The Pixel 4 was largely a good phone beset by a terrible battery and, depending on your luck, an unforgivable number of glitches. Thus, it's not surprising we've heard Google has planned to change course with the Pixel 5 toward a product that's more practical and economical, yet still premium.
Seeing these new Pixel 5 renders from David Kowalski (@xleaks7 (opens in new tab)) and Pigtou (opens in new tab) reportedly based on leaked schematics, Google's massive shift in strategy for its next high-end handset is finally coming into focus.
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If the renders we're seeing here come to inform the Pixel 5's final design, Google's forthcoming flagship will skirt both three-dimensional secure Face Unlock and Soli Motion Sense air gestures for a design that is truly full-screen, with equally-sized bezels across the top, bottom and sides. A single-lens hole punch camera, lodged in the upper-left of the screen, evokes a familial similarity to the oft-leaked Pixel 4a.
Around to the back, the Pixel Imprint capacitive fingerprint sensor of old looks to make a return, presenting further evidence that Google has given up on Face Unlock, at least for now. That's really a shame, because as someone who has extensive experience with both Google and Apple's approaches to facial authentication, I've found the Pixel 4's system much faster and less prone to false negatives.
From the back and sides, however, the Pixel 5 is largely indistinguishable from the Pixel 4, owing to its rounded-square camera bump, dual-lens camera and deviated color trim on the power key. There's no word on what those optics are quite yet, but many are hoping Google opts for an ultrawide lens to supplement the main one, as opposed to the Pixel 4's telephoto.
Kowalski and Pigtou say the Pixel 5 should feature a 5.8-inch OLED panel, and the resulting footprint of the device makes it comparable in size to the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro, and a bit smaller than the 6.1-inch iPhone 11. If the leak is to be believed, the Pixel 5 will measure about a millimeter wider than the Pixel 4, but a couple millimeters shorter and a hair thinner.
In other words, the Pixel 5 may not be appreciably larger than the flagship it's set to replace. That's slightly concerning, particularly in terms of what it could mean for the device's battery life.
The Pixel 4's longevity on a charge was atrocious, given that it only had a 2,800-mAh battery to work with. Here's hoping that shedding the fancy Face Unlock and radar arrays in the top bezel will help Google bolster the battery as much as possible.
The sources also note there's no headphone jack present on the Pixel 5, which is a bit surprising, considering Google will reportedly court more price-sensitive buyers with this phone. The Pixel 4 launched at $799, but one survey issued by Mountain View suggests the Pixel 5 could see a starting price of $699, hopefully with 128GB of onboard storage to boot. (The base Pixel 4 came with only 64GB.)
This render is the first we've seen of the Pixel 5 in a long time, and so it's a bit too early to cast judgment on it. Pigtou has an unproven track record with respect to these things, and so if future leaks corroborate this one, they'll tell us these renders are actually on the right track. That said, if Google really is as committed to cutting the Pixel 5's price as ardently as we've heard, the cost savings here are certainly believable.