Now that Google’s Pixel 6 is right here, does shopping for a Pixel 3, 4 or 5 nonetheless make sense?

Pixel 6 is on the way, but a Google Pixel 3, 4, 5 or 5A could be better for you

Between the Pixel 3, Pixel 4A, Pixel 5 and Pixel 5A, which Google telephone is smart to purchase now?


Angela Lang/CNET

This summer season I confronted a dilemma: My Google Pixel 3 XL was on its final legs. Its battery was a pale shadow of its former self. Its USB-C port failed to hold a cost half the time. Each side of the telephone, display screen and glass again, had been a spiderwebbed mess of cracks and chips. And in keeping with Google, the telephone is not assured extra Android updates. I wanted a brand new telephone, pronto.

On the time, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional with Google’s new Tensor chip had been months away. Nonetheless, I did not actually need to wait. And even with Google’s fall launch occasion behind us, there are at all times value cuts that draw individuals to older fashions. A number of months again, my choices appeared simple. Way back, I might thrown in my lot with Google’s pure Android platform again within the days of the Nexus 5. Since then I’ve moved on to the unique Pixel XL and the Pixel 3 XL. So the considered switching to an iPhone like the brand new iPhone 13 was ludicrous. And the concept of utilizing a Samsung Galaxy telephone was equally alien.

Learn extra: CNET’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional opinions

My plan was to go together with one other Pixel — the issue was selecting which one. Scoring a refurb Pixel 3 XL was one method to go. However there have been additionally the Pixel 4A and Pixel 5. The Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 5A with 5G had been additionally attention-grabbing choices. Confused but? I do not blame you. Finally although, I settled on the suitable Pixel for me. In case you’re like me and want a Google handset proper now, learn on. The telephone I selected (and why I picked it) might make sense to you, too.

Present Pixel telephones ought to get the newest software program first.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Straight Android, no chaser

After I went pure Android, the best way Google meant, I may by no means return. Duplicate apps and tons of nonremovable bloatware are however a distant reminiscence. Pixel telephones are additionally the primary to get Android OS and safety updates. That is not often the case with Samsung or OnePlus gadgets. And the truth that I am a Google Fi mobile subscriber usually narrows my telephone alternative choices. All that makes getting a Pixel, any Pixel, my chosen path.

Learn extra: Google Pixel 6 vs. 6 Professional vs. Pixel 5 vs. 5A and what’s Pixel Go?

It is time for me to maneuver on from the Pixel 3.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Selection 1: Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL

Google not formally sells the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL. That stated, you’ll find each fashions on Amazon. To exchange my (then) present Pixel 3 XL (128GB) although, I’d have needed to shell out $470. Now it prices $452. Regardless, that is an excessive amount of to pay for an older processor (Snapdragon 845) and a measly 4GB of RAM. Extra importantly, Google will finish assured software program updates quickly. That is why this telephone is not value it irrespective of how a lot the worth has dropped since or might drop sooner or later.

Learn extra: Google Pixel 3 vs. 3 XL

The Google Pixel 4A.


Juan Garzon/CNET

Selection 2: Pixel 4A

The Pixel 4A comes with the Snapdragon 730G, a greater processor than the three XL. You additionally get 6GB of RAM, 128GB of inside reminiscence and promised software program updates from Google up till August 2023. Not a nasty deal for $349 — it is a compelling possibility. Nonetheless, I may do higher.

The Google Pixel 5


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Selection 3: Pixel 5

Representing final yr’s final Google-branded Android telephone is the Pixel 5. It is powered by a respectably muscular Snapdragon 765G processor alongside a strong 8GB of RAM and 128GB of inside storage. Google may also hold the system’s software program contemporary till October 2023. Different welcome options embrace wi-fi and reverse wi-fi charging, plus IP68 water and dirt safety. The Pixel 5 hyperlinks to 5G mobile networks, too.

Over the summer season the associated fee was $699, which was means too expensive. Now with the arrival of the Pixel 6, the Pixel 5 is priced at an agreeable $449. By comparability the Pixel 6 begins at $599 whereas the Pixel 6 Professional prices a least $899. Nonetheless, paying prime greenback final June for the 2020 mannequin wouldn’t have been a shrewd transfer. That is why I handed on the Pixel 5 again then. At its new cheaper price although it is much more tempting.

The Pixel 4A 5G presents a pleasant compromise between value, energy and potential. 


Pixel 4A 5G

Selection 4: Pixel 4A 5G

That is the telephone I in the end chosen as a result of it was then an ideal compromise of value, efficiency and potential. I ordered my Pixel 4A 5G again in June 2021. With the launch of the Pixel 6 and value drop of the Pixel 5A, nonetheless, all bets are off. (Extra on that under). On the time I used to be capable of snatch a Pixel 4A 5G for $500 by Google Fi. 

With the identical Snapdragon 765G processor because the Pixel 5, 128GB storage and 6GB of RAM, the Pixel 4A 5G additionally packs a punch. It helps 5G wi-fi and has a much bigger battery than the traditional Pixel 4A, too.

Google expects to supply Pixel 4A 5G software program updates till November 2023. All that made this telephone the clear alternative for me — till lately. Google has now formally discontinued the 4A 5G and never longer sells the handset.

The Google Pixel 5A is a good Android deal.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Selection 5: Pixel 5A

What a distinction a number of months makes. Now that Google has unveiled the Pixel 5A and the Pixel 6, my calculus has shifted huge time. If I had to decide on right now, I’d get the Pixel 5A 5G. It is the clear price range Pixel alternative. 

Priced at $449, this new telephone is basically about $50 lower than what I paid for the Pixel 4A 5G. Even so, just like the Pixel 4A 5G, the 5A comes with a beefy Snapdragon 765G processor. Likewise it is decked out with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. You additionally get 5G mobile comparability with the Pixel 5A.

What actually units the Pixel 5A aside, no less than for now, is its 4,680-mAh battery and 6.34-inch show (2,400×1,080-pixel decision). Each are greater than what both the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G supply. Higher but, Google plans to produce the telephone with software program updates till August 2024. All that at the moment makes the Pixel 5A the very best Pixel deal round.

After all I am sorely tempted by the brand new Pixel 6 telephones. The $599 beginning value for the essential Pixel 6 is dearer. That stated the whole lot about it’s superior to the Pixel 5G. Maybe if I benefit from Google’s new Pixel Go and commerce in my present Pixel 4A 5G, I may swing it. And boy, that is a fancy matter greatest left to a completely new put up.


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For more, here’s how to decide between a Pixel 5, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL, the Pixel 5 vs. the Pixel 4A 5G and the Pixel 5 vs. the iPhone 11, Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8. Plus, six reasons to buy a Pixel and how the Pixel 6 compares to the Pixel 5.

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