The Google Pixel 4 is one of the best Android phones you can buy today, particularly if you’re in the market for a high-end flagship with no compromises on the hardware or software front. However, the phone is over 6 months old now, which basically means the countdown for a successor has already started.
It doesn’t take a genius to assume that Google will call this the Pixel 5, and that the phone will bring a wide-range of changes to make it a worthy upgrade over the predecessor.
Thankfully, we’ve already been treated to multiple leaks and reports about the upcoming Google flagship. So we’re going to try to go through all that we know about the smartphone so far, including details on its hardware, as well as a likely release date.
Google Pixel 5 Release Date, News, and Rumors
Google Pixel 5 News
Much like last year, before the Pixel 5 is released, Google will unveil a low-cost version of the Pixel 4, known as the Pixel 4a. This phone is expected to reach the markets by May 22.
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Although reports emerged that Google could use a custom 5nm Samsung-made chip on the Pixel 5, it was soon reported that the plan may be reserved for the 2021 flagship instead.
Google Pixel 5 Release Date
This is one area where Google has been consistent over the past few years. Pixel phones have usually launched in October each year, and we don’t think it will be any different this year. This makes sense for Google as this is when it makes Android 11 available as well. Naturally, we’ll have a better idea of when Google plans to release the Pixel 5 as we inch towards July.
It’s important to keep in mind that the ongoing pandemic may also put a hamper on Google’s plans to launch the Pixel 5 on time. This may push the release of the handset by the few months, although it’s likely Google will sort out production issues by then.
Google Pixel 5 Rumors
Size & Design
The image above was leaked in February this year, reportedly depicting a prototype of a potential Pixel 4 successor that Google is working on. Understandably, it’s hard to confirm the legitimacy of this leak at the moment. It’s also worth pointing out that the aforementioned leak is reportedly for the Pixel 5 XL.
Leaks have further indicated that this potential design is among a total of three prototypes currently being worked on by Google. The remaining two prototypes reportedly have a camera arrangement similar to the Pixel 4.
There’s currently no concrete information about the Pixel 5 and the display that it will use. Coming from the Pixel 3’s 5.5-inch display panel, Google slightly bumped up the display size with the Pixel 4 to 5.7-inches, while retaining the P-OLED panel. It is likely that Google will follow the same process with the Pixel 5 this year, sticking to an OLED panel of 5.7-inches in size.
A reliable source has also mentioned that the Pixel 5 display will have a 90 Hz refresh rate, much like its predecessor. While companies like Samsung have upgraded to 120 Hz refresh rates on their most recent smartphones, users have complained of the refresh rate taking a toll on the battery life. Keeping this in mind, it would probably be wiser for Google to stick to a 90 Hz display.
Google decided against using a wide-angle lens with the Pixel 5 for its own reasons. However, the company may be willing to change its perspective with the Pixel 5 as per a few reports. The company is reportedly adding a third rear camera sensor, possibly ultra-wide, to the Pixel 5. While the Pixel 4 camera is pretty stellar on its own, there’s no doubt that it could do significantly better with a third sensor.
Taking cues from companies like Apple, it is said that Google could include an improved night mode feature that could provide better illumination for low-light images. While Apple’s implementation is certainly not the best right now, it does set a pretty high standard among the competition. For those unaware, the Pixel 4 also comes with its own Night Mode feature that works similarly, although there’s room for improvement.
Photo enthusiasts were particularly impressed with the Pixel 4’s astrophotography modes, allowing for some brilliant shots of the stars. We can expect an overhaul of these core Pixel 4 camera features with the 2020 refresh.
As for the front camera, we expect the existing arrangement to continue, which also includes the biometrics sensor for face unlock and user authentication. It’s likely that Google will switch from a paltry 8MP sensor to a bigger, more capable selfie camera on the Pixel 5.
While one would normally assume that Google’s 2020 flagship would use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, some reports suggest otherwise. It is said that Google may go with the slightly underpowered Snapdragon 765 chipset instead, which supports 5G as well. If true, this could mean that the Pixel 5 won’t compete with Android flagships like the galaxy s20 which are powered by the Snapdragon 865 SoC.
