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Google Pixel 5a is official, but Brits miss out on mid-range 5G phone

The Pixel 4a was one of our favourite cheap phones in 2020, and now the Pixel 5a has arrived to take on the mantle. The mid-range phone has 5G, longer battery life, a larger screen, but remains similar to the 4a.

You don’t often get one of the best cheap phones that also compares to some of the best camera phones on the market, but the Pixel 4a achieved that during our in-depth testing. Now the Pixel 5a is here to build upon that reputation for smartphone fanciers in the US and Japan.

Unfortunately, Brits will have to wait until the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro for new Google-made smartphones, but that doesn’t mean we’re not intrigued by what Google is promising with the Pixel 5a. Let’s delve into the details…

Google Pixel 5a Release Date and Price – Pixel 5a to see limited release

  • Pixel 5a availability limited to Japan and USA
  • Costs from $449 (around £325) on August 26

The  Pixel 5a is coming to the USA and Japan on August 26. So, unless things change it won’t be something you’ll be able to buy in the UK or Europe.

After confirming the 5a’s existence earlier this year, Google has moved quickly in getting it on sale in the selected regions. Why Google has overlooked the UK remains to be seen, but one can only assume sales of the mid-range devices haven’t been good. 

The price is $449 (around £325) is cheaper than last year’s Google Pixel 4a 5G, which was $499/£499. That’s despite a larger display and a better battery. There’s only one option, which offers 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage, as was the case with the Pixel 4a 5G.

Google Pixel 5a Specs – big battery, same processor

  • Same Snapdragon 765G processor as Pixel 4a 5G
  • Larger 4,680mAh battery life
  • 5G on board

One of the reasons for the slight price drop is the presence of the Snapdragon 765G processor, which also sat within the predecessor. While no-one expected the new Google Tensor CPU, many expected a new Snapdragon chipset to power the phone.

As we mentioned above, the Snapdragon 765 is backed by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The battery life has been boosted significantly though. It’s now 4,680mAh compared with the Pixel 4a 5G’s 3,885mAh. Google says that’ll provide up to two-days of battery life in Extreme Battery Saver mode. That’ll be replenished by the 18W charger.

5G is naturally available with sub-6GHz and mmWave technology both supported, according to Google’s website.

Lastly, this is the first Pixel A phone to offer an IP rating against water and dust resistance. It’s IP67 rated, which means it can survive 30 minutes submerged in shallow water.

Google Pixel 5a Camera 

  • Same camera set-up as Pixel 4a 5G
  • 4K video at 60fps supported

Another reason for the lower price point may be the lack of improvements to the camera system. As we mentioned above, the cameras on the Pixel 4a were excellent, and Google is staying true to that set-up.

The main 12-megapixel and 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle dual cameras on the rear of the device remain the the same, while there’s an 8-megapixel selfie camera. Again, Google is taking an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitude here.

The rear camera can capture 4K video at up to 60fps, while the selfie camera can handle 1080p at 30fps. 

We also know the Pixel 5a won’t have unlimited free uploads to Google Photos, as this is being restricted from Pixel 2 to Pixel 5 and won’t be available on future Pixel devices. Instead, you’ll have to use your own Google Drive storage if you want to keep on storing your snaps in the cloud.

Google Pixel 5a Screen and design

  • Slightly larger 1080p display
  • Remains at 60Hz, despite 90Hz rumours

Google has increased the display size slightly. It’s now 6.34-inches, up from the 6.2-inch panel featured within the Pixel 4a 5G. The 2400 x 1080 OLED display remains at 1080p and also provides HDR support. Google is excited about the ability to watch full HD videos using the display, which has a 20:9 aspect ratio. 

The overall design is largely unchanged, aside from the slightly larger display. The camera arrays remain in the same spots and the build style remains the same. The phone is only available in black right now, but it’s possible Google will add more colours. Google only released one full-time colour for the Pixel 4a and we would like to see a little more variety with this follow-up. However, there are some cute cases, which you can see below.

Pixel 5a cases

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