Did Google play it too safe with the Pixel 5?

Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G
Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G (Image credit: Google)

On September 30, Google finally took the wraps off of the Pixel 5. It's the company's flagship smartphone offering for the year, and overall, it looks like a really solid device.

For just $699, you're getting a phone with a 90Hz OLED display, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G processor, dual cameras, and a large battery with wireless charging. It's a great package for the price you're paying, but compared to what was offered last year with the Pixel 4 series, how much of an upgrade are we really getting?

A few of our AC forum members recently started sharing their initial concerns about the Pixel 5, saying:

Tempting for such a low price but seems like the only real "upgrade" is 5G capability. From what I read the camera hardware is identical to the 4/4xl and so any camera software updates would be ported to my 4xl as well. Anyone going from a 4 or 4xl to the 5?


The only other true upgrade to Pixel 5 would be reverse wireless charging if you care about that.


Sticking with my 4xl , see what Google does on the pix 6


Same here. If Google doesn't bring the goods in Pix 6 I might look at one plus or the samsung note

B_Chadwick Ware

Now, we want to hear from you — Did Google play it too safe with the Pixel 5?

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • Particularly for the audience reading this article now, yes. We always expect to see something new, something to get excited about, something that makes us go "oh, that's cool!" even if we have no intention of buying. We like to admire technology and sometimes privately revel in what our phone can do. The Pixel 5 is not that phone and I think that's okay. This phone plays it smart.
  • As a Pixel 3a owner I can say a Pixel is the smart choice for most people, particularly the masses of non-geeky types. It is just a bit,well, boring. The specs on the 5 are ticking all the boxes without a wow factor.
  • If you like a great user experience, great 📷 with excellent software then a pixel is for you. For me the user experience is it's best feature. Their very fun phones to use, kinda hard to put down!
  • I don't think Google played it too safe with the Pixel 5. Price is a major concern for consumers right now. Even Apple realizes this, hence their move to providing cheaper iPhones this year. There's no way Google would have hit that $699 price point if they included certain features. People may point to the Samsung Galaxy S20FE as a competitor in that price range, but we forget that Samsung makes up for that $699 FE price from their other products (The Note20 series is already over priced IMO). Personally, I will not consider buying the Pixel 5 since it's not using Qualcomm's best chip, and it doesn't have a QHD screen. There are other reasons, but those two stand out. For now, I'll stick to my Pixel 4XL and my Galaxy Note9.
  • You make a good point about where Samsung makes up the cost.
  • I think it's a good phone and it doesn't need anything more, I just think they could have shaved $50 off the price to better compete. with the S20 FE. I went from a 2 to a 3a and was hoping to go to a 5 but a 4a 5G is honesemore tempting for the price.
  • The incompetence with storage space is disgusting with the Pixel phones. Maxing out at 128GB is inexcusable. Google gives you absolutely no options when it comes to storage. Thats a very basic but important box to tick. Google fails again at checking that box.
  • Agree with you 100%
  • I don't like that they have up on face unlock after 1 phone. I understand they are trying to hit a price point, but, come on man.