At its #LaunchNightIn virtual event, Google announced a bunch of new hardware including the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a (5G), and a new Chromecast and Nest Audio speakers. Sadly, neither of the new smartphones will be making their way to India. However, the 4G variant of the Pixel 4(a) will go on sale from October 17 on Flipkart. You won’t be missing much, except for an improved and upgraded camera setup, and a showcase of “all that you love about Google”. The Pixel 5 is not a flagship smartphone any more by the usual standards, but it’s surely a lot more interesting in other ways. Too bad, you won’t be able to get their hands on it easily.
The Pixel 5 would perhaps now be the most exciting compact smartphone to use. At least, till the iPhone 12 arrives. It is IP68-rated water and dust resistant, and sports a 6-inch FHD+ OLED display with 90Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support, which is tiny compared to what most Android flagships offer. And the bezels seem to be almost non-existent, so this definitely would have been a treat for compact smartphone lovers, myself included. But don’t be too worried. The regular Pixel 4a is even more compact with a 5.82-inch OLED display with equally thin bezels.
Performance enthusiasts needn’t worry at all. The Snapdragon 765G is the brains behind the Pixel 5, just like the OnePlus Nord and the Vivo X50 Pro in India. Along with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. That’s almost mid-range in India. There’s also no mention of the Google Neural Core chip in the spec-sheet, so we’re guessing even that’s out. Even the Soli chip, the gesture recognition sensors and the pressure sensitive active-edge buttons have been booted out. The Pixel 4a 5G is also powered by the same chipset, but there’s 6GB RAM here. The batteries are larger than before, with the Pixel 5 using a 4080mAh battery, the Pixel 4a (5G) a 3885mAh battery, while the regular Pixel 4a uses a 3140mAh battery. All of them can only support 18W fast charging with USB PD 2.0. Only the Pixel 5 retains wireless charging. The Pixel 5 also adds a 16MP ultrawide lens to the mix, finally moving to a multi-camera setup despite Google dissing ultrawide photos at last year’s Pixel 4 launch.
Without even using the Pixel 4 or the Pixel 4 XL last year, I would agree toning down the spec-sheet was a good decision. For one, it allows Google to become a lot more accessible to markets that have 5G, but not too many affordable smartphones to choose from. It gives Google the first mover’s advantage, by offering everything it holds back in the hardware, through its mighty software prowess.
That’s right. The Pixel 5, and even the Pixel 4a are not flagships, from the spec-sheet point of view. Yet, it seems they can do far more than the usual smartphone. Through software and machine learning. Few examples —
Night Sight in Portrait Mode
The Pixel 5 combines the multi-frame processing of the Night Mode with the AI-enabled Portrait Mode to make low-light portraits just as good as their daytime counterparts. It turns on automatically when you are taking a portrait shot in low-light. But it’s likely that the subject needs to be still for longer for the camera to capture the multiple shots.
Cinematic pan in videos
Google has also added three levels of stabilisation for videos, and both the Pixel 4a (5G) and the Pixel 5 come with Cinematic Pan, that smoothens and slows down a panning shot to make it look Hollywoodesque.
Hold For Me
Outside the camera, Google’s Duplex AI and Google Assistant comes together to hold the line for you when you are calling a toll-free number or a call centre puts you on hold. Google will listen to the elevator music for you, and alert you when there’s some activity on the other end. Google claims the entire processing happens on the device itself, and data is kept private.
Screen-sharing in Google Duo
Duo, which is Google’s one of many video chatting app, can now share the phone screen in HD, that may let you watch movies, sports and even collaborate on work together, much like how our Zoom meetings are these days.
The price is where the gamble should pay off for Google. The Pixel 5 starts at $699 (roughly Rs 51,000) while the Pixel 4a (5G) starts at $499 (roughly Rs 37,000). Opting out of the pricey Snapdragon 865 and the additional sensors and chips helped keep the price on the down low, and makes them the most advanced and affordable Pixel smartphones at the same time.
Google will make the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a (5G) available only in 5G markets like Canada, France, Australia, Japan, Ireland, Germany, Taiwan, UK and US. The Pixel 4a (5G) and the Pixel 5 will be rolling out from Japan from October 15, and reach other countries by November. Google is bundling 3 months of free access to Google Stadia Pro and YouTube Premium, and 100GB of Google One cloud storage along with Play Pass and Play Points.
Neither of the devices will come to India, as Google had already announced in August. The Pixel 4a will be the only one launching in India, on October 17. The price will be revealed closer to the sale. Flipkart already has the banners out.
|Release Date:||16 Jun 2021|
|Variant:||128 GB/8 GB RAM|