Google Announces Pixel 5a with 5G, Launching August 26 for $449

Tsing

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Image: Google



Google has announced the Pixel 5a with 5G, an A-series Pixel smartphone designed for users who seek the vanilla Android experience but are on a tighter budget than those who can afford to splash out on its upcoming premium Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro models. Arriving on August 26 and available to pre-order beginning today, Google’s Pixel 5a costs only $449—$50 cheaper than its Pixel 4a with 5G predecessor.



As revealed by Google in its announcement post today, the Pixel 5a with 5G is the first A-series Pixel device to feature IP67 water and dust resistance. This means that the Pixel 5a shouldn’t have a problem against harsher environments, as it’s totally protected against dust and can withstand being immersed in water to some extent.



Google’s Pixel 5a with 5G also features a high-performing dual-camera system with a rear-facing ultrawide lens...

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Auer

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Decent.

But why no wireless charging?
Even my wifes Iphone SE with its poverty specs has that.
 

Zarathustra

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This will likely be my next Phone, though putting it down as a "phone for people who cant afford the 6" seems a little unnecessary.

From my perspective their last few a series phones have actually been better phones than the non-a variants, retaining such features as analog audio out and fingerprint sensors, when the more expensive models dropped them.

Let's see if these actually show up in the Google Fi store which amusingly enough hasn't listed any Pixel phone for sale in quite some time.

As an aside, does anyone know anything about these "Titan M" security modules? They make me very suspicious. (Actually never mind, I've already read up on this. No big deal. My Pixel 3 actually has one)

But why no wireless charging?

I tend to see the "a series" phones as something akin to the old Nexus phones. No nonsense phones for people who want a good phone without th gimmicks. Wireless charging to me is still a gimmick that doesn't really add any value. My Pixel 3 has it. I tried it a couple of times when it was new, accidentally knocked the phone off the charging unit resulting in it being dead when I needed it, and then decided all wireless charging sucked and never used it again. I actually quite appreciate not paying for, nor having needlessly complex features in the phone that I am not going to use.
 
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Auer

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Wireless charging to me is still a gimmick that doesn't really add any value. My Pixel 3 has it. I tried it a couple of times when it was new, accidentally knocked the phone off the charging unit resulting in it being dead when I needed it, and then decided all wireless charging sucked and never used it again. I actually quite appreciate not paying for, nor having needlessly complex features in the phone that I am not going to use.

I have a Anker standing wireless charger on my desk and on my nightstand.
To me its a must have standard feature.

 

Zarathustra

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Got my 5a today. Not a bad phone. At least once you disable all the crap.

Setting it up took a while due to my particular tastes...

I thought the screen on my Pixel 3 was fine, until I spent some time on the 5a, and after that the Pixel 3 feels crappy when I go back. Not sure if it is a matter of size or quality. I will say that I don't much care for the camera cutout in the screen or for the rounded screen edges. I would have preferred a bezel to this, but maybe this is just something I'll get used to. I remember the rounded edges on the Pixel 3 annoying me when I first got it as well, but there was some config hack I was able to do to make them smaller. I can't remember exactly what that was, or if it can still be done on the 5a. I'm guessing probably not, since it looks like the rounded edges are physical, rather than in software like on the Pixel 3.

I'm not quite sure why I need more than one camera on the back. It seems like a waste. I would have preferred if it were more basic in this regard. Retaining the 3.5mm analog audio jack AND the finger print sensor is a huge plus! The fingerprint sensor does feel like it is in a bit of a more awkward spot compared to the Pixel 3 though, but maybe that's just because this phone is bigger. Hopefully I'll get used to it.

I don't understand why they insist on gesture navigation. Had to go in and return settings to the three buttons to make it usable again. If anyone else - like me - forgot where it was, it is under System -> Gestures. I'm just getting through my standard privacy and config minimizing on the phone. You know, disabling any and all cloud integration, sync or backup in all system settings and all apps. Disabling all "Assistant" and voice based nonsense and disabling all AI personalization/recommendations/routines. I don't understand why they insist on pushing that garbage on me every time I upgrade a phone. I don't want it now, and I will never want it. You transfer some settings from my previous phone, why not transfer them all?

