Google Pixel 5 Review | A compact, affordable flagship that comes with compromises

Science & Technology Trends

Download This Video

The Google Pixel 5 represents a strategy change for the tech giant, which sees it tempering its ambitions to compete with top-tier flagship devices, and be all things to all smartphone users, in favor of a more measured offering.

Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20s of the world, the Pixel 5 focuses on what Pixel phones do best: offering users a great, simplified camera experience and a very clean Android interface.

‘Simplified’ could apply to the whole phone, really: it’s got an all-in-one body that curves from the back around the sides, and which is metal, so you won’t have to worry about shattering it. Google has also gone back to a physical fingerprint sensor on the rear of the phone, which is far easier to find without looking than an in-screen scanner. And with the purest version of Android 11 on board, there’s no bloatware or operating system complications.

Simplified can also mean lacking, though, and Google has cut some corners in designing the Pixel 5 to drive prices down to the level of more affordable flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition and OnePlus 8.

In most ways, that’s fine, but there are some compromises that keep it from feeling like an affordable slam dunk. The Pixel 5’s chipset won’t quite keep up with the processors in the new S20 FE or OnePlus handset, and its two cameras are lacking serious zoom capability.

But it’s the uniqueness that we miss, too: fans of the Google Pixel 4’s Soli depth sensor, which enabled in-air gestures, will be sad to see it gone. In a rare move for a phone maker, Google abandoned tech instead of iterating on it; LG did the same thing when it abandoned its own depth sensor, which it introduced on the LG V50, when it brought out the LG V60.

Personally, we don’t miss Soli, though we do miss what it could have become as a uniquely Google experience. But while some cutting-edge tech has been culled, it’s not a complete regression: the Pixel 5 has wireless charging, a 90Hz refresh rate display, and 5G, while its 4,000mAh battery is a lot bigger, and subsequently lasts far longer, than the 2,800mAh battery in the Pixel 4.

Ultimately, the Pixel 5 is a mixed bag, with some curious omissions in an otherwise solid phone. It’s designed to hit a sweet spot for a certain kind of consumer who’s willing to forego some flagship features to get a finely-tuned photo experience, and it does that – but it’s something that other phones, like the Google Pixel 4a 5G, which has virtually identical photo capability, offer at a notably lower price.

Read our full written review here – https://www.techradar.com/uk/reviews/google-pixel-5

Like TechRadar on Facebook: https://facebook.com/TechRadar
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/techradar
Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/techradar
Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/techradar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *