After a long wait, the arrival of the Google Pixel 5 is fast approaching. The latest rumors point to a launch price set at $629/€629. If true, this would be one of the most affordable flagship phone launches of the year. Surely Google has an instant classic in the making?
Read more: Everything we know about the Google Pixel 5
Cheaper than the OG Google Pixel
At $629, the Pixel 5 will be Google’s most affordable flagship smartphone to date. It comes in a smidgen cheaper than the original Pixel and Pixel 2’s $649 entry point. Google Pixel prices have been creeping up over the years, so a return to a lower price point seems like a bargain. Who wouldn’t want one of the best camera phones around for cheaper than ever before?
Even if the Pixel 5 ends up sporting a virtually unchanged 12MP main sensor, it will still be one of the best camera phones around. Rumors also point to a wide-angle over a telephoto lens, which could go down well. Not to mention upgrades to the company’s best-in-class image processing. But this is probably where the sales pitch for the Pixel 5 ends.
Overall, the Pixel 5 doesn’t appear to be packing bleeding-edge hardware, so the lack of a premium price tag isn’t surprising. Revolutionary new displays and charging tech aren’t exactly Google’s M.O. However, it’s the Snapdragon 765G processor rather than a premium tier Snapdragon 865 that could be the phone’s undoing. Not because the chip’s performance isn’t good enough, but because of its association with cheaper products.
The Google Pixel 5 might be one of the more expensive Snapdragon 765G phones.
Even at $629/€629, Google certainly won’t be the most affordable phone rocking this class of chipset. The OnePlus Nord costs €400 and the Realme X50 5G offers a Snapdragon 765G for just €350. That’s more comparable to the Pixel 4a’s price point. Although the more stylish LG Velvet costs $699/€650, the Nokia 8.3 charges €599, and the Motorola Edge Plus retails for €535 (although Verizon dares to charge $999!). Google won’t be alone at the higher end of this market segment, but there are plenty of phones selling for much cheaper.
The Pixel 5 looks to be more expensive than many of its rivals and it’s not exactly mingling with the premium-tier bands here.
The Pixel 4a 5G problem
On its own, the Google Pixel 5 may have stood out enough to pique fan interest. However, big G is also planning to release the Google Pixel 4a 5G at the same time with a cheaper price point, starting at just $499/€499.
Budget phones have been well received this year. Just see the iPhone SE and OnePlus Nord. It therefore won’t be surprising if the Pixel 4a 5G steal’s the 5’s thunder. With 5G capabilities, a similar camera setup, the same processor, and Google’s excellent software, the Pixel 4a 5G has all the bases covered. “Why pay more for the Pixel 5” is the big question that Google has to answer.
The Pixel 4a 5G looks like a better value proposition.
Google’s flagship model will undoubtedly offer a few extra bells and whistles. Wireless charging, a higher refresh rate display, and possibly a revamped Soli radar system seem likely. Whether consumers will judge those perks to be worth an extra $120 or so is far from certain. I’m starting to think they won’t.
Overpriced or just right?
In many respects, the Google Pixel 5 looks like the perfect answer to common complaints about the Pixel 4. A more mid-range processor should help with battery issues and the lower price point reverses the worrying trend towards the $999 mark. All while allowing Google to play to its photography and software strengths.
Last year’s success with the Pixel 3a may have convinced Google that affordability is its avenue to historically illusive hardware success. But that’s left us without a high-performance Pixel this year and increasingly small price and hardware differences between the products in Google’s smartphone portfolio. Internal competition between the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G doesn’t help with Google’s marketing message either.
At face value, a $629/€629 Google Pixel 5 price tag is perhaps a tad on the expensive side compared to its competitors. Nevertheless, it’s a price some would certainly pay for one of the best camera packages around. However, with the Pixel 4a 5G coming in at $499/€499, Google may end up undercutting its own flagship product. What do you think?