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14th Oct 2020

Hands on with the Google Pixel 5

Rory Cashin

Having spent a few days with Google’s new phone, here is our review of the Pixel 5.

Google have always had the upper hand in certain regards with their Pixel range of phones, from the native use of Android to the incredible series of camera throughout the generations.

With the arrival of the Pixel 5, and the much-discussed use of 5G, we’ve spent some time with the Google’s new phone and come away with the following thoughts:

  • Camera

Once again, the Pixel camera is fantastic. But it has always been fantastic, and this version of the camera doesn’t seem to be that much better than what has come before. What does seem noticeably improved is the video, which comes with some great new features like Locked Mode or Active Mode, which makes it feel like you’ve got your camera on a tripod at all times.

The additions to the camera itself include Night Sight in Portrait mode, Portrait Light, and Cinematic Pan, and while some of this are pretty nifty (especially the Portrait Light, which allows to place a fake light source anywhere within your photo), we’re not entirely sure how often we’d find ourselves using them.

  • Battery

We use our phones… A LOT. From the social media check-ups to the photo and video taking to just browsing the web, our phone was in almost constant use, and at no point in the day did it need a recharge.

Google have also launched something called Extreme Battery Saver, which has been designed to keep only selected apps turned on and can help keep the Pixel’s charge last up to 48 hours. We just can’t imagine a scenario where this option of battery saving would ever actually be needed, but the battery life is already pretty stellar.

  • Android the way Google intended

Google own Android, so it would make sense that this operating system would work best on a Google phone. There is just something about using Android on the Pixel 5 that looks and feels smoother than on other devices. The loading speeds and screen layouts appear improved, but not in a quantifiable way, more in a “you’ll understand when you try it” kind of way.

As for the security, the phone comes with a custom built Titan-M security chip and three years of guaranteed updates, while the Google Assistant remains one of the best in the game. Go ahead, ask it anything (within reason), and it’ll be able to help.

  • Design

The Pixel has never really felt like the sexiest phone, always going for substance over style, and that definitely carries over to the Pixel 5. The 6-inch screen isn’t going to impress anyone, but it feels comfortable to hold. The finger-print reader on the back is perfectly placed, the addition of wireless charging is a great one, and we’re told the phone is also dust and water resistant.

It all comes together for what feels like a solid, if not-exactly-spectacular creation. Which isn’t a complaint, as sometimes that bigger, flashier devices are often the easiest ones to let drop and shatter.

  • Price

Not aiming towards the high end of the phone market (unlike certain brands which will charge you over a grand for their latest releases), as per the official Google website, the Pixel 5 will cost you €618.77, and will be available from Thursday, October 15.

READ NEXT: Hands on with the Google Pixel 4a and Google Nest Audio

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