Google has announced a slew of goodies this evening, during their ‘Launch Night In ’ event, breaking the tradition of announcing new products every year in October.
Pixel 5 has been one of the most anticipated devices that Google announced today, along with the Pixel 4a (5G), Android TV device rebranded as Chromecast with Google TV and a new Nest smart speaker.
The Pixel 5 has a truly beautiful design, ditching the SOLI radar sensors from last years Pixel 4, which took up a large portion of the forehead of the phone - The screen on the Pixel 5 covers most of the front of the phone, with a very small punch hole for the front-facing camera. The bezels are very slim around the screen, with a symmetrical design that even the Samsung Note 20 failed to achieve.
Google’s strategy is clearly different this year, the days of the Apple & Samsung premium price tags have been ditched for a more moderate price point, at £599 ($699) for the Pixel 5 and just £499 ($499) for the Pixel 4a (5G). This tells me that Google’s sales haven’t performed very well, competing with Apple and Samsung for market share is tougher than it seems for Google.
As always the Pixel 5 and 4a (5G) will have the latest version of Android, Pixels get updates before most manufacturers although, that is changing slowly. The last Android 11 update went out to the Xiaomi Mi 10 alongside the Pixel phones.
The battery will be much improved on the Pixel 5 seeing as it packs a chunky 4080 mAh battery, which is 500mAh more than the Pixel 3XL and 4XL. 8GBs of Ram and a mid-range Snapdragon 765G will power the Pixel 5 which should still provide a smooth experience, judging by the previous Pixels.
New Pixel Features
The Camera features are usually the main focus of any Pixel launch and today is no different, work has been done to make the Pixel camera better than ever before with Night Sight in portrait mode that will turn any photo into an appealing image that requires minimal effort from the user when shooting portraits in the dark.
The telephoto camera lens has been ditched in favour of an all-new ultra-wide camera lens, this was to be expected seeing how poorly received the telephoto lens from the Pixel 4 was.
The image quality of pictures from the Pixel camera really does look impressive but now Google has finally given video recording on the Pixel some much-needed attention. Before the announcement, I thought to myself that I wouldn’t hold my breath for 4k at 60 frames per second but, Google has finally adopted this as a feature. You now have new video recording modes that will hopefully make better quality videos, such as ‘Cinematic Pan’ that provides cinematic look with super-smooth panning.
Other features showcased on the Pixel 5 is the ‘Hold For Me’ feature that will wait on the phone for you whilst you’re in a queue and alert you when someone comes on the line. This feature builds on Duplex, which is used for ‘Call Screening ’ from previous Pixels - This feature still hasn’t reached the UK and I can’t see it happening any time soon, unfortunately.
That’s another feature that won’t ever see the light of day over here in the UK. I will definitely be picking up a Pixel 5 after skipping the Pixel 4, my Pixel 3XL is still coping very well especially after the Android 11 update but, the new camera features are too good to pass up this time around.
Chromecast with Google TV
The new Android TV device that finally supersedes Googles Nexus Player, has been branded as a familiar household name, Chromecast. This is a great move from Google, they are aiming for this device to become mainstream, unlike the Nexus Player which was mainly meant for enthusiasts.
The Chromecast has already been leaked heavily, not by news publications but your average consumers, the Chromecast with Google TV were put up for sale early in retail stores in the US such as Walmart. Chances are that some of you already have one of these, we haven’t had as much luck over here in the UK, stores here haven’t had any for sale.
The new Chromecast is an Android TV at heart, with a redesigned Homescreen and GUI changes. Front and centre is the content that Google thinks you want to see, all of your streaming content is aggregated into one place. It’s similar to what the Google assistant offers on Android TV when you search for a TV show that you like, it will offer that content to you from any source of apps that has it.
If you choose to watch something that has been offered up to you on the home screen, you will be prompted to choose a list of apps to stream from such as Netflix or given the opportunity to purchase the content from Google Play Movies and TV.
The new Watch-list feature is single-handedly the best feature from the new Google TV, this will save you soo much time and effort catching up with content that you’ve been meaning to watch.
Android TV was desperate for this type of overhaul, things can get a little tedious searching through apps to see the content you want. Let’s hope that Google brings the new layout to popular devices such as the Nvidia Shield TV.