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£9.99

Google Pixel 5 5G Black 128GB

20GB Data Unlimited Minutes Unlimited Texts 24 month contract
£27.99 a month 24 month contract Mobiles.co.uk
Via Mobiles.co.uk
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Data Rollover
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£229.99

Google Pixel 4a 5G Black 128GB

2GB Data Unlimited Minutes Unlimited Texts 24 month contract
£17.00 a month 24 month contract e2save
Via e2save
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5G
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£317.68

Google Pixel 4a Black 128GB

1GB Data Unlimited Minutes Unlimited Texts 1 month contract
£11.00 a month 1 month contract O2
Via O2
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You might more commonly associate Google with software, and specifically the internet, than with smartphone hardware. The tech giant made its name building the world's pre-eminent search engine, and solidified its position with the world's most used web browser (Chrome), email service (Gmail), and mobile operating system (Android).

It's Google's work with the latter that led it to enter the smartphone hardware business in 2013. The Google Pixel line has never troubled Apple and Samsung at the top of the charts in terms of popularity, but it's always served as a handy template for other Android manufacturers to follow.

More importantly, they're always great phones, with excellent cameras, uncluttered and up-to-date software, solid build quality, and extremely competitive price points.

Google phones with 5G

Like Apple, Google was quite late to market with a 5G phone. It was only towards the end of 2020, with the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, that it launched hardware supporting the next-generation network standard. Of course, Google doesn't launch phones in anything like the volume of its Android competitors, so the following list is short anyway.

 

4G

5G

Pixel 5

Pixel 4a 5G

Pixel 4a

Which Google phone should I buy?

As we've just mentioned, Google doesn't release as many phones as other smartphone manufacturers. There are just three phones in its current line-up, which makes choosing the right Pixel phone slightly easier than with other brands.

It's not a totally straight-forward choice, however. The Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 4a all stick to a similar design language and balance of features, and all are relatively affordable. Even the range-topping Pixel 5 is about half the price of Android phones at the very top of the market.

Here's a breakdown of the range.

Best Google phone

The best phone that Google currently makes is the Pixel 5. It's not an outright flagship phone, but rather a more affordable and compact alternative that still gives you a distinctly premium experience.

That includes a 6-inch OLED display with a fluid 90Hz refresh rate, as well as a capable Snapdragon 765G processor and 5G connectivity. These are wrapped up in a solid aluminium body, but with a unique soft-touch finish.

While the Pixel 5's dual-camera system sounds modest on paper, with a 12.2MP wide sensor and a 16MP ultra-wide, it's actually one of the sharpest shooters on the block. Thanks to Google's algorithmic know-how, it captures impeccably exposed shots even in extremely low lighting.

Cheapest Google phone

The cheapest Google phone on the market is the Pixel 4a, and it punches well above its weight in one stand-out department. Its solitary 12.2MP camera turns out images that are of almost equal quality to the Pixel 5.

Aside from an impressive camera you get a 5.81-inch OLED display, a Snapdragon 730G processor, and a healthy 128GB of storage. And of course, as with all Pixel phones, you have the cleanest take on Android in the business.

Best overall value Google Phone

In terms of value for money, out of all three current Google phones, you can't look past the Pixel 4a 5G. Despite its name, it offers an experience that's closer to the Pixel 5 than the more affordable Pixel 4a.

That includes the same powerful dual-camera system, the same capable Snapdragon 765G processor, and an even bigger 6.2-inch OLED display. As the name suggests, you also get the same 5G connectivity as the Pixel 5, but all for a lower price.

Recent Google phones

At the time of writing Google has announced the Pixel 5a as a successor to the Pixel 4a 5G, but it doesn't appear to be bound for the UK market. That's not a massive disappointment, however, as the specifications and design are incredibly similar to its predecessor.

In August, Google also took the unusual step of pre-announcing the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro for release towards the end of 2021. These phones will see a return to flagship territory after the humble Pixel 5, with a bold new design, larger displays, improved camera hardware, and Google's first self-made 'Tensor' processor.

Conclusions

It's unusual to think of Google as the cool or niche alternative to anything, but that's precisely what the brand represents in the smartphone hardware market. You won't see all that many Pixel phones out in the wild, but those that have them will probably be happy customers.

Buying a Pixel phone means guaranteeing a clean and quickly updated software experience, as well as a level of camera quality that far exceeds the price tag, not to mention a functional yet distinctive design. Buying a Pixel phone comes with the assurance of a giant brand, but also the satisfaction of doing things a little differently.

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