Google Pixel 5a leaked photos look good — too good, actually

Pixel 5a
(Image credit: SlashLeaks)

You can bet that Google has a new phone or two in the works — maybe the Pixel 5 Pro, maybe the Pixel 5a. Now new photos have emerged claiming to show off the latter device, though you might want to take them with a grain of salt.

The three photos appear at SlashLeaks, with one showing off a Pixel 5a logo on the device's screen. Another shows off an in-display fingerprint sensor. In both photos, there's no visible cut-out for the front-facing camera, suggesting the device in question has an in-display camera as well similar to ZTE Axon 20 5G.

Forgive our cynicism, but this sounds a little too good to be true for a midrange phone like the Pixel 5a that's designed with budget users in mind. Past phones like the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a have taken some features from Google's pricier flagships and incorporated them into a cheaper handset. 

Pixel 5a

(Image credit: SlashLeaks)

Neither of those phones really introduced new features to the mix. And in-display cameras and sensors would certainly count as new features for Google. The Pixel 5 features a fingerprint reader on its back, while the front of the phone has a visible camera cutout. If Google was going to add these features to its phones, the Pixel 6 slated for this fall seems like a more probable destination.

Something else triggering alarm bells when we see these alleged Pixel 5a photos is that they look an awful lot like the rumored Pixel 5 Pro photos that also depicted a phone with an in-display camera. The veracity of those images is widely in doubt.

That's not to say there aren't areas that Google could improve upon with the Pixel 5a. The Pixel 4a relied on a Snapdragon 730G processor that made it feel a little underpowered compared to similarly priced phones like the iPhone SE and OnePlus Nord. The Pixel 4a also didn't have that impressive battery life, though its cameras rank among the best camera phones we've tested.

Whatever Google has planned for the Pixel 5a will likely show up in the spring, as that's when Google traditionally looks to roll out its budget model. If that device looks anything like the one in these photos, well, we'll apologize for our skepticism then.

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.