Certainly, much of that effort will be spent comparing the Pixel 5a to its predecessors. (In fact, we’ve looked at the Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 4a based on the rumored specs for the new phone.) But you’ll also want to consider how Google’s latest handset will measure up to the Google Pixel 5, especially since the latest rumors suggest the Pixel 5a will have a lot in common with last fall’s big flagship.
Google I/O kicks off May 18, which is when most people anticipate that the company will take the wraps off the Pixel 5a. But a steady stream of Pixel 5a rumors has given us a good idea of what to expect — so much so that a Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5 comparison can help highlight the changes Google could potentially introduce.
Here’s how we expect the Pixel 5a will compare to the older Pixel 5.
Google Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5 specs
|Row 0 – Cell 0||Pixel 5a (rumored)||Pixel 5|
|Screen size||6.2 inches||6 inches|
|CPU||Snapdragon 765G||Snapdragon 765G|
|Rear cameras||Main lens + ultrawide||12.2MP main, 16MP ultrawide|
|Size||6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches||5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches|
Google Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5: Price
With a starting price of $699, the Pixel 5 is the most expensive smartphone in Google’s current portfolio. The Pixel 4a 5G costs $200 extra, while the regular Pixel 4a costs $350 more.
The fact that the Pixel 4a could be had for just $349 was a major selling point since it meant that you were getting a budget phone that still outshot competitors costing hundreds of dollars more. We expect the Pixel 5a to be similarly priced to its predecessor.
Google could have a tough time pulling it off. In this Google Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5 comparison, you’ll notice that the new phone is slated to include some substantial advancements over the Pixel 4a, most notably a more powerful chipset and 5G connection. If those things show up, it will be hard for Google to keep the Pixel 4a’s $349 pricing from last year’s model.
Although a price increase may be in the works, we don’t think Google will veer too far from the affordable range that has proven to be a selling factor for its cheap phones. There hasn’t been much talk about how much the Pixel 5a would cost, but it should be in between the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 4a 5G.
Google Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5: Design and display
Google’s phone designs are consistently minimalistic, regardless of price point. And if the purported renderings of the Pixel 5a are any indication, the new phone will look a lot like the Pixel 5. The Pixel 5a will vary from the Pixel 5 in that it will likely maintain Google’s usage of plastic in its budget phones.
Another key design difference will be the headphone jack. Like the Pixel 4a, the Pixel 5a will feature one, while that feature remains missing from the Pixel 5.
The rumored 6.2-inch OLED display on the Pixel 5a will reportedly support full HD resolution. Compare that to the 6-inch display on the Pixel 5 and you’ll see that it’s a step up in size. There is considerable debate about whether or not the Pixel 5a will share the Pixel 5’s 90Hz refresh rate display.
Since Google’s previous low-end phones utilized the industry-standard 60Hz refresh rate, the company may highlight the faster-refreshing display as a selling point for the new Pixel 2. But it’s probable that the Pixel 5a will follow the trend of other inexpensive phones that have increased their refresh rate.
Google Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5: Cameras
With the release of the Pixel 4, Google provided a clear distinction between its high-end and entry-level smartphones by equipping the former with dual cameras while the latter received a single camera. While the Pixel 4a 5G’s adoption of the same camera layout as the Pixel 5 was a little departure from this concept, the Pixel 4a’s retention of a single rear camera meant that Google’s “Flagship, two cameras; budget phone, one camera” mantra was still largely intact.
This might be challenged by the Pixel 5a. Two lenses have been seen in the leaked photos of the new phone, which we assume to be the standard and wide-angle cameras seen in the Pixel 5. Moreover, the photographs shot with a Pixel 5a and accidentally released to a Google blog indicated, through their metadata, that they were taken with an ultrawide angle lens. Phase detection auto focus is said to be included with the Pixel 5a.
Even with the likely inclusion of a second camera on the back of the Pixel 5a, Google’s camera app is likely to remain the device’s main draw in the photography department. We anticipate that the Pixel 5a will have the majority of the image enhancements introduced with the Pixel 5. Some of these features include Night Sight’s enhanced HDR+ and portrait picture capability, as well as its electronic stabilization settings for video.
Google Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5: Performance
Here’s where things could be eerily similar between the Pixel 5a and Pixel 5. For last fall’s flagship, Google went with the Snapdragon 765G. That’s a lower-powered processor compared to the Snapdragon 8 Series chipsets that usually power flagship Android phones, but Google apparently made the move with an eye toward keeping Pixel 5 costs down.
A Pixel 5a rumor suggests that the same Snapdragon 765G silicon is slated for Google’s new budget phone. If so, it’s a curious decision.
On the one hand, it would make Google’s budget phone as powerful as its flagship device, while also adding 5G compatibility without the need for a separate Pixel 5a 5G model. But then, even budget-minded shoppers might be put off by the idea of springing for a new phone with last year’s silicon, even if it does cost less. And speaking of price, if the Pixel 5a features the same chipset as the Pixel 5 (and Pixel 4a 5G), then how will Google keep the cost of the Pixel 5a down?
Google Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5: Battery life and charging
Battery life has flummoxed recent Pixel models. The Pixel 5 and its 4,080 mAh battery lasted 9 hours and 29 minutes on our custom battery test, which involves setting a phone to continuously surf the web until it runs out of power. The Pixel 5’s time fell below the average smartphone’s result, though at least it finished ahead of the Pixel 4a.
Nevertheless, the Pixel 5a could struggle to even reach that low threshold. Google often includes smaller batteries in its cheaper smartphones. For instance, the Pixel 4a has a 3,140 mAh battery. Since the Pixel 5a would almost certainly include 5G, a larger battery would appear to be in order, maybe something on par with the 3,885 mAh cell seen in the Pixel 4a 5G. However, a battery that is much larger than the one inside the Pixel 5 seems doubtful, particularly if Google wants to keep the price of the Pixel 5a low.
Reverse wireless charging is available on the Pixel 5, letting you charge other Qi-compatible devices by laying them on the back of the phone, but we don’t anticipate seeing this feature on the Pixel 5a. The Pixel 4a is one of Google’s more affordable smartphones, but it lacks wireless charging, a feature often reserved for more expensive versions.
Google Pixel 5a vs. Pixel 5: Outlook
From what we know about Google’s future phone plans, the Pixel 5a seems poised to significantly bridge the price gap between Google’s cheap phones and the Pixel 5. When comparing the Google Pixel 5a to the Pixel 5, you can find more similarities than differences.
The most pressing questions remain whether or not the Pixel 5a will have a faster-refreshing display, and how the cost of the phone will change in light of these enhancements. We can learn how the Pixel 5a compares to the Pixel 5 based on the information provided by the responses to these questions. In addition, it may provide clues as to what Google has in store for the Pixel 6 this coming October.