Google's new Pixel 5A phone has an overheating problem

A bad form of crispy video: Shooting in 4K seems to strain the new phone.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G, mobile networks, wireless carriers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, streaming platforms, mobile and console gaming,
Eli Blumenthal
2 min read

Some Pixel 5A with 5Gs, including CNET's, have had some issues overheating when shooting 4K video at 60 frames per second. 

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

Google's Pixel 5A with 5G phone might be heating up since its reveal earlier this week. Literally. As spotted by Adam Matlock, and confirmed by CNET, the issue seems to materialize when recording 4K video at 60fps for extended periods of time. When shooting in the higher frame rate, even in normal environments, the Pixel 5A might stop recording and display a message that you should close the camera "until device cools off."

In our testing, the Pixel was able to shoot a little over six minutes of 4K at 60fps video before the recording stopped. Although the top of the device gets warm around the camera, the bottom of the phone was still fine to hold. 

Not everyone, however, seems to have had this issue. Jason Cipriani said he was able to shoot 20 minutes of 4K 60fps video without seeing an error message. 

When shooting in 4K at 30fps, I noticed that the top of the phone around the camera did still get warm, but I was able to shoot over 11 minutes before getting a warning that the image quality might drop due to heat. It still continued the recording, however. 

At 17 minutes the top of the phone started getting noticeably hot, but the recording was still able to go for another four minutes. 

After 21 minutes an incoming call disrupted the filming, with the Pixel then providing a notification that the "phone is getting warm" and that it will "automatically try to cool down." The message adds that the device may run slower during this time, but that once it is cooled, it will return to running normally. 

Within minutes, the device seemed to have completely cooled down. 

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

It is unclear what exactly seems to be causing this issue or if it is something Google can fix with a software patch before the phone goes on sale on Friday, Aug. 26. CNET has reached out to the company for comment and will update when it responds. 

Aside from this heating issue, the budget phone has a lot going for it. It has solid performance, IP67 water resistance and a cheaper $449 price compared to last year's 4A 5G. It's 5G compatibility has a lot of questions, but the phone otherwise has many of the best Pixel features for a price that is cheaper than the Pixel 5 as well as likely cheaper than the incoming Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.

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