Aug 17th, 2021 publishUpdated   Sep 11th, 2021, 9:18 am

The day has arrived. Despite confirming its existence all the way back in April, Google has finally released the Pixel 5a. The phone is by no means a world-bender, but it does give Google fans an option for a Pixel device since the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 5 are pretty difficult to come by.

So what does the Pixel 5a bring to a crowded sub-$500 market? Pretty much the best sub-$500 camera experience that money can buy. Google is bringing the same tried-and-true camera system from the Pixel 5 to the Pixel 5a. This means you’ll get the excellent 12.2MP dual-pixel main sensor, along with a 16MP ultrawide camera with a 117-degree Field of View. Pair these sensors with Google’s untouchable software processing, and that’s how you end up with the best phone under $500.

Pixel 5a Specs

  • Display: 6.34-inch, FHD+ (2400 x 1080), 443ppi
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Front Camera: 8MP, 1.12um, f/2.0, 83-degree FoV
  • Rear Cameras: 12.2MP dual-pixel (main), 1.4um, f/1.7, OIS + EIS / 16MP (ultrawide), 1.0um, f/2.2, 117-degree FoV
  • Battery: 4,680mAh
  • Charging: 18W w/ USB-PD 2.0
  • Extras: IP67, Pixel Imprint, Titan M Security Module, 3.5mm headphone jack, Dual SIM

If you’re a fan of larger displays, at least compared to the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a, then you’ll love the Pixel 5a. Google includes a 6.34-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080. Unfortunately, this display is “stuck” at 60Hz, as Google decided against bringing the 90Hz refresh rate found on the Pixel 5. It’s rather disappointing, especially when you consider the massive 4,680mAh battery packed into the phone.

Alas, that’s where you find another one of the potential Pixel 5a frustrations — 18W charging. Of course, this was another decision that Google felt the need to make to reach that $449 price tag. But when you see phones like the $250 OnePlus Nord N200 and its 90Hz refresh rate, you just have to question the decision.

What else do you get with the Pixel 5a? An 8MP selfie snapper, which is just fine, along with the Snapdragon 765G that enables 5G connectivity. This is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which feels about right. This is the same processor Google used with the Pixel 5, and that was already pretty good at balancing power and battery life. With the larger 4,680mAh cell in the Pixel 5a, we expect it to be even better.

The last big addition to the Pixel 5a is the addition of IP67 water and dust resistance. Surprisingly until now, no other Pixel “A” series phones have featured an official IP rating. But that trend comes to an end with the Pixel 5a.

Because the Pixel 5a is a completely different size compared to the Pixel 4a, 4a 5G, or Pixel 5, the Pixel 5a needs a new case. Google is here to acquiesce, with four new cases that are made with sustainability in mind. The inner layer of the case is made from 75% post-consumer recycled plastic, while the case itself is made of more than 30% recycled plastic.

As we alluded to the Pixel 5a case comes in a dual-layer design, without adding too much bulk. Google even went so far as to stress test the case to see just how well it would stand up. There are four colors to choose from — Black Moss, Maybe Moon, Likely Lime, and Partially Pink. All four cases will be available at launch and are priced at $29.

After making introducing the phone today, Google will release the Pixel 5a on August 26th. The phone is available for pre-order starting today and can be had for $449. Those who want to sign up (or add a line) with Google Fi can either pay full price and open an account, or go through Google’s phone subscription program. This gets you the phone and Google’s device protection for just $15 per month, tacked onto your monthly bill.

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