Despite this the sensor in the Pixel 5 main camera is the same size as in more comparable devices such as the iPhone 11 and Google is known for being the pioneer in image processing, so there is a good chance that image noise is better managed on the latest model than on Pixel 4. The lack of a dedicated telelens probably means that users will have to accept lower details in Pixel 5 images captured at zoom setting than on the Pixel 4.
Google announced today its new smartphone the Google Pixel 5. The device runs the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android 11, but is more inclined in terms of design to the second Pixel 4a, which was launched in August this year, than its direct predecessor, the Pixel 4.
The Pixel 5, however, not only looks like the mid-range Pixel 4a, but it’s also the first flagship – Pixel – smartphone that is not powered by Qualcomm’s top – end chipset. Instead it uses the second-level Snapdragon 765G, which should still provide plenty of processing power for even the most demanding applications. OS and applications can also use 8GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage. Like on the Pixel 4 the Pixel 5’s 6-inch FullHD+ OLED screen offers a 90 Hz refresh rate and the 4,080 mAh battery is the largest we have seen in a Pixel smartphone to date. The device also comes with wireless charging and a IP68 rating for protection against dust and water.
It is clear that Google has been aiming at offering the Pixel 5 at a lower price point than its predecessors. And that is exactly what the company is doing: at a $699 starting price, the Pixel 5 is the most affordable Pixel phone we have seen in a long time and quite a lot cheaper than the flagship smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Huawei and other major brands.
Google is also out of touch with those brands in the camera department in terms of high-end hardware. One 8MP single module does the selfie work on the front while the Pixel 5 retains a dual camera setup for its main camera. While the Pixel 4 added a dedicated telecamera to the main module, the Pixel 5 provides a ultra-wide but no tele-camera. Let’s take a closer look at the Pixel 5 camera.
The camera is ultra-wide instead of telescoping
The primary camera is configured as follows :
The hardware specifications of the primary camera on the new model have not changed; therefore any possible improvements in image quality would very likely come down to software such as improved HDR+. Comparable to some Chinese flagship phones such as the Huawei P40 Pro or the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, the Pixel 5 is quite small with a 1/2.55 inch sensor. In our tests, we saw quite a lot of shadow noise on the Pixel 4 and sensor size was likely a contributing factor.
This said, the sensor in the Pixel 5 main camera is the same size as in more comparable devices such as the iPhone 11 and Google is known for being in the forefront of image processing, so there is a good chance that image noise is better managed on the latest model than on Pixel 4
The lack of a dedicated Tele-lens probably means that users will have to accept lower images details in Pixel 5 images captured at zoom settings than on the Pixel 4. Thanks to their excellent super-resolution algorithms, Google engineers have been able to squeeze impressive zoom quality from previous single-lens models, but it will still be very difficult to compete with tele-equipped models.
The absence of a tele-lens and a time-of-flight sensor also means that the Pixel 5 relies only on the large and ultra-wide lenses for depth estimation and creating a simulated lensbokeh in portrait mode, which means that the quality of depth estimation is likely lower than on devices that have more methods of capturing depth data.
Hardware is not everything, however
On a single look at camera hardware it’s fair to say the Pixel 5 has decent specs, but the dual camera setup and processor are not on the same level as current flagships from the competition. But this is reflected in the phone’s price, which is a good deal lower than most 2020 flagship phones. It’s also worth mentioning that while camera hardware is important, software is a major contributing component to image quality too. And software is evidently where Google’s expertise is. With algorithms such as HDR+ and Super Resolution, the company has been able to squeeze the best out of limited hardware for years, so we expect that the Pixel 5 will do the same and deliver very good overall image quality for its price segment.
Hopefully in a few days we will know more when the full review is ready. For those who wish to use and shoot the new phone as soon as possible, the Pixel 5 is available for pre-order.