Google Pixel 4 XL long-term reviewSource: Harish Jonnalagadda/Android Central

If there's one way we could describe the Pixel 4, it would be "frustrating." Google made a lot of smart moves with the phone, notably its phenomenal cameras and ultra-fast face unlock, but inexcusably bad battery life held it back from being an easy recommendation. The larger Pixel 4 XL is undoubtedly the better of the two phones, but its battery is still just OK and raises the already high price by an extra $100.

Using the Pixel 4 is a wonderful thing, but there's no getting around the compromises required to use it as a daily driver. With that in mind, it's no surprise we're anxious to see what Google does with its successor.

All the Pixel 5 needs to do in order to be a great phone is to give us the same Pixel 4 experience, use a reasonably-sized battery, and add an ultra-wide camera.

Is that what's happening? Read on to find out everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 5!

Current Pixel

Google Pixel 4 XL

No need to wait

The Pixel 5 will undoubtedly be an interesting handset, but there's no sense in waiting until October just to buy a Google phone. The Pixel 4 XL is still worth a look, especially at its lower price. Performance is fast, the dual cameras take outstanding photos, and the XL model has passable battery life.

This is what the Pixel 5 could potentially look like

Pixel 5 Xl Prototype RenderSource: Front Page Tech

On February 14, we kinda sorta got our first look at the Pixel 5 XL. Let me explain.

The above render you see was shared by YouTube channel Front Page Tech, and it's apparently a CAD render for a prototype Google is working on. The video goes on to explain that there are three designs Google's testing, with the other two prototypes featuring square camera bumps similar to what's on the Pixel 4.

In other words, the Pixel 5 XL you see above may not be what the final product looks like at all.

That might be a good thing depending on what you think about the render, because the Pixel 5 XL we have here is quite polarizing. It's certainly a fresh design language for Google, but the oddly-designed camera housing and the ๐Ÿ˜ฎ face arrangement of the sensors are both pretty strange.

We'll be keeping our eyes open to see if any other renders come out to confirm or contradict this design, but at least for right now, that's what we're dealing with.

Google's first phone with three rear cameras

Pixel 4 XL camerasSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Assuming the above information is correct, the Pixel 5 is shaping up to be the first phone from Google with three rear cameras. Last year's Pixel 4 was the first phone to offer two cameras, including a primary and telephoto sensor.

Google was pretty adamant last year about deliberately choosing a telephoto camera for the Pixel 4 over an ultra-wide one, arguing that telephoto is more important. However, this wouldn't be the first time Google has backed down on a certain feature or design choice year-to-year.

When the original Pixel was released in 2016, the promotional video made a big deal about the phone having a 3.5mm headphone jack โ€” something Apple had gotten rid of on the iPhone 7 just one month earlier. Fast forward to the Pixel 2 a year later, and the headphone jack was gone.

Despite what Google said last October, three cameras on the Pixel 5 โ€” including an ultra-wide lens โ€” seems pretty likely.

The Pixel 5 might not have a flagship processor

Google Pixel 4 in hand Source: Android Central

When it comes to specs, Pixel phones have a history of being a mixed bag. Qualcomm's latest processor is a given, but whether we're talking about small amounts of RAM, tiny batteries, or poor display panels, there's always something that puts a damper on the experience.

History would lead us to believe that the Pixel 5 will be powered by the Snapdragon 865, but for 2020, Google might be planning something a bit different. 9to5Google was given access to a pre-release build of the Google Camera app, and in the app, there's mention of "photo_pixel_2020_config" โ€” this likely referring to the Pixel 5.

XDA member Cee Stark previously shared that "photo_pixel_2020_config" has the codenames of "Bramble" and "Redfin," with those codenames being associated with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G processor. In other words, it's quite possible the Pixel 5 will use the 765G instead of the 865.

Backing up the above findings, Android Police's David Ruddock shared the following tweet on May 19 โ€” further confirming the existence of the Snapdragon 765 in the Pixel 5.

The Snapdragon 765G is a very capable chipset, offering native 5G support and being the second highest-end processor in Qualcomm's 2020 lineup. That said, Google's departure from the 800 series of Snapdragon chipsets would be a notable shift. This would suggest that Google isn't designing the Pixel 5 to be a typical "flagship" Android phone to compete with the likes of the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 Pro. Whether or not that's a smart move remains to be seen, but it's certainly something we'll be keeping our eyes on over the coming months.

Based on that information and other industry trends we'd anticipate Google to follow, here's how the Pixel 5 is coming together right now.

