Pixel 5a Leaks Have Me Considering Switching

This could be Google's unbeatable phone

Key Takeaways

  • The Google Pixel 5a could use Qualcomm’s latest budget-friendly chipsets to offer a cheaper smartphone with 5G support.
  • The Pixel 5a will feature Google’s barebones version of Android OS, which is one of the best ways to experience Android.
  • The Pixel 5a will most likely include a second camera, much like the Pixel 5, and come with all of Google’s built-in photo software, too.
Pixel 4a

Andrew Hayward / Lifewire

The Pixel 5a hasn’t officially been announced just yet, but all the leaks and rumors we’ve seen so far could point to it being Google’s best budget phone yet.

The arrival of last year’s Pixel 5 most likely means the Pixel 5a is somewhere in the tech giant’s plans for 2021. Rumors and leaks about the device’s various specs have been popping up recently, and so far, what we’re seeing looks very promising.

Support for 5G, a better camera system, and, of course, that beautifully smooth base Android operating system without any bloatware, are all excellent reasons to consider buying the Pixel 5a.

The leaks are so promising, in fact, that I’m seriously considering passing on the new iPhone to pick up a 5a when it finally becomes available.

"If Google decided to go with a processor like the Snapdragon 690, it could offer a snappy system and support for 5G, without boosting the phone’s price too much."

Something About Simplicity

Some of the latest and most prominent leaks about the Pixel 5a paint a rosy picture for fans of the Google Pixel lineup. Like many of the more budget-friendly options, the Pixel 5a most likely will be made of the same plastic as previous a-class devices.

The Pixel 3a XL and 4a devices both felt good in your hand, even though they weren’t made from more premium material like Samsung’s flagship phones or Apple’s iPhone 12 series. 

As for the design itself, leaks from Steve Hemmerstoffer—a noted leaker in the industry—seem to suggest the Pixel 5a will look very similar to last year's Pixel 4a and Pixel 5. While this could cause some confusion, the design of these earlier devices is still perfectly fine for a modern-day smartphone.

This overall design is very simple, but, to be honest, you don’t need a phone that has a million buttons and indentations. While those designs might look nice, they only add room for dust and other dirt to collect, which is one reason I’m so fond of the more simplistic design Google has featured in the past. 

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.
Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Rumors also indicate the Pixel 5a will include a small circular punch hole for the front camera, which will give you more screen real estate to work with. The information was gleaned after a screen protector for the upcoming device leaked in late March. 

Lights, Camera, Action!

Another high point for the Pixel devices, including the upcoming Pixel 5a, is the camera. While Google cuts back on many features within the a-class phones, the camera has often been considered one of the best offered in any smartphone.

Much of this comes down to Google’s included software, which allows you to take some stunning photos with features like Night Mode.

The dual-camera setup from the Pixel 4a 5G reportedly is set to return in the 5a. The phone is rumored to come with both a 12.2MP primary camera sensor and a 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens.

Hemmerstoffer also reports that the camera most likely will use a phase-detection autofocus module, as well. This is essentially the same setup as seen on the Pixel 5.

Technology, But Cheaper

One of the most significant selling points of the Pixel 5a will be the price. At launch, the Pixel 4a retailed for just $349 and offered a lot of smartphone for that price tag. The downside, though, is the Pixel 4a didn’t have 5G support.

"This design is very simple overall, but to be honest, you don’t need a phone that has a million buttons and indentations."

To get 5G service, you would have to pay another $150 to purchase the Pixel 4a 5G. It’s unclear yet if Google will offer a similar two-phone setup for the Pixel 5a, but it really doesn’t need to.

Since the release of the Pixel 4a and the 4a 5G, Qualcomm—one of the largest mobile chipset manufacturers—has made quite a few advancements in bringing 5G support to more mid-range devices.

If Google decided to go with a processor like the Snapdragon 690, it could offer a snappy system and support for 5G, without boosting the phone’s price too much. That choice would increase the odds of me buying the phone even more.

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