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Google Pixel 5: what we want to see

Google Pixel 4
The Google Pixel 5 could take cues from these previous versions (Image credit: Future)

It's going to be a long wait for the Google Pixel 5 release, but that just means that the search engine giant has time to retool and learn from the feedback on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL phones. Before the Pixel 5, we're expecting to see the Pixel 4a phones, mid-range versions of the Pixel 4s in the same vein as the Pixel 3a.

Other phones we expect to see in 2020:

When the Google Pixel 4 phones launched in late 2019, we unsurprisingly loved their photo capabilities, but found they fell short in other areas. 

Those shortfalls give us ideas for what we'd like to see in the Google Pixel 5, and since there aren't any concrete leaks or rumors about the upcoming Pixel 5 devices just yet, we've taken this opportunity to make a wish list for Google's next flagship smartphone.

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL were popular devices, but didn't get quite the enthusiastic welcome of the Pixel 3 devices, so the upcoming phones could be Google's opportunity to wow buyers who could benefit from what Google does best. Read on to discover where we think the Google Pixel 5 could succeed.

Update: The Google Pixel 5 could come with a reverse wireless feature that lets you power up other devices using the device. That's according to Android 11 code, so it could be likely.

Cut to the chase

  • What is Google Pixel 5? Google's next full-featured flagship smartphone
  • When is the Google Pixel 5 launch date? Likely October 2020
  • How much will Google Pixel 5 cost? The price may be around $799 / £669 / AU$1,049

Google Pixel 5 release date and price

Google Pixel 4 in hand

Google Pixel 4 in hand (Image credit: Future)

We're not even in 2020 yet, and the Pixel 4 devices are still fresh in our mind (and hands), so it's still a bit early to assert with confidence when the Pixel 5 release date will probably . But given precedent, we can take an educated guess. 

The Pixel 4 launched on October 24, and we can reasonably expect another release around that point in 2020, given every previous flagship Google Pixel has launched in October. It's unclear when: the first three Pixel phones were unveiled in the first week or so of the month, while the fourth came out at the end. Your guess is as good as ours. 

In terms of how much you'll pay, the Google Pixel 5 price could will likely be at the same price or a bit higher as the Pixel 4. The phones have been slowly climbing in price, up from above-mid-range territory to true flagship pricetags, and Google seems to be pitching its flagship phones as equal to that tier - so expect them to keep apace with rising flagship costs, too.

Of course these are both guesses at this point, and when we hear some concrete leaks we'll update this article.

Google Pixel 5 leaks and news

The only real Google Pixel 5 leak so far actually relates to the Pixel 5 XL, and it's a big one. A high-quality render showing a supposed prototype of the phone has leaked, which you can see below.

As you can see, the camera design is rather different and likely to be divisive, but the source claims this is just one of three prototypes, and the others have a more conventional square camera block.

One of the three lenses pictured here is apparently wide-angle, which would be new for the range. As for the front of the phone, that isn't pictured but is apparently similar to the Pixel 4, including a large top bezel - though this is apparently slightly smaller this time.

We've also heard the Google Pixel 5 could have a reverse wireless charging feature, according to Android 11 code found in a developer beta. This would let you power up other devices, like earbuds, a watch or another phone, using the Pixel 5 as a charging mat.

This feature can be a bit of a power drain though, so has the company found any ways to fix our biggest Pixel 4 gripe?

Well, possibly, because we've also heard of an 'ultra-low-power mode' which could come to the phone as well as the Pixel 4. This mode will likely turn off a load of features of the phone like location tracking an auto-syncing apps, in order to keep your handset ticking along as long as possible.

Check back for more Google Pixel 5 news and leaks, as clearly we're a bit early into the process to see anything concrete. That should change over the next few months and maybe even weeks, as manufacturing of Google Pixel 5 prototypes continues.

Google, last year, actually provided its own 'leak' of the Pixel 4 in shadow in June, so we can keep our fingers crossed that it spoils its own surprise when it comes to the Pixel 5. Stay tuned for more updates as that happens.

What we want to see in the Google Pixel 5

The Google Pixel 4 refined on its predecessor, but it left a lot to be desired in certain very obvious areas (read: The Pixel 5 battery must improve). But there are also features and perks Google still hasn't put into its flagship phone. Here's everything we want to see in the Google Pixel 5.

1. Expand the Google Pixel 5 battery

Google Pixel 4 battery life and charger

Will the Google Pixel 5 battery life improve? (Image credit: Future)

By far the biggest gripe about the previous Google Pixel phone was its short battery life. While capacity isn't necessarily indicative of how long it takes for the percentage to tick to zero, the 2,800mAh battery is small by 2019 standards - and many users found the battery dying before the end of the day. 

The Google Pixel 4 XL fared somewhat better with its 3,700mAh capacity, but even that lasted a bit more than a day. If Google wants to play with the big phone boys, it has to keep up with the 4,000mAh-and-greater batteries out there.

2. Bring back the fingerprint scanner

Google Pixel 4 face unlock

(Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel 4 has no rear-mounted fingerprint scanner like the Pixel 3, nor does it sport an in-screen finger sensor like many premium smartphones as a backup biometric. All it had was facial recognition, and...it isn't the best. 

Some might find it easier to use, but others are likely frustrated to have to stare into their phone until it unlocks. In the Pixel 5, we'd prefer both facial recognition and a physical or screen-mounted fingerprint sensor. Heck, just put a button on the back - we're not picky. We just want to be convenienced.

3. Add an ultrawide lens to the Pixel 5

Google Pixel 4 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Google, we come on bended knee. We entreaty. We plead. Make like every other Android flagship in 2019 and give us an ultrawide lens on the Google Pixel 5.

The addition of a telephoto lens was very welcome, justifying a lot of hopes that a second lens would enhance the Pixel's portrait photography and expand its versatility. But this could be so much better, and give so much more range, with an ultrawide camera. We can, and will, still dream.

4. Give the Pixel 5 a microSD slot

Google Pixel 4 sides

(Image credit: Future)

A minimum 64GB of storage expandable only up to 128GB? Is this a joke? Google's not-so-subtle nudging for users to offload their storage to the cloud is pretty egregious. People store locally for reasons - especially when they don't have reliable signal. It's frustratingly limited not to cheaply expand what's typically the easiest auto-include in an Android smartphone.

Truthfully, we'll doubt it'll be a part of the Google Pixel 5 – it wasn't in any previous Pixel phone, nor was it part of the Nexus series. But there's ample reason to desire a microSD card slot.

5. Stick with the weird design

Google Pixel 4 size comparison

(Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel 4 smartphones sure do look a bit odd compared to its dual-finish, single-hued predecessor. They're bare-backed except for a questionably stylish camera block, with a matte glass finish encased with a rubber frame around the edges. Odd, distinct aesthetic. 

And, of course, a return to a top bar bezel instead of a notch. All in all, the Pixel 4 devices are far from 'conventional' Android phones - far from the nearly full-screen sleek flagship phones put out by Samsung or Huawei, but darn if they aren't unique and particular in a market of gleaming black rectangles.