Data Doctors: Which Google Pixel 5G phone should I buy?

Q: I’m ready for a 5G phone and comparing the Google Pixel 4a with 5G to the Pixel 5 — is the Pixel 5 worth the difference?

A: As 5G coverage continues to grow, upgrading to a phone that can take advantage of the faster speeds is becoming more attractive.

Every major manufacturer now offers a 5G capable smartphone, so the field of choices has become quite extensive.

The Pixel 4a with 5G sells for $499 while the Pixel 5 sells for $699, so the features you care about will determine if it’s worth the extra $200.

Camera technology

One of the most important features of today’s smartphones is the camera technology and when it comes to these two devices, everything is essentially the same.

They both have 12.2-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (ultrawide) rear cameras and 8-megapixel front-facing cameras. They both shoot 4K video at 30/60 frames per second, and both offer the excellent Night Sight, AI-powered lowlight technology, as well as video stabilization.

Battery life

Both devices have upgraded battery capacity from previous models and are very similar in size.

The Pixel 4a (5G) has a 3,800 mAh battery, while the Pixel 5 has a 4,000 mAh capacity. As a comparison, the similar-sized iPhone 12 only offers 2,815 mAh, but the mAh rating by itself will not determine the battery life.

The size and the technology used for the display are also big factors as the larger the display, the more it takes to power it. The 4a (5G) has a slightly larger screen (6.2 inches vs. 6 inches) and a slightly smaller battery, so there could be a small difference in battery life.

Other differences

The storage (128 gigabytes) and processor (Snapdragon 765G) are the same on both, but the Pixel 5 has more RAM (8 gigabytes vs. 6 gigabytes). If you tend to use a lot of apps and data at the same time, the extra RAM could be important.

If you haven’t gone to wireless Bluetooth headphones yet and want to use a traditional wired headset, the 4a (5G) is the only one with a headphone jack.

The Pixel 5 display has a refresh rate of 90 hertz vs. the 4a (5G) at 60 hertz, so animation and video will be smoother. While they both have the same resolution (2340×1080), the Pixel 5 has a higher number of pixels per inch on a slightly smaller screen, so it will also be a little sharper.

If the size and weight are important, the Pixel 5 will be a little smaller in your hand and weighs slightly less (0.6 ounces).

Wireless charging is also only available on the Pixel 5.

For most users, the Pixel 4a (5G) will likely be one of the best values in a mid-priced 5G phone at the moment.

A big reason to consider Pixel phones

Since taking lots of pictures and videos is a common activity, we’re all ending up with the same problem: where to store them all.

Both Apple and Google offer free limited storage for their customers in the hopes that they will eventually start paying for extra space in the future.

At the moment, Google Pixel owners get unlimited high-resolution storage via Google Photos, but the rumors are that this may not be the case in future models.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.

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