Google Pixel 5a: what we want to see

After plenty of delays, the Google Pixel 4a was finally released in early August, and we rejoiced to see the follow-up to one of our favori...

After plenty of delays, the Google Pixel 4a was finally released in early August, and we rejoiced to see the follow-up to one of our favorite mid-range phones of all time. But now that the dust has settled, we have to ask: what’s coming in the Google Pixel 5a?

It’s too early to form a cohesive idea of what Google’s next affordable smartphone will be – not just because the Pixel 4a just came out, but because the mid-year phone typically inherits new features introduced in the previous flagship phone. The Pixel 4a inherited from the Google Pixel 4; to get an idea of the Pixel 5a, we’ll have to see what the upcoming Google Pixel 5 brings to smartphones.

That means we’ve got a bit of a wait on our hands until Google debuts its next flagship. But until then, we can look at what the Pixel 4a didn’t incorporate and list which features we would be truly excited to see in its successor. Read on for the few rumors we’ve already heard, along with what we want to see in the Pixel 5a.

Google Pixel 4a

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Google Pixel 5a price and release date

  • What is the Google Pixel 5a? The next mid-range Google smartphone 
  • When will the Google Pixel 5a come out? Probably May 2021 
  • How much will the Google Pixel 5a cost? At or above $349 / £349 / AU$599 

The Google Pixel 5a release date hasn’t been announced, and we’re too far off to guess when it will be released, which is unusual for big-brand smartphones. Why? Because its predecessor’s release was delayed multiple times due to the coronavirus outbreak.

We initially expected the Google Pixel 4a to be announced at the Google IO 2020 keynote on May 12, but when that event was cancelled amid the outbreak, we didn’t hear anything official about the new phone. Months passed, with rumored release dates coming and going, until Google finally announced the phone and quickly released it at the beginning of August 2020. 

If things return to normal next year, we could expect the Google Pixel 5a release date to be sometime after a Google IO 2021 in May 2021. But as with many things in the phone industry, we aren’t sure whether the outbreak will continue to impact phone launches going forward.

What we do have a good idea of is price. The Google Pixel 3a, the first mid-range phone in the series, was released at $399 / £399 / AU$649. The Pixel 4a went even lower, costing $349 / £349 / AU$599 at launch. While the cost could go higher – especially if 5G is included, and we expect the upcoming Pixel 4a 5G to be pricier – we wouldn’t expect it to drop any lower. But we have been wrong before…

Here's  Pixel 4a prices in your region:

Google Pixel 5a news and rumors

The lone rumor we’ve heard...is that the Google Pixel 5a exists. Really! A supposedly official document listed the Pixel 5a by name, along with codenames for what we expect are future Pixel phones – including the Google Pixel 6 and 6 XL, as well as what could be the rumored Google foldable phone. 

Google Pixel 5a what we want to see

We’re still enamored with the Pixel 4a, but even more eager to speculate how it could be improved in the next affordable Pixel phone.

Google Pixel 4a

(Image credit: TechRadar)

1. More rear cameras

We’ve wanted more rear cameras on the entire Pixel line for years, and were hoping the Pixel 4a would inherit the telephoto lens of the Pixel 4. Since that didn’t happen, our hopes shift to the Pixel 5a, which we’d love to see with a zoom and ultrawide lens (and heck, why not a macro while we’re at it). 

Google Pixel 4a

(Image credit: TechRadar)

2. 5G connectivity standard

While the Pixel 4a 5G will define how viable the mid-range 5G phone is in a market that seems happy enough with 4G LTE cheap phones, we’d love to see the Pixel 5a pack 5G as a standard feature. This might be dependent on whether 2021 phones that connect to the advanced networks come any cheaper, given the price hike that this year’s 5G-capable phones experienced, but even an affordable 5G phone would be a stellar option.

Google Pixel 4a

(Image credit: TechRadar)

3. Better battery life

The Pixel 4a didn’t quite suffer the Pixel 4’s abysmal battery life, but it wasn’t spectacular, either, often with single-digit capacity left at the end of a single day. Given many budget phones have 4,000mAh batteries or larger, we’d love to have the mid-range Pixel 5a last as long as the competition.

Google Pixel 4a

(Image credit: TechRadar)

4. Metal and glass body

Yes, the mid-range line has had a polycarbonate plastic body since it debuted in the Pixel 3a – but it’s the biggest budget compromise on a device with incredible software and a reliable camera. We’d love to see the Pixel 5a step up its game, especially since other equally-priced phones like the iPhone SE 2020 with glass backs and metal frames.

Google Pixel 4a

(Image credit: TechRadar)

5. A micro SD slot

Google. Please. If you’re not going to ship your Pixel 4a with more than 128GB of storage, at least let us expand it on our own. Here's hoping that's amended in the Pixel 5a.

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