Google’s Pixel 5 was the last of its kind

Every now and then, I’ll pick up a random device on edge Check the closet and spend a week or two with it. This is often out of random curiosity and for the purpose of comparing “old” products with the newest and most popular. Recently, I was drawn to Google’s Pixel 5. So I gave it a factory reset, updated the phone to Android 12 and was using it as my daily driver for several days.

The experience was great. I have really big hands – the iPhone 13 Pro Max doesn’t look out of place – and I prefer the big screens, so I don’t think I can fully upgrade to the Pixel 5. But it’s a pretty good “small” phone (by 2022) which definitely tempted me. The Pixel 5 makes it easy to do everything I need with one hand. The mid-range processor is doing better than ever on Android 12, and this phone remains unique next to the competition.

Above all, I was disappointed that Google abandoned the Pixel 5 model and its size after just one year. The smallest phone in the company’s lineup currently is the Pixel 5a, which has a 6.3-inch screen. To its credit, Google is working on reducing things a bit with the upcoming 6A. But with the A-series models, you’re giving up compliments like the 90Hz screen and wireless charging. In this way, the Pixel 5 could be the last of its kind in Google’s lineup. Lots for couple glasses, too.

The Pixel 5 is smaller than the Pixel 5A and 6A — with more high-end hardware to run.
Image: google

I now find myself wishing Google would keep the 5 as an “iPhone SE”-style product that gets upgraded with hardware upgrades every two years — without losing what makes it so good. Let’s cover some of the notable features of the Pixel 5.

Design and Material: The Pixel 5’s 6-inch OLED display surrounded by thin symmetrical bezels goes a long way in making the phone comfortable and usable with one hand. The 5s’ non-woven “Bio Resin” layer provides a unique feel and reassuring grip when held throughout the day. The volume rocker shares this feel, while the power button is shiny metal, making it easy to distinguish the two by touch. With its ergonomic feel and size, the Pixel 5 is one of those phones that can go without a case without causing too much of a panic.

Before Google embarked on a joint “glass sandwich” design with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, previous models in the series often used premium textures and materials that help phones stand out. With the Pixel 2, the rough back cover of the model was almost black. The Pixel 4 had follicle side bars. But after the Bio Resin 5 – I’m still a big fan of the Sorta Sage green road with this finish – Google went for a more basic grip feel with last year’s flagship.

The bio-resin finish provides the Pixel 5 with a unique grip.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

Better screen: The Pixel 6’s OLED panel might look quite impressive based on first impressions. But in all honesty, it’s average. Several threads on Reddit are complaining about uniformity issues, ugly green at low brightness levels, and other flaws. The Pixel 6 Pro’s impressive LPTO panel doesn’t have any of these issues, so Google has clearly settled for less than its $599 price tag.

Even the Pixel 5’s screen looks a bit higher quality to me than the 6 it replaced. They both display 90Hz, but the 5 white point, uniformity, and overall picture are a little nicer to me. It can sometimes come down to the contrast between individual units, but I hope to see better with the Pixel 7.

Pixel Imprint rear sensor: I’m still disappointed that phone makers decided in unison to move the fingerprint reader from the back of the phone, where the index finger often rests naturally while holding it, below the screen. Google’s Pixel Imprint scanners were probably the fastest and most consistent in the entire Android ecosystem, well, let’s just say the in-screen Pixel 6 and 6 Pro sensor never matched that, even after Google improved performance with software updates . .

Stable camera performance: Google has spent several years improving the computational photography of the 12MP main camera shared by the Pixel 5 and its predecessors. And while it doesn’t have the dynamic range of the Pixel 6/6 Pro and doesn’t offer features like Real Tone or Magic Eraser, the Pixel 5 is a stable shooter. You know what you’re going to get, which can’t always be said about the Pixel 6 lineup. I don’t like the bad background blur you sometimes get from a larger 6 sensor, but it’s something Google will undoubtedly improve upon.

The Pixel 6A will soon be Google’s smallest phone.
Image: google

The Pixel 5 isn’t perfect

While I’m mostly happy with the Pixel 5’s overall smooth performance and responsiveness on Android 12, there are still occasions when the mid-range Snapdragon 765G processor hits a wall and gets stuck. Take a photo and the frustrating delay while the phone is processing the photo will still be there. The 5 can also be blocked if you are too ambitious with multitasking.

While I’m confident about the look and feel of the Pixel 5, Google’s hardware quality guarantee isn’t always the best. Many units have a slight gap between the screen and the body. After releasing the phone the company said the gap was nothing to worry about – but that’s exactly the kind of little detail I find annoying.

And then there’s this horrible under-screen speaker that still seems small in most cases, even after Google tried to improve it with an extension of the Adaptive Audio setting. These replica glasses did not come without compromise.

But even with these flaws in mind, there is still something special about this phone. I almost bought one from Woot, which is selling a new, unopened Pixel 5s for $450. Looks like Google has found additional inventory in a repository somewhere. With Apple’s iPhone mini rumored to be dropping from its upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, it appears small phones are (again) running out. This makes it an attractive time to buy. The only asterisk to consider in the case of Google is that software support for the Pixel 5 will end in October 2023.

But perhaps by then Google will bring back a small Pixel that doesn’t skimp on hardware features and doesn’t take so stupidly as its bigger siblings.