The Pixel 5 was first mentioned last August, but it wasn't until last week that it arrived at authorized resellers. The time has therefore come to look at its case, and to explain to you why this little phone has everything to become the new benchmark in terms of photography.
You must have noticed it, but the Pixels are in full force this year. Not content with having rewarded us with the excellent Pixel 4a, remember to go and see its test, Google has indeed unveiled two other smartphones this summer: the Pixel 4a 5G, to which we will come back soon, and the Pixel 5, which I am looking for. has been accompanying for two weeks now.
Yes two weeks which made me realize that the race for power and techno was not finally everything.
Because in the end, the Pixel 5 is not the most powerful, it is not the one that has the most photo sensors on board either and it is not the fastest to load either, but it does did not stop to delight my heart.
Design & Ergonomics
Pixels have often been criticized for their design. You probably remember all those not-so-funny jokes about the Pixel 3's notch or the Pixel 4's edges. For this new smartphone, Google decided to play it a little more conventional.
From the front, the Pixel 5 does not denote with its competitors. An imposing screen, with contained borders, a discreet punch wedged in the corner, it finally aligns with most smartphones of the moment.
With subtlety. The borders surrounding its slab are all the same size and this applies in particular to the chin. Google has in fact opted for a curved tablecloth under the slab to reduce its thickness. The result is objectively very successful.
However, there is a price to pay. Soli goes missing and the Pixel 5 at the same time skips all the functions that were associated with the chip.
So for gesture recognition, that's not really a problem. It has never been very effective anyway. However, it will also be necessary to ignore secure facial recognition, which is a little more regrettable.
Afterwards, at the moment, with the masks, it is better to fall back on the fingerprint readers.
Player on which the Pixel 5 obviously does not ignore. However, the latter is not placed at the level of the screen. Google has chosen to integrate it into the plate in order to limit costs. It should be remembered that the Pixel 5 is offered at 629 €, where many premium smartphones flirt with 800 or 1000 €.
Still, the reader in question works very well, and it also has the merit of falling naturally under the index. And above all, he does not care about masks.
The phone case is made from recycled aluminum, with a texture somewhat reminiscent of resin on the back. This texture has the merit of not being messy, but also and above all of making the phone less slippery in the hand.
On the other hand, Google cheated a bit and the firm cut out part of the middle of the plate to replace it with plastic. This is what allows the Pixel 5 to offer compatibility with wireless charging. A wireless charging that has the advantage of working in both directions.
Nothing to say about ergonomics. It is similar to that of the Pixel 4a. The buttons are therefore distributed over the slices and they fall well under the fingers. The power button has been tinted white and we also have a USB-C connector on the bottom edge.
Google has put the package on the design, and it is clear that it pays.
The Pixel 5 is very pleasant to use and it holds well in the hand. Its compact size is undeniably a plus and it is therefore perfectly possible to use it with one hand without twisting your fingers in all directions.
Screen, Processor & Autonomy
The Pixel 5 therefore has arguments to make in the field of design and we will see that the same is true on a technical level, even if Google has made choices a little more measured than many of its competitors.
The screen is objectively beautiful. Google naturally opted for an OLED panel, with a definition in Full HD +. That is to say a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 and a pixel density of the order of 432 ppi. No QHD, therefore, and that's okay on a 6 inch diagonal panel.
OLED requires, we have a very good contrast and the panel also has the particularity of being HDR compatible and being able to render no less than 16 million colors.
And when you put it all together, you get a phone that's perfect for multimedia use. The colors are faithful, natural, the contrasts are present and we also have a beautiful brightness that makes the phone usable on any occasion, even in direct sunlight.
The only downside is the sound. Google has integrated two speakers into its phone, but the second is placed under the screen and it is therefore a bit muffled. Now, that hasn't stopped me from watching quite a few series on the Pixel 5.
But this slab has another interesting feature: its refresh rate. It hits 90Hz and it allows the Pixel 5 to deliver an increased sense of fluidity on faster games.
An exercise in which he also excels. If it skips the high-end SoC from Qualcomm to prefer a Snapdragon 765G, the Pixel 5 remains effective in game, in particular thanks to its 8 GB of RAM. However, the storage space remains limited to 128 GB and it will not be possible to expand it.
