(Pocket-lint) – Google might only have announced the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 in October 2020, but there are already rumours circulating about the next Pixel smartphone, which Google has confirmed to be called the Pixel 5a 5G.
Expected to be a mid-range offering of the Pixel 5, here is everything we have heard so far, though we expect there is still a lot more to learn. We have a separate feature on the Pixel 6 and another feature for the Pixel 6 Pro if you want to learn about what has been rumoured for those devices.
Release date and price
- Possibly 11 June 2021
- US and Japan only
The Google Pixel 4a was revealed in August 2020 and some rumours have suggested the Pixel 5a will launch on 11 June 2021, though that seems a little early.
Google has said that the Pixel 5a 5G “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.” That suggests August 2020, though Google might mean in line with the Pixel 4a 5G, which was revealed in October 2020. On stage at Google I/O, Google mentioned “fall” when talking about the Pixels, further suggesting June is a little soon.
In terms of price, the Pixel 4a 5G cost £499 in the UK and $499 in the US when it launched. We’d expect the Pixel 5a 5G to sit around the same ballpark, though it looks like it will only be available in the US and Japan. It also sounds like there’s a possibility it could be more expensive after a leak said it would cost more than the Pixel 4a.
- Rear fingerprint sensor, punch hole front camera
- Just Black
Based on the first leaks, it looks like the Google Pixel 5a 5G could follow a very similar design to the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. It’s thought it will offer a polycarbonate body, with a square camera housing in the top left corner, much like the Pixel 4a 5G. The Pixel 5 has a brushed aluminium body but with a matt coating.
A physical fingerprint sensor is expected to be positioned on the rear – like the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G – and a punch hole camera is rumoured to sit in the top left corner of the Pixel 5a’s display, again like the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5.
Other design aspects are said to include a 3.5mm headphone jack and stereo speakers. Colour options have not yet been detailed, but it has leaked in black so we are expecting the Pixel 5a in at least the Just Black colour option, which both the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G are also offered in.
Measurements are claimed to be 156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm (9.4mm with the rear camera bump). This would put the Pixel 5a 5G at a similar size to the Pixel 4a 5G, albeit a little taller, narrower and thicker. There’s currently no word on waterproofing, but we suspect this is something that will continue to be reserved for the Pixel 5.
Early reports claim the Google Pixel 5a 5G will feature a 6.2-inch Full HD+ display, which is the same as the Pixel 4a 5G. That means the resolution should be 2340 x 1080 pixels and the pixel density should be 413ppi.
It’s said to be an OLED panel, though so far, there has been no word on refresh rate for the Pixel 5a 5G. The Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G both offer a standard 60Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 5 has a 90Hz refresh rate.
There should be support for HDR however as this is something offered on the Pixel 4a, 4a 5G and Pixel 5.
- Dual rear camera
- Likely same as Pixel 5
Based on the early rumours, the Google Pixel 5a 5G will come with a dual rear camera, coupled with an additional sensor and flash within the square camera housing. Specifics on the camera haven’t been revealed as yet, but Google typically offers the same camera in the “a” device, as the more premium handset.
If this continues to be the case, the Pixel 5a 5G should feature the same camera as the Pixel 5, which is also the same as the Pixel 4a 5G. The Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G have a main 12.2-megapixel sensor with 1.4µm and an f/1.7 aperture, as well as an ultra-wide 16-megapixel with an f/2.2 aperture. Their front camera is 8-megapixels with an f/2.0 aperture.
We’d expect to see this on the Pixel 5a 5G, along with the same features including the great video stabilisation features and features like Night Sight. An image claimed to have been taken by the Pixel 5a was revealed by Google in a separate blog post about the HDR+ bracketing feature, but it’s since been removed.
Hardware and specs
- At least 6GB RAM likely
- At least 128GB storage likely
- Processor unknown
This is one area that hasn’t appeared much in the rumours yet so at the moment it is unclear what the Google Pixel 5a 5G might sport under its hood.
The Pixel 5 and 4a 5G both run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G. The next-gen verison of that chipset is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G, revealed in March 2021, which we might see in the Pixel 5a 5G. It’s currently unclear though and there is apparently a global shortage of chips, which is why the Pixel 5a 5G is said to have limited availability when it is released. Google is also said to be working on its own chip – internally called Whitechapel – but it’s not clear if this will be reserved for the Pixel 6 models.
We’d expect to see at least 6GB of RAM – like the Pixel 4a 5G and 4a offer – and we’d also expect at least 128GB of storage. Battery capacity hasn’t been reported yet either, but the Pixel 4a 5G has a 3800mAh cell so the Pixel 5a is likely to offer something within that ballpark. Apparently, it won’t offer wireless charging.
Given the Pixel 5a is confimed to be called the Pixel 5a 5G, it will offer 5G connectivity.
Google Pixel 5a rumours: What’s happened so far?
Here’s everything we have heard so far about the Google Pixel 5a.
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.
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.
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
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.