Google Pixel 5a review: “Which Android phone should I buy?” This one

I think at this point we can call the Pixel A series a “mid-range powerhouse.” Google has again turned in one of the best mid-range phones out there, thanks to its no-nonsense software with day-one OS updates, a long-lasting battery, and good-enough, modern internals. In a world full of wild gimmicks and smartphones with a thousand extras, Google is going with just the basics for $449. It’s not really what you would call “new” or “exciting,” but for basic usage, the Pixel 5a has everything you need in a smartphone and nothing you don’t.

On the surface, the Pixel 5a looks very similar to the previous release in this line. You get a good-enough, modern design with a slim bezel and a hole punch camera on the front, plus a gloriously flat, undistorted screen. There’s a wraparound plastic back that looks kind of plain, just like the Pixel 4a (it’s fine, but we still prefer the two-tone stylings of the Pixel 3a back). Being mid-range means you get some throwback features you might still like, like a rear capacitive fingerprint reader (as opposed to the in-screen fingerprint readers you’d get on a flagship phone) and a headphone jack.

Pixel 5a
SCREEN 2400×1080 6.34-inches (413 ppi)

OLED, 20:9 aspect ratio

OS Android 11
CPU Eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

Two Cortex A76 cores and six Cortex A55 cores, up to 2.4GHz, 7nm

GPU Adreno 620
NETWORKING 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, eSIM
PORTS USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
CAMERA Rear: 12.2MP main camera

Front: 8MP camera

SIZE 156.2×73.2×8.8 mm
OTHER PERKS rear fingerprint reader, IP67 water resistance

There are some big additions this year, though. The first, which isn’t noticeable from the pictures, is that the Pixel 5a is a lot bigger than the 4a. You’ll see this not only in the screen size (6.34-inches versus 5.81-inches) but also in the body, with the Pixel 5a measuring 154.9 mm × 73.7 mm compared to the 144 mm × 69.4 mm of the 4a. The bigger body comes with the same primary benefit as all big phones—a bigger battery. The Pixel 5a is getting a huge upgrade to a 4680mAh battery, and that comes with a giant runtime advantage over its predecessor. I never had an issue lasting an entire day with the Pixel 4a battery, in fact you could easily go for two light-usage days.

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