The Pixel 4a just started to ship yesterday, but we’re already getting leaks of the Pixel 5. Google made the odd move of confirming the Pixel 5 alongside the Pixel 4a launch, and now thanks to OnLeaks, we’re getting an idea of what Google’s new flagship will look like.
OnLeaks previously nailed the Pixel 4a design eight months before launch, so his Pixel 5 render is worth paying attention to. As usual, this is a render that is most likely based on CAD files that need to be sent out to accessory manufacturers ahead of launch. That means we’re getting the general layout of the device components and display, but some of the finer details could be wrong.
Anyway, the Pixel 5 render looks like a slightly upgraded 4a with a better camera, and that’s about it. That means on the front you get a modern all-screen design with a hole-punch camera and slim bezels, and on the back, you get a Pixel 4-style camera block and the shocker inclusion of a rear fingerprint reader. The render shows three cameras, but the site describes the phone as having “dual cameras, an unknown sensor, and an LED flash.” There’s also no headphone jack.
If we take the render at face value and don’t assume any magical hidden technology, this is a big refutation of all the gimmicks Google included in the Pixel 4. The render suggests Google is scrapping the clone of Apple’s Face ID system it came up with for the Pixel 4. The Pixel 4 included a ton of extra hardware in the top bezel for this feature: dual IR cameras, an IR dot projector, and an IR floodlight. It’s all gone now.
Another big section of the Pixel 4 bezel was dedicated to Google’s second Pixel 4 gimmick: the Project Soli air gesture system. This stuck a tiny radar chip in the bezel and let you wave your arms overtop of the phone to control it. Soli never really controlled much, mostly just switching music tracks, silencing alarms, and answering calls, and it never reliably recognized gestures. The air gesture system was redundant anyway, thanks to the large 6-inch touchscreen that was also on the device. If you really wanted to control something, you could just touch it.
Previous Android codebase commits have pegged the Pixel 5 with a Snapdragon 765G SoC instead of Qualcomm’s flagship 865G. Qualcomm’s flagship SoC is more complicated and more expensive than ever this year and not every OEM has been willing to jack up phone prices to support it. The Pixel 5 definitely looks like Google is aiming for a lower price point, but how low?
It doesn’t seem like there is a huge difference between the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5. There won’t be a big speed difference between the SoCs or designs, so it looks like we’re losing the headphone jack and getting dual cameras—and most likely a higher-refresh-rate display.