One of the weaknesses of Pixel phones are the RAM capacity. While Google remained adamant for the most part to upgrade from 4GB, it finally took the step with the Pixel 4 which has 6GB of RAM. However, considering that the likes of Samsung already have phones with up to 12GB of RAM, Google may want to consider offering up to at least 8GB of RAM with the Pixel 5.
There should be no change with regard to the storage options offered by Google, and it’s almost a certainty that the phone won’t support microSD cards, so a combination of internal and cloud storage will have to do. Google offered the Pixel 4 in 64 and 128GB variants, so it is hoped that the company will possibly start with 128GB for the base model, and offer a 256GB variant as a high-end alternative. We also expect the storage standard to be upgraded to UFS 3.0, while the Pixel 4 comes with UFS 2.1.
Despite being a power-hungry device, it was somewhat surprising that Google chose a 2,800 mAh battery unit for the Pixel 4. Keeping this in mind, one can hope that Google upgrades this to at least 3,000 mAh, while also bringing along software features within Android 11 to make it more efficient on phones with smaller batteries. Similar to the predecessor, the Pixel 5 should also include USB Power Delivery 2.0 and 18W fast charging support.
One of the features that have caught our attention is with regard to reverse charging other devices. As per code found within Android 11, the software could soon support this by default. This could only mean that Google will potentially bring this with its next flagship device, the Pixel 5. Manufacturers like Samsung already offer some form of reverse charging on their smartphones, while the Galaxy Note 20 is also expected to have it later this year. But by making it a standard on the Pixel 5, Google can ensure that other manufacturers follow suit.
Say hello to Android 11
Android 11 is Google’s 2020 software refresh. While phones like the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 3 will be the first in line to get the update, Google’s Pixel 5 will likely be the first device launched with the software, as was the case in 2019 and the year before that. Google is currently sending out betas of Android 11 to developers, so we’re still getting to learn about what’s new with the update. As with the reverse charging feature discussed above, data hidden within Android 11 could give us a very good idea about some of the hardware features of the next Pixel flagship.
Google Pixel 5 Price
Google’s pricing strategy with the Pixel phones has been very aggressive. Last year’s Pixel 4 was launched starting at $799, while the Pixel 4 XL had a starting price of $899. It would be overly optimistic to expect the same kind of treatment this time around, considering the fact that the Pixel 5 is expected to bring 5G support for the first time.
In its current form, implementing 5G on a smartphone costs quite a bit, which explains why 5G phones usually cost over $1000 in the market. Keeping this in mind, we can probably expect pricing in excess of $1,000 for the base model of the Pixel 4, while the Pixel 4 XL will probably cross $1,200 for the top-end variant.
What could be different?
One of the biggest changes on the Pixel 5 is likely going to be the inclusion of 5G, which was missing from the Pixel 4. As we mentioned above, this could also drive up the price of the smartphone significantly, though it will finally be on par with the top flagships launching in 2022.
As hinted previously, Google may look to shake things up with the design of the Pixel 5. While we absolutely love the minimal bezel and flashy colors of the Pixel 4 and 4 XL, there’s always room for improvement. Google’s hardware team has received a lot of praise for its design, and we expect that trend to follow in 2022.
This goes without saying, but the software experience thanks to Android 11 will be unlike any other version of Android. Google is considering adding features like reverse charging by default, which could prove to be a gamechanger for Android phones in general. However, one also hopes that Google expands the battery capacity on the Pixel 5 to make sure this feature comes in handy.
- Will the Pixel 5 launch with Android 11?
As has been the case every year, the Pixel 5 will introduce the latest flavour of Android, known as Android 11.
- When will Pixel 5 launch?
The Pixel 5 will likely be unveiled in October 2020 with a release following shortly after.
- Will the Pixel 5 be resistant to water?
If the previous two Pixel flagships are any indication, the 2020 Pixel 5 should also come with IP68 certified water and dust resistance.