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I will be completely honest with you. I don’t really understand Google’s phone strategy right now. And because of its value, I really don’t know if Google will do either. I wrote about it here, but I save you from the need to read an additional 800 words on all of these. The short version is that Google has three phones on the market, and there isn’t a whole lot of distinction between them.

Pixel is a portrait of the hardware department in transition. This applies to many aspects, from strategy to the fact that the company recently saw a minor executive escape. The future of Google’s mobile hardware sector will look quite different than it is today, but the three phones in the 2020s are probably a takeover from old security guards.

What we are looking at here is the Pixel 5. That is Google’s flagship. Above all, devices with the same midrange Qualcomm processor as the 4a announced earlier this year. However, the inclusion of 5G makes it different from mobile phones on that budget. But here comes the 4a 5G, which makes the water even more turbid.

There are some important differences that distinguish between the 5 and 4a 5G announced at the same event. The 5s has a more robust body, from 100% recycled aluminum to the cheaper unit polycarbonate. It also has a waterproof function and a reverse wireless charging function. This is a fun feature that has been seen on Samsung devices for generations. But beyond that, we come across something that has been a decisive issue since the start of the line. If you choose not to use hardware to define the device, it will be difficult to distinguish the hardware of the device.

Image Credit: Brian Heater

From the beginning of the Pixel line, the company has insisted on relying on software advances to move its products forward. After years of arms race between something like Apple and Samsung, it’s a great feeling. But that means that when it comes time to introduce new devices, the results can be quite slow. That certainly applies to the Pixel 5.

From a hardware point of view, it’s not a particularly exciting phone. That’s probably fine for many. After all, smartphones are becoming more of a product than luxury products, and many users are looking for smartphones that simply get the job done. That said, Google is in a fairly fierce competition for the price of the Pixel 5s, and there are plenty of Android devices that can do even more.

However, in addition to the above points, there are certainly some upgrades. Befitting, the biggest and most important of all, is probably the least exciting. The Pixel 4 was actually a pretty solid device and was hampered by one very big problem: terrible battery life. The capacity of 2,800mAh was a fairly huge millstone around the neck of the device. Thankfully, it’s dealt with in a big way here.

Google hit things up to 4,080mAh. It’s also a much larger bump than the 4a and 4a 5G, which sport 3,885mAh and 2,130mAh, respectively. Given the addition of both battery share and 5G, its extra life is very important. For disclosure, your mileage depends on coverage, as I still live in an area that is basically without 5G (three cheers of working from home). However, with LTE, I was able to get about a day and a half of usage from my cell phone, which exceeded the all-day battery listed).

This is aided by a (relatively) compact display. The XL era is over (although confusingly, the 4a 5G screen is big and the pixel density is a bit lower). The flagship is only available in 6 inch, 2,340 x 1,080 size. It’s larger than the Pixel 4s 5.7 inches, but has a lower pixel density (432 vs. 44 4 ppl). The 90Hz refresh rate remains. Compared to all the phones I’ve recently tested, the Pixel 5 feels really compact. You can now use it with one hand.

Image Credit: Brian Heater

The camera is probably the side of the handset where the opposite hardware-first and software-first approaches are most in opposition to each other. Google was pretty confident that it could do everything it wanted with an SLR early on, but in the end, it generously succumbed to setting up two cameras. The hardware is very similar to last year’s model, but the 16-megapixel 2x optical telephoto has been replaced by a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. Whether it represents progress depends largely on your own personal taste. Frankly, Id prefers a slightly more distortion-free zoom.

Of course, Google is built on a solid foundation. I really like the pictures of Pixel 4s. It’s really impressive that Google’s imaging team was able to do it with relative hardware constraints. While the range of premium Samsung devices and high-end iPhones is lacking, casual photo snappers will be really happy with the shots they take. Pixel 5.

Night Sight has been improved and turned on when the phone’s light sensor detects a dark scene. As the seasons changed, my morning walk was clearly darker in the last few weeks and the phone automatically went into those pre-dawn shot modes (COVID-19 got me up early, I I don’t know what to say to you). This feature has also been added to portrait mode for more focused shots.

Pixels Portrait Mode is still incomplete, but it’s one of my favorites and I’m having problems with hair and complex geometry. For example, I’m not really sure what to do with the fence. Fortunately, Google has packed a lot of editing options into the software here, especially for portrait mode.

I’m really crazy about the level of bokeh, placement, and portrait lighting. This is a relatively subtle effect that makes it look like you’ve changed the light source. Effect changes can be delayed a bit, probably due to low-end processing power. Anyway, it’s a great, balanced photographic experience, but as always, I’d like to see what the company can actually offer high-end photographic hardware and what Google’s imaging team can do. .. .. I think it’s a wishful thinking about what happens to the Pixel 6,

After all, the two biggest reasons to recommend upgrading from a Pixel 4 are batteries over 5G. The latter is certainly a big selling point this time. The former depends on what your area’s coverage really is. 5G has improved quite recently, but the device still has US and global swaths set to LTE by default. Also note that the $ 200 cheaper 4a 5G is an improvement in both respects over last year’s model.

Still, $ 700 is a fairly reasonable price for a cohesive, non-exciting phone like the Pixel 5. And Google not only worked in favor of pure Android and guaranteed update promises, but also others. However, if you’re looking for something with a little more flash, there are plenty of options in the Android world.

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