When friends ask me to recommend a phone, I usually point them to one of Google’s Pixel A-series devices. They’re by far the best camera phones under $500, and they offer a ton of unique features thanks to Google’s custom software (the Now Playing song identifier is a personal favorite). But what about the newly announced Pixel 5a? At $450, is this phone more of the same, or is it something special?
Looking at its raw specs and features, the Pixel 5a is virtually identical to the $700 Pixel 5 (which we rated 9/10 in a review earlier this year). It features the same Snapdragon 765G processor as the Pixel 5, plus the same dual-camera setup (12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide), and even the same IP67 water and dust resistance. Yes, this is the first Pixel A-series phone with IPX certification.
In fact, the only big difference here is that the Pixel 5a features a larger 4680mAh battery, a bigger 6.34-inch OLED display (up from 6 inches), and a headphone jack—those all sound like pluses to me! The only downgrades seen in the Pixel 5a are the lack of wireless charging, 6GB of RAM (down from 8GB), and a 60Hz refresh rate instead of the Pixel 5’s 90Hz rate.
Google basically stuck a Pixel 5 into a Pixel 4a’s body. And to us, that sounds like an amazing deal. While we’re still working on a full review for the Pixel 5a, we’ve found that our review units offer an experience that’s nearly identical to the Pixel 5. If you’re thinking of pre-ordering the $450 Pixel 5a, check out our Pixel 5 review for some examples of how its cameras work.