The Google Pixel 5 has arrived with a new definition of ‘flagship’ phone


The Pixel 5 arrived Wednesday at Google’s Launch Night In event, actually a few weeks earlier than expected in a year when the pandemic is delaying smartphone launches left and right. But the September launch isn’t the only thing that’s different. With the Pixel 5, Google is redefining what it means to be a flagship phone. This latest iteration isn’t the most premium and definitely not the most expensive. But it is the most Google-y, and perhaps that’s exactly what Google intended. 

A flagship that’s not premium

The Pixel 5 goes against the ‘flagship phone’ trend in some fundamental ways. It’s cheaper than the Pixel 4. It’s even missing some of the next-gen features that made the Pixel 4 interesting.

It has the same Snapdragon 765G processor that’s in the LG Velvet and OnePlus Nord—not to mention, the Pixel 4a 5G, which was also announced during the Launch Night In event. It still has only two cameras. And its display is smaller and less dense than those from most of its competitors.

pixel 5 rev wireless Google

The Pixel 5 supports wireless and reverse wireless charging, so you can power up earbuds on the go.

SImply looking at the specs, too, you’re getting a decidedly mid-range phone:

Dimensions: 144.7 x 70.4 x 8.0mm
Display: 6-inch Full HD OLED, 1080×2340, 90Hz
Professor: Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Front camera: 8MP, f/2.0
Rear camera: 12.2MP Wide, f/1.7, + 16MP Ultra-wide
Battery: 4,080 mAh

With a single hole-punch camera in the display, you’re also not getting the gesture-control Motion Sense radar that Google launched with the Pixel 4. It was admittedly hit-or-miss and kind of gimmicky, but its other use, 3D face unlock and authentication, wasn’t. The Pixel 4 is one of the few Android phones that uses the more-secure 3D face unlock for security rather than a fingerprint sensor, and it works very well. Even third-party app support, which was extremely spotty when it launched, has gotten better.

But rather than expand the best part of the Pixel 4, Google has completely dumped it. The Pixel 5 marks a return to the rather antiquated rear fingerprint sensor, giving it a decidedly budget feel. Gone, too, is the luscious frosted-glass back, though I’m not mad at the aluminum enclosure. It looks good and it won’t shatter when dropped.

The new Pixel premium

Of course, the Pixel 5 has some other things going for it. 



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