Google Pixel 4a 5G just leaked — and the Pixel 5 XL could be dead

Google Pixel 4a
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital/ConceptCreator)
  • The Google App has revealed two Google phone names for 2020: Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5.
  • The Pixel 4a 5G would presumably be a follow-on version of the Pixel 4a with 5G connectivity and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip.
  • Because the code name attached to the Pixel 4a 5G was presumed to be for the Pixel 5 XL, Google may not be making a larger version of the Pixel 5 after all. 

The Google Pixel 4a is expected to launch this month to battle the likes of the iPhone SE and OnePlus Nord. But a separate 5G version could be on the way as well.

According to 9to5Google, codenames for Google’s phone lineup have appeared in the Google app, including the “Pixel 4a 5G” and Pixel 5. These codenames are tied to the Snapdragon 765G chipset, so both handsets should support 5G connectivity.

The regular Google Pixel 4a that’s supposed to launch soon is said to feature a Snapdragon 730 chip, so it would be a 4G-only handset. Interestingly, the codename for the Pixel 4a 5G is "bramble," which many expected to be the Pixel 5 XL.

So what’s going on? It could be that Google will not be offering a Google Pixel 5 XL model and will instead launch both the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G this fall at its hardware event. 

This raises the question of how the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G will be different, especially if they’re powered by the same chip. 9to5Google speculates that it could come down to build quality, so the Pixel 5 might have a glass design while the Pixel 4a 5G could be made of plastic.

It’s also likely that the Pixel 5 will have more rear or front cameras than the Pixel 4a 5G. In fact, we’ve heard the Pixel 5 could pack there rear lenses: a main camera, a telephoto shooter and an ultra-wide angle lens.

Pixel 4a 5G would be a true OnePlus Nord rival

We haven’t heard much else about the Pixel 5’s specs, but a recent leak points to a possible screen size of 6.1 inches, which would be larger than the 5.8-inch panel expected on the Pixel 4a but not much bigger. Google may also decide to reserve a faster refresh rate display for the Pixel 5 to further differentiate it versus a Pixel 4a 5G. 

The biggest question is cost. The Pixel 5G is expected to be positioned as a mid-range phone and not a flagship, so the price is likely to be in the $699 range. We’ve heard that the Pixel 4a could start as low as $349, so how much of a premium would 5G add? Our guess would be a price of $449 or maybe $499 max, which would put it in the same price band as the OnePlus Nord.

The OnePlus Nord, which is not coming to the U.S., will feature a Snapdragon 765G chip, four rear cameras, two front cameras and an OLED display. So Google could have a true Nord challenger on the way if this Google Pixel 4a 5G rumor is legit.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.