Google’s Pixel 4 was a phone that could be as brilliant as it was frustrating. On one hand, the camera was as good as ever, it had some superb AI features and the face unlock was blindingly fast. On the other, battery life was atrocious and ditching any kind of fingerprint reader meant that those of us who rely on mobile banking apps were out of luck.
For the Pixel 5, it looks like Google is taking a more streamlined approach, if Pigtou (opens in new tab) and David Kowalski’s (opens in new tab) renders based on leaked schematics are anything to go by. In fact, at a glance, it looks closer to the much delayed Pixel 4a than the Pixel 4.
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For starters, that thick forehead bezel is gone. While that may look like an aesthetic decision, that bezel contained an awful lot of tech, including the Soli radar chip that allowed you to control the phone with gestures.
It also suggests that Face Unlock will be a one-generation thing – unless Google has found a way to get the same results with the far smaller footprint of a single hole-punch camera. That doesn’t seem entirely likely though, as the renders clearly show a circular fingerprint reader on the back of the handset, just like there was on the Pixel 1, 2 and 3.
Pigtou’s report says that the handset will have a 5.8-inch display, making it roughly the same size as an iPhone 11 Pro. That’s only slightly larger than the Pixel 4, which is a bit of a worry for battery life. Last year’s handset only had a 2,800mAh cell in it, and it really didn’t last very well. Maybe the space saved on the fancy camera and radar tech at the top is being used to cram a bit more capacity in there instead.
Hopefully these cuts point to a handset that’s markedly cheaper than the last outing. At $799, the Pixel 4 was a tough sell against stiff competition from Samsung, OnePlus and Apple. If Google can get back to pricing closer to the glory days of the Nexus series, then all bets are off.