You're almost there, Google: The Pixel 5 looks like a phone I'd spend my own money on

Google Pixel 5 Lifestyle
Google Pixel 5 Lifestyle (Image credit: Google)

If you find 100 different people using 100 different models of phones you'll still find they all have one thing in common: something made the phone they bought attractive to them. Usually, that one thing is all based on the price.

I don't mean that a cheap phone is automatically something more people will like, either. I mean that when a device as simple yet as complicated as a phone can strike the right balance of features versus price, people will find value in it. And when we find things we feel are valuable, it's a lot easier for us to buy them.

This is why a $400 phone and a $2,400 phone can both find a home with someone who thinks they paid just the right amount of cash for just the right amount of features. But no matter how you slice up the feature-to-value ratio, it's pretty easy to say that it's eluded Google the past few years. I think the Pixel 5 changes that.

It's not the price: it's what you get for the price.

Right about here people are ready to tell me about mediocre this and mid-range that and how Google can't compete in 2021 and a bunch of other things I already understand. I also can't say I disagree — You might have a need for very specific hardware and are unable to be content with anything you feel isn't good enough. We're all that way with some things and it's why some prefer Chevy to Ford or two wheels to four or Chips Ahoy to Oreo. But I'm willing to bet that most people only care about one thing — that the phone they buy is pretty damn good at doing all those smartphone things a phone should be able to do.

That leaves only one other part — the price. Don't get me wrong — I think the Pixel 5 would have been a lot better at $599 than it is at $699 but I'm also a realist who knows that things cost money. I also have to admit that it could very well suck at doing all those smartphone things we seem to think it will be able to do so well, but I'm betting that it's just fine there, too.

A phone that doesn't try to be crazy special or have some silly feature that nobody will ever use that also doesn't cost an arm and a leg is not something Google has been able to show us for a while. This one might be it, and the Pixel 5 actually looks like a Pixel phone I would not only be okay using but one I would be willing to buy.

Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

I'd like a $599 Pixel 5 more than the $699 Pixel 5 but I'm also a realist.

I use too many phones, but most of them come from the company I work for. A good diesel mechanic has a box of wrenches and sockets, I have cables and phones. If you were to ask me the last phone from Google that I just bought because it filled the right need at the right time, it would probably be the Nexus 5X. It was dirt cheap and ran reasonably well and did everything Android was supposed to be able to do, and that made it worth a couple of hundred bucks. It wasn't the best Android phone or even the best phone from Google at the time, but it was worth buying if you needed a phone. At least to me, it was. The Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a feel the same way, I just didn't need a phone right then and hate to spend money that I don't need to spend.

That's where I am with the Pixel 5. I understand that this isn't a glowing endorsement and I'm not worshipping the damn thing. It's just a phone. But it looks like it will be a very solid phone at the right price point which makes it a very good value. Almost like Google learned a thing or two from the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a launches, huh?

I have a like-new Pixel 4 here so I doubt I'm going to rush out and do the whole new phone thing. There's just no need and in a lot of ways a Pixel 5 isn't much different than a 4. But I like knowing that if I had to do it, Google has something I think is worth buying right now so who knows. That green doesn't look too terrible.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.