Pixel 5: the new Google smartphone. picture: Jan Mölleken
Pixel 5 in the test: the new Google phone is more than good enough
With the Pixel 5, Google is breaking new ground with its smartphone line: For the first time in years, the Internet giant is not targeting the prestigious upper-class market, but is building a more pragmatic phone. Does it work out? Our test shows it.
With the Pixel 5 Google presented its new top device at the beginning of October, which does not want to be a top smartphone at all. At least not in the classic sense. Instead, Google has saved at various ends and can now – despite 5G support – sell in the upper middle class segment.
The smartphone has been in stores since this week (in Switzerland, as always, only at a few online retailers). watson media partner t-online has already tested it and reveals whether the new middle class is a step forward or a step backwards for the Pixel 5.
Mid-range processor – exactly the right decision
With the Pixel 5, Google is making the switch from the upper to the upper middle class. You can fix this primarily on the processor in the new smartphone: that’s where it is Snapdragon 765G. The upper-class smartphones of the competition currently rely on the much more potent – and more expensive – Snapdragon 865. This leads to the interesting feature that the Pixel 5 actually calculates slower than its predecessor Pixel 4. And yet it is exactly the right decision by Google.
Because the vast majority of users will get along with the performance of the new processor – at the same time, the chip is more frugal in terms of energy consumption. This is how you get through the day with the Pixel 5 – despite the power-hungry 5G wireless data transmission. And while many competitors had to make their smartphones more expensive due to the 5G modems, Google can even lower the price of the Pixel 5: almost 700 Franken The device costs 613 euros to start. For the Pixel 4 with 128 GB of storage, Google asked for 849 euros (910 francs). Google has made smart savings here.
The Pixel 5 with Google’s original Android. image: the verge
The memory configuration, on the other hand, is adequate: 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space are completely sufficient for most users. Adequate protection against the ingress of water (can be submerged 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes) is provided.
The 6 inch display with OLED-Technique shows 1080 by 2340 pixels and can increase the refresh rate up to 90 Hz to make scrolling even smoother. Here buyers do not have to forego any of the conveniences of high-end devices.
Elsewhere it was deleted again sensibly: Face recognition via infrared camera and the radar sensor for gesture control are missing in the Pixel 5 – hardly anyone will miss it. Instead, there is a fingerprint sensor on the back – a blessing for many users, not just in the Corona period.
The camera is extremely good for a mid-range device
The core virtues of the Pixel series have remained true, for example with the camera: At first glance, it looks very similar to that of the previous device. However, Google has swapped the telephoto lens (zoom) for an ultra-wide-angle lens with a 16 MP sensor. Probably the better choice in everyday life. In our tests, the ultra-wide-angle camera took very decent pictures – but the 12 MP main camera is significantly stronger in low light.
The Pixel 5’s portrait mode is outstanding again this time around, Google manages the sharp separation of foreground and background better than competitors’ devices in many situations – even with the selfie camera. The new portrait light mode is a nice gimmick, but certainly not essential in everyday life. The photos themselves are very good – but not quite on the level of the upper class. There, more effort is put into the camera hardware. Compared to an iPhone 11 Pro, for example, a difference can be seen in the images. In some images it looks as if the Pixel 5 can physically absorb less light, and the sharpness of distant details cannot quite keep up with other upper-class devices – especially not with devices that have a five-fold optical lens via a telescopic lens. Have forced zoom into the smartphone housing.
What Google’s pixels, in turn, are excellent at is the digital processing of the images. Even in poor light, the image noise is filtered out better in most cases than with the competition – without the details suffering too much. Fine structures are sometimes lost – here the iPhone 11 Pro used for comparison delivers significantly more convincing results thanks to its deep fusion technology. Overall, the Pixel 5 takes very good pictures, and the camera is particularly impressive in everyday life.
Battery and charging
The charging technology was also not spared: Despite the back of the housing made of aluminum, the Pixel 5 can not only be charged wirelessly, it can also supply other devices with power itself. This pays off especially if you or a friend urgently need electricity for your cell phone or wireless headphones, but don’t have a suitable cable or socket nearby. Wireless charging despite the metal back, by the way, the Pixel probably succeeds with a trick, as Android Authority claims to have found out. The aluminum back is coated with a synthetic resin. Where the charging coil is attached, the metal plate should be perforated and only filled with the synthetic resin. Nothing of this can be seen from the outside.
Of the battery pack itself is with 4000 mAh Compared to its predecessor, the 18-watt power adapter that is included charges the phone completely in less than two hours after a day of use.
Conclusion: the most sensible pixel smartphone so far
Possibly even after the success of its cheaper Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a devices, Google has shifted its focus to a lower price segment and said goodbye to some extravagant functions. The test showed: Here the developers have shown a good hand in weighing the benefits and costs of various functions against each other. The result is a completely sensible device that will still please smartphone nerds and Android enthusiasts. The Pixel 5 does not try to stand out as the best device in any area, but it never gives the impression that it is not up to a certain task.
In conjunction with Google’s commitment to Android and security updates for three years, as well as the many little things that Google Pixel phones often exclusively grants, the Pixel 5 is perhaps the perfect device for everyone who enjoys great smartphones but can do without superlatives .
More reviews: The latest smartphones and co. In the test
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