Google Pixel 5a 5G is a real deal, here's what you should know

Google launched the Pixel 4a, followed by the Pixel 4a 5G and then came the Pixel 5 that wrapped up 2020 on a good note for the company. After much speculation and rumors, Google has somewhat given away the existence of the next Pixel device –Pixel 5a 5G – by revealing a photo clicked from the upcoming phone. And now, with Google I/O just around the corner, speculations are ripe for an early announcement of the smartphone.

The existence of the phone is further substantiated through the statement made by Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, wherein he categorically mentioned that significant product updates and announcements are coming to the Google I/O event. The launch of Google Watch along with the Pixel 5a 5G is supposedly the announcement mentioned in the statement.

Camera sample leaked

The biggest event that's sparked the Pixel 5a 5G debate again is an accidentally shared photo sample, allegedly clicked from the upcoming device in October 2020. This came up in a Google blog post detailing the HDR+ Bracketing technology, which reduces HDR noise. EXIF data for the sample photo revealed details of the devices used to click it – which is Pixel 5a.

Yes, one sample image data revealed it was clicked with the Pixel 5a, and soon after the photo was circulated in the media, it was taken down from the album. The picture in question was captured from an ultra-wide-angle camera according to the image details. This coincides with a report that claims that Pixel 5a will have a dual-camera setup on the rear, comprising a primary lens and an ultra-wide-angle lens.

The camera resolution is set at 12.2MP and f/2.2 aperture value – similar to that found on the Pixel 5. The presence of an image clicked from Pixel 5a in the HDR+ Bracketing album automatically implies the phone will have the feature when it arrives.

Android 12 Preview link

Google's Android 12 OS is in the works and Developer Preview builds give a sneak peek at the Pixel 5a. As per Camera modder and Android community member Mishaal Rahman, the device has clearly been listed in the build as Pixel 5a: GR0M2. After the revelation, even Google has acknowledged the existence of the Pixel 5a 5G phone.

The number here hints it is going to be an international model, however, it was also spotted in the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) regulatory agency (similar to the FCC in the US). A later launch in India could likely be on the cards.

Android Developer Preview 3 hints that the Pixel 5a 5G will be powered by the Snapdragon 765G processor. The part number "sm7250" mentioned in the code clearly confirms the fact. This is the same processor used on the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5.

There are also suggestions of a 6.2-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate, comprising a hole-punch selfie camera, which will be a great addition in 2021. The device is also speculated to have the same 128GB configuration and 6GB RAM as its predecessor, however, for the audiophile's curiosity, Pixel 5a 5G will retain the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Price and release date

The release date of Pixel 5a 5G could have a direct correlation with the upcoming Google I/O 2021 online event scheduled from May 18 to May 20. The phone could make an appearance at that time with probable availability, in select markets, in June. Last year the Pixel 4a made an official appearance in August – a delayed launch due to the pandemic. Google could take a call to launch the Pixel 5a after a gap of one year to carry on the trend or may launch the phone in June to take up a measured approach.

Pixel 5a 5G would probably be launched initially in the US and Japan with other key markets, including India, to follow later. If the phone will have a single 5G model, it will be a compelling case. A 4G LTE version of the device might then launch only in select markets alongside the 5G version.

The pricing of Google's upcoming phone could be another interesting point of discussion. Seeing the trend; Pixel 3a retailed for $399 while the Pixel 4a undercut its predecessor by going for $349. Could the Pixel 5a get an equivalent price tag? Logic would defy that since the inclusion of 5G will add to the cost, so it could hit the market for almost $400. 4G version, if any, could retail at about $350.

Things we want the see

The Pixel 4a didn't get a telephoto lens (to our disappointment), so the Pixel 5a is the next logical hope of seeing a stellar camera setup. Having a useable zoom level on the phone would be great. An ultra-wide lens could be included in the rear camera array, if not, it would be a huge disappointment.

An affordable 5G smartphone with a battery that's better optimized for lasting long would be an expectation from the forthcoming Pixel phone. The battery life on the Pixel 4a wasn't quite as bad as the Pixel 4, but there is still room for a better battery. A battery capacity of about 4,000mAh is what we expect to see in the Pixel 5a 5G.

The biggest gripe on budget Pixel devices has been the built quality which leaves a whole lot to be desired. The polycarbonate plastic body needs to be upgraded to a glass back and metal frame (or at least one of the two) to make a compelling reason for buyers to look nowhere else.

If Google decides to keep the Pixel 5a 5G capped at 128GB, the users should at least have the option of a micro SD card slot. The best-case scenario however would be to include a 256GB storage variant as an option. If it isn't asking for too much from the Pixel 5a 5G, we would like to see it powered by the Snapdragon 780G SoC (processor on Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G) that'll be the perfect icing on the cake!