Pixel 5A

Zorachus

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So I put my SIM card in the 5a yesterday and truly started using it, and went to the Zac Brown Band concert last night took some great photos.

I have to say using stock Android again is such a pleasure and joy over iOS, just everything's better in using the phone. The gesture system is way batter on the Pixel than the iPhone, I like being able to also swipe back when taping and sliding on the right side of the screen. Just navigating around the phone is so much faster and more streamlined and just better on a Pixel vs iPhone in regards to gesture navigation. And of course swiping down on the screen drops down the notification shade which is always best, on the iPhone when you swipe down this strange weird search screen pops up, I just never understood what that's for.

No notch is great :) The little pin hole camera in the top corner is barely even noticeable, and looks so much better than the large hideous notch on my 12 Pro Max.

AoD ( Always on Display ) My goodness this is such a useful important feature all smartphones should have. iPhone absolutely needs to have it already.

Voice to text. Holy cow LOL. The Pixel does it ten million times better than the iPhone. I use voice to text a lot for texting and stuff, and the iPhone was pretty bad in getting my conversation accurate or correct, where the Pixel gets darn near perfect every time. Just seems Pixel phones handle voice command stuff way better. And thank the lord, back to saying " Hey Google" to search something or ask a question and it's instant fast and gets me an answer on anything.

Set default apps, yep no problem on the Pixel.

Drag an app icon and place it anywhere I feel like it on the screen. Uh hello Apple.


But...I still have my iPhone 12 Pro Max obviously and the one thing I can't argue is the design and build quality, this 12 Pro Max is built like a tank, and everything is so high quality, the screen tech is amazing such a perfect display, and the flat no curved edge is best. Speakers are great. Haptic vibration is great. The large size screen on the 12PM is amazing. Holding it in hand feels so hefty and the flat backs feels solid. Overall the iPhone 12 Pro Max phone is just a very well built high quality smartphone. But...it runs iOS ugh, it's just not my cup of tea, and feels so outdated and not well designed, but the iPhone hardware and quality is so great though.


I really like this iPhone 12 Pro Max size, the display is gorgeous, the flat screen the best. The quality high end build of this phone is superb and nothing I’ve seen Google produce with their Nexus / Pixel line has ever matchthe quality of this 12 PM.

But iOS. Ugh.

I wish I could install a Pixel ROM on the iPhone 12 Pro Max LOL
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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Yeah, it's the main thing I hate about Android (or more specifically, Qualcomm's indifference to supporting any SoC more than a couple of years old).

Which sucks, because the phone works just fine for me otherwise. Given the case and screen protector, it still looks practically brand-new. The battery is still in decent shape. I have the 128 GB version, same as the 5a (and enough for my usage). Its Snapdragon 835 isn't that much slower overall than the 5a's 765G (and I'm not using any apps that really pushes it anyways). And 5G isn't that big a deal to me at this time.

I'm waiting to see what the Pixel 6 offers, particularly in terms of length of software support and cost. I'll probably be picking up either the 5a or 6 in the next few months.

I agree. Phones need to become more like PC's and Qualcomm needs to step up and support their hardware indefinitely like a PC hardware manufacturer does.

That said, I get rid of everything before it goes EOL. I don't use stuff that doesn't get patched, even temporarily for non critical things.

Operating systems, phones, doesn't matter.

That's why I preemptively upgraded from my Pixel 3 to the 5a right now, as the 3 is about to lose support in October and that's just around the corner.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Does Google need to flip a switch or something to activate the 5a on their servers? Phones comes with the June security patch, and running system update doesn't find the latest update. And this phone is not on the Android beta 12 program yet, doesn't show up.

Wake up Google.

They usually roll them out gradually so everyone doesn't hit the server at the same time.

Pixels are usually some of the first phones to get the latest security updates. Around phone launches though there can be a little bit of s delay due to everyone wanting to upgrade their new phone all at once.

Just be patient.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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Its cause they probably had a stock pile of parts is my guess. I will rock this for a year and hand it off to the wife and see if we get a true 6a based on the 6 phones.

They literally came out and said that they are having a difficult time securing enough chips to make the phones due to pandemic supply constraints, so they are making the best out of a difficult supply situation.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Anyone having difficulty activating your Google Fi? I've been trying to do it with eSIM, but it ain't working. Will get the SIM out of my 3XL.

