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Pixel 5a camera sample teases Google’s next cheap phone

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The Pixel 4a was one of our favourite cheap phones in 2020, and it has been confirmed there will be a Pixel 5a follow-up from Google this year. Here’s what we know about the Pixel 5a including a possible release date and leaked camera information, 

You don’t often get one of the best cheap phones that also compares to some of the best camera phones on the market, but the Pixel 4a achieved that during our in-depth testing.

So what do we know about the Pixel 5a? Well, early rumours aren’t looking too positive so far. Read on for more.

  • The phone is confirmed for a release this year
  • Will be limited to Japan and USA

After a leak suggested the Pixel 5a might be cancelled, Google has in fact revealed (via 9to5Google) the phone is real and is coming to the USA and Japan later this year. So, unless things change it won’t be something you’ll be able to buy in the UK or Europe.

When exactly the Pixel 5a arrives remains to be seen. We had to wait until August for the Pixel 4a, while the previous-gen models came earlier. One possible release date could be during the Google I/O developer conference. This runs between May 18 and May 20 and is where we expect to hear more about Android 12 and the Pixel Buds A.

It would be surprising to see Google announce the 5a here, especially with the 4a launching later last year after many delays, however we can’t completely discount it.

In terms of cost, nothing is known at this stage. We can gauge a general pricing strategy by looking at the Pixel 4a, though.

This phone launched in a single colour/storage combo at £349/$349, which was £50/$50 cheaper than the Pixel 3a. Launching the Pixel 5a at a similar price would make sense but the addition of 5G might push it up slightly.

If you’re not keen on waiting for the Pixel 5a, you can see the best deals for the Pixel 4a below.

  • No free unlimited Google Photos uploads
  • Dual cameras on the back
  • 5G and a new Snapdragon chipset?

Our first real look at the Pixel 5a’s camera comes from Google itself. A snap posted as part of a blog on the HDR+ tech seems to have come straight from the Pixel 5a’s ultra wide 12.2MP f/2.2 camera. The actual picture has now been removed.

Information from the picture (via Android Police) suggests it’ll have a similar setup to the dual-camera Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5.

We also know the Pixel 5a won’t have unlimited free uploads to Google Photos, as this is being restricted from Pixel 2 to Pixel 5 and won’t be available on future Pixel devices. Instead, you’ll have to use your own Google Drive storage if you want to keep on storing your snaps in the cloud.

The Pixel 4a isn’t the most feature-rich device around, however it does have a few high-end components. We’d hope the 5a sticks with the FHD+ OLED panel with HDR support, possibly upping the 60Hz refresh rate to a smoother 90Hz. Phones like the Moto G30 have already offered 90Hz on a budget, so hopefully Google won’t keep this feature restricted to the Pixel 6.

In terms of chipset, we’d expect Google to once again pluck a mid-range option from Qualcomm. One possibility could be the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to the Snapdragon 765G, a chip found in many of the best mid-range phones around. The addition of 5G would seem like an obvious upgrade, as the Pixel 4a remains stuck on 4G networks.

We’d expect the Pixel 5a to match the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage offered by the 4a, hopefully with a heftier storage option available at a premium.

  • Renders show off a familiar look
  • Fingerprint sensor remains
  • Model shown here in black

If you were hoping to see a radical redesign for Google’s next attempt at a cheap phone then prepare to be a little bit disappointed. Early renders show a phone that looks very familiar, with a circular fingerprint sensor on the back and a very simple design.

The renders, which come from @onleaks, show a black device with a small cutout for the front camera and a duo of cameras (along with a flash) on the back. At least the power button seems to be keeping its trademark pop of contrasting colour.

Google also looks to be keeping the polycarbonate body, which isn’t much of a surprise as we expect this device to hit a low price-point.

Google only released one full-time colour for the Pixel 4a and we would like to see a little more variety with this followup. There was no XL (a version with a larger screen) option for the Pixel 4a either, something we had with the 3a. Whether or not Google would bring this back this year remains to be seen.



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