Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 5 XL: Everything we know so far

Since 2016, the Pixel line has followed a very deliberate and dependable naming scheme. As such, we can be nearly assured that the phones will be called the Google Pixel 5 and Google Pixel 5 XL.

However, there could be some changes in store for this year’s Pixels when it comes to specs and design (more on that in a bit). Those changes could push Google to alter the naming scheme slightly this year. We don’t have any information to confirm or deny that, to be clear. But in 2020, more than any other year, the possibility of a name change is there.

As far as a Google Pixel 5 release date goes, every flagship Pixel has landed in October, so it’s reasonable to expect the Google Pixel 5 to land in early or mid-October 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on release scheduling, though, so that might not happen this year. For example, the Google Pixel 4a release schedule has been drastically altered by the pandemic (it still isn’t even out yet!).

October is still the golden month for smartphone launches, however, due to its proximity to the holiday shopping season. As such, it is still very likely we’ll see the Google Pixel 5 in October along with other flagships from OnePlus, Huawei, and more.

Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Last year was the first time Google drastically switched up the overall design of its flagship Pixel phones. With the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, Google changed the shape of the phones, removed the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, completely overhauled the camera module, and rolled back its display changes from the Pixel 3 line. It was a big shift!

Naturally, it makes sense to think that the Google Pixel 5 will just be an updated version of the Pixel 4. That might not be the case though, as a recent leak of behind-the-scenes information exposed that major players on the Pixel team were disappointed with the Pixel 4 even before it hit store shelves.

Related: The only reason the Pixel line isn’t the crown jewel of Android is Google

With that in mind, the Google Pixel 5 could look a whole lot different from the Pixel 4. As a possible example, the radar features of the Pixel 4 line have yet to see wide adoption, and Google hasn’t issued too many updates to the system. It’s possible Google could abandon that which would allow it to dramatically change the display layout of the Pixel 5.

The redesigned camera module, though, is likely sticking around. Considering the Google Pixel 4a will almost certainly have the same module, it would make sense for Google to use that module design as a sort of branding for Pixel phones. In other words, you can tell someone is using a Pixel because of the distinct module.

Usually, CAD renders of flagship phones hit the internet months before the eventual release. Any day now we could see renders of the Google Pixel 5 which will give us a solid idea of what to expect.

What about the processor?

Google Pixel 4 colors in hand

Credit: Kris Carlon / Android Authority

There are two things every flagship Pixel phone has had: the latest Qualcomm 800-series processor and the latest version of Android. While we are certain the Google Pixel 5 will land with Android 11, we are becoming more and more skeptical that it will have this year’s Qualcomm flagship, the Snapdragon 865.

Multiple Google Pixel 5 leaks suggest the phone will sport a more mid-range processor. As of right now, our best guess is that the Snapdragon 765, 765G, or 768G might be what powers the Pixel 5 lineup.

At this point, we are pretty certain the Pixel 5 lineup will feature mid-range processors, but that could be good for your wallet.

Why would Google make this change? The most likely reason we can think of is cost. A fully-featured Pixel phone with a Snapdragon 865 would need to start at $1,000, much as the Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup does. Even if Google cut a bunch of corners it would only likely be able to bring the entry price down to $899, the starting price for a OnePlus 8 Pro.

However, if Google goes with the Snapdragon 768G instead, for example, it could keep the cost down while still delivering more-than-capable processing power and 5G compatibility. It would also make Pixel phones appealing to cash-conscious consumers who would favorably compare the Google Pixel 5 pricing to the Galaxy S20 line.

If you’re worried about how something like the Snapdragon 765G would compare to the Snapdragon 865, don’t worry: we’ve got you covered.

Google Pixel 5: Other specs

google pixel 4 vs pixel 3 vs pixel 3a 2

Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Outside of the processor, though, we can be relatively assured Google won’t downgrade other established specs of Pixel phones. That means you can safely expect at least 6GB of RAM, at least 64GB of storage, at least a dual-lens rear camera, wireless charging, an IP68 rating, etc.

It’s also safe to assume that the battery capacity of the Google Pixel 5 and Google Pixel 5 XL will increase, hopefully by a significant margin. The aforementioned behind-the-scenes drama of the Pixel team strongly suggests that the battery life of the Pixel 4 was a contentious topic, which leads us to believe much bigger batteries are on the way. At this point, if Google doesn’t do that, it might as well hang the Pixel line out to dry.

Price and availability

Google Pixel 4 XL home screen standing on rock 15

Credit: Kris Carlon / Android Authority

We actually have a very strong piece of evidence to support the idea that the Google Pixel 5 will return to some old school Pixel pricing. A Google survey seeking to find out which hypothetical Pixel phone responders would buy strongly suggests that Google is planning on selling the Pixel 5 for $699 as a starting price.

If this comes to pass, it would make the Pixel 5 cost only $50 more than the original Google Pixel phone from 2016, which started at $649. This would no doubt be great news for Pixel fans.

As far as availability goes, that depends on what Google has in mind for the features of the Google Pixel 5. If Google sticks with the Motion Sense radar system on the front of the Pixel 4 lineup, that would very likely mean India would, once again, not see the Pixel 5. If Google drops Motion Sense, though, it’s possible most major markets around the world would be able to buy the new Pixel.

Unfortunately, Google has a poor history when it comes to the wide availability of its phones even without Motion Sense as a hindrance. It’s reasonable to expect, however unfortunate it might be, that a full global rollout on the level of Samsung or Apple probably isn’t in the cards for the Pixel 5 lineup.


Be sure to bookmark this page of the latest Google Pixel 5 rumors so you can always stay up-to-date!

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