Google Pixel 5a vs older Pixel telephones: Must you improve?


the google pixel 5a on a bench compared to the pixel 5 and pixel 4a 5g with back panels showing

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Left to proper: Google Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 4a 5G

Desk of contents

Google made the leap to flagship pricing with the introduction of the Pixel line in 2016. The Pixel collection has solely gotten dearer since then, with many clamoring for an inexpensive various. Google answered the decision in 2019 with the Pixel “a” collection that’s harking back to Google’s Nexus smartphones. The inexpensive collection has gotten higher with each iteration, with the newest one — the Pixel 5a — being a straightforward telephone to advocate in 2021.

The Pixel 5a gives all the things Google smartphones are identified for. Stable efficiency, a wonderful software program expertise, and a few of the greatest smartphone cameras you will get. It additionally brings key enhancements in construct high quality and battery life however is someway cheaper than its predecessor.

In case you have an older Pixel machine, is it time for an improve? We have a look at how the Pixel 5a stacks up in opposition to all the opposite Google telephones that got here earlier than it! Earlier than we begin, only a fast notice to say that for those who’re nonetheless utilizing a Google Nexus telephone, it’s properly overdue time to improve! We all know, they were great, however it’s time to maneuver on.

Our verdict: Google Pixel 5a review

Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 2 collection and older

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL side by side

The Pixel 2 collection continued the development of premium pricing that began with the primary Pixel smartphones. Whereas the Pixel 2’s base worth stayed the identical as that of its predecessor at $649, the Pixel 2 XL was priced to tackle Samsung and Apple flagships of its time. Sadly, it fell brief in key areas. Aside from the show and battery points that plagued the machine, it didn’t include anticipated flagship options like wi-fi charging or water resistance. In the end, it was solely the value that matched the competitors.

That’s to not say that these telephones have been unhealthy by any stretch. All the pieces that the Pixel collection would come to be identified for began with the Pixel 2 units. The 12.2MP rear digital camera would turn out to be a staple of each Pixel smartphone sooner or later. You additionally acquired flagship efficiency with these telephones due to the Snapdragon 835 chipset, with the software program expertise making all the things even higher.

See additionally: Everything you need to know about Google hardware

That mentioned, for those who’re nonetheless rocking a Pixel 2 collection or older smartphone, it could be time for an improve. Google’s glorious software program help ensured that the Pixel 2 made it to Android 11, however that’s the top of the street so far as main software program upgrades are involved. Additionally, whereas the Pixel 5a could be a mid-ranger in 2021, it gives higher efficiency than the 2017 flagship. You’ll additionally get extra RAM, 5G help, improved digital camera efficiency, and much better battery life with the Pixel 5a. And it’s solely $449.

Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel Three collection

Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL display front

Pricing controversies would proceed to encompass the Pixel line with Google’s subsequent technology of smartphones. The Pixel Three noticed an enormous $150 worth hike, and the $50 improve for the 128GB storage model of the Pixel Three XL would see it contact the $999 mark. As soon as once more, this appeared to be finished to price-match the competitors, however the Pixel Three XL launched some helpful additions.

Google took the complaints concerning the Pixel 2 XL’s show points to coronary heart, with each Pixel 3’s that includes glorious P-OLED screens. There’s additionally that unseemly notch, however it was at the least an indication of getting with the instances. The bigger Pixel Three XL additionally has a extra premium construct high quality, an IP68 ranking for mud and water resistance, wi-fi charging, and a dual-camera setup in your selfies. The Pixel Three missed out most of those, although, other than the twin front-facing cameras, making its $800 worth at launch a lot more durable to justify.

See extra: How has Google’s Pixel pricing changed over the years

For those who nonetheless have the Pixel Three or Pixel Three XL, you could possibly doubtlessly maintain off on an improve for one more 12 months. The Snapdragon 845 processor is kind of succesful, and the digital camera can nonetheless take glorious photographs. The Pixel Three and Pixel Three XL can even get Android 12, however that’s the ultimate main improve for these telephones.

