Google Pixel 5 review: less high-end, more better smartphone
The idea of the Google Pixel 5 came up almost two months ago geboren. Back then we had the title in our news: “No more flagship”. However, as it turns out review, that doesn't have to be a disadvantage. Rather, it has many advantages with which Google has created a top smartphone.
In cooperation with Google Austria, I was able to extensively test the Google Pixel 5 last month. To be honest, I was very curious to see whether the new Google smartphone compared to the Google Pixel 4 XL is not more of a downgrade. However, it turned out completely different: In the last few weeks I have really come to appreciate the smartphone, which is actually in the middle class. How come? You will find out in the following test.
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In the packaging
Once again, there is a USB-C cable in the packaging, together with a USB-C power supply unit. There is also a quick start guide, an adapter from USB-C to USB-A and, optionally, a case. The latter costs just under 40 euros and can be easily ordered from the Google Store.
Compact & stylish
Hand on heart - in terms of design, the Google Pixel always felt years behind. The always thick bezels were a big feature. The Google Pixel 5, on the other hand, looks really good. The display edges are almost completely identical on all sides, which I would not have noticed so positively on any other smartphone. Fortunately for me, you don't use a notch, but a camera hole on the top left. When watching videos horizontally, the hole is hardly noticeable because you hold the smartphone anyway - you actually cover it with the palm of your hand.
Google dares to take new steps in terms of color this year too and comes in the colors black and “Sorta Sage”. The latter is a dark green, the surface of which feels like paper. If you feel a little more closely, the back of the smartphone seems almost a little corrugated. This makes it wonderfully smooth and comfortable in the hand. This is reinforced by another point, namely size. So, on to the next point:
Display with a hole
The Google Pixel 5 measures a very compact 144,7 x 70,4 x 8mm - all display elements can be operated very well even with small hands. Nevertheless, the display size is a pleasant 6 inches, because you just rely on a small "punch hole" on the top left of the screen.
Otherwise, the display has a pleasantly sharp resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) and offers good color and contrast representation. On top of that there is a refresh rate of 90 Hertz. The "smoothness" of the display is clearly noticeable - but whether this also has a bad effect on the battery life? Let's clarify below.
The “hot plate” camera
On the back of the Google smartphone we find the camera in the form of a square in the top left. This comes in a dual camera configuration, whereby the first lens with 12.2 MP (f / 1.7) and the second lens with 16.0 MP (f / 2.2, wide angle) takes amazingly good pictures. Videos are possible up to a resolution of 4K at 60 FPS, there is also optical image stabilization.
With the Google Pixel 5, too, Google relies less on quantity and more on quality - in the form of software. We can no longer find our own “Pixel Visual Core” chip, which was solely responsible for computing the images, in the new Google phone. The software processing of the photos takes 2 to 3 seconds longer than in the previous model - but this only happens when you click on it in the gallery. Thus, taking photos generally continues to work pretty quickly.
Compared to its predecessor, the Pixel 4, the current flagship no longer uses a zoom lens, but rather a wide angle. Due to the good software processing of the images, the omission is not noticeable - it is still possible to zoom up to 10x.
The following images are absolutely unprocessed, but compressed without loss in order to keep the loading times and memory consumption of the website low.
Camera images from the Google Pixel 5
Fast as an arrow despite mid-rangeProprocessor
"Oh man, with the Pixel 5, Google is only going for a mid-rangeProcessor! That can only be slow!” Admittedly, those were exactly my thoughts when I presented the smartphone. But that's not how it is – that's the second point. We have now reached a point with smartphones that the Proprocessors offer so much power, but we don't take advantage of it. However, a lot of performance also means a lot of energy consumption. It is not uncommon for the top smartphones to be real battery eaters.
Under the hood of the new Google phone comes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G octa-coreProprocessor to use. This is supported by an Adreno 620 GPU and 8 GB of RAM. There is 128 GB of storage space available for files, which cannot be expanded. In my case that's enough for me, for others it could be tight, so you won't be happy with the Google Pixel 5.
Pure Android, pure joy
As is understandable with a Google smartphone, pure Android is used here. The Pixel devices are also the first to receive software updates and are the fastest to update to new Android versions. In this case, Android 11 is used here - with the latest security patch from this month. It was only a few days ago that Google got the Pixel Phones back a major update donated. I particularly like the look of the pure Android - other users who come from manufacturers with their own user interface could look forward to faster performance here, but be disappointed by fewer setting options and gimmicks.
Wireless charging - very special
Although Google uses plastic on the back of the Pixel 5, wireless charging is possible. In the place of the QI coil there is also some glass from the lot, but it is not noticeable. No other manufacturer has implemented this in this way so far, and I think Google's middle ground is pretty good here. Also brand new at Google this year is that other smartphones or gadgets can be charged wirelessly via the back. Of course - we have known such a function for a long time, but this has never been seen on pixel smartphones.
If you plug the Google Pixel 5 into the socket, the Passing on the battery is activated for a short time. Pretty practical if you also want to charge your headphones wirelessly with them. Wireless charging also works with a case.
The battery runs long
Another highlight is the battery life. So far, Google hasn't exactly been famous for building smartphones with long battery life. This time, the Pixel 5 has a display time of seven hours prowithout any problems. Compared to the less than 4 to 5 hours in the Google Pixel 4 XL, this is a dream. The capacity has also been increased significantly with its 4.080 mAh instead of 3.800 mAh in the Pixel 5. Only charging takes quite a long time - almost 2 hours, with 18 watts, via USB Power Delivery.
When it comes to the battery, the software does not play an insignificant role at Google. The battery life of the smartphone got a bit better from day to day, and after a few weeks this is already clearly noticeable. With the new "Adaptive Charging" feature, the battery will in future also be saved during charging by delaying the time of full charging (e.g. overnight).
Let's put it briefly: The Google Pixel 5 is, in my opinion, the best Google smartphone to date. Although you can see on the data sheet when Prozessor makes compromises, you fully compensate for this point with good software and great battery life. There was never that during the test Problem that the Prozessor would have been too slow or apps would have loaded late – this is often completely different with other mid-range smartphones. The return of the Google Pixel 4's Face Unlock to a fingerprint sensor also only makes sense, especially in times of a pandemic with masks. And the predecessor's solo radar was - well, to put it mildly - pretty crap, which had a significant impact on battery life. It wasn't for nothing Google Pixel 4 XL the real "emotional rollercoaster" review.
Although, in my opinion, the Pixel 5 should not be called a mid-range, but a high-end smartphone. With the camera, the liquid 90Hz display, the fast fingerprint sensor, wireless charging, 5G, IP68 certification and the high-quality design, the new smartphone from Google has everything that the upper price range should offer. And that for currently just under 615 euros in the Google Store.
Unfortunately, Google did not manage to bring the smartphone to the Austrian market this time either. This means that those interested in this country have the only option to have the parcel sent to a German delivery address via a transfer service and have it forwarded from there. Why such a large company still does not offer the complete portfolio in Austria is a mystery to me.
For bargain hunters, however, there is another variant that Google presented this year. Editor Fabian wrote his review for the Google Pixel 4a 5G published, a cheaper offshoot of the Pixel 5. You can also read his review if you want to save almost 200 euros. But you do without the 90Hz display and wireless charging.
Thanks to Google Austria for providing the test device.