By Chaim Gartenberg
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Google has officially taken the wraps off of the $699 Pixel 5, its latest Android flagship. Compared to last year’s Pixel 4, Google is focusing less on dramatic new technology — like the much-hyped Motion Sense gestures on last year’s model — and emphasizing instead the unique features that already help set the Pixel apart, like its stand-out camera software.
The Pixel 5 will feature a Snapdragon 765G processor — notably not the top-tier Snapdragon 865 or 865 Plus — complete with Qualcomm’s integrated X52 modem for 5G support (a benefit of the slightly less powerful chipset.) It’s a break from the usual Pixel strategy, which has sought to offer comparable flagship specs to other top Android devices from companies like Samsung or OnePlus — but it also means Google can offer the new phone at a lower price.
Google is calling out a few things that separate the Pixel 5 from the newly announced Pixel 4A, including IPX8 water resistance, reverse wireless charging, more RAM, and a stronger Corning Gorilla Glass 6 panel. Notably, it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, though, something its cheaper siblings offer.
The display is a 6-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED panel in a 19.5:9 aspect ratio with a 90Hz refresh rate, which features a hole-punch selfie camera. Thanks to the removal of the Motion Sense camera — and the hefty top bezel it required for its radar array — there’s now a full edge-to-edge display this time, with no notch or bezels. (There isn’t even a small chin at the bottom, setting it apart from the cheaper Pixel 4A.)
Rounding out the specs are 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a 4080mAh battery, IP68 waterproofing, and 18W USB-C fast charging. And on the 5G front, the Pixel 5 will also support both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G, which means that it should work with almost any major 5G network.
As always, the star of the show with the Pixel 5 is the cameras. The Pixel 5 has two rear cameras: a 12.2 megapixel main camera with a 77 degree field of view and both optical and electronic image stabilization, and a new 16 megapixel ultrawide that shoots at a wider 107 degrees. The front camera, meanwhile, is an 8 megapixel camera, but Google has added the option to take portrait mode shots using its Night Sight mode.
Of course, there’s some new software features, too. Google has added a new AI-powered “Portrait Light” mode, which lets you adjust the lighting on portrait mode shots, a “Cinematic Pan” setting for panning shots, and three new stabilization modes for shooting smoother video. And the “Extreme Battery Saver” mode promises to help stretch your battery life to up to 48 hours.
As expected, the latest Pixel is a bit of a different device than in previous years. Instead of going for the absolute best specs possible, Google is offering a slightly more modest set of specs and a lower price point: the Pixel 5 will start at $699, a $100 cut from the $799 the Pixel 4 started at.
The Pixel 5 will be available first in eight countries on October 15th, then on October 29th in the US through Verizon, Google Fi, and unlocked from Google’s online store for $699. Preorders are available now. AT&T will also be offering the Pixel 5 later this fall, although it has yet to announce a price or specific release date.
Correction: Google’s early information during its live event was vague as to which countries will get what devices on what dates. We have updated this post to reflect Google’s latest, more accurate information on release dates.
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By Chaim Gartenberg