The Pixel 5a isn’t with out its benefits, although. As soon as once more, you’ll get higher efficiency, extra RAM, 5G help, and implausible battery life. For those who completely wish to improve this 12 months and are in search of an excellent deal, the Pixel 5a is the way in which to go. For those who’re keen to splurge, you may wish to wait and see what the Pixel 6 series will carry to the desk.

Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 3a collection

Google Pixel 3a XL Review hardware

The Pixel 3a collection was the beginning of what would ultimately result in the wonderful Pixel 5a. It was a welcome shift in Google’s smartphone technique, and plenty of appreciated the supply of an inexpensive entry level to the Android ecosystem. This wasn’t a return to the Nexus days, although, with the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL being mid-rangers via and thru.

A plastic physique, the Snapdragon 670 processor, and just about no “extras” ensured a low beginning worth, however these have been actually not the premium units the Pixel line was beforehand identified for. That mentioned, the trade-offs have been greater than acceptable as a result of the Pixel 3a retained what Google’s smartphones have been identified for. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL featured the identical digital camera setup and taking pictures capabilities because the flagship Pixel Three collection, and naturally, you additionally acquired a implausible software program expertise with each.

Associated: The best budget camera phones you can buy

The Pixel 3a is a few years previous at this level, and mid-rangers have a tendency to indicate their age before flagships. You’ll nonetheless have a strong digital camera expertise, and the Pixel 3a collection might be upgraded to Android 12. Nonetheless, for those who’ve determined to improve, the Pixel 5a is a greater telephone in each manner.

You’ll get much better construct high quality, quicker efficiency, improved cameras, and superior battery life. The Pixel 5a can be the primary of the road to return with mud and water resistance. As a result of the Pixel 3a launched at $399 ($479 for the 3a XL), the $449 price ticket of the Pixel 5a is much more spectacular.

Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel Four collection

Google Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL in orange and white

David Imel / Android Authority

Google upped the ante as soon as once more with the Pixel Four collection and tried just a few new issues with its 2019 flagships. The dearth of a notch was a welcome design change in comparison with the massive notch of the Pixel Three XL, however it felt misplaced in opposition to the competitors. The “brow” served a function, although, housing Google’s Motion Sense and Soli radar system. The Pixel Four and Four XL have been additionally the primary to return with dual-rear digital camera setups and shows with a 90Hz refresh price.

Movement Sense and the Soli radar system have been distinctive {hardware} additions, however the ensuing reliance on Face Unlock and the removing of a fingerprint scanner took everybody abruptly. The brand new options additionally damage battery life, which was, to start with, common at greatest. There have been plenty of issues with establishing and utilizing the upper display refresh price and likewise had a huge effect on battery life. Google’s willingness to experiment is nice, however that doesn’t all the time make for a great mainstream flagship competitor.

Additionally learn: Everything you need to know about the Pixel 4 series

Nonetheless, the purpose right here isn’t whether or not the Pixel Four and Four XL have been good telephones. If you have already got certainly one of them, is it price upgrading to the Pixel 5a? In all probability not. 2019 flagships stay glorious performers in 2021, and the digital camera and software program (which it is possible for you to to improve to subsequent 12 months’s Android iteration) are its strongest options. You get the identical digital camera setup with the Pixel 5a, however you miss out on a better show refresh price and wi-fi charging.

That mentioned, if the Pixel Four collection’ battery life is providing you with nightmares, the Pixel 5a falls on the reverse finish of the spectrum. And for some, that could be cause sufficient to improve to the most recent Pixel.

Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 4a collection

Google Pixel 4a 5G next to 4a

David Imel / Android Authority

The Pixel 4a was an fascinating addition to the Pixel a collection. It launched a brand new, extra trendy look with its punch gap show however held on to “classics” like a capacitive fingerprint scanner on the again and a headphone jack. After all, its digital camera capabilities and software program expertise have been additionally nearly as good as ever. It missed out on 5G help, however the Pixel 4a was $50 cheaper than its predecessor.

