Google's latest Pixel phones fix some of the major problems with last year's Pixel 4, and they'll also be cheaper when they come out later this Fall

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  • Google's latest Pixel 5 flagship phone and mid-range Pixel 4a 5G phone were announced on September 30, but only the Pixel 5 is available for preorder now.  
  • The Pixel 5 starts at $700 and will be released and available to buy starting on October 29.
  • The Pixel 4a 5G starts at $500 and will be released and available to buy in November 19. You can sign up to Google's waitlist to get a notification when the Pixel 4a 5G is available for preorder. 
  • The new Pixel phones come with some important fixes over the previous generation, like an ultrawide camera, bigger battery, and no more "forehead" top bezel. 

Google announced its latest phones on September 30, including the flagship $700 Pixel 5 and a $500 mid-ranger Pixel 4a 5G.

The Pixel 5 is available now for preorder from both Google and Verizon, and will be fully released on October 29. The Pixel 5 will be available on AT&T and T-Mobile, but both carriers have yet to announce a date. The Pixel 4a 5G isn't available yet for preorder, and will be fully released on November 19. 

There's only one model and size of the Pixel 5, but it comes in two different colors, including black and "Sorta Sage." There's only one model and size of the Pixel 4a 5G, too, and it's only available in black. With that said, the Pixel 4a 5G serves as a larger version of the $350 Pixel 4a that was announced earlier in the year. 

Both phones come with 5G connectivity, which has become a must-have feature for high-end smartphones in 2020 and beyond. With that in mind, Google's mid-range Pixel 4a 5G is the cheapest phone in recent memory to support 5G at $500. 

Spec-wise, the Pixel 5 isn't especially exciting, even with its comparatively low $700 price tag. On paper, the Pixel 5 is handily beaten by the recently released Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. Still, it's not all about specs and numbers, so only a deep, thorough review after spending some quality time with the Pixel 5 will get to the bottom of it.

The Pixel 4a 5G is a different story, showing better value for very similar specs as the Pixel 5. The major differences are memory (RAM), screen size, screen refresh rate, and battery size. The Pixel 5 is also made of aluminum, and the Pixel 4a 5G is made of plastic. 

Interestingly, Google has completely done away with the zoom lens and the advanced "Soli" radar technology is was so proud of just one year ago for the Pixel 4. For the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, Google has replaced the Pixel 4's zoom lens with an ultrawide lens (and rightfully so). It was Google's mistake to focus all-in on zooming for the Pixel 4 instead of going for an ultra wide lens, which its competitors were adding to their phones. 

The company also replaced the Soli radar tech for facial recognition with a good old-fashioned, reliable, and fast rear-facing capacitive fingerprint sensor. Soli also could detect hand gestures made above the phone to control certain things, like skipping tracks with a wave of the hand. Gesture navigation, as it's called, had previously been tried on previous phones, and it was never a popular feature, and it wasn't popular or well developed with the Pixel 4, either. Ditching the Soli tech also means the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G don't have the Pixel 4's "forehead" — its large top bezel where the Soli tech was. 

Google also went with a larger battery for the Pixel 5, as battery life was a constant thorn in the Pixel 4's side, even if it was improved over its life time with software updates. 

When I asked Google why it didn't use one of those fancy in-display fingerprint sensors we're seeing in fancy phones these days, the company said that in-display tech is too costly if it wanted to keep the price down for the Pixel phones. The company also said that in-display fingerprint sensor tech aren't as "performant" as traditional capacitive sensors, mentioning especially latency and security, and I couldn't agree more. 

For now, check out the specs for the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G:

Pixel 5 specs

  • Display: 6-inch 1080p OLED with 90Hz refresh rate
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
  • Memory and storage: 8GB RAM & 128GB storage
  • Rear camera: 12-megapixel standard wide, 16-megapixel ultra-wide
  • Selfie camera: 8-megapixel
  • Battery: 4,080Ah with wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. 
  • Water resistance: IP68
  • 5G: Yes

Pixel 4a 5G specs

  • Display: 6.2-inch 1080p OLED 
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
  • Memory and storage: 6GB RAM & 128GB storage
  • Rear camera: 12-megapixel standard wide, 16-megapixel ultra-wide
  • Selfie camera: 8-megapixel
  • Battery: 3,885mAh
  • Water resistance: None
  • 5G: Yes

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