EDIT: Figured it out (y)

In most cases it just works for me, but this time around it took more troubleshooting. I had to remove the physical sim, restart the phone, reset network settings, clear cache and data in the fi app, and then try again, and it finally downloaded the eSIM and worked.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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Yeah, I want to see real benchmarks. "It feels slower" is an odd assertion considering the 5 and 5a are virtually identical. I can't see the 5's +2 GB RAM making any difference in any limited testing he could have done with a display unit. It's possible, maybe Google screwed the cooling and it throttles easily and often (I'm guessing we won't see a teardown until iFixIt gets theirs in a few days). But I'm betting there's a heavy dose of bias, subconscious or not, going on here.

I do wonder why Google didn't go with a newer 700-series Snapdragon. Even if the phone's BOM cost them more as a result, they could have kept the MSRP the same as the 4a 5G's $499 and come out ahead.

From Geekbench this phone is slightly faster single core and a bit slower multicore than my Pixel 3, but it feels snappier to me side by side.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Change the keyboard settings height. I find it better on short or even less

I tried that. Honestly can't tell much of a difference. I think it is the width that is throwing me off. My thumb muscle memory is used to landing at a certain x axis position and they are landing on the letter either directly to the left or right of what I intend in many cases when I am typing fast.

Honestly, my typos are a mess right now. Hopefully I'll adapt with time.
 

Vengance_01

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First full charge with more normal usage. This battery life is insane.

Edit** now at 64% and have 5 hours of SOT. Guessing at current usage I could see 12 hours which is just nuts.

Edit 2** just hit 6 sot at 52% 🙂
 

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Vengance_01

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Here is the wifi I get from unifi standard inwall APs. So just 866mbps max from a 2x2 setup
 

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Zarathustra[H]

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Here is the wifi I get from unifi standard inwall APs. So just 866mbps max from a 2x2 setup

I hadn't thought of benchmarking the wifi performance, as I usually consider WiFi (and wireless boardband) kind of a secondary mode of connectivity only for basic use, as I hardwire everything of consequence, and am more of a light phone user, but after seeing yours I got curious to test my own as well.

First of, the baseline test from the hard wired desktop to show we have enough bandwidth that the bottleneck is actually in the phone:

1630285488505.png

Next what I got from the phone to my Unifi AP-AC-LR unit with pretty much full signal, as I am only a few feet away from the AP.

1630285606060.png

Though, I retested a few times, and the results where honestly all over the place.

I figured I'd get more reliable tests using iperf locally, but that really didn't help with all kinds of variable results, much lower than the above. I'm guessing iperf isn't all that great for WiFi testing.

I thought the AC era Wifi in my UNifi AP's was what was going to hold it back, but apparently not. The specs say "Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac".

Maybe I'll test the 5G performance next.

I'm honestly unclear on what to expect. Reading about it confused the hell out of me.

I read that the phone only supports the low band 5G, not the millimeter wave stuff. The hardware apparently supports the millimeter wave bands, but Google has been noncommittal about adding it to the phone via software updates citing insufficient rollout.

But that same article spoke to it supporting Tmobiles midband 5g, which last time I checked there were only two bands in the spec, frequency range 1, the traditional cell bands, and frequency range 2, the crazy high millimeter wave bands, so I don't know what the hell they were talking about.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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I hadn't thought of benchmarking the wifi performance, as I usually consider WiFi (and wireless boardband) kind of a secondary mode of connectivity only for basic use, as I hardwire everything of consequence, and am more of a light phone user, but after seeing yours I got curious to test my own as well.

First of, the baseline test from the hard wired desktop to show we have enough bandwidth that the bottleneck is actually in the phone:

View attachment 390031

Next what I got from the phone to my Unifi AP-AC-LR unit with pretty much full signal, as I am only a few feet away from the AP.

View attachment 390032

Though, I retested a few times, and the results where honestly all over the place.

I figured I'd get more reliable tests using iperf locally, but that really didn't help with all kinds of variable results, much lower than the above. I'm guessing iperf isn't all that great for WiFi testing.

I'm going to assume that the AC era wifi in my Unifi units is what is holding it back, but I can't seem to find the specs for what revision of wifi connectivity the phone has anywhere.

Maybe I'll test the 5G performance next.

I'm honestly unclear on what to expect. Reading about it confused the hell out of me.

I read that the phone only supports the low band 5G, not the millimeter wave stuff. The hardware apparently supports the millimeter wave bands, but Google has been noncommittal about adding it to the phone via software updates citing insufficient rollout.

But that same article spoke to it supporting Tmobiles midband 5g, which last time I checked there were only two bands in the spec, frequency range 1, the traditional cell bands, and frequency range 2, the crazy high millimeter wave bands, so I don't know what the hell they were talking about.


