It’s always exciting checking out the newest Pixel phone. I recently checked out the Pixel 4a and I loved the camera and size for the price. A little late to the game, but now I’m checking out the Pixel 5. While I’ve used the XL versions of Pixels in the past, the Pixel 5 only comes in one size. It was an easy transition from the Pixel 4a which is also a small phone, compared to the Pixel 3a XL.
For the most part, the transition was so seamless, that on most days I could barely tell the difference between the two with the exception of some features. The Pixel 5 has a thin solid build. While Google says the Pixel 5 is metal, it’s not exactly that alone. It’s a mesh of aluminum and durable plastic. It feels solid to me, which is what matters. The 6-inch display is Gorilla Glass 6 glass which is great and all, but since I carry the Pixel with me everywhere as my main camera, I slap a screen protector on it almost immediately. The Pixel 5 keeps the simple look of the Pixel lineup. You have the fingerprint scanner in the back, and the camera module, with two cameras. The bezels are nice and even.
You get the clean Android experience here, as expected. This time with the Pixel 5, it’s ready to do more with the 8GB RAM and the larger 4,000 mAh battery. I don’t put the phone through too much. Most of my mobile gaming still consists of Sudoku and Ball Sort. It’s not a phone I’d use for serious mobile gaming. It handles the usual things you throw at it, like endless scrolling on social media, streaming videos, and most of the picture taking I do. The 90Hz refresh rate is one of my favorite flagship phone features and I’m glad it came to the Pixel lineup.
Taking pics on the Pixel 5 is everything you’d expect. I do wish it was faster when processing the pics. It takes a bit and in this world of instant imaging, I get a bit impatient. On the Pixel 5, you have two rear cameras, the 12.2 mp standard, and the 16-megapixel ultrawide cameras. Pixel and ultra-wide are like a dream come true. While it’s been hard to test out the cameras with the limited time outdoors, the pictures I do capture are amazing. The camera app on the phone is simple and you have a few modes you can choose from. Night Sight mode still does an amazing job of capturing images in low light. Astrophotography mode is one of my favorite modes which I can barely use living in New York.
However, I did notice that when going into Google Photos to look at pictures taken in Portrait Mode, you only get the Portrait Mode version, unlike previous Pixel devices. With previous Pixel models, you would get both the Portrait Mode that has the blurred effect and the original picture without any blur.
I just love the pictures the Pixel takes. I can snap away with confidence that I have a gallery of great pictures even if the lighting isn’t the best. Night Sight, Google’s answer to taking pictures in dim or dark areas, will turn on automatically in the regular camera mode when the Pixel 5 didn’t detect enough light (it can be turned off).
The overall performance of the Pixel 5 seems to be what we’ve been waiting for with the Pixel lineup. Long gone are the days of the phone freezing up and lagging without reason. Even though it doesn’t have the flagship Qualcomm chip, the Pixel 5 is snippy and fluid. Battery life is a great improvement over the Pixel 4.
I do think the list price of the Pixel 5 is a bit high, it’s great that it’s not at $1000 like flagships of other manufacturers. The Pixel 5 isn’t the most exciting phone, by any means, but it continues fixing its features, such as the smooth and clean Android experience, excellent pictures, and reliable performance.