The Pixel smartphone represents Google’s ideal vision of Android but there was always something off about Google’s Pixel phone that made it hard to blindly recommend. Dating all the way back to the Pixel 2 (excluding any of the ‘a’ models), each Pixel was dismayingly met with some compromise that hindered us from loving (almost) everything about it, no matter how much we really wanted to. The Pixel 5 is different this time around.
With the success of the Pixel 3a and 4a, Google learned that a phone didn’t need to have the highest-performing chipset or some standout feature to be successful. It needed to do everything well, without compromising on the basics of what people need from a phone: stability, great battery life, and a top-notch camera. The Pixel 5 delivered on these without defaulting to the higher-end (and more costly) chipset of the year.
Although we were quite critical on the Pixel 5 when we first reviewed it (mostly for its outdated camera hardware and lack of a higher-end variant) it began to grow on us. Now, four months later and we just couldn’t put it down.
As we kept using it, we began to realize that a great phone doesn’t need to be huge, it doesn’t need to break benchmark records, and it doesn’t need to cost more than a grand. It needs to be dependable, have reliable software, and it needs to be able to keep up with heavy day-to-day use without resorting to a power bank.
In this long-term review, we used the Pixel 5 as a primary device for over three and a half months. This was enough time to get over the honeymoon phase to really figure out the Pixel 5’s quirks, shenanigans and push all its buttons.
The power-efficiency of the Snapdragon 765G with its future-proofing support for 5G networks made it a solid choice for this year’s lower-priced Pixel 5 (the Pixel 4 and 4XL started at $799 and $899, respectively). The lower price still includes features normally found in more expensive phones like dual-direction wireless charging, a 90Hz screen, and IP68 water resistance.
We’ll let you know what it was like to use the Google Pixel 5 every day, far past the standard review period. We’ll start with design and ergonomics of the phone.