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The Pixel 4a will probably have a much better design than the Pixel 5

Published Feb 21st, 2020 7:31AM EST
Pixel 4a Release Date
Image: Zach Epstein for BGR

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Google is widely expected to launch two smartphone series this year, including the mid-range Pixel 4a that should be unveiled in May and the Pixel 5 flagship that’s set to launch in October. While it’s only February, we’ve got leaks for both devices already, and the conclusion is clear when it comes to design. The ugly Pixel 4 (image above) will be succeeded by much better-looking handsets. However, the Pixel 4a will have a much better screen design than the Pixel 5, and we have a new render of the upcoming budget Pixel for you.

A few weeks ago, the first Pixel 4a renders dropped from a source with a great track record at leaking smartphone designs before they’re official. The image below revealed that Google’s next affordable Pixel will feature an all-screen hole-punch display similar to the screens Samsung uses for its Galaxy S20 phone.

Moreover, the leak said the handset will feature a rear-facing fingerprint sensor that will replace the Pixel 4’s 3D Face unlock feature. An all-screen design like the one above makes it impossible for Google to include the face unlock components and the Motion Sense radar in the top bezel.

Then a few days ago, we got a first look at the purported camera design for one of the three Pixel 5 prototypes currently in development at Google, which was quickly followed by the render below that shows the full Pixel 5 device.

Image source: YouTube

As I’ve already told you, the camera design shouldn’t matter on a phone these days. It’s the best compromise on flagship phones, considering how sophisticated these cameras have become. The screen design is incredibly annoying for a 2020 flagship phone. There’s still a top bezel, which needs to be there to house the 3D face recognition and radar, although it’s the latter that ruins the design, Google can’t get anywhere near the iPhone X all-screen design with that Soli chip in place. And it can’t go for a Galaxy S20 design as long as it wants to keep Face unlock.

This brings us to the video below (via LetsGoDigital) which gives us a good look at the Pixel 4a’s design, based on the previous leak.

The Pixel 4a will feature many compromises, including a mid-range chipset, and a single-lens camera on the back. But we’re still looking at a phone that features a much better screen design than anything Google made so far. Not to mention that the handset will also deliver a couple of features that some Pixel users surely miss, including the headphone jack and fingerprint sensor.

At the end of the day, these are just leaks and renders. However, if history teaches us anything it’s that there are no Pixel secrets. The Pixel 4a will soon launch, which means Google must have locked in the design already, so the leak above must be based on the final prototype. The Pixel 5 leak shows us a proposed Pixel design. But Google’s recently released Android 11 Developer Preview proves Motion Sense is here to stay, and Google probably doesn’t want to give up that 3D face recognition system. So the Pixel 5’s screen design can’t get significantly better anytime soon.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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