The Pixel line-up has had a tumultuous run. Every flagship Pixel made has had certain issues. It’s like Google was unable to make a competitive flagship device. They were always good, don’t get me wrong, but they always had certain problems that no one would expect a flagship to have. This year, Google did not release another flagship. The Pixel 5 is not a flagship, and it isn’t priced like one either. So, for USD$699, how good is the new Pixel? Let’s find out.

Preliminary Verdict

I think Google made the right decision. Good camera, battery, software and usable performance is what everyone basically wants, and they nailed it. For such a compelling price, I do not see a reason to get a flagship anymore, unless you need the extra feature set of said flagships. This is a great phone for everyone, and I really like it. So with that said, let’s break it down.

This phone nails all the essentials, and there really isn’t a reason to buy a flagship anymore.

Slower Engine

The Pixel 5 is not a flagship, and it shows when you look at its heart. There is no Snapdragon 865. Instead, you find the Snapdragon 765G. This is an upper-mid tier chipset, and it will not compete with the likes of the 865, and even Apple’s A14. However, it is no slouch either. Everyday tasks will be smooth, and there should be no stutters and lag. That is if you don’t push it. High-intensity tasks will slow the device down, but in the end, which typical phone user will do such a thing regularly?

No flagship performance, but will fly through everyday tasks.

Longer Life

However, where the Pixel 5 will compete with the flagships of the world is in battery life. A less powerful processor means less power draw, and this means better battery life. This should be an all-day device, and if you save a little, it can even go 1.5 days. This is something few flagships can claim, and it is very impressive here. The 5 should outperform all the XL Pixels from the previous generation, and Google has made a good move here.

Better battery than ever before means this is a phone that can go the distance.

Camera King, Again

If you have read about The Holy Trinity, you will know what I’m about to say. Google has again for the fifth time in a row, pulled off the best stills camera on the market. It is ridiculous how Google’s image processing can absolutely beat everyone else, and it is a testament to their software prowess. Images are clean, detailed and sharp. They have a high dynamic range and have pleasing contrast and colors. This rivals the iPhone 12 Pro and actually beats it (by a small margin).

Videos are no slouch either, although they still cannot compare to the capabilities of the iPhone 12 Pro and Note 20 Ultra. Finally, we can shoot 4K 60fps, and this is still a very capable camera, both in video and photos.

Best photo camera on the market, video capabilities also improved this year. S tier camera.

Soft/Hard – ware

Let’s talk about the hardware. A full aluminum build with wireless charging capabilities, hole-punch AMOLED display and a compact design. This is a very minimal design, and I personally think it looks smart. It will also be more durable than phones with glass backs, which is a plus here. The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner will also be fast and responsive.

On the software side, the Pixel 5 runs stock Android 11. This is well-optimized and will run smoothly. Expect no bloatware and a clean and fast android experience. I still think stock android is the way to go, although Samsung’s ONE UI 2.0 has been getting better as well. Such a clean software will be easy on the battery as well, which is nice.

Good hardware and software decisions here. The phone looks smart and the software is clean and well-optimized.

Comfort Moves, Excellent Phone

Google played it safe this year. They did not make a flagship. Instead, they stuck to what they do best – camera and software. Then they played it safe everywhere else. They put in a hole-punch AMOLED panel, a decent battery, good build quality and finally a decent processor. Then they priced it at USD$699, USD$400 less than the base model iPhone 12 Pro.

What I’m trying to say is this is an excellent phone. It nails all the essentials for a very reasonable price. Google didn’t try to make a flagship, instead, they aimed right down the middle, and hit the bulls-eye.

This is an excellent phone. It nails all the essentials for a good price. If you don’t need niche features on flagships, save your money and get this

The Pixel 5 is still not available in Singapore yet, but is priced at USD$699.

For related articles, check out our thoughts on the Google Pixel 4a and iPhone SE 2020.

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