-punch camera, Google still seems unbothered.

Anyways, the absence of a facial lock system wouldn’t be of great concern. Thanks to the affordability of the device.

Regardless, there are cheaper smartphones that offer facial lock. So yes, it’s not decent enough.

Google Pixel 5 storage and processor

The 5G-ready Google Pixel features a more conventional Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G processor.

In comparison, the Pixel 5’s processor isn’t as dynamic as the Snapdragon 865 adopted by most high-end Android flagships.

Source: 9to5Google

Also, adopting a modest processor is evident in the device price tag, although that isn’t a turn-off.

It will interest you to know that Google also employed the same processor for Pixel 4a 5G, a base model sold at $500.

As such, it’s safe to say that the latest Pixel might not be as fast as last year’s Pixel 4 and 4 XL.

Aside from the slight bump in the screen refresh rate, the latest Pixel is as good as the older model.

Not to dwell on the aspect of processor alone, the latest Pixel also got a boost in terms of storage.

Google bumped the device’s RAM to 8GB, coupled with non-expandable storage of up to 128GB.

Going by Geekbench scoreboard for system-wide (multi-core) test, Google Pixel scored a low point of 1,617.

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In comparison, this number is a far-reach from other rivalry brands that sell around the same amount.

For instance, the Galaxy S20 FE scored a wey higher point at about 2,928. Interestingly, the now-defunct Pixel 4 also scored way higher at 2,329 points.

Overall, Pixel 5 dropped significantly in terms of processor, especially as it’s Google’s flagship device of the year is quite bothering.

Regardless, Pixel 5 can handle heavy duties like rendering 4K video, although it takes a longer time.

For instance, where the iPhone 11 could transcode a short 4K video clip in about 45 seconds, the Pixel 5 did in about 2 minutes and 27 seconds.

Gaming-wise, Pixel 5 offers a great resolution, but not necessarily the best gaming experience.

Google Pixel 5 battery life

Another significant milestone achieved by Pixel 5 is upgraded battery life.

Google boosted the device’s battery capacity by a significant margin of about 1,300mAh.

In comparison, the latest Pixel features a 4,080-mAh battery, where the previous model packs only 2,800-mAh.

Although still a far cry from the 5000-mAh found amidst most high-end Android devices, it’s a major boost for Pixel 5.

Also, with the upgraded battery, the latest Pixel can endure more demanding tasks.

While putting it to test, the Pixel device lasted for about 10-hours even when set to a default 90Hz SRR.

In comparison, the Pixel 5 lasted for about 2-hours more than the previous model under similar condition.

Of course, many would still argue that the battery enhancement is rather underwhelming.

However, the shortfall can be overlooked, given the adoption of higher SRR and adaptive brightness.

Regardless, the battery can even last longer, depending on the purpose of use.

For instance, when put to average use, the Pixel 5 can last through than a day and a half, approximately 36-hours.

Coupled with the above, the Pixel 5 boast of 18W fast charging while featuring a reverse/wireless charging.

As such, it is compatible with any Qi-enabled devices.

Google Pixel 5 display gap issue

Since the release of the Pixel 5, there has been a series of complaints attached to the device display.

As in most cases, users complained about a slight gap between the display and the device’s body.

Source: Android Police

Currently, many have been forced to ditch the device for another. However,  the scariest part of the issue is that it poses a threat against the device’s IP68 safety ratings.

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Already, many people feel the gap could result in further damage to the device when dropped in water.

As of the time of this publication, Google is reportedly investigating the issue, perhaps if it threatens the safety of the device.

Google Pixel 5 price and availability

The Pixel 5 launched on the 15th of October at a starting price of $699, about $100 lesser than its predecessor.

The Pixel 5 is available in two colours, Just Black and Sorta Sage. The device has started shipping since it was released.

While the device is available at an accredited retail store, you can also order directly from the site.

Should you buy the Pixel 5?

Why you should buy

  • If you need a mid-range device with a high-end camera system. Pixel 5 despite selling for an average price of $699, offers a great deal of camera output.
  • If you want a mid-range device with 5G connectivity.
  • If you want a device with a pure Android operating system. Google is the maker of Android OS, making sure to fit the Pixel 5 with the latest and purest Android OS.
  • If you want a mid-range yet high-end device. Pixel 5 is Google’s flagship device of the year. At the same time, it can be ranked in the category of mid-range price-wise. Either way, users will certainly enjoy a mix of both categories.

Why you shouldn’t buy

  • If you are out for a device with a very fast and rugged processor. The Google Pixel 5 review reveals a setback in the device’s performance.
  • If you want a device with very large or expandable storage. Although 128GB non-expandable storage employed on Pixel 5 is a lot, some users may find it undesirable.
  • If you want a device

Final Verdict

Google Pixel 5 is worth its starting price of $699. However, the device falls short of expectations as it sports an underwhelming performance for its price range.

Except you don’t own a Pixel 4, the latest Pixel 5 may be a perfect upgrade for you.

Oyinloye Bosun is a writer at Techuncode. Although not a gadget freak, he has a keen interest in familiarizing himself with every technology product - software or hardware. He also loves to arm himself with the knowledge of tech activities/events taking place both on the Local and International scenes. The provision of the above has pushed him to choose writing as a profession. Wondering if he has a hubby? Yes! He loves streaming tech-related podcasts in his spare time.

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