We’re likely just over a month away from Google revealing the Pixel 5. Now, normally when a company that big launches a major flagship phone we all get hyped to see some crazy new features and how big / fast / sharp the screen will be. And, we’re perhaps a little less hyped to see just how absurd the price tag is going to be. But, judging from the leaks, the Pixel 5 is going to be something of a different beast. It might be downright boring. And, honesty, that’s not a bad thing.
So let’s start with what we know for sure: There will be a Pixel 5… that’s about it.
Basically everything else should be taken with at least a small grain of salt. That said, it sounds like, for starters, the Pixel 5 is going to skip on a high-end chipset and instead rock a more modest Snapdragon 765G. And, unlike some of the more extreme phones in recent memory, the Pixel 5 will come with “only” 8GB of RAM. Now, that is more than enough power for your average user. Plus, Google has proven time and again that through smart software optimization it can squeeze great performance out of lesser devices.
But more importantly, the 765G is cheaper than a Snapdragon 865 and 12GB of RAM. Almost $100 cheaper as of January. And building on that, it sounds like we’re getting just one Pixel 5 this year. No XL variant. Just one model that will come with a 6-inch OLED -- which is smack in the middle of the 6.3 inch screen of the Pixel 4 XL and the 5.8 inch screen on the Pixel 4A. Also like with the Pixel 4A, by streamlining the product line Google can shave down it’s production costs even further, and hopefully pass those savings on to you -- the consumer.
See, while modest specs and limited variants might be boring, it also means that Google will probably be able to undercut the competition by hundreds of dollars. Remember when the Nexus was the crown jewel of Google’s burgeoning smartphone empire? It was a flagship caliber phone for about half the price of other phones. Now, it’s highly doubtful that the Pixel 5 will cost just $500. But $700 seems within the realm of possibility.
Google is even supposedly going back to the well by bringing back the fingerprint reader. Putting aside for a moment the fact that Face Unlock was never particularly good. It’s especially important now to have a backup method for unlocking your phone. Trust me. Even if you get a mask printed with your face on it, it’s not going to work. In fact, it seems like that Soli radar sensor is gone completely.
The only thing missing is the return of the headphone jack but, I’ve begrudgingly accepted that is a lost cause at this point.
What else? Google is probably sticking with just two cameras on the back. But this year ditching the telephoto in favor of a wide angle lens. And it’s joining the rest of the smartphone world by embracing the hole punch camera on the front. Goodbye giant bezels and weird notches -- the Pixel line is going bezel-less...ish.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about he Pixel 5 is the rumor that the battery will be 4,000mAh — and those are hardly uncommon. Compared to the anemic 2,800mAh in the Pixel 4 that’s positively enormous. And combined with that less power-hungry processor we could be talking about battery life in days, instead of hours.
Again, though: These are not breakthroughs. They’re minor tweaks to address minor annoyances and in some ways playing catch-up with the rest of the industry.
But you know what -- give me a boring but affordable phone with enough power to handle Evernote and some light video editing and I’m good. I don’t need a 120HZ screen or console quality 3D graphics. I need to be able to reliably unlock my phone in a supermarket to check my shopping list, without being chased out by a mob of angry people hurling produce. And, when the time comes to upgrade, I need to be able to buy a new phone without having to worry about making my mortgage payment that month.