Also, I've gone through and disabled all data sharing I can with google, and disabled all ad personalization. Again, this should have been inherited from my previous phone. Replaced the Pixel Launcher with Nova. Pretty annoying that it won't transfer existing app settings, as part of the data settings (unless they are cloud synced, and I'll never do that) so I'm having to set it up the way I like it... again... placing all the folders and apps where they belong, removing the google search bar from the home screen, placing the clock where I want it, etc. etc.

Next I went through and removed most permissions from most apps, and disabled/uninstalled all of the unwanted included apps (Google Buds, Android Accessibility Suite, whatever the hell "Duo" is, Google News, Google One, Google Play Music, Google Play Services for AR, Google TV, Gpay etc. etc. etc.) Essentially everything I didn't ask for.

I really wish they were all set to "deny everything until asked the first time" by default. It's really annoying to have to do this every single time...

Overall, better screen (minus some of the annoyances above) more snappy than my Pixel 3 (which is to be expected with a newer phone) and overall not bad. I know I'm likely never going to get a phone I like ever again, because they keep insisting on pushing new useless features and using phones the way they want me to, not the way I want to, but in the grand scheme of things, I guess I can live with this one.

Here's a decrapified screenshot:

Screenshot_20210828-201654.png
 

DrezKill

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Zarathustra's phone preferences are very close to mine. I turn off/disable/remove most of the same sh1t.

I'm still on a Galaxy Note 4. Android 6.0 and 32-bit. Hard for me to put money into a new phone when it goes towards computer stuff, video games, or my car instead. The Note 4 still makes phone calls just fine, and I can use it for text messaging and checking email, so I've had no real reason to get a new one. I usually get new equipment when my previous equipment craps out completely. I don't do much browser surfing or video watching on the phone, I have a desktop PC for that. I don't really use my phone for anything except phone calls and text messages.

I do occasionally run emulators on the phone, but I can't stand touchscreens, so I only play emulators when I have a controller handy, which is almost never. I don't carry around controllers with me as I go about my day-to-day life, and at home or friends' houses I have access to PCs and consoles. But if say I'm at an optometrist appointment chillin' in the waiting room, sure I'll bust out my phone and attempt to play something on it with the touchscreen to kill time. I used to carry handheld consoles around with me, like my soft-modded PSP or my soft-modded 3DS, but I got robbed in 2010 and they took everything I had on me and in the vehicle I was using, included a DS with R4 card. So now I leave my handheld consoles at home. My phone is the only piece of electronic equipment I always have on me.

EDIT: When it comes to phones, I require a 3.5mm jack, removable battery, and MicroSD slot.

whatever the hell "Duo" is
It's used to make video calls with end-to-end encryption. You can also use it to make encrypted regular phones calls.
Technical Paper: Google Duo End-to-End Encryption Overview:
I've actually found it pretty useful in a few cases, such as when I helped a friend in SanFran build and set up a PC (I live on the east coast). For example, it came in handy in helping him configure his motherboard's UEFI. Aside from situations like that where I need to see what the person I'm talking to is doing, I don't have a use for voice calls. I don't need to see a person's face when I am talking to them on a phone, voice alone is fine.
 

Riccochet

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I suggest a Spigen TPU case. It's thin, light and has a nice chamfered divot for the fingerprint reader that makes indexing it very easy.

Look at the 5a as this. It's a 5 without wireless charging, add a 3.5mm headphone jack, larger screen and a bigger battery. Otherwise, the specs are **** near the same.

I've had my 5 since launch and it's a fantastic phone. I've never thought once "gee, I wish this had the bigger, more power hungry CPU in it". The camera is better than I am capable of using it.

If the 5a was out at the time I would have bought it over my 5.
 

Zarathustra

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I suggest a Spigen TPU case. It's thin, light and has a nice chamfered divot for the fingerprint reader that makes indexing it very easy.

Look at the 5a as this. It's a 5 without wireless charging, add a 3.5mm headphone jack, larger screen and a bigger battery. Otherwise, the specs are **** near the same.

I've had my 5 since launch and it's a fantastic phone. I've never thought once "gee, I wish this had the bigger, more power hungry CPU in it". The camera is better than I am capable of using it.

If the 5a was out at the time I would have bought it over my 5.


I like Spigen cases. I actually bought the one I have now accidentally because I thought it was a Spigen case.

