Google Pixel 5a 5G hands-on review

Last Update 2021-08-20


The Google Pixel 5a 5G is finally official, and it’s a lot like the Google Pixel 4a 5G that came before it. There are a few upgrades this time around, but it feels like the slightest refresh of last year’s model. The Pixel 5a has the same Snapdragon 765G chipset, 6GB RAM, and 128GB storage as the Pixel 4a 5G, so there’s no advancement in its specs. The Pixel 5a also has the same cameras as its predecessor: a 12MP primary camera and 16MP ultra-wide shooter on the rear, along with an 8MP front-facing camera. The Google Pixel 5a launched on August 17, 2021 and is available for preorder now, while the Google Pixel 5a release date will be August 26 in the US and Japan. The phone comes in a single configuration – 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage – and costs $449 (around £325). The Pixel 5a comes in a single color: Mostly Black, with ‘forest green undertones’ as the promotional material describes.

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Google Pixel 5a 5G Price

Design and display

As far as the overall look of the Pixel 5A is concerned, not a whole lot has changed when you compare it to the Pixel 4a 5G. Technically, it’s slightly taller and slightly narrower, and slightly thicker. The phone has a glass front with a punch-hole in the top-left corner. The back is a matte-textured plastic that wraps around the sides, top, and bottom. On the back panel, the glossy glass-covered camera block at the top-left stands out, and there’s a circular indent in the back-center for the fingerprint sensor. On the right side is the lock button, with a volume rocker below it. On the left side towards the bottom is a SIM slot, while at the top of the phone the microphone is on the right and the 3.5mm headphone jack on the left. For the first time in the a-series phones, the Pixel 5a has dust and water resistance with an IP67 rating, which means it can be submerged in up to one meter of water for half an hour. The Google Pixel 5a packs a 6.34-inch Full HD Plus (2400 x 1080) OLED display, which is pretty identical to, although slightly larger than, the one on the Pixel 4a 5G (6.2-inch, 2340 x 1080). The display has the aforementioned punch-hole in the top-left corner, which is slightly smaller than the one on the Pixel 4a 5G.


The Pixel 5a comes with the same cameras as the Pixel 4a 5G: a 12.2MP f/1.7 dual-pixel main camera with autofocus and both optical and electronic image stabilization, and a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera. There’s no telephoto lens (the main camera is capable of up to 7x digital zoom). There’s also an 8MP selfie lens, which takes pretty detailed photos for a front-facing camera, likely thanks to Google’s exemplary image software.

Software, processor, and battery

The Google Pixel 5a has respectable specs, powered by last year’s Snapdragon 765G chipset – although this is the same silicon that powered the Google Pixel 5 and Google Pixel 4a 5G. In other words, it may not rival flagship phones featuring the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset, but with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, you’ll have no trouble browsing, playing games, watching videos, and more. The Pixel 5a runs Android 11 out of the box. The phone has sub-6 5G connectivity, and that’s it – unlike some versions of the Pixel 4a 5G, there isn’t any mmWave 5G capability. One of the most noticeable improvements in the Pixel 5a is its 4,680mAh battery, which has a capacity noticeably higher than the batteries in the Pixel 4a 5G (3,885mAh) and the Pixel 4a (3,140mAh). The phone comes with an 18W fast charging adapter in the box, which isn’t especially impressive, recharging 33% in 30 minutes.