Google Pixel 5: The 5 things we really need to know

Google Pixel 5 design render
(Image credit: Sarang Sheth)

Google’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are thoroughly solid phones with some excellent photography skills. But a rather bezel-heavy design, mediocre battery life and an inconsistent 90Hz display left plenty to be desired; so much so that the Google flagships didn’t make it onto our best phones list. 

The Pixel 5 could be the phone to fix that, and see Google set the standard for other Pixel phones to follow. But from the leaks we’ve seen so far, it’s a little tricky to get a firmed up picture of what the next Pixels will be like. 

We’re expecting the Pixel 5 to use a non-flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset and retain most of the Pixel 4's key features while ditching certain ones such as the squeezable Active Edge sides. But we’ve still got gaps in our unofficial knowledge of what the Pixel 5 will have. So here are our five biggest unanswered questions around the Pixel 5. 

How much will the Pixel 5 cost? 

We’ve not heard any murmurs or seen any leaks that give us a hint at how much the Pixel 5 could cost. The Pixel 4 starts at $799, which very much puts it in flagship phone price territory, while the Pixel 4 XL is a bit pricier at $899. 

Logic would dictate that the Pixel 5 would follow suit. But it’s set to come with a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, rather than a higher-end Snapdragon 8-series chip found in the likes of the OnePlus 8 Pro

A less powerful chip means a Google’s production costs for the Pixel 5 could be lower, resulting in a potentially cheaper phone. So there’s a good chance it could be several hundred dollars cheaper than its predecessor, maybe sitting somewhere around the $500 mark. 

A well-priced Pixel phone could undercut the likes of the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11. And Google has already proved that it can deliver an appealing and affordable Pixel phone can be with the Pixel 3a.  But we’ll likely have to wait until later this year before we get an idea of how much the Pixel 5 will cost. 

What will the Pixel 5 look like? 

Last year Google tweeted a picture of Pixel 4’s back and camera module months ahead of the announcement of both models. But Google hasn’t done the same for the Pixel 5. 

In fact, there have been pretty much no leaks that hint at the Pixel 5’s design. So far, all we’ve seen are a few concept renders that are more riffs on the Pixel 4’s design rather than something particularly new. 

Pixel 5 vs. Pixel 4a

(Image credit: Pigtou and xleaks / Sarang Sheth)

Given Google has evolved the Pixel design from each generation, we’d expect the Pixel 5 to look a little more distinct from the render images we’ve seen so far. We’d hope that Google takes a leaf out of Samsung’s design book for the likes of the Galaxy S20 and trims down the bezels on the Pixel 5, and potentially make use of a punch-hole selfie camera as we’re expecting to see with the Pixel 4a

Speaking of which, it’s looking very likely that there won’t be a Pixel 4a XL. So there’s arguably a chance that Google might also decide to cut the larger handset from its Pixel 5 lineup. 

What special features will the Pixel 5 have?  

The Pixel phones have often bought in standout features that few other Android phones have, effectively setting a standard for others to follow. The first-generation Pixel, for example, came with the very fast and reliable Pixel fingerprint sensor, the Google Assistant, and showed what could be done with a single camera module. 

The Pixel 2 built upon that, with both phones having the Active Edge squeezable sides that could trigger the Google Assistant. And the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL came with dual selfie cameras that worked rather well, as well as a noticeably improved rear camera that delivered smartphone photography results that beat other phones with multiple rear cameras. 

(Image credit: Slashleaks)

The Pixel 4’s standout feature was the Soli radar chip that allowed the phone to be unlocked very quickly using secure facial recognition, as well as have gesture controls. Such features didn’t exactly transform the way we use phones. But it was still an interesting, very techy feature that made Google's flagship unique. Unfortunately for fans of Motion Sense, rumors point to the Pixel 5 ditching this feature.

As it stands, there’s been no hint at any standout features the Pixel 5 might have. One could argue that by opting to use a non-flagship chip, Google could be pivoting the Pixel range to be less about its approach to tech, and more about making a more affordable, decently equipped phone that has the very essence of Google’s expression of Android. 

What cameras will the Pixel 5 have? 

For three generations, the Pixel phones have made do with a single rear camera, relying on Google’s software wizardry to deliver some of the best smartphone photography around. But it appeared there was only so much a single lens could do, so Google added a dual rear-camera array to the Pixel 4.  

However, that pair of cameras consisted of a 12.2MP primary camera and a 16MP telephoto camera with a 2x optical zoom. While the zoom lens was a nice to have, it’s not really seen as something that’s useful to a lot of people; many would rather a wide-angle lens.

(Image credit: Front Page Tech)

So there’s scope for Google to either swap the telephoto lens out for a wide-angle one or add a third camera into the mix putting it on par with the iPhone 11 Pro or Galaxy S20 Plus. But this is all speculation, as there’s been no leaks or hint as to the camera setup the Pixel 5 might have. 

We’re keen to hear more, as the Pixel phones have always excelled at phone photography and we want to see what Google can do next. 

How big will the Pixel 5's battery be?   

It’s the least interesting part of a smartphone but probably one of its most important parts: the battery. But we’ve not heard a peep about whether the Pixel 5 will have a boosted battery life. 

The 2,800 mAh of the Pixel 4 was pretty disappointing, meaning the phone only lasted 8 hours and 3 minutes in our battery test. And the 3,700 mAh battery pack in the Pixel 4 XL was also rather uninspiring for a phone of its size, delivering only 9 hours and 42 minutes of battery life. 

That meant both Pixel 4 handsets fell short of the 11 plus hours needed to qualify for our best phone battery life list. We’re hoping this is an area Google improves for the Pixel 5.  

Google Pixel 5 design render

(Image credit: Sarang Sheth)

And we’d also like to see Google do some more optimisation in Android to improve phone battery life. After all the company has a whole range of artificial intelligence research to throw at the problem of poor battery life. 

So there you have it, those were the five things we’d like to know about the Pixel 5. No doubt as the year draws on we’ll start to see more hints about what’s coming for Google’s next Pixel phone; we’re currently quietly optimistic that it’ll impress us. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • mesohyper
    I'm a Pixel die hard... But What I want to know is why are the One+ peopleproviding DUAL SIM card phones, almost as good as Pixel phones, cheaper.... At this point of Pixel 5... Dual SIM cards should be a basic. My hubs has a One+5 and it's so much better than my Pixel 2 XL as far as battery and HAVING THE DANG DUAL SIM. We're Americans teaching abroad and it would be nice to have.