Google’s pixels have long been a top choice for technology enthusiasts. For people who understood the importance of simple software and a phone that offers an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. And for people who loved having an easy-to-use yet exceptionally powerful smartphone camera.
But Google constantly encountered a major obstacle: No one would actually get to try a Pixel phone to find out how good it was, because they were too expensive. The first four generations of pixels were priced comparably to the latest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phone. And when they faced that choice, people went with the sure thing: The big name they already knew.
With Pixel 3a 2019, and its successor 4a released just a couple of months ago, Google finally thought about it: People will appreciate what Google has to offer, it just needs to lower the price a bit. And now that we have the obviously higher Pixel 5 and the larger Pixel 4a 5G, we know that Google has fully thought of the idea that it must be incredibly price competitive.
For some, including myself, the old Pixel model was trying to create an advanced phone and charge an advanced price just fine, but that’s because I love what Google brings to the table with its pixels, and I’m willing to pay. Everyone else, however, saw genuinely boring hardware, a spec sheet with some corner cuts and lots of “extras” found on other phones that were missing here.
Instead of trying to follow the same system as before, Google broke the mold and actually changed its strategy – even for the top model Pixel 5. Although this is Google’s best phone of the year, it’s only $ 700. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra was launched for $ 1,400, and Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro is likely to start at $ 1,000.
Now apparently Samsung and Apple have price-competitive phones for the Pixel 5, as well as LG, OnePlus, Motorola and countless internationally focused brands such as Xiaomi and Oppo. But they are all sub-flagship phones, and they are now competing with Google’s flagship. All have corner trim and are smaller than flagship specifications, just like the Pixel 5 does. They do not have best the screen or the latest features from top to bottom.
And at this $ 699 price point, Google’s Pixel 5 absolutely kills these phones in two areas: camera and software.
Google’s camera capability is its ace up the Pixel 5’s sleeve. We once again get their proven 12MP camera, which can use advanced image processing to take incredible pictures, day and night, without thinking. Pixel 5 now also has a secondary ultra-wide camera for the breathtaking images, which it was one how the competition beat it in image reproduction. Add incredible video stabilization, premium portrait mode effects and a great selfie camera, and it’s a complete package. Pixel 5 simply runs away from the top competition, let alone smaller phones for the same price.
Once you have lost the prize, Pixel absolutely wins the discussion about cameras and software.
At this lower price, you can also better appreciate its approach to software and the overall user experience. When corners start to shrink to save on price, companies often make the wrong choice – they retain features that help phones sell, but it’s not necessarily the best combination for using the phones. Google cares first and foremost about that experience after the purchase. Android 11 is simple and powerful, has no redundant apps or bloatware, and Google’s “smart” add-ons with assistant and other AI features regularly delight you.
Pixel 5 has more than enough processing power to run everything smoothly; a dozen other phones using their Snapdragon 765 processor this year have shown us that there is nothing to worry about. And with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, the phone is well positioned to handle the three years of guaranteed software updates from Google.
It is true that Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G are still in many ways boring phones. They do not have the flash and whiz-bang features that make them jump out and shout “I’m cool, buy me!” as some other phones do. But it has Never has been Google’s intention, and I’m glad it did not go through the short – term strategy. Instead, it simply doubled its strengths and made the right decision to lower its prices to ensure that more people will have the opportunity to – and more often than not – love – their phones.