From the Editor’s Desk: The Google Pixel 5a, explained

by Jeremy

The Google Pixel 5a is coming, and people have questions.

Based on information and CAD renders leaked out by Steve Hemmerstoffer (aka OnLeaks) this past week, it seems the 5a is going to look almost identical to the Pixel 4a 5G — a phone that might be barely seven months old by the time the 5a arrives. All of which makes the successor to one of the best cheap Android phones seem like a pretty confusing proposition.

A glance down the spec sheet and a peek at the renders reveal a familiar 6.2-inch screen, dual rear cameras, rear fingerprint scanner, a hole-punch selfie camera, and headphone jack. Only the dimensions are slightly different, with the 5a being marginally chunkier than the 4a 5G.


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If you saw these renders out of context, you’d think you were looking at a Pixel 4a 5G.

But this leak isn’t as dull as you might think — and that’s partly because of what we don’t know yet. The phone’s internal specs like processor, RAM, and battery capacity remain a mystery, as does the price point Google will be targeting for 2021’s affordable Pixel model.

Nevertheless, what we do know about the 5a poses the question of why this phone, launching so soon after another, almost identical phone, even needs to exist.

It’s important to remember that the Pixel 4a 5G is much closer to the Pixel 5 in terms of internal hardware than the 4a — so much so that Google wrestled with what to call the phone through much of 2020. (As we’ve previously reported, it’s likely the 4a 5G has initially been going to carry the name Pixel 5.) Despite its eventual branding, the Pixel 4a 5G is not just a Pixel 4a with 5G. Its faster CPU and camera improvements put it in the “premium Pixel” category.

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