The Pixel 5a arrives packing 5G, is a little cheaper than the Pixel 4a 5G, but also packs the same processor and camera. It has a slightly larger screen, adds a bigger battery and is the first Pixel A-series phone to have an IP rating.
However, perhaps the biggest change is in availability. The Pixel 5a won’t be available in the UK and Europe and will be limited to the US and Japan.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the key differences between the Pixel 5a and Pixel 4a 5G…
While the 5a retains the 1080p OLED panel, Google has boosted the size of the screen marginally. It’s up from 6.2-inches to 6.34-inches. Google seems pretty excited that users can watch films in HD with HDR support, but the Pixel 4a offered this too.
Our Pixel 4a 5G reviewer wrote: “It’s an FHD+ OLED panel, with plenty of brightness, great colours and a small cutout in the corner for the front camera. It has HDR support too, which brings an extra pop to supported content. What it is lacking though is a 90Hz refresh rate, which is a common feature now found at this price on Android phones.”
Unfortunately, rumours of a 90Hz refresh rate display were unfounded as the Pixel 5a remains at 60Hz.
As we mentioned above, this is more of an iterative update from Google. The bottom line specs are the same; both phones are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, which dates to 2020, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
However, there are Pixel 5a improvements in terms of battery life. The cell is up to 4,680mAh compared with the Pixel 4a 5G’s 3,885mAh. That’ll get you up to 2-days of battery life in Extreme Battery Saver mode.
Another boost over the Pixel 4a 5G is the new IP rating, which is a first for an A-series Pixel phone. You’ll get half an hour of protection if you drop the Pixel 5a into shallow, fresh water up to 1.5 metres.
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Again, it’s much the same story. There’s no improvement over the Pixel 4a 5G cameras. The main 12-megapixel camera is assisted by a 16-megapixel ultra-wide snapper. You’ll get an 8-megapixel selfie camera too.
Unfortunately, 5a buyers won’t get the same unlimited uploads to Google Photos here, with Google ending that perk for newer Pixel phones. After storage limits have been used up, users will need to rely on Google One storage.
Very little difference here. The Pixel 5a retains the Pixel 4a’s plasticky design language. However, because of the larger screen it’s slightly taller and narrower. The larger battery is likely to account for the slight increase in thickness. Cameras on both sides are located in the same places, while the slim bezels are also identical. As with the Pixel 4a, there’s only black coloured phones available, but Pixel 5a users can spruce a little with cases.
Price and availability
As already mentioned, the biggest change in tack here is the availability. Google is only offering the Pixel 5a in the US and Japan. No UK or European availability at all. That’s unfortunate.
Google is offering the Pixel 5a for $449 (around £325) is cheaper than last year’s Google Pixel 4a 5G, which was $499/£499. That suggests it would be £449 if made available in the UK.