Google needs to make a statement with its smartphones in 2020. Last year's Pixel 4 and 4XL had a number of inconsistencies which made them hard to recommend, and they were perhaps outshone by the much cheaper Pixel 3a.
Google is in a unique position as the developers of Android, making it the only company that can truly rival Apple for synergy between hardware and software. But for too long its phones hasn't been able to match, making it hard to justify buying a Google device.
It will seek to finally put that right with the Pixel 5. While we don't know much just yet, Google is set to go big as it tries to catch up with the likes of Samsung and Apple in producing a killer flagship phone.
When is the Google Pixel 5 coming out?
In line with previous releases, we'd expect the Pixel 5 and 5 XL to be available at some point in October 2020.
The Pixel 4 series was unveiled on 15 October 2019, and went on general sale nine days later. A similar time frame is expected for the next Pixel flagship.
How much will the Google Pixel 5 cost?
The Pixel 4 started at £669, while you'd have to jump up to at least £829 for the Pixel 4 XL. We'd expect pricing to be fairly similar, undercutting the most expensive flagships but very much out of the mid-range bracket.
What are we expecting to see in the Google Pixel 5?
Despite being so far ahead of release date, we've already got an idea of what Google's next flagship might look like. Jon Prosser at Front Page Tech is claiming that this is the first official prototype of the Pixel 5XL:
This would be a huge design change from the Pixel 4 and 4 XL, with what looks like a raised camera module in a more central position on the back of the photo. The arrangement of the triple cameras may invite ridicule due to its likeness to a shocked face, but this will clearly be Google's intention if it sticks with this design.
It will at least help the device to stand out in a world where so many smartphones look similar.
The other clear observation is the addition of a third camera lens. We really hope this will be a wide-angle, which Google left out in favour of telephoto on last year's phones.
We still expect the Pixel 5 to borrow a few design influences from the Pixel 4a, which is due in May 2020. This unique back of the phone might be a tactic to easily tell the models apart on first glance.
The cameras would still be among the best in class if Google made no changes to the cameras, but expect it to be a priority once again. Don't expect crazy specs such as the 108Mp lens used on Xiaomi and later Samsung phones, as Google relies on its software processing to produce great stills.
We doubt Google will come up with a unique solution for its front-facing sensor, but expect a hole-punch camera as opposed to a notch, particularly as the latter proved so unpopular on the Pixel 3 XL.
The battery life was the main reason we couldn't recommend the Pixel 4 in our review, so improvements here must be imminent too.
Our Google Pixel 5 wishlist
While there has been no confirmation that any of these features will be making their way to the Pixel 5, we'd love to see them on Google's next flagship:
- More modern design - There was nothing wrong with the Pixel 4 and 4 XL's design per se, but they seemed out of place in a market where manufacturers are constantly pushing the limits of their devices. Google appears to have overestimated people's desire for a display free of cut-outs and notches, so its approach will surely have to change.
- Improved video capture - Pixel devices have always had superb cameras for taking stills, but its video remains well below par. Improving this would make for a more complete camera experience.
- Support for expandable storage - The Pixel 4 and 4 XL start with 64GB of storage, and although we'd like a boost here that was perfectly acceptable for 2019. What's more disappointing, however, is the lack of expandandable storage, which would allow users to add more storage as and when they needed it.
- More RAM - Like Apple, Google will claim it doesn't need as much RAM as other manufacturers as it is able to control both the hardware and software side, but the 6GB of RAM is the only option on the Pixel 4 series. We'd like to see the option for 8 or even 12GB of RAM.
- Wide-angle front and rear cameras - Google strangely chose a telephoto over a wide-angle for the second lens of the Pixel 4, but we hope it adds a third, wide-angle sensor in 2020. All the software in the world won't help when your field of view is just 77°
- Bigger battery - The paltry 2800mAh on the Pixel 4 just didn't cut it, with truly awful battery life for the price. We'd hope to see a big boost here, especially with some handsets having almost double thart capacity.
- 5G support - This is by no means necessary for most people, but Google will probably need to release a 5G-enabled phone if it wants to keep up with 2020 flagships.
We'll update this article as and when we here more on how the Pixel 5 is shaping up. In the meantime, check out all the latest on the Pixel 4a.
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