It's not a revelation, but the Pixels have often been criticized for their battery life. Finally especially the Pixel 4.
Fortunately, Google has listened to criticism and the Pixel 5 thus enjoys very good autonomy despite its 4000 mAh battery.
With my uses, the terminal takes on average between a day and a half and two days. On PC Mark, it reached 1.30 pm in 90 Hz and 3 pm in 60 Hz.
The load, however, leaves a little to be desired. It will not exceed 18W and the Pixel 5 will therefore need an hour and a half to recharge. Obviously, when you're used to Oppo's very fast charging, it's a bit disappointing.
Very quickly, on connectivity, you should know that the Pixel 5 is compatible with 5G. Unfortunately I have not tested it for this purpose, for lack of a compatible telephone subscription.
However, be aware that if the hatch can only accept a single SIM card, Google has also placed an eSIM inside the phone. It will therefore be possible to have two telephone lines coexist.
Photo & Video
Pixels have always been known for their excellent performance in both stills and video. As much to warn you immediately, it is not the Pixel 5 which will break the tradition. It is indeed capable of obtaining truly exceptional images.
On paper, the offer is ultimately quite conventional. At the back of the Pixel 5, we will thus find only two sensors. Exactly like last year, then, except that architecture has nothing to do with it.
The main sensor reaches a definition of 12.2 million pixels and it benefits from Double Pixel technology with a wide angle offering an opening at f / 1.7. Google has also equipped it with a dual stabilization system based on an OIS and an EIS, ie an optical stabilizer and an electronic stabilizer.
The second sensor reaches 16 million pixels and it is not accompanied by a telephoto lens with optical zoom, but an ultra wide angle opening at f / 2.2 and offering a field of view of exactly 107 °.
We therefore lose the optical zoom. It's sad, but in fact, it changes absolutely nothing, because the Pixel 5 has another advantage, and not least: its excellent software processing.
By day, the Pixel 5 is truly unstoppable. Focus is lightning fast and it always falls on target. The sharpness is everywhere and the phone can therefore reproduce pictures with a high level of detail.
An impression reinforced by its excellent dynamics. Nothing seems to be able to escape it, even in the most complicated light conditions.
As for the colorimetry, it hits the mark and is ultimately quite neutral … which will at the same time facilitate the editing process.
Many phones spin when the light is lacking, but this is not the case with the Pixel 5. Whether indoors or even at night, we will maintain exceptional image quality, with a white balance that strikes. always on target and few artifacts present in the image.
This feat, the phone does not owe it only to its sensors or its optics. Here, it is the software processing of Google which is formidable. When you press the shutter button, the photo isn't just going to be stored in your gallery. It will go through a succession of several processes which will make all its imperfections disappear.
But to go further, it is also possible to use night mode, a mode that can detect the type of scene to be photographed. And if you put the Pixel 5 on a tripod and point it at the sky, then you'll be redirected to astrophotography mode.
There, the exposure time will be much longer and the Pixel 5 will then be able to recover more details of the scenes photographed. With results which, once again, call for respect.
The Pixel 5 offers two real focal lengths: a wide angle and an ultra wide angle. The latter replaces the telephoto lens and many have not understood this choice. Worse yet, some have even accused Google of being too indecisive and hesitant.
But in reality, if the Pixel 5 skips optical zoom, it's because it doesn't need it.
It doesn't need it because it can once again count on the know-how of Google's engineers and its software processing. The terminal thus offers a 5x digital zoom, a zoom that does better than many telephoto lenses.
Despite the artificial nature of this magnification, the Pixel 5 can indeed obtain very sharp images while maintaining a beautiful dynamic. The contours of the photographed objects are not blurred and we can once again be surprised that this little phone manages to come out.
The Pixel 5 also does very well in portraiture.
And the best is to start from an example, and therefore from this photo of Salomé. There are several things to note. The first is that she was shot in low light, in a poorly lit room. The second is that the Pixel 5 was not pointed directly at the subject, but rather at its reflection … in a mirror that has not been cleaned for a while.