Alright, possibly a little disappointing 5G results. I don't get 5G indoors, only LTE, so I went out to the street. The little indicator DID say I had full signal out there, but you wouldn't know it based on the 5G hype:



1630286672528.png


I have no idea if this is representative of what others are seeing as I have only done a single point test right outside my house, but it is nowhere near the hyped up 5G numbers people have been talking about, and quite honestly I don't care.

I've always considered 5G to kind of be all hype, and even if it were real, for the type of email/web stuff I do with my phone, anything higher than 10mbit or so probably wouldn't even be noticeable.

I don't even know what people use their phones for when they get all excited about high bandwidth numbers. To me, the main driver behind wanting a 5G phone was to be future proof, so I don't start losing signal as the 5g transmitters start outnumbering LTE transmitters on towers.
 
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Vengance_01

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Yea think of 5g like hpsa+ vs LTE. Granted for mobile data that's a lot faster than what slot of ppl have and less than 10 years ago could only be touched by fiber and Cable
 

notarat

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In most cases it just works for me, but this time around it took more troubleshooting. I had to remove the physical sim, restart the phone, reset network settings, clear cache and data in the fi app, and then try again, and it finally downloaded the eSIM and worked.

This was the most frustrating part of my setup process as well. For me, I thought I'd done something wrong when I kept seeing "Emergency Calls Only" (or whatever that message was) flashing on the screen. After going through the same process you mentioned (minus removing the SIM part since I was not yet moving mine over) mine finally downloaded the eSIM and started working.
 

Zorachus

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Seriously still no new security update for this 5a. June 5th is the latest for this phone, and it's almost September. And the 5a is still not able to be enrolled in the Android 12 beta. Ugh.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Seriously still no new security update for this 5a. June 5th is the latest for this phone, and it's almost September. And the 5a is still not able to be enrolled in the Android 12 beta. Ugh.

I don't understand why you are so worried about this in a market where most phones don't get patched more than once every 6-12 months.

Having had Pixels since launch, they usually get the latest security update in a monthly patch, but I expect some delays after a big launch. No biggie.

As far as Android 12 goes I really don't care. I can't think of a feature they've added in over 5 years that I consider to be must have, and I can't imagine the release of 12 will be any different.

Every new version is just new bullshit to have to deal with and figure out how to workaround and disable.

Besides, why would you want to run a beta OS? That just seems like a bad idea.

IMHO, avoid the bugs and instability. Run as old and mature of an OS as you can, as long as it is still supported and patched.

In the world of software, it is best to never ever be "first". Let some other sucker discover the problems for you, and adopt it only once it is nice, patched and stable.

Which reminds me, I keep forgetting to upgrade my server VM's from Ubuntu Server 16.04LTS (April 2016 release) to Ubuntu Server 18.04LTS (April 2018 release) now that 16.04 is EOL. Yes, I know I'm upgrading TO a 3 year old release, when there are 7 newer releases, one of which is an LTS, but that is the point. With software, unless you absolutely NEED a feature available in a newer version, as long as it is supported and patched, older is always better.
 
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Zorachus

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No update for the latest security patch isn't the end of the world. I'll live. LOL

Ok today's my first workday using this phone, which can be demanding, being on the phone a lot with contractors, vendors, using GPS Navigation, e-mails, texts, etc... So far the battery life has been OUTSTANDING nothing short of amazing. Unplugged the phone @ 6:30am from a full charge, it is now 2:30pm, battery shows 83%, which is mind blowing good. My old Pixel 4 XL used this same way, right now would probably be down to 50%.

And just navigating the UI and using stock Android is such a joy, and so much more fluid and easier to move around than iOS.

But the only little gripe I have is the phone feels just ever so slightly some very minor hiccups here and there, just a tiny bit, the phone may hesitate for a half second, or an app will need to refresh and not stay where it was. It's not a slow laggy phone by any means, no not at all, but I will say my Pixel 4 XL running Android 12 beta definitely feels smoother and more fluid. Is that because it's running Android 12? Or does the 4 XL just have better hardware?
 

FrgMstr

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I went to bed with 75% battery or so. Slept 6 hours and left Plex streaming video for a test. Had 26% when I woke up. Not griping about that.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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No update for the latest security patch isn't the end of the world. I'll live. LOL

Ok today's my first workday using this phone, which can be demanding, being on the phone a lot with contractors, vendors, using GPS Navigation, e-mails, texts, etc... So far the battery life has been OUTSTANDING nothing short of amazing. Unplugged the phone @ 6:30am from a full charge, it is now 2:30pm, battery shows 83%, which is mind blowing good. My old Pixel 4 XL used this same way, right now would probably be down to 50%.

And just navigating the UI and using stock Android is such a joy, and so much more fluid and easier to move around than iOS.

