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Pixel 5's subtly natural looks offer a 90Hz display

The Pixel 5 in "sage green" looks blue or green depending on the light -- but either way the 90Hz screen impresses.

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Lynn La
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La
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1 of 13 Angela Lang/CNET

Google Pixel 5

Google's  jumping on the  5G  train with the $500 Pixel 4A 5G (£499, AU$799) and the Pixel 5. As the marquee device, the Pixel 5 fetches a higher price of $700 (£599 and AU$999) and is equipped with a few more features.

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Google Pixel 5 and 4A 5G

Both of Google's phones run the latest  Android 11  OS and have a second ultrawide camera and bigger batteries than any previous Pixel phone. 

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Google Pixel 5

But the Pixel 5 features a 90Hz display. That means the screen refreshes at 90 frames a second. Most phones, including the Pixel 4A 5G, refresh 60 times a second.

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Google Pixel 5

The device also has 2GB more RAM and a larger 4,000-mAh battery, while the Pixel 4A 5G has a 3,800-mAh battery.

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Google Pixel 5 and 4A 5G

Other than that, the phones have the same camera setup, processor and general look and feel. 

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Google Pixel 5

The Pixel 5 and 4A 5G both have a hole-punch camera display on the front, and thinner bezels than the Pixel 4.

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Google Pixel 5

When designing the Pixel 5, Google said it wanted the phone to have a soft look that's reminiscent of a pebble or stone. The phone is made of aluminum, but the Pixel 4A 5G is encased in polycarbonate.

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Google Pixel 5 and 4A 5G

The Pixel 5 doesn't have a headphone jack, while the Pixel 4A 5G does. 

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Google Pixel 5

As in past years, the Pixel phones' main selling point is the camera. Google got rid of the telephoto lens that we saw on the Pixel 4 and replaced it with an ultrawide camera.

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The Pixel phones run Android 11 and there aren't many new software features we haven't already seen since the Android 11 OS started rolling out. That includes Dark Mode, Quick Controls and a built-in screen recorder.

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Google Pixel 5

The Pixel 5 and 4A 5G feature a Snapdragon 765G processor. It's an interesting choice given that a lot of current flagships and last year's Pixel 4 have the more robust Snapdragon 855 chipset. It's still fast and reliable, though, and during my time with it, I didn't experience any hiccups or lag time throughout my day-to-day tasks.

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Google Pixel 4A 5G, 5 and 4A

The Pixel 5 (center) and the Pixel 4A 5G (left) join the Pixel 4A, which was announced back in August, to round out Google's 2020 phone offerings.

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Google Pixel 5

Though the Pixel 5 is $100 cheaper than the  Pixel 4  was when it launched last year, there are a few other phones that cost the same and offer more. The  OnePlus 8 , for example, is currently $600 for the 8GB/128GB model. It too has 5G, an ultrawide lens and a 90Hz display, and the  T-Mobile  variant is water-resistant. If you're looking for even more flagship features, like 8K video recording, a faster processor, expandable storage or more cameras (like a telephoto lens), it's best to look elsewhere altogether.

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