Google‘s Pixel-a series has always been known for delivering quality handsets at low prices, but does the latest Pixel 5a continue that trend? When shopping for a new smartphone, an accessible price is one of the most important things for most shoppers. It doesn’t matter if a phone has the best processor, most gorgeous display, or bleeding-edge camera technology. If it isn’t conducive to someone’s budget, there’s no point in seriously considering it.
This is something the Pixel-a phones have always been good at. When the original Pixel 3a launched in 2019 for $399, it turned the budget smartphone market on its head. It shipped with a capable processor, quality display, and one of the best camera experiences of any smartphone regardless of price. Google continued this formula in 2020 with the Pixel 4a, delivering more of the same at an even cheaper $349 price tag. The Pixel 4a 5G remains the most expensive Pixel-a so far at $499, though it justified that price with things like 5G support and an ultra-wide camera.
With the Pixel 5a in 2021, there’s good and bad news for price-conscious shoppers. The Pixel 5a is essentially an upgraded version of the Pixel 4a 5G, and despite that, it manages to be slightly cheaper at just $449. The downside, however, is that this is the only Pixel-a device for 2021. Where people had a choice between $349 and $499 smartphones last year, Google’s only option this time around is $449. Everything included with the Pixel 5a makes that a really competitive price, but that also means it’s effectively a $100 price increase from the previous generation.
If the Pixel 5a looks like the right smartphone for you, Google has a couple of options for where someone can purchase it. In the U.S., the Pixel 5a is available from the Google Store and Google Fi. That’s it. Unlike previous Pixels — which were sold at third-party retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H — the Pixel 5a is exclusive to Google’s own retail channels.
When shopping from the Google Store, folks can buy the Pixel 5a for use on Google Fi or as an unlocked handset. The unlocked Pixel 5a is compatible with all major carriers throughout the U.S., including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and smaller MVNOs that piggyback off those networks. The Pixel 5a can be purchased outright at the full $449 asking price, or with Google Store Financing with 0-percent interest and 24 monthly payments. Google Fi also sells the Pixel 5a outright or with monthly installments, in addition to the Fi-exclusive phone subscription plan. For just $15/month, someone can get the Pixel 5a, free protection against damage/loss/theft, and the option to upgrade to a new phone after two years.
And, of course, there’s availability info. Pre-orders for the Google Pixel 5a are open as of August 17 at 9:00 AM PT / 12:00 PM ET. Once August 26 rolls around, normal sales will begin. Not being present through third-party stores and sites is bound to hurt the Pixel 5a’s potential reach, but at the very least, Google’s made it easy enough to get the phone through its own stores. Head to the Google Store or Google Fi, add the Pixel 5a to the cart, and that’s all there is to it.