There, you will tell me, but why have complicated things? Simply because the Pixel 5 has proven to be far too good and I wanted to push it a little to its limits. And I'll be blunt, I really expected him to wallow.
Because in the end, the Pixel 5 really excels in this use. The faces remain sharp, with beautiful silky blurs.
But above all, Google has decided not to smooth the features of our subjects. A commitment that deserves to be highlighted.
As for the selfies, they also pleasantly surprised me, even if I am not particularly comfortable in this exercise. Again, the Pixel 5 gets stitched images with a high level of detail and interesting dynamics. Nothing to say either about the colo which hits the nail on the head.
I also appreciated that Google gave us the choice of several different shooting modes on the front. Besides the photo and the video, we will also have access to a portrait mode and a night vision mode which once again gives interesting results.
Google has been very generous with video, with a plethora of different formats.
At best, we can therefore film in 4K at 60 frames per second… or in 1080p at 240 frames per second.
And it works well. The sequences are once again of quality, with a beautiful dynamic and an omnipresent sharpness. Nothing to say about the colorimetry either, except that I would have really appreciated a flat color profile to facilitate the calibration work.
There is, however, an important limitation to underline. The front camera will be limited to 1080p with a frame rate of 30 frames per second.
This will come as no surprise to anyone, but the Pixel 5 comes with the very latest version of Google's mobile platform and therefore comes with Android 11.
I mentioned it a bit during my Pixel 4a test, but several of you asked me to show you a bit more. We will therefore quickly come back to the platform.
The interface, for starters, is extremely pleasant to use. We keep a nice consistency within all the menus, and the navigation system by gestures is really formidable once you master it. We will particularly appreciate the transition from applications to applications which saves precious time on a daily basis.
Overall, a nice feeling of fluidity emanates from the platform, and this is not only explained by the refresh rate of the Pixel 5. In fact, Google has also done a lot of work on the animations and this improves greatly user experience.
The notification system is still as efficient as ever. Android 11 will indeed group alerts according to applications, which will make them easier to read. And we can of course respond directly to a message from the notification without needing to open the associated tool, which will once again save time on a daily basis.
I also had the opportunity to quickly test RCS, which should eventually supplant and replace SMS. In any case, it is to be hoped, because they bring a real pluvalue to the exchanges between friends.
Always on the shelf of good ideas, we can also mention the options associated with the food menu. In addition to the single press, we will actually have two new actions: the double press to access Google Assistant and the long press to activate Android Pay but also the options relating to connected equipment in the house. Equipment which will be automatically detected and which will be symbolized by tiles with which you can directly interact. This will allow you, for example, to turn on your Philips Hue lamps without having to launch the associated application.
I also really appreciated the digital wellness features. Not content with visually representing our uses, they also provide access to a lot of interesting functions such as distraction-free mode… or bedtime mode. A mode that you can activate automatically at the times of your choice and which will have the effect of cutting off notifications … but also to switch the phone screen to shades of gray so that we are not interested.
And we could go on like this for a long time. Android 11 indeed offers a lot of smart and thoughtful options. I am thinking in particular of the accounts screen, which lists all the accounts configured on the phone in one place, as well as the options relating to the confidentiality of our data, a very sensitive subject and perfectly in tune with the times. .
There is also another advantage unique to Pixels; updates. They are indeed among the first to benefit from new versions of Android, where many manufacturers take several months to deploy them.
What can we say about the Pixel 5? Only good. As noted in this review's intro, the Pixel 5 isn't the most powerful, it's true. It also does not offer the fastest charging on the market and it is limited to just two photo sensors where many of its competitors go up to three, four and more if affinities.
But in reality, this has little experience. Beyond the technical sheet, we must also reason in terms of experience. And in the matter, the Pixel Experience is one of the best there is.
For me, that's a big yes. This Pixel 5 is formidable and it is clearly one of my favorites of the year.
9.0 / 10
Design & Ergonomics
9.0 / 10
Power & autonomy
8.5 / 10
Photo & Video
9.5 / 10
9.5 / 10
- The screen, beautiful
- The grip, very pleasant
- The quality of the photos, bluffing
- The platform, very pleasant
- Autonomy, a good surprise
- The main speaker, a little too muffled
- 4K 60 fps, absent on the front camera