Google Pixel 5a with 5G is a standout smartphone all on its own, in terms of both performance and features. With software that matches its flagship handsets and all of the extras that you’d expect from more expensive phones. Setting aside that it comes packed with one of the best cameras around — budget phone or not. As in 2019 and 2020, it’s barely even a completion. For all of the reasons listed above, Google wins the Android Headlines Award for Best Budget Smartphone of 2021 hands down.
Google launched its first self-branded budget-friendly smartphone, the Pixel 3a series, in 2019, and it has now followed up with its best entry yet, the 2021 Google Pixel 5a with 5G. And, since their initial release, the devices have consistently been among the best money can buy. Especially for those looking for a good deal. In fact, since its release, the Google Pixel ‘a’ series has been our pick for the best smartphone of the year, and it has won that honour again for 2021. And it’s not just because of the price, which starts at $449 unlocked.
If you want the whole package & the best cameras in 2021, get the Google Pixel 5a. Comparatively speaking, Google Pixel 5a with 5G is no more a budget phone — on the inside — than Google Pixel 5 was. And that alone makes it worthy of an award. As a matter of course, it also comes with many of the same internals. Including the same Qualcomm-built Snapdragon 765G chipset, 5G support, and 128GB of storage. It even packs the same cameras on the outside, powered by Google’s widely-lauded AI and software.
Key differentiators can also be found on the inside, of course. The Google Pixel 5a with 5G sports 6GB of RAM compared to the Pixel 5’s 8GB. And Bluetooth 5.2 is in play here, rather than the Google Pixel 5’s Bluetooth 5.0. On the outside, Google bolstered the Pixel 5a with 5G compared to its pricier predecessor. Bumping the OLED display up to 6.34-inches from just 6 and pushing resolution up to 2,400 x 1,080 pixels as well. That’s only a 60Hz display, but that’s not at all uncommon in the mid-range or budget segments either. So the OLED panel and high resolution really set this handset apart.
For clarity, that’s a dual-camera led by a 12.2MP f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, with a 1.4um pixel size. It also features dual-pixel PDAF and OIS. Stacked atop all of the photo features you’d expect, including Google’s industry-leading night mode. That’s coupled with a 16-megapixel ultra-wide sensor. And backed by a great 8-megapixel selfie snapper. So this is the same award-winning camera in a very similar build with the same hardware powering it.
All of that, it almost goes without saying, is backed by Google’s own brand of Android, building on Stock Android 11 — now updated to Android 12. With plenty of extras from Digital Wellbeing to Safety features. In addition to more updates guaranteed to come and the most regular security updates available anywhere. Summarily, the top-notch performance, industry-leading cameras, great design, and brilliant software all ensure that Google Pixel 5a with 5G is the Android Headlines Award for Best Budget Smartphone of 2021.