Category Google Pixel 5
Operating System Android 11
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Rear Camera 1 Primary camera
Rear Camera 2 Telephoto camera
Rear Camera 3 Ultra-wide camera
Memory 6 or 8GB of RAM
Storage 64GB
Security Face unlock

Google's been known to be stingy with storage options, so while having more than 64GB of base storage would be nice, history tells us to expect otherwise. As for RAM, a step up to 8GB would be great to see. Google finally upgraded to 6GB with the Pixel 4 after using just 4GB in all of the past models, though, so another jump just one year later could be pushing it.

Google might already be done with Motion Sense

Pixel 4Source: Android Central

One of the more unique features of the Pixel 4 is its Motion Sense gestures. Powered by Google's Soli radar system, Motion Sense allows you to wave your hand over the Pixel 4 to control music playback, dismiss incoming calls, and snooze alarms. It's a fun idea and one that had a lot of potential, but the end result ultimately fell flat.

Likely because of the mostly negative response to the feature, it looks like Google is already giving up on it.

On May 15, Stephen Hall from 9to5Google reported that the Pixel 5 "will likely leave behind hobbies like Soli."

This isn't all that surprising, but given all of the tech behind Soli, it'll be interesting to see what Google does with it going forward.

We're expecting an October announcement/launch

Google Pixel 4 XL propped up against a treeSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Starting with the first Pixel in 2016 and every year since then, Google has held an event in early/mid-October to formally unveil its latest Pixel phones. Unless something drastically changes, we foresee that pattern continuing this year.

To give you some context, here are the exact dates for all past Pixel events:

  • Pixel โ€” October 4, 2016
  • Pixel 2 โ€” October 4, 2017
  • Pixel 3 โ€” October 9, 2018
  • Pixel 4 โ€” October 15, 2019

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 3 were announced at press events in New York City, with the Pixel 2 and Pixel getting their unveilings in San Francisco. The ongoing global health crisis does raise an essence of uncertainty as to whether or not there will still be a physical event this year, but seeing as how we're so many months away, it's hard to say for sure at this point.

Here's how much we think it'll cost

Google Pixel 4 XLSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

In regards to price, this is another area where Google has remained consistent. Pixel phones are never cheap, as shown by the following retail prices:

  • Pixel โ€” $649
  • Pixel 2 โ€” $649
  • Pixel 3 โ€” $799
  • Pixel 4 โ€” $799

Based on the limited history of the Pixel line, those numbers would suggest that we're due for another price increase. We could potentially see the Pixel 5 start for $849, $899, or stick at $799 for another year. Ideally, the price wouldn't go up, but with Samsung now charging $999 for its baseline Galaxy S20, that doesn't seem likely.

Then again, if the Pixel 5 opts for the lower-end Snapdragon 765G and Google doesn't market it as a "flagship," that could result in a lower price than usual.

Before the Pixel 5, we'll get the Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a leaked renderSource: 91Mobiles / @OnLeaks

We're happy to keep talking about the Pixel 5, but before that phone is released, there's another one that Google has up its sleeves โ€” the Pixel 4a.

Just like the 3a before it, we're expecting the Pixel 4a to be a wattered-down version of the flagship Pixel 4 with lower-tier specs and a more reasonable price. The phone should be announced and released at some point in May or June 2020, and seeing as how it's shaping up to be the first Pixel phone with a hole-punch cutout, it could be an indication as to what we can expect from the Pixel 5.

Rumored specs for the Pixel 4a include a 5.81-inch OLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor, 12.2MP rear camera, 3,080 mAh battery, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Google Pixel 4a: News, Leaks, Release Date, Specs, and Rumors!

The Pixel 4 still exists, you know

Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL next to each otherSource: Android Central

While we are excited to see what Google does with the Pixel 5, that doesn't mean we should forget about the Pixel 4 โ€” specifically the Pixel 4 XL.

This is what I carry as my daily Android phone, and despite its flaws, I love using it. It's snappy and fluid, the 90Hz display looks fantastic, the cameras take outstanding pictures, and the clean build of Android 10 that's backed by guaranteed updates is icing on the cake.

I do wish the battery lasted longer and I think the retail price of $899 is way too high, but if you can find it on sale, the 4 XL still has a lot of love left to give.

Current Pixel

Google Pixel 4 XL

No need to wait

The Pixel 5 will undoubtedly be an interesting handset, but there's no sense in waiting until October just to buy a Google phone. The Pixel 4 XL is still worth a look, especially at its lower price. Performance is fast, the dual cameras take outstanding photos, and the XL model has passable battery life.

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