The Google Pixel 5 is not your average glass sandwich as it's got a body made of recycled aluminum. In fact, Google deserves praise for proving that phone makers don't need to use plastic or glass to get a smartphone to support wireless charging. You see, aside from wireless charging, having a smartphone with glass on the back makes it much easier for RF signals to pass through and makes it more prone to damage. This metal body also makes the Pixel 5 the first 5G-enabled smartphone with a metal body construction (even if it's partially metal).
As Google explains, the Pixel 5's charging coil is placed right on the outside of the aluminum chassis before the assembly is placed in an injection mold. The wiring for the coil passes through the metal shell before getting a layer of "bio-resin," which is basically a thin plastic layer. After that, the body is smoothened out and coated with either the "Just Black" or "Sorta Sage" exterior coating.
Google says you won't be able to feel the coil behind the coating and its reasoning for going with this structure of materials over plastic or glass is to keep the phone thin. This coating feels unlike any other Android smartphone. It feels like granite or sandstone that's been smoothened out and soft to the touch. The grip here is superb and certainly better than that of any glass.
The 6-inch screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 6, and just like the Pixel 4a, the 5 has a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera. Under strong light, we can faintly see the proximity sensor behind the display, just below the earpiece. We appreciate these little touches that help keep the bezels slimmer than ever.
Compared to the Pixel 4's 5.7-inch display, the Pixel 5 has got a larger 6-inch screen that fits in a device that's slimmer in every dimension, even shaving off some weight. This is due to the extra bulk that the radar sensors took up in the previous-gen Pixels. The Pixel 5 weighs 151g and measures 144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm, and is rated IP68 water resistance.
On the left side is a SIM card tray with space for a single nanoSIM. Remember that the Pixel 5 also supports an internal eSIM for dual SIM connectivity. The right side has a volume rocker and ultra-shiny power key. The accented power key on the Sorta Sage Pixel isn't painted in a different color as Google has done in the past. It has made this button and the "G" logo on the back shiny, giving them a nice contrast to the soft, textured exterior coating.
The fingerprint scanner can be seen and felt easily at the back. Meanwhile, although there's a camera hump present, it doesn't protrude enough to cause the phone to rock back and forth on a table.
There's no headphone jack on the Pixel 5, just the one USB-C connector at the bottom. The left port is a microphone, and the right port is one of two loudspeakers. There's also a tiny microphone hole in the camera square on the back.
The overall design very closely mimics the Pixel 4a but with a slightly larger display and, of course, the dual cameras. We are content with the rounded sides and high-grip material on the back of the Pixel 5. We are glad to see more phone makers revert to more compact form factors as things have been getting a little out of hand, pun intended.
Next up, let's dive into the lab tests. We'll check out the display reading and battery endurance numbers from our lab tests.