Nonetheless, there’s no denying that the Pixel 5a is the higher telephone. The previous comes with a quicker processor, extra premium construct high quality, improved digital camera setup, higher battery life, 5G, and dirt and water resistance. The Pixel 4a’s smaller footprint could be enticing to some, and its $100 lower cost tag is much more compelling, so it simply will depend on what you’re in search of. If you have already got a Pixel 4a, although, it could be too quickly for an improve.

See extra: Is there any difference between the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5a?

In case you have the Pixel 4a 5G, you undoubtedly don’t must improve to the 5a. The Pixel 5a comes with just a few helpful extras like water resistance, the battery life is longer, and it’s a better performer regardless of having the identical processing package deal. However the two telephones are in any other case the identical. Digital camera efficiency is similar, you get the identical software program expertise, and the handsets even look the identical. So except one thing like water resistance is an absolute must-have, the Pixel 4a 5G is unquestionably ok.

Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 5

google pixel 5 home screen

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Pixel 5

Let’s simply get this out of the way in which. The Pixel 5a isn’t an improve over the Pixel 5. However, there are a handful of peculiar similarities that make the previous a really compelling choice.

To begin with, there’s virtually no distinction within the design. The Pixel 5a is larger and thicker, courtesy of its bigger show and larger battery. You additionally get the identical processing package deal within the Snapdragon 765G, 5G help, and similar digital camera and software program experiences. That’s fairly spectacular when you think about that the Pixel 5a is $250 cheaper than the Pixel 5 was at launch.

See extra: Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 5a — What’s the difference?

Google’s 2020 flagship has just a few tips up its sleeve, although. It comes with a better show refresh price (90Hz vs 60Hz), barely higher mud and water resistance ranking (IP68 vs IP67), extra RAM, and wi-fi charging. The Pixel 5a brings the battle with higher battery life and a headphone jack. However that’s possible not sufficient to make a swap.

For those who have been deciding between the 2, the Pixel 5a’s a lot lower cost may give it the sting. The Pixel 5 is the higher machine general. That’s a moot level, nonetheless, as Google discontinued the Pixel 5 following the launch of the 5a.

Must you improve to the Google Pixel 5a?

the google pixel 5a on a bench with water splashed droplets

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Taking a look at an outline of the Pixel lineup, you notice that not a lot has modified through the years. Sure, you get the anticipated improve in efficiency, and a handful of makes an attempt at new options have come and gone. However what defines the collection — digital camera and software program — are considerably related even for those who return to the Pixel 2.

For those who’re nonetheless rocking a Pixel 2, Pixel 3, or Pixel 3a, it is time to think about an improve.

The 12.2MP major shooter is current all through, albeit joined by a secondary digital camera in recent times. And due to glorious software program help, even the Pixel 2 is operating Android 11. That mentioned, the Pixel 5a is unquestionably higher than the Pixel 2, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3a telephones. So for those who’re contemplating an improve, the Pixel 5a is the way in which to go.

Issues are a bit of bit murkier in the case of more moderen releases. You’ll be able to undoubtedly nonetheless maintain on to the Pixel 4, Four XL, and particularly the 4a. The Pixel 5a has its benefits over them, however it could be too quickly for an improve. Then again, there’s little cause you’d make the swap from the Pixel 4a 5G, and completely no level in changing your Pixel 5 with the 5a.

google pixel 5a press image mostly black

Google Pixel 5a

Water resistance involves the Pixel A-series

Google’s Pixel 5a gives just a few quality-of-life upgrades over its earlier units which will make you wish to be part of Crew Pixel. It has a steel unibody design, an IP67 ranking for mud and water resistance, and a battery that simply will not give up.


Will you be upgrading from an older Google smartphone to the Pixel 5a? Tell us within the feedback!



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