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Leaked Pixel 5 render shows just how ugly Google’s prototype is

Published Feb 20th, 2020 1:44PM EST
Pixel 5 Release Date
Image: Olly Curtis/Future/Shutterstock

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A few days ago, a YouTuber created a Pixel 5 render that showed the back of one of three prototypes that Google is supposedly considering for its 2020 flagship handset — if we can even call it a flagship to begin with. That image was apparently based on a leaked CAD file and focused on the handset’s rear camera system, which features an unusual design compared to everything else out there. At the time, we heard that the Pixel 5’s front side would still feature a large top bezel similar to what Google did on the Pixel 4. Now, we finally have a render that shows the full design of this purported Pixel 5 prototype. Spoiler alert: It’s ugly, which seems to be a signature feature for Pixel phones.

Remember how ugly that Pixel 3 XL notch was? Let’s just revisit it for a second:

Image source: Zach Epstein, BGR

Goole then “fixed” it by dropping a huge top bezel on the Pixel 4, which included a few critical components, like the new 3D face recognition system and the Motion Sense radar. It’s actually the Soli radar chip that prevents Google from going for any kind of notch, and we’ll say again that Soli is super cool but basically useless at this point. Let’s revisit the design:

Image source: Zach Epstein, BGR

This brings us to Jon Prosser’s Pixel 5 prototype render below, which shows both the front and the back of the phone. Just like he said a few days ago when he first released the Pixel 5 camera render, Prosser reiterates that the Pixel 5’s top bezel will be smaller than the Pixel 4, but still larger than the other bezels since it’ll incorporate the Soli radar:

If you thought the camera design is ugly, then you’d better get over it. There’s no great camera design for phones nowadays, and we should stop caring. The camera ugliness is a compromise we can expect from smartphone makers, whether it’s Apple, Samsung, or Google. These phones take better photos than ever and can record 4K video or better. Camera design does. Not. Matter.

Image source: YouTube

But the front of this prototype is pretty off-putting compared to other 2020 phones. Most smartphone vendors will have gorgeous all-screen phones. Just look at the Galaxy S20 or the rumored OnePlus 8 design. Even the iPhone’s notch looks incredible compared to this Pixel 5 prototype. It also doesn’t help that the Pixel 5 will feature a bottom bezel that’s smaller than the top one but still noticeably larger than the side bezels.

While Prosser insisted this is just one of three prototypes currently in the works at Google, he referred to the rear camera design. I wouldn’t be surprised if all prototypes share a similar screen design. Again, it’s the Motion Sense chip that’s to blame since it has to sit at the top of the phone because the radar is involved in the 3D face unlock process. That said, the experience would be just as fast and secure without it. However, the Soli chip is here to stay, at least according to Android 11, which means it might be a while before we see an all-screen Pixel design we can appreciate.

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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