But the only little gripe I have is the phone feels just ever so slightly some very minor hiccups here and there, just a tiny bit, the phone may hesitate for a half second, or an app will need to refresh and not stay where it was. It's not a slow laggy phone by any means, no not at all, but I will say my Pixel 4 XL running Android 12 beta definitely feels smoother and more fluid. Is that because it's running Android 12? Or does the 4 XL just have better hardware?

Your Pixel 4 does have a faster CPU.

There aren't enough generations out there to establish a bulletfproof trend as of yet, but the "a" variants usually wind up with an SoC that performs equivalently to a two generation old flagship variant when they launch, and that seems to hold up this time around as well.

According to Geekbench, the 5a is slightly faster than the Pixel 3 in single core, and slightly slower than the Pixel 3 in multi-core. The 5a's big.LITTLE layout is better suited to power saving than the 3 though, so between that and the larger battery it helps explain what people are seeing from a battery life perspective.

That tracks pretty much with what I have seen from previous "a" variants, and their comparison to older flagship models.

But yeah, you are comparing a budget to mid-range model, to a previous gen flagship model, and that flagship model has a significantly more powerful SoC.

This is always the case, but it is especially true this year with all the chip shortages, which is likely why the 5a didn't get a SoC upgrade over the 4a 5G.

I don't feel any slowness in mine, but I'm coming from the Pixel 3, so maybe I wouldn't notice?

I also wonder if you are feeling the difference in screen refresh. The Pixel 4 is 90hz I believe, and the 5a is 60hz.

When you get a budget friendly mid-range phone, some specs will suffer compared to a flagship model, but for most people these are not really a big deal.
 
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Zorachus

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The display on this 5a is actually pretty nice. Deep blacks and vibrant colors, and it gets fairly bright outdoors.

Dark theme on this phone with a cool dark wallpaper and stuff looks really cool 😎
 

Zarathustra[H]

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The display on this 5a is actually pretty nice. Deep blacks and vibrant colors, and it gets fairly bright outdoors.

Dark theme on this phone with a cool dark wallpaper and stuff looks really cool 😎

I like it too. I didn't realize there was room for improvement over the screen on my Pixel 3, but now when I go back and look at it, it is a little disappointing. All tech moves forwards I guess.

One thing that annoys me a little is how Google doesn't take full advantage of the great blacks on their OLED screens in dark mode. They tend to use a charcoal grey background that almost looks like the bad old blacks on old backlit LCD screens :p
 

FrgMstr

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I just bought this screen protector and put these on both mine and the wife's. Four to a pack. I have not used one for a long time, but the wife can be pretty hard on these. Her last one had gouges in it. Will let you know how these hold up.

Came with everything to put it on plus a mounting frame which basically made it a drop on from one end operation. Both went on perfectly squared up.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08YNGHLXY
 
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FrgMstr

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FYI on battery life, and do remember that I left it on overnight, 6+ hours streaming video on Plex, in order to put some stress on it.

Screenshot_20210830-212140.png
 

Zorachus

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The battery life on this Pixel 5a is silly good :) Yesterday used it all day for work, then a lot at night when home surfing the net and watching YouTube. Unplugged @ 6:30am, went to bed @ 10:30am, phone showed like 51% battery at bedtime, and had like 4h 58m SoT. This may truly be a 10h Screen on Time phone, which is absolutely insane for a Pixel phone, which for me typically get half that, so this is a massive improvement in battery life.

Heck even my iPhone 12 Pro Max doesn't come close to this Pixel 5a battery, the 12 Pro Max gets pretty good, not amazing battery life. This 5a is next level battery life.
 

Vengance_01

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The battery life on this Pixel 5a is silly good :) Yesterday used it all day for work, then a lot at night when home surfing the net and watching YouTube. Unplugged @ 6:30am, went to bed @ 10:30am, phone showed like 51% battery at bedtime, and had like 4h 58m SoT. This may truly be a 10h Screen on Time phone, which is absolutely insane for a Pixel phone, which for me typically get half that, so this is a massive improvement in battery life.

Heck even my iPhone 12 Pro Max doesn't come close to this Pixel 5a battery, the 12 Pro Max gets pretty good, not amazing battery life. This 5a is next level battery life.
I don't think there is any Android phone that's worth getting can match it in battery life. Are you guys using the adaptive charging method to trickle charge over night?
 

kirbyrj

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I don't think there is any Android phone that's worth getting can match it in battery life. Are you guys using the adaptive charging method to trickle charge over night?

I do. It's finicky though because it only turns on if you have an alarm set in the AM. If you use something other than your phone as an alarm, you can't set it to adaptive charge (last time I checked).
 
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