Google Pixel 4a leak shows how it stacks up to Pixel 5

Google Pixel 4a
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital/ConceptCreator)

It's getting to the point that you can't tell all the Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 rumors apart without a scorecard. So a noted leaker is trying to help, with some CAD drawings that show each of the four rumored Pixel phones side by side.

The drawings come from Steve McFly, aka @OnLeaks, who regularly posts looks at upcoming phones via Twitter. As spotted by Phone Arena, he drew up some CAD sketches of four phones, showing how the dimensions of the Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, Pixel 5 XL and a Pixel 5 XL 5G model look stacked next to each other.

The answer? Pretty much the same. The Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 are more or less identical in these drawings, with the former phone nearly 1 millimeter thinner. (There's also the matter of the extra lens on the Pixel 5 model.) The two Pixel 5 models are just about identical as well, which you'd imagine since they bear the same name.

(Image credit: @OnLeaks/Twitter)

"Not sure it will help but there you go..." @OnLeaks says in the tweet. And it sort of does, up to a point.

The Pixel 4a is pretty easy to wrap your brain around, especially in light of the fact that we've been anticipating that phone since May. When it arrives — and the latest rumor suggests that will be early August — we're expecting to see a 5.8-inch phone powered by a Snapdragon 730 processor. While that's a step up from the Snapdragon 670 inside last year's Pixel 3a, it means the Pixel 4a won't offer 5G compatibility — an important distinction to keep in mind as we move up the Pixel product line.

The Pixel 5 models are where the confusion lies, partly because those phones aren't expected until later in the fall and rumors haven't been as detailed as they are with the Pixel 4a. It's expected that Google will stick with two models of its flagship phone — a standard version and a larger XL edition. We've heard that the Pixel 5 XL will have a 6.1-inch display, but we don't know how reliable that leak is.

Unlike past Pixels that have featured a top-of-the-line Snapdragon processor, rumors suggest the Pixel 5 lineup will turn to the Snapdragon 765G. That will allow Google to keep costs down on the new Pixels while still offering 5G connectivity, thanks to that chipset's integrated 5G modem.

So what gives with that fourth model that @OnLeaks calls the Pixel 5 XL 5G, especially if the other two Pixel 5 version also have 5G capabilities? One theory is that the 5G model shown here isn't a Pixel 5 at all, but rather the Pixel 4a 5G. Rumors of that phone surfaced earlier this month when the Google app showed off the codes name for a 5G version of the Pixel 4a alongside the Pixel 5.

Another possibility is that Google is building two different version of the Pixel 5 XL, with the second one being a model designed specifically to work with Verizon's mmWave-based 5G network. Other phones like the Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 have required Verizon-specific versions with antenna designed to pick up the carrier's 5G towers. Since Verizon has offered very version of the Pixel, it would stand to reason that Google would want to make a Pixel 5 model that specifically supports that carrier's 5G network.

That's all speculation, of course. For now, all we can do is wait for more Pixel 5 leaks to see if Google's smartphone plans come into focus before the anticipated October launch of its future flagships.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.