Google Pixel 5 design just leaked — and there's bad news

Google Pixel 5 render
(Image credit: @OnLeaks and Pricebaba)

If you were pining for a radical shift in design for the Google Pixel 5, it seems like you're going to be disappointed. Google itself teased the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 in an image from a side view. Now, leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (@OnLeaks) and Indian tech blog PriceBaba have shared Pixel 5 renders of their own, teasing a very familiar design.

Based on these mockups, the Pixel 5 is more or less a Pixel 4a with a more premium-looking finish across its entire body, as well as a dual-lens rear camera. The lack of separation between the frame and back panel indicates the material used here could be plastic, rather than a combination of metal and glass.

That may disappoint some, though I really like the luster Google's chosen; it reminds me of the glittery, eye-catching motif of one of my favorite old phones from back in the day, the Nexus 4. Just like the render Google itself shared earlier, the Pixel 5's power button here is clad in a dark chrome for a little contrast.

The most interesting thing about this design is how much it shares with the Pixel 4a. Of course, there's no 3D Face Unlock or Soli radar system in the top bezel, and the Pixel 4a's fingerprint sensor can be found again here, on the back. Given that all rumors to date have indicated Google is very much looking to cut costs with the Pixel 5, this is hardly surprising. It's already been confirmed that the Pixel 4a 5G will start at $499, so $599 could be Google's target here.

I've said before how great I thought the Pixel 4's Face Unlock system was. It's just so much faster and more cleverly-designed than Apple Face ID, which really hasn't been improved upon in any meaningful way since it launched on the iPhone X back in 2017.

Google Pixel 5 render

(Image credit: @OnLeaks and Pricebaba)

I would have liked to see Google find a way to incorporate Face Unlock while still keeping the price relatively low, as Apple has proven able to with the $699 iPhone 11 — though that doesn't seem to be in the cards. Instead, we'll get an old-school rear fingerprint sensor, which may seem dated to some — though in my experience, they're still so much more dependable and less frustrating to use than modern optical and ultrasonic in-display sensors.

We've heard the Pixel 5 will incorporate Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G chipset, which offers a cheap road to 5G connectivity, in addition to 8GB of RAM. Given that the Pixel 4a only comes in one 128GB storage configuration, 128GB seems like the starting point here as well. As Jon Prosser leaked yesterday, it could be offered in two shades: black, seen here, as well as green.

Again, the Pixel 5 might look a bit too familiar, but it seems Google is very much sticking to a strategy of keeping costs low to deliver a more affordable semi-premium phone. Considering how successful the Pixel 3a was last year, and how much of a failure the Pixel 4 line proved to be despite all its cutting-edge features, can you blame them?

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.