Before the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro this fall, the Pixel 5a with 5G is launching as Google’s next affordable phone. There are, of course, similarities to the Pixel 4a line, but this 2021 device ends up being much closer to the Pixel 5.
Visually, the Pixel 5a with 5G is almost identical to the Pixel 4a 5G save for a ridged power button (in olive) and color. It’s only available in “Mostly Black,” with the descriptor referring to the subtle sage nature. Seeing this darker hue literally depends on the lighting condition.
In terms of size, today’s phone (156.2mm x 73.2 x 8.8 and 183 grams) is only 2.3mm taller, .8 narrower, .6 thicker, and 15g heavier than the 4a 5G.
One key upgrade is a metal unibody that replaces last year’s polycarbonate. It’s coated in plastic (“bio-resin”), like the Pixel 5, and five layers of forrest green paint, but you’ll appreciate the added heft. Notably, this is the first A-series phone with IP67 water resistance. That rating — along with a 3.5mm headphone jack — will hopefully continue in the future.
Gorilla Glass 3 is used (Google has since confirmed to us it’s not Gorilla Glass 6) to protect the slightly larger 6.34-inch 2400×1080 (at 413 PPI) OLED screen with 60Hz refresh rate — no Smooth Display is found here.
There’s an 8-megapixel hole-punch in the top-left corner that’s unchanged from before at f/2.0 aperture and 83° FOV. On the back, you find the same 12.2-megapixel (f/1.7 and 77° FOV) main camera paired with a 16-megapixel ultrawide (117° FOV and f/2.2). However, the square bump does lose the spectral and flicker sensor.
The 5a is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You’ll also find a Titan M security module, Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Sub-6 5G radio. There are standard stereo speakers with a grill up top and a bottom-firing cutout that avoids the Pixel 5’s under-display design. Lastly, two microphones contribute to noise suppression.
This is all supported by a 4680 mAh (typical) battery compared to 3885 mAh on the 4a 5G. It’s the largest-ever battery found on a Pixel phone, but there is no wireless charging with just the USB-C port available for power.
Google is only selling the Pixel 5a with 5G in the US ($449) and Japan (¥51,700). Besides the Google Store in both countries — where Pixel phones are popular, it will also be sold by Google Fi and SoftBank, respectively. It’s available for pre-order today and launches on Thursday, August 26.
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