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(Pocket-lint) - Google announced the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 in October 2020, adding the Pixel 5a 5G to the mix in August 2021.

The Google Pixel 5a 5G effectively updates and replace the Pixel 4a 5G - you can see how these devices compare right here.

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Release date and price

  • $449
  • Available now
  • US and Japan only

The Google Pixel 5a 5G costs $449 and is available from the Google Store, or through Google Fi. In Japan, it's available from Softbank, but won't be getting a full global release - it's US and Japan only.

It started shipping from 26 August.

Design

  • 154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6mm, 185g
  • Metal unibody
  • Rear fingerprint sensor, punch hole front camera
  • Mostly Black

The Google Pixel 5a 5G follows a very similar design to the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 rather than offering a redesign like the Pixel 6 devices. The means you have a familiar body shape with a square camera array top left on the rear and a rear fingerprint scanner.

The dimensions of this phone make it a little larger than the Pixel 4a 5G that it replaces - and if you remember, that device is larger than the Pixel 5 too, so the new model is the largest of the lot.

An interesting and premium addition is the IP67 waterproofing, which is less common on mid-range devices, so that certainly adds appeal to the Pixel 5a 5G offering. There's also a 3.5mm headphone socket.

It comes in one colour called Mostly Black, which has forest green undertones. There's a contrasting olive green power button on the side. What's interesting is that this phone acutally has a metal unibody rather than the polycarbonate of the Pixel 4a 5G.

Display

  • 6.34-inch, 2400 x 1080 pixels
  • OLED, 60Hz

The display on the Pixel 5a 5G doesn't change a huge amount from the Pixel 4a 5G. It's a little larger, but sticks to 60Hz (unlike the Pixel 5) and keeps the full HD+ resolution.

It's still an OLED display, however, so you can expect that rich colouration to make all your content look good. There's a punch hole for the front cameras, as on the other recent Pixel devices.

Cameras

  • Dual rear cameras:
    • Main: 12.2MP, 1.4μm, f/1.7, OIS
    • Ultrawide: 16MP, 1.0μm, f/2.2
  • Front: 8MP, 1.12μm, f/2.0 fixed focus

The camera loadout on the Pixel 5a 5G is a carbon copy of that found on the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5, with a 12.2-megapixel main camera and 16-megapixel ultrawide camera. An 8-megapixel front camera is in place for all your selfies. 

The Pixel camera is popular and the 5a 5G will be no different, because it offers all those great features you expect from a Pixel, like Night Sight. The best thing about these cameras is you point, shoot and get a decent result. 

Hardware and specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 5G, 6GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • 4620mAh battery

The Google Pixel 5a 5G sits on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, which is the same as the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G. There is 6GB of RAM, which again is the same as the Pixel 4a 5G and 4a offer. There is 128GB of storage, so overall, the performance is essentially going to be the same as the existing devices - except this model is cheaper than both.

Battery capacity is 4620mAh, which is quite a bit bigger than the Pixel 4a 5G offers with its 3800mAh cell, so endurance is going to be one of the big features of this phone. There's an 18W charger in the box.

Google Pixel 5a rumours: What's happened in the run up to launch?

Here's everything that happened before the Google Pixel 5a became official.

16 August 2021: Google Pixel 5a components leak, launch 17 August

Android Police published some images sent to the site via a source that presented components claimed to be for the Pixel 5a, supporting previous design rumours. The report also said the source said the device would be announced on 17 August. 

6 August 2021: Google Pixel 5a pricing, release date and specs leak

Jon Prosser claimed the Pixel 5a would launch on 26 August for $450 in the US. He also revealed a number of specifications, including the processor and display.

9 July 2021: Google Pixel 5a lands at the FCC, launch imminent?

Three variants of the Pixel 5a appeared at the FCC, which suggests strongly that it won't be long before it's released to market. 

28 June 2021: Google might announce and release its Pixel 5a mid-ranger in August

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claimed the Google Pixel 5a would be released sometime in August 2021 and made available the same month.

25 May 2021: More Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro and 5a 5G details revealed in leak

Max Weinbach claimed the Pixel 5a 5G will be more expensive than the Pixel 4a in a podcast.

18 May 2021: Google announce Android 12 

Google revealed Android 12 during its I/O developer conference, showing off a complete redesign. It also mentioned "fall" when talking about the next Pixels.

Motorola's new Moto G9 Plus is a stunner of a phone - find out why, right here

29 April 2021: Pixel 5a could be one of the "significant products" announced during I/O

Although evidence points to the contrary, Tomsguide susggests that the Google Pixel 5a 5G could still appear at Google I/O in May. Google boss, Sundar Pichai, said in the company's earnings report that the online event will play host to "significant product updates and announcements". That has lead the site to believe the Pixel 5a will one of them.

26 April 2021: Image sample from Pixel 5a camera leaked by Google

Google seemingly revealed an image taken by the unannounced Pixel 5a 5G's camera in a blog post, giving some indication of its capabilities when it eventually launches.

9to5GoogleGoogle Pixel 5a release date, rumours, features and specs photo 2

22 April 2021: Pixel 5a to feature Snapdragon 765 processor, just like the Pixel 5

Code in the latest Android Developer Preview suggests the Pixel 5a will run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chipset, like the Pixel 5.

9 April 2021: Google: No, the Pixel 5a 5G is not cancelled, it's coming later this year

Google released a statement following reports of the Pixel 5a being cancelled, saying: "Pixel 5a 5G is not cancelled. It will be available later this year in the US and Japan and announced in line with when last year's a-series phone was introduced."

9 April 2021: Google Pixel 5a cancelled in some regions

Android Central reported that the Google Pixel 5a 5G has been affected by the global chip shortage. It initially claimed the device was being cancelled, before updating the report to say it will be cancelled in some regions and its release would be limited to the US and Japan.

5 April 2021: Google working on its own 'GS101' processor 

9to5Google claimed Google is developing two phones with an Arm-based "GS101" processor, codenamed "Whitechapel".

10 March 2021: Google Pixel 5a could arrive 11 June, leak claims

Jon Prosser claimed his source tells him Google will reveal the Pixel 5a on 11 June. He also said new Pixel Buds were coming mid-April.

8 March 2021: Qualcomm Snapdragon 775 could power the next generation sub-flagship phones

XDA spotted a leak suggesting Qualcomm is working on a Snapdragon 775 - the successor to the excellent Snapdragon 765G that is found in mamny sub-flagship devices.

23 February 2021: Google Pixel 5a renders and specs revealed in huge leak

Well-known leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer - also known as @OnLeaks - shared some renders of the Pixel 5a, along with the specifications it is claimed to offer.

7 August 2020: Leaked document suggests Pixel 5a 

A leaked internal Android document suggested the Google Pixel 5a exists.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 23 February 2021.