Everything we know (so far) about the Google Pixel 5

Fifth time’s the charm?

If there’s one way we could describe the Pixel 4, it would be “frustrating.” Google made a lot of smart moves with the phone, notably its phenomenal cameras and ultra-fast face unlock, but inexcusably bad battery life held it back from being an easy recommendation. The larger Pixel 4 XL is undoubtedly the better of the two phones, but its battery is still just OK and raises the already high price by an extra $100.

Using the Pixel 4 is a wonderful thing, but there’s no getting around the compromises required to use it as a daily driver. With that in mind, it’s no surprise we’re anxious to see what Google does with its successor.

All the Pixel 5 needs to do in order to be a great phone is to give us the same Pixel 4 experience, use a reasonably-sized battery, and add an ultra-wide camera.

Is that what’s happening? Read on to find out everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 5!

Current Pixel

Google Pixel 4 XL

From $699 at Amazon $899 at Walmart

No need to wait

The Pixel 5 will undoubtedly be an interesting handset, but there’s no sense in waiting until October just to buy a Google phone. The Pixel 4 XL is still worth a look, especially at its lower price. Performance is fast, the dual cameras take outstanding photos, and the XL model has passable battery life.

This is what the Pixel 5 could potentially look like

On February 14, we kinda sorta got our first look at the Pixel 5 XL. Let me explain.

The above render you see was shared by YouTube channel Front Page Tech, and it’s apparently a CAD render for a prototype Google is working on. The video goes on to explain that there are three designs Google’s testing, with the other two prototypes featuring square camera bumps similar to what’s on the Pixel 4.

In other words, the Pixel 5 XL you see above may not be what the final product looks like at all.

That might be a good thing depending on what you think about the render, because the Pixel 5 XL we have here is quite polarizing. It’s certainly a fresh design language for Google, but the oddly-designed camera housing and the ๐Ÿ˜ฎ face arrangement of the sensors are both pretty strange.

We’ll be keeping our eyes open to see if any other renders come out to confirm or contradict this design, but at least for right now, that’s what we’re dealing with.

Google’s first phone with three rear cameras

Assuming the above information is correct, the Pixel 5 is shaping up to be the first phone from Google with three rear cameras. Last year’s Pixel 4 was the first phone to offer two cameras, including a primary and telephoto sensor.

Google was pretty adamant last year about deliberately choosing a telephoto camera for the Pixel 4 over an ultra-wide one, arguing that telephoto is more important. However, this wouldn’t be the first time Google has backed down on a certain feature or design choice year-to-year.

When the original Pixel was released in 2016, the promotional video made a big deal about the phone having a 3.5mm headphone jack โ€” something Apple had gotten rid of on the iPhone 7 just one month earlier. Fast forward to the Pixel 2 a year later, and the headphone jack was gone.

Despite what Google said last October, three cameras on the Pixel 5 โ€” including an ultra-wide lens โ€” seems pretty likely.

Specs remain a mystery

When it comes to specs, Pixel phones have a history of being a mixed bag. Qualcomm’s latest processor is a given, but whether we’re talking about small amounts of RAM, tiny batteries, or poor display panels, there’s always something that puts a damper on the experience.

We aren’t sure what this year’s Achilles heel will be, assuming there is one at all, but based on the latest available tech and industry trends, this is a rough idea of what we’re expecting.

CategoryGoogle Pixel 4
Operating SystemAndroid 11
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 865
Rear Camera 1Primary camera
Rear Camera 2Telephoto camera
Rear Camera 3Ultra-wide camera
Memory6 or 8GB of RAM
Storage64GB
128GB
SecurityFace unlock

We’ll continue to fill out the spec sheet as more information trickles in, and again, this is simply what we’re anticipating.

Google’s been known to be stingy with storage options, so while having more than 64GB of base storage would be nice, history tells us to expect otherwise. As for RAM, a step up to 8GB would be great to see. Google finally upgraded to 6GB with the Pixel 4 after using just 4GB in all of the past models, though, so another jump just one year later could be pushing it.

We’re expecting an October announcement/launch

Starting with the first Pixel in 2016 and every year since then, Google has held an event in early/mid-October to formally unveil its latest Pixel phones. Unless something drastically changes, we foresee that pattern continuing this year.

To give you some context, here are the exact dates for all past Pixel events:

  • Pixel โ€” October 4, 2016
  • Pixel 2 โ€” October 4, 2017
  • Pixel 3 โ€” October 9, 2018
  • Pixel 4 โ€” October 15, 2019

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 3 were announced at press events in New York City, with the Pixel 2 and Pixel getting their unveilings in San Francisco.

Here’s how much we think it’ll cost

In regards to price, this is another area where Google has remained consistent. Pixel phones are never cheap, as shown by the following retail prices:

  • Pixel โ€” $649
  • Pixel 2 โ€” $649
  • Pixel 3 โ€” $799
  • Pixel 4 โ€” $799

Based on the limited history of the Pixel line, those numbers would suggest that we’re due for another price increase. We could potentially see the Pixel 5 start for $849, $899, or stick at $799 for another year. Ideally, the price wouldn’t go up, but with Samsung now charging $999 for its baseline Galaxy S20, that doesn’t seem likely.

The Pixel 4 still exists, you know

While we are excited to see what Google does with the Pixel 5, that doesn’t mean we should forget about the Pixel 4 โ€” specifically the Pixel 4 XL.

This is what I carry as my daily Android phone, and despite its flaws, I love using it. It’s snappy and fluid, the 90Hz display looks fantastic, the cameras take outstanding pictures, and the clean build of Android 10 that’s backed by guaranteed updates is icing on the cake.

I do wish the battery lasted longer and I think the retail price of $899 is way too high, but if you can find it on sale, the 4 XL still has a lot of love left to give.

Current Pixel

Google Pixel 4 XL

From $699 at Amazon $899 at Walmart

No need to wait

The Pixel 5 will undoubtedly be an interesting handset, but there’s no sense in waiting until October just to buy a Google phone. The Pixel 4 XL is still worth a look, especially at its lower price. Performance is fast, the dual cameras take outstanding photos, and the XL model has passable battery life.

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