Google Pixel 5a 5G review

GSMArena Team, 07 Sept 2021.

Metal and plastic unibody

Remember the metal/plastic hybrid design that was used on the Google Pixel 5 last year? Well, the Pixel 5a utilizes the same construction philosophy. The plastic exterior is built around an aluminum diecast piece that reinforces the unibody's construction.

Even though the Pixel 5a is made of plastic, you can still feel the coolness of the aluminum seep through to the exterior. Along with this new construction, the 5a is now certified for IP67 water resistance.

Google Pixel 5a 5g review

The texture doesn't feel quite the same as the Pixel 5's, which felt somewhere between plastic and ceramic.

The grain on the Pixel 5a's plastic is matte and smooth, though the "Mostly Black" finish on this Pixel 5a is a lot like Apple's "Midnight Green", only a little darker and made of plastic. The 5a's finish doesn't grip as well as the Pixel 5's grittier finish. It's also not very resistant to fingerprint smudges. If you can get over the smudges, the phone feels durable enough to carry without a case.

We continue to compare the 5a to the Pixel 4a 5G since they are so close in dimensions. At 154.9x73.3x7.6 mm, the 5a is just 1mm longer, 0.3mm narrower, and 0.6mm thinner than the 4a 5G. It also weighs more at 183g (4a 5G was 168g).

Google Pixel 5a 5g review

There's nothing new or original about the 5a's design. It has the same look and feel as three other Pixel smartphones: the Pixels 4a, 5, and 4a 5G. All have plastic unibodies, rear-mounted fingerprint scanners, and punch hole selfie cameras adorn the upper left corner of the screen. This punch-hole is as small as they come, so no complaints there.

The display is ever so slightly longer, bumping the size from 6.2 to 6.34 and changing the aspect ratio from 19.5:9 to 20:9 (compared to the 4a 5G). That OLED panel is protected by a flat slab of Gorilla Glass 3, and an in-call speaker slit sits above the screen. This doubles as one of the phone's loudspeakers.

Google Pixel 5a 5g review

The bezels are nicely thin all the way around, making for a uniform design that's pleasing to the eye.

Moving up to the top edge, the Pixel 5a has a 3.5mm headphone jack - a regular feature of the Pixel "a" Series. To the right of that is a microphone.

Top and right - Google Pixel 5a 5g review Top and right - Google Pixel 5a 5g review
Top and right

All buttons are on the right side of the phone. The volume rocker sits below the power key, which has a new wavy texture. The 5a's predecessors had smooth matte power keys, while the Pixel 5 used a glossy metal one.

Left and bottom - Google Pixel 5a 5g review Left and bottom - Google Pixel 5a 5g review
Left and bottom

The left side of the phone has the single nanoSIM tray, and the bottom contains (from left to right) an in-call microphone, USB-C port, and loudspeaker.

Around back is the same camera setup from the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G, including a 12.2MP main camera and 16MP ultra-wide. The ol' faithful rear-mounted fingerprint scanner is easy to find by feel alone.

Google Pixel 5a 5g review

Aside from being uninspiring, the build is sturdy, while water resistance is an added plus. We do wish there were more exciting colors, and we wish Google went with the grittier finish that was on the Pixel 5 here, as it would help with grip and it may hide smudges a bit better.

Next up, let's check out how the phone did in the display and battery tests.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 19 Nov 2023
  • xjH

Pixel 5a is good compared to other phones

  • Rana aftab
  • 17 Nov 2023
  • Acq

Almost other Android phones have a battery of 5000, which is better. But the pixel phone's battery is also low and the camera is also only 12 megapixels, which is very low. I think the other phone is the best equivalent to the pixel price....

  • Hamza
  • 16 Nov 2023
  • KIC

Yes i have