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The unremarkable Pixel 5 will at least be cheaper than other Androids

Published Sep 7th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
Pixel 5 Price
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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  • A new leak says the Pixel 5 price might be even lower than we thought, starting at €629 in Europe, or around $649 in America.
  • The Pixel 5 might be cheaper than this year’s main Android flagships, but the handset will not be a flagship phone itself.
  • The Pixel 5 might have the same starting price as the iPhone 12 series, but the new iPhones will have a considerable performance advantage over Google’s mid-range Pixel.

The novel coronavirus gives Google the best excuse for its most controversial Pixel decision so far. Due this fall, the Pixel 5 will be the first next-gen Pixel handset not to feature the same high-end specs as other flagship Androids. Countless leaks have told us so far that the Pixel 5 will feature a mid-range chip that will barely match the Pixel 4’s processor. And Pixel leaks are usually very accurate. The handset will also feature an improved all-screen design, but Google will have to sacrifice the Pixel 4’s most sophisticated innovations. The Soli radar and 3D face unlock are going away, to be replaced by a rear-facing fingerprint sensor.

The Snapdragon 765 processor choice is the Pixel 5’s significant compromise, and a report earlier this year said Google went this way to cut costs. The Snapdragon 865 platform versions inside the high-end Androids this year are more expensive. Even without a massive health crisis in place, it’s likely that Google would have gone this way. After all, this sort of decision is made well in advance of the phone’s launch. And we’ve been seeing Pixel 5 reports detailing the Snapdragon 765 CPU source well before the pandemic took a turn for the worse.

If there’s a positive here, that’s the Pixel 5. The Snapdragon 765 is more affordable, and Google wants to make the Pixel 5 more affordable than its biggest rivals. A new leak tells us exactly how much the Pixel 5 costs, and it’s good news.

A leak from Europe gives us the purported Pixel 5 pricing structure for Germany — and the same prices will be valid anywhere else in the European Union.

The Pixel 5 will launch in green and black versions in Germany, priced at €629. The Pixel 4a 5G will come in black and white and cost €499.

The EU price always has VAT in it, so converting it to US dollars would not give us the actual price of the phone. But Nils Ahrensmeier says the phone will cost $649 in the US.

That price point is in line with a previous move from Google. A survey suggested a few months ago that the Pixel 5 could be priced at $699, which would match the iPhone 11 price in the US.

The Pixel 5 is certainly more affordable than Android phones that run on the Snapdragon 865 and 865+ platforms. It’s cheaper than the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 phones, and it’s even less expensive than the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. But, again, the performance will not be in Pixel 5’s favor. The only things that might help Google sell the phone are the camera tech and the fast access to the latest Android updates.

Compare it to the iPhone, and the Pixel 5 will have no chance of fighting the iPhone 12 series. The cheapest iPhone 12 might cost $649, according to some reports. Even if the handset is priced at $699, the most affordable iPhone 12 will be much faster than the Pixel 5. And the iPhone 12 will certainly be a much better choice for buyers looking to keep their handsets for three to four years. Not to mention that the iPhone 11 will likely stay in Apple’s iPhone lineup for at least one more year. A $599 iPhone 11 would still be a better alternative than a $649 Pixel 5, especially when you factor in the coronavirus. The pandemic impacted phone sales this year, but Apple still managed to sell millions of iPhone 11 units, topping handset sales rankings along the way.

The Pixel 5 will be available in stores at some point in October. And this year, the cheapest new iPhones will launch a few weeks later than usual, on account of the pandemic. That’s mid-October, and that’s bad news for Google.

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.