I fell victim to Amazon's ****ty "fuzzy" search. I searched "Spigen case pixel 5a" saw one that looked like a Spigen case and ordered it. Turns out it was a cheap ****ty knock-off of Spigens exact look, but much much worse.

I have two real Spigens incoming now, but they were back-ordered and delayed...

I do not understand Amazon. When I search for something I want the EXACT thing I am searching for. Not something similar. It really pisses me off that they have no "exact search" option.

Like, who on earth cares so little about what they are buying that they are OK with whatever generic similar crap an algorithm found for them instead of the EXACT thing they are searching for?
 
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DrezKill

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Zarathustra

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I use a Spigen case on my Note 4, f*ckin' love it. My phone has taking some serious falls and tumbles over the years, and that case takes the abuse no problem.
EDIT: This one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MAWQVZY/?tag=thefpsreview-20
Paid $21 for it. Before that I was buying cases that cost half that or less for my previous phones, and well, they weren't worth sh1t.

Same. They are great, though I prefer the thinner ones that blend with the phone better. I want to protect the phone, but I really cant stand those fat, thick hard plastic cases or the thick rubbery ones like Otterbox so I tend to go with a more minimalist design. Havent regretted it thus far (knock on wood!)

On my Pixel 3 (which I just replaced with the 5a) I was using this one. Amazing quality. Two years later, and it still looks and feels like new.

Before that, on my first gen Pixel I initially had this VRS High pro Shield, but they would scuff up and look ugly way too easily. I bought three identical replacements because I couldn't find anything else I liked, before I finally got pissed off and replaced it with this Caseology case, but I never quite liked it. It too started looking ugly, but by then it was time to replace the phone.

Before that I had a Nexus 5x, and used this Verus High pro Shield ( I think they were the same company and rebranded into VRS later. The quality definitely went downhill when they changed names to VRS) I remember liking this one, but I kept that 5x much shorter than I usually keep phones, so maybe I just didn't have the case long enough for it to disappoint me :p

Anyway, when I first ordered the 5a I was searching for a Spigen case because I liked the last one so much but the Amazon fuzzy search logic tricked me into buying this cheap knockoff which I regret. It feels chintzy by comparison, and the edges are not as well thought out, and don't lead your fingers automatically to the right places (like the fingerprint sensor) like they did on the real Spigen.

I have since ordered two actual Spigen cases, this one, and this one, planning on using the one I like the best when they get here. They are backordered (or preordered?) right now though. They should be here in september. I'll keep using the cheap knockoff until then.
 

Grimlakin

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That's the one I have on my 5 and 2XL. Almost a year now on the 5, 4 years on the 2XL and they still look new. Don't know what kind of magic they use when they make these cases, but they don't get all beat up looking. Both phones have been saved from countless falls as well.

I'll have to check these spigen cases out down the road.
 

Zarathustra

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That's the one I have on my 5 and 2XL. Almost a year now on the 5, 4 years on the 2XL and they still look new. Don't know what kind of magic they use when they make these cases, but they don't get all beat up looking. Both phones have been saved from countless falls as well.

I think they are smart about it.

They are essentially plastic cases, and maybe they use a more rugged polymer, but it is still plastic and plastic will scuff.

I can tell you what they are not doing. My Verus/VRS cases looked nice but as soon as they were scuffed at all, the base material underneath the surface as freaking white, so any little scratch or scuff showed up very clearly.

I always thought that if I were to design a case, I'd match the color of the base material as closely as possible to that of the surface, so if ther is a scratch it is difficult to see. I suspect this is what Spigen does, but I'm not entirely sure.
 

Zarathustra

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To add some photographic evidence.

Here is my Pixel 3 with the case I ordered and installed the day I bought it two years ago.

Since then it's been dropped mangled and manhandled more than I care to admit. It still looks pretty **** good.

PXL_20210831_183646111~2.jpg

It's not perfect. There is some dirt and minor scuffs, but unless you look closely you'd never see them.

The material also feels much more premium than your run f the mill pop on plastic cover. Not sure what material it actually is, but these things are high quality.

Edit:
Once again the forum censorship filter makes it look like a swear like a sailor, when I don't. I promise, that was pretty innocuous language :p
 
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