Editor's take: The Pixel 5a could turn out to be a recycled Pixel 4a 5G, but if it comes at a similar price, this shouldn't be an issue for its intended audience: those looking for the prowess of a Pixel smartphone camera in a mid-range package that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Google's Pixel 5a is slated to be released sometime this year, and the good news is the company has kept the overall recipe unchanged for what is essentially a mid-range smartphone for people looking to get a lot of value for much less money than what you'd have to pay for a flagship Android phone.
Last year, Google's Pixel 4a announcement brought a lot of excitement as it was essentially a distilled Pixel 4 with a slower (but more energy-efficient) SoC that was priced at $350. Unlike its pricier brother -- the Pixel 5, it sported a headphone jack, and with a 5G variant with a larger display priced at $500, it was considered by many to be a steal in an era when premium smartphones are pushing the $1,000 mark.
According to notorious leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (OnLeaks), who got his hands on renders of the Pixel 5a, the new phone looks almost identical to the Pixel 4a. That said, it will more closely resemble the dimensions of the larger Pixel 4a 5G, which has a 6.2-inch display versus the 5.8-inch panel found on the Pixel 4a. The thin bezels and slightly larger chin are the same, but Google has apparently opted for a flat screen with no curved sides.
The back of the Pixel 5a is still plastic and retains the old-school fingerprint sensor, and the leaked renders indicate it will only come in black, just like its predecessor. While similar in size to the Pixel 4a 5G, it will be slightly taller, narrower, and thicker at 156 x 73.2 x 8.8 mm (9.4 mm for the camera bump).
In terms of internals, they're anyone's guess at this point but we expect them to be similar to those of the Pixel 5, except for the SoC which will likely be a Snapdragon 732G -- essentially an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 730G found in the Pixel 4a. The camera module will house an additional, ultrawide shooter, possibly the same as the 16-megapixel one found in the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5.
Google seems to be playing it safe with the Pixel 5a, but it's hard to argue against a tried and tested recipe which has worked so far and remains a solid option for people looking to buy a mid-range phone.
If anything, the real surprises could come with the Pixel 6, but don't hold your breath for it.