Google has taken the wraps off the latest of its Xa series accessibly priced smartphones. The new Pixel 5a with 5G (there is no 4G version) can be checked out on Google's US devices site, but no official product page was available for UK dwellers at the time of writing. If you do live state-side you can pre-order the new Google Pixel 5a today for $449 or $18.71pcm for 24 months.
It probably won't be disputed that the Pixel 4a 5G was well regarded in general for the price. It might have lacked some bells and whistles of Chinese challengers like Xiaomi or Realme at the same price, but you get the comfort / speed of the Google Pixel software updates program, a device that is designed to make the most of Google services, and the very well regarded computationally enhanced Pixel camera.
Thus, the Google Pixel 5a isn't a very big upgrade on its 4a 5G predecessor, and it even cuts the launch entry price by $50, kind of recognizing it doesn't pack in many top-end components. So, what has been improved with the Pixel 5a 5G? In brief, the bigger battery and screen, plus IP67 water resistance are the highlights.
The new Pixel 5a's battery is 4,680mAh, which is a fifth higher capacity than its (3,885mAh) 5G predecessor. This boost can provide a healthy length of continuous use, for example Engadget has already had some hands-on time and managed to loop-play videos for nearly 23 hours at 50 per cent brightness before the phone shut down. A more typical heavy use 24-hour period (gaming, streaming, testing) left the battery with 40 per cent charge. 'Normal' users might regularly get two days use out of this mobile, it is thought.
Another change is in the screen. The new Pixel 5a has a 6.34-inch 1080p OLED panel (a bit bigger than the 6.2-inch 4a 5G) but it keeps the pixel density at 413PPI by pushing up the resolution to 2400 x 1080 pixels. Some rumours suggested that the screen would be updated to a faster 90Hz refresh, but this hasn't happened.
Another change is in the water resistance rating. Previous Pixel Xa smartphones have not offered any water or dust resistance certification, but the new model here has IP67 water and dust resistance.
The rest of the key specs remain the same, so you have the same middling specs with regard to CPU, RAM, storage, with the excellent cameras, ports (inc 3.5mm headphone jack), and metal unibody plus Corning Gorilla Glass 3 build. Full specs can be perused here.
With pre-orders now live, as mentioned in the intro, general sales of the Pixel 5a begin on Thursday, 26th August in the US and Japan.
As a reminder, Google recently unveiled the Pixel 6 premium smartphone, which it claims represents the "biggest innovation in Pixel to date". The Pixel 6 is scheduled for release "this autumn" and might well push towards, or even beyond, the $1,000 price point.