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Pixel 5 2020: 6 big upgrades it needs to have

We can still feel the lingering warmth from the Google Pixel 4‘s late October launch, but thoughts are already turning to the Pixel 5 and how it might look.

There’s every chance we’ll see a mid-range Pixel 4a released in mid 2020, but we’re really excited to see where Google takes its flagship phone next.

There isn’t too much in the way of credible Pixel 5 rumours or reports at present (for obvious reasons), but there’s plenty of room for idle speculation – not to mention wish list compiling.

Pixel 5 release date

Even though we’re a good year out from an official Pixel 5 unveiling, we can make a pretty confident guess that we’re going to see it some time in October 2020. History tells us as much.

Pixel 5 – How can Google make it better than the Pixel 4?

1. Lose the forehead

Perhaps the most divisive thing about the Pixel 4 was its jarringly asymmetrical design. Or to put it less politely, its Frankenstein’s monster of a forehead.

The top bezel of the Pixel 4 was made thick – real thick – in order to cram in a bunch of sensors, including an innovative radar module. This enabled both a Face ID-like biometric authentication system and a novel gesture-sensing provision.

But this came at the expense of simple good taste. We wouldn’t call the Pixel 4 ugly, but its design runs counter to the minimal-bezel standard we’ve all come to expect this deep into the second decade of the 21st century.

The Pixel 5 really needs to reduce that top bezel and restore a little visual balance.

2. Improve battery life

Our biggest criticism of the Pixel 4 had nothing to do with its quirky looks, which tend to grow less jarring the more you use it.

Conversely, the phone’s flat-out bad battery life will only get more painful with use.

The Pixel 4’s 2800mAh battery unit simply wasn’t anywhere near big enough for its specifications – especially with a 90Hz display to power. This resulted in some deeply unimpressive stamina, with Google’s current phone struggling to get through a single day of above-moderate usage.

Make no mistake: the Pixel 5 really needs to pack in a bigger and better battery.

3. Use a cutting edge CPU

We wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Pixel 4 was underpowered. But the Snapdragon 855 CPU it came equipped with wasn’t the very best processor on the market at the time. It wasn’t even the best that Qualcomm had to offer.

That honour would belong to the Snapdragon 855+. As the name suggests, it’s only an incremental improvement over the Pixel 4’s Snapdragon 855. It packs a slightly higher CPU clock rate and a 15-percent boost to GPU performance.

But the simple fact is that the Pixel 4 – which is supposed to represent the best that Android has to offer – had less poke than contemporaries such as the OnePlus 7T and the Asus ROG Phone II.

The Pixel 5 really should utilise the very best silicon available to it in 2020.

4. Include an ultrawide camera

Google went dual-camera with the Pixel 4 when its rivals were going triple and even quad-camera.

We’re not actually too bothered with the camera count from a purely numerical standpoint. The Pixel 3 managed to whip its rivals with just a single sensor, after all.

But having decided to adopt a second camera, it felt like an odd move for Google to make it telephoto rather than ultrawide. A wide-angle lens is generally held to be more useful than a zoom lens in the world of cameraphones.

It’s also possible to achieve a zoom effect (albeit not a perfect one) with clever software tricks, which Google excels at. Good luck pulling off such a trick without any wide-angle source material to work with.

We’re not saying Google should necessarily go with a triple-camera system for the Pixel 5 – though that would seem to make the most sense – but it should definitely include an ultrawide lens next time around.

5. More distinctive and premium design

You know what an iPhone looks like. You know what a Galaxy S looks like. But what does a Pixel look like?

We’re four phones into the Pixel project, and we’re still not really sure what the answer to that is, beyond the tendency to sport some funky tones.

While we’re at it, isn’t it about time that Pixel phones looked and felt truly premium, like those aforementioned Apple and Samsung flagships? After all, Google’s phones are no longer particularly cheap.

Like we said above, the Pixel 4 wasn’t an ugly phone. But we dearly hope that the Pixel 5 can evoke more than such ‘damning with faint praise’ sentiments.

6. Add 5G connectivity

If the Pixel 5 doesn’t have 5G – or at least a 5G option – then it will be a huge missed opportunity for Google. The nomenclature alone practically begs for such an inclusion (all hail the Pixel 5G!).

But even beyond that, Google is not going to want to skip 5G connectivity next time around. We can just about swallow Google’s explanation for 5G’s omission from the Pixel 4. It’s undeniable that 5G is a niche proposition in 2019, with limited coverage and inefficient components.

Can you imagine how bad the Pixel 4’s battery would have been with 5G thrown into the mix? We shudder to think.

Come the end of 2020, though, the 5G market should be more mature all round. It’ll be a lot tougher to excuse 5G’s omission from the Pixel 5 – especially given the rumours that the next iPhone will have it.

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