Google Pixel 5 XL leak reveals a massive redesign

Pixel 5 XL render
(Image credit: Pigtou/xleaks7)
  • New Google Pixel 5 XL renders have leaked, with a fairly small predicted screen size of 6.1 inches. 
  • The images show a punch-hole display up front and a fingerprint sensor in the rear, which means Face Unlock could be out.
  • The leaker claims that the Pixel 5 XL will have a plastic back and sides and yet pack a premium Snapdragon 865 chip. 

If these new Pixel 5 XL renders and leaked details are accurate, then we need to be ready for an entirely new, and perhaps confused, design direction from Google.

Casemaker Pigtou (via Slashgear) posted renders of the Pixel 5 XL on its French-language site, provided to it by xleaks7. Pigtou also posted renders of the standard Pixel 5 recently, and whether or not you're convinced they're real, they're certainly just as detailed.

First off, we get told the exact size of the Pixel 5 XL: 153.8 x 74 x 8.5 mm (6.05 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches). That makes the Pixel 5 XL's screen a 6.1-inch display by Pigtou's math; fairly small for a supposed 'XL' model. Compared to the Galaxy S20 Plus' 6.7 inches or the OnePlus 8 Pro's 6.8 inches, this sounds tiny. Even the smallest Galaxy S20 is 6.2 inches across the diagonal.

On the front side of these renders we see a punch-hole display, like the one expected for the Pixel 4a, while on the back we see a square camera bump that looks like the one which the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL use. The back also features a fingerprint scanner, which was not present on the Pixel 4 since it had Face Unlock. Given there's no longer a big bezel to hide the necessary Motion Sense sensor for facial recognition, it's not impossible to believe Google would go back to this tried-and-tested method.

Pigtou also revealed that the Pixel 5 XL will have a QHD display. QHD resolution is something of a necessity in the Android flagship world right now, as is a high refresh rate. Although the Pixel 4 had a 90Hz display, we've heard nothing about whether that's coming to the Pixel 5 series or if it's getting a boost to the 120Hz standard laid down by Samsung, OnePlus and others.

Pixel 5 XL render

(Image credit: Pigtou/xleaks7)

Another claim is that this phone will have almost 4,000 mAh of battery capacity. Like with the display, this seems oddly small, but at least there's some precedent here. Google typically uses smaller batteries than most of the competition, but instead makes up for it by making very efficient software. But given the Pixel 4 XL had a 3,700 mAh battery, which scored 9 hours and 42 minutes on our custom battery test (11 hours is the average), this doesn't sound like a big upgrade.

The final interesting detail is that while there'll be a 5G Pixel 5 XL, there will also be a 4G version for countries without the 5G infrastructure in place. This hopefully means there would be a cheaper version of the handset available even in 5G markets, which would no doubt be attractive to people who don't live in the small areas where 5G is currently operational.

Pixel 5 XL render

(Image credit: Pigtou/xleaks7)

Examining the phone's body in more detail, Pigtou said this phone has plastic back and sides, instead of the Pixel's previous glass and metal. This would be a big step back in terms of quality. Most flagship phones made in the past few years have had glass backs, including previous Pixel phones, so it's odd that Google would intentionally make the phone feel cheaper.

There's also a headphone jack on the top edge of the phone, a feature that Google has only added to the original Pixel and the Pixel 3a. It's often missed by users who haven't invested in wireless headphones or wireless earbuds yet, so seeing it on a 2020 phone, and a flagship no less, would be quite intriguing for these potential customers.

Pixel 5 XL render

(Image credit: Pigtou/xleaks7)

Despite the exterior, Pigtou claimed that the Pixel 5 uses the Snapdragon 865 chipset within. That would make sense if Google was to follow its previous phones, but many other rumors have suggested Google could use a Snapdragon 765 chip, which would make the Pixel 5 less powerful but also mean a cheaper pricetag while still retaining 5G connectivity.

Taken as a complete package, this leak with its contradictory information is reminiscent of another recent leak which made similar claims. In our coverage, we speculated that this is actually a mislabelled Pixel 4a XL, the supposedly cancelled large version of the Pixel 4a which would be more likely to have non-premium features like a plastic chassis and a headphone jack. 

Pigtou's leak gives us the same feeling, and that while it may bear some resemblance to whatever Google does bring out, this precise combination of features makes little sense when in context of other Pixel phones.

Google typically brings out new Pixel phones in October, so mark your calendars for a potential Pixel 5 launch that month. Since we've yet to see the Pixel 4a, which has been expected to launch imminently since May, it's possible we'll see it at the same time if Google elects not to launch in the next month or two to battle against the OnePlus Nord.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • jb42
    A plastic housing is IMO way better than glass. The screen is the most delicate piece of a smartphone because here glass is a necessary evil - and we have to add protectors and cases with raised edges to protect it - now you want to add a glass back...!!!? Here I can see once again opinion being driven by fashion rather than utility. Glass is only "better" than plastic where it makes sense to use it. If my phone was a sculpture I'd say yes to glass. Otherwise keep it far from me!

    This attitude (fashion over utility) shot down the Pixel 4 (for me and pretty much EVERY online review): it was given a tiny battery apparently to make it look svelte and feel slim in the hand...! As as result I've been holding out for the 5 and am quite relieved to hear about the plastic casing - though the small battery life rumor is disappointing. Pixel engineers, how about this for an idea: make your battery at least the same size as the competition and then use the power saving features you tout to make it last even longer than the competition! Mind blown! :)
  • Boring Username
    It's going to be 6.4 inches. You measured the entire phone, not the screen so you are not taking the bezels into account.

    Pixel 4 XL width 75.1 mm SCREEN width 68.5 mm. So bezels are 6.6 mm( 3.3 mm each side )
    Pixel 5 XL width 74 mm SCREEN width 67.4 mm( assuming same 6.6 mm bezel )

    Editing the pic to just the screen shows 19.7:9 ratio which means the SCREEN diagonal is about 2.41 X the width. Since the width is 67.4 mm 2.41 X 67.4=162.4 mm or 6.39 inches

    And even using the size of the entire phone you'd get 6.7 inches. Length squared plus width squared = diagonal squared

    6.05 X 6.05=36.6
    2.91 X 2.91=8.48
    Square root of 45.08= 6.7 inches