Google Pixel 5 next to Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G 2
David Imel / Android Authority
Left to right: Google Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G

Google’s entire 2020 smartphone lineup was completed with the launch of the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. Google forewent the traditional flagship this year, with the two joining the Pixel 4a to dominate the mid-range category. So while these aren’t as powerful as phones like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, you don’t have to worry about thousand dollar price tags either. But which Pixel is the one for you? We take a quick look at the Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4a 5G vs Pixel 4a!

Our verdict: Pixel 5 review — The best premium Pixel


Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4a 5G vs Pixel 4a


Specs

Pixel 5Pixel 4a 5GPixel 4a
Display
Pixel 5:
6-inch OLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
90Hz refresh rate
Pixel 4a 5G:
6.2-inch OLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
60Hz refresh rate
Pixel 4a:
5.81-inch OLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
60Hz refresh rate
Processor
Pixel 5:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Pixel 4a 5G:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Pixel 4a:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
RAM
Pixel 5:
8GB
Pixel 4a 5G:
6GB
Pixel 4a:
6GB
Storage
Pixel 5:
128GB
No microSD card slot
Pixel 4a 5G:
128GB
No microSD card slot
Pixel 4a:
128GB
No microSD card slot
Camera
Pixel 5:
Rear:
Main:
12.2MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm pixels, optical + electronic image stabilization
Secondary:
16MP, f/2.2, 1 micron pixel, ultra-wide (107 degree FoV)
Front:
8MP sensor, f/2.0, 1.12µm pixels, fixed focus, 83-degree field-of-view
Pixel 4a 5G:
Rear:
Main:
12.2MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm pixels, optical + electronic image stabilization
Secondary:
16MP, f/2.2, 1 micron pixel, ultra-wide (107 degree FoV)
Front:
8MP sensor, f/2.0, 1.12µm pixels, fixed focus, 83-degree field-of-view
Pixel 4a:
Rear:
12.2MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm pixels, optical + electronic image stabilization
Front:
8MP sensor, f/2.0, 1.12µm pixels, fixed focus, 83-degree field-of-view
Battery
Pixel 5:
4,080mAh
Pixel 4a 5G:
3,800mAh
Pixel 4a:
3,140mAh
Software
Pixel 5:
Android 11
Pixel 4a 5G:
Android 11
Pixel 4a:
Android 11
Price
Pixel 5:
$699
Pixel 4a 5G:
$499
Pixel 4a:
$349

Design

Google Pixel 5 standing up back on table 2
David Imel / Android Authority

The Pixel 4a was an excellent precursor for what was to come. All three phones look the same, and Google manages to modernize its designs and simultaneously go back to the basics. A punch-hole camera is tucked away in the corner, and the bezels around the display are much thinner than previous generations. Many will also love the fact that all three come with a capacitive fingerprint scanner on the back.

The Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G have more in common when it comes to build quality. The polycarbonate shell provides a premium feel to two otherwise mid-range smartphones. The two cheaper Pixels also come with a headphone jack.

Google Pixel 4a 5G screen size comparison vs Pixel 4a
David Imel / Android Authority

Things start to lean towards the high-end with the Pixel 5. You get a metal and glass build, an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, and wireless charging. Unfortunately, high-end also means “no headphone jack” for some reason, so the Pixel 5 gives it a skip.

All three have Full HD OLED displays. The Pixel 4a 5G has the biggest display of the lot, but even its 6.2-inch screen feels little compared to most other Android phones out there. The Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 are the way to go if you want a small phone, as both offer more modest 5.8-inch and 6-inch displays respectively. The latter has the advantage of 90Hz refresh rates, though, and provides an even smoother experience. The Pixel 4a has one of the best displays we’ve seen in its price range, and the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G follow suit.

See also: Pixel 4a 5G review


Features

Google Pixel 5 next to Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G 1
David Imel / Android Authority

The budget-friendly Pixel 4a is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730. It’s a solid performer but falls short compared to the Snapdragon 765G under the hood of both the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5. The processor is also what makes the two phones 5G-ready.

Google keeps things simple as far as the other specs are concerned. You don’t have multiple combinations of RAM and storage to choose from. All three phones have 128GB of built-in storage. The Pixel 4a and 4a 5G come with 6GB of RAM, while that jumps up to 8GB with the Pixel 5.

The Pixel 5 has the battery life advantage. It packs a large 4,080mAh battery to run a relatively small display and less power-hungry processing package, resulting in around 8 hours of screen-on time. The Pixel 4a 5G gets up to the 6-hour screen-on time mark with its 3,800mAh unit. The Pixel 4a comfortably lasts a whole day and beyond, while the other two push that to almost two full days. It might not feature the fastest processors, but worrying about battery life with the Pixel series is a thing of the past.

Google Pixel 5 Camera 1
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The primary 12.2MP shooter of the Pixel 4a can take some fantastic shots, and you get the same unit with the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G. The more expensive devices get the added benefit of a secondary ultra-wide camera. It’s not the triple-camera and quad-camera setups with 108MP units that are dominating the Android world. It doesn’t change the fact that the Pixel 5 has one of the best smartphone cameras around. All three come with 8MP selfie shooters.

Things are, of course, identical on the software side of things. The Pixels run Android 11 and will be among the first to receive future software updates. Stock Android usually lends itself to a smooth software experience anyway, but things will feel even better on the display of the Pixel 5 with its higher refresh rate.

Read more: Pixel 4a review


Price and availability

Google Pixel 5 Grey Back 2
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Google Pixel 4a: $349
  • Pixel 4a 5G: $499
  • Pixel 4a 5G UW: $599 (Verizon exclusive)
  • Google Pixel 5: $699

The Google Pixel 4a is the cheapest of the lot and offers incredible value at $349. The standard Pixel 4a 5G features a larger display, a better processor, an arguably better camera setup, a bigger battery, and 5G support, all for an additional $150.

Verizon Wireless sells a variant of the 4a 5G. It’s called the Pixel 4a 5G UW and it’s priced at $599. It supports Verison’s ultra-wideband 5G network. It also comes in an exclusive “clearly white” color.

The Pixel 5 earns its $699 price tag. A premium build, dust and water resistance, wireless charging, more RAM, a better secondary rear camera, and a higher display refresh rate are well worth the extra $200 you’ll have to pay over the Pixel 4a 5G.


Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4a 5G vs Pixel 4a: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel 5 using phone from the back 2
David Imel / Android Authority

Google has tried to keep things as simple as possible and provide people with an easy choice. If you are looking for an affordable smartphone, the Pixel 4a is one of the best mid-rangers you can buy. The 4a 5G will set you back quite a bit more but brings a lot more to the table. The larger display, bigger battery, and 5G are all selling points.

The Pixel 5 is for those who want the high-end Pixel. It’s not a real flagship by any means, but it packs the flagship features that users want. It’ll be interesting to see how the Pixel 5 fares in head-to-head comparisons against the latest and greatest currently available. But its $699 price point is always going to be a significant advantage.