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Google Pixel 5 Review

Pixel 5 is a reimagining of Google’s flagship strategy – after the epic wobble that was Pixel 4. Google is reigning in the specs to take on a crowded upper mid-range. This may make the Google Pixel 5 sound a bit less exciting but after testing in Trusted Labs, we found a lot to like.

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What we love – Camera is still class, battery life isn’t naff and it’s a decent price

Pixel phones always have decent cameras and the Pixel 5, outside of a small caveat, continues this trend The key thing is that Google ditches a telephoto lens for an ultra-wide here, something it proudly rebuffed last year but hey-ho.

Pixel 5 offers the same crisp and vibrant shots you’ve come to expect from the range, with the added benefits of improved HDR and that ultra-wide lens.

Night mode is still great – with it now activating automatically when your Pixel deems it necessary. Video has long been the key negative of Pixel camera and that’s even improved this time – with 4K 60fps support and enhanced stabilisation.

Pixel 4 battery life was downright garbage and a big reason why the device was such a flop. Thankfully, Pixel 5 has sorted this epic gaffe. Pixel 5 sports a 4080mAh battery and can manages about six hours of screen-on time, comfortably making it a day-long device. The decent battery life is achieved despite that smooth 90Hz display being onboard.

Google is now a rarity when it comes to phone manufacturers, offering a flagship phone that tops out under £600 – and that’s the main appeal. For those who want traditional flagship features but don’t want to shell out silly extra amounts for some lavish features that often seem frivolous, Pixel 5 is the reasonably-priced solution.

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Google Pixel 5

What we don’t like – Design is plain, camera is no longer streets ahead and big phone fans are left out

A lot of the negatives of Pixel 5 come from it no longer pushing that flagship boundary – and it’s both a blessing and a curse. The reduced price means you don’t get an eye-catching design. Instead, it’s a device that’s extremely similar to the already released Google Pixel 4a. Some may appreciate the unibody design and full view flat display but it certainly isn’t grabbing attention like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Google worked out how to incorporate a cracking phone camera back at the launch of the original Pixel – with its stellar software processing. However, keeping similar camera hardware can only do so much as software processing has its limits. Additional cameras are a welcome change but Google has stood relatively still while competitors like OnePlus 8 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 have rapidly caught up.

This year, there’s only one model of the flagship Pixel. While small phones are having a bit of a resurgence – including recent iPhone 12 announcements from the Apple Event – Pixel 5 may leave fans of big and immersive screens disappointed. The 6-inch 90Hz FHD+ OLED is nothing to be sniffed at but in an age of stunning games and entertainment content coming to phones, the Pixel 5 display is far from the most awe-inspiring.

Verdict

Google Pixel 5 steadies the ship after a turbulent time last year. There’s certainly a lack of innovation but, at an attractive lower price, the Pixel 5 offers plenty of strong features to delight Android fans.

Our Recombu reviews are created using data collected by Trusted Reviews Labs, utilising their testing expertise to bring you an easy-to-read, short-form review.

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