Google made a flurry of announcements during its Google Pixel 5 launch event. The tech giant talked about its upcoming new Pixel phones – the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G – an all-new Chromecast, Google Stadia, Google TV and everything else in between.
The 30 minute event was delivered at such a lightning-fast pace, though, that you’d be forgiven if some of the key dates, reveals or announcements passed you by. Don’t worry, though, as we’re on hand to recap everything you might have missed from Google’s Pixel 5 launch event. Let’s dive in.
Google kicked off proceedings with a look at Google TV, which is the successor, and essentially a rebranding of Android TV. It promises to be a more helpful when you’re trying to choose what content to watch than some of its rivals.
As Google noted, searching for something to watch can be a bit of a pain, so it hopes to streamline that process by having one watchlist, and using your voice as a remote. You can add to your watchlist using your phone or laptop if someone tells you about a good show when you’re out and about, which is kind of neat.
YouTube TV (which we’ll get to below) is also part of Google TV, so you can record from your phone, get unlimited DVR functionality and play music. You can also turn your TV into a super-sized digital photo frame, and Google TV even works with your Nest cameras and doorbells so you can see who’s knocking when you’re in the middle of bingeing your favorite programme. Google TV is making its debut on the all-new Chromecast, but expect it to see on newer TVs soon. Speaking of which…
Chromecast with Google TV
Google Chromecast now comes with a little remote that allows you to navigate using either your digits or voice. Just press the button, speak to the remote and boom: your show will hopefully be found and begin playing right away.
The Chromecast comes in three unique colors: Snow, Sky and Sunrise, and is available in the US starting today (September 30) for $49.99 / £59.99 / AU$139.99. The remote has dedicated buttons for Netflix and YouTube, too, and is coming to more countries later this year.
How do you boast about how many channels a service supports? Get a rapper to spit out hundreds of names in an instant, that’s how. YouTube TV promises to take on traditional cable providers with the huge amount of TV it has available, such as ESPN, Food Network, FX and MTV to name but a few. It has unlimited DVR space as well, and a family plan can support six accounts per household, without any hidden fees or long-term contracts.
Nest Hub Max
Love cooking in the kitchen but don’t want to risk ruining your favorite device? Google briefly showed how its Nest Hub Max is the ideal sous chef, allowing you to watch the shows you love while you whip up a storm in the kitchen.
Nest Audio and Nest Mini
The Nest Audio and Nest Mini are powerful new speakers that can connect with each other throughout your home. Google said they spoke to sound engineers and audio specialists about what an awesome smart speaker should include and concluded that deep bass, more volume and clear sound were the three key things they needed to get right.
The Nest Audio has 50% more bass and 75% more volume than the original Google Home. It achieves this thanks to the 19mm tweeter that keeps vocals clear, and a 75mm mid-woofer that brings the bass. The enclosure is also made from 70% recycled plastic. Google says the Nest Audio delivers a clearer, fuller and more natural sound. Oh, and it’s available for $99 / £89 / AU$149 starting October 5 in 21 countries.
With over 70 million songs, YouTube Music got a push from Google during its event. Singer Selena Gomez talked us through how she uses the service, which now has genres, more playlists and the option to view lyrics. You can also collaborate with your friends to make the perfect track list, and get personalized recommendations.
Google Pixel 4a 5G and Google Pixel 5
Arguably the stars of the show, Google began by showing off the Google Pixel 4a 5G. It starts at $499 / AU$799 (around £386) and is the “best of Pixel 4a with a 5G experience”. It has a larger edge-to-edge OLED display and more powerful battery as well as an ultrawide lens, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Yes, that’s a feature now.
Aimed at the slightly more demanding user, the Google Pixel 5 meanwhile costs $699 / £599 / AU$1,079 and is available in eight countries from October 15. The Pixel 5 has a number of notable improvements over the Pixel 4a 5G: it’s water resistant, has wireless and reverse wireless charging – so you can charge your Pixel Buds using the phone – and 8GB of RAM.
Typically, though, it’s the software inside the Pixel 5 that really separates it from the competition. The Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G share the same front and rear camera system. Google’s put a new ultrawide lens at the back and upgraded HDR+ with Google’s novel techniques such as HDR+ with Bracketing for sharper photos. Night Sight has also been added to Portrait Mode allowing you to take great shots of when you’re making smores over the campfire.
But that’s not all. Portrait Light adds illumination to your photo using AI, so you can clear up any overblown or shadowy shots from the bright sun above. Three new stabilization shots have also been added to video: Locked, Active and Cinematic pan.
Last, but by no means least, is Extreme Battery Saver and Hold For Me. Extreme Battery Saver lets you increase your phone’s battery life up to 48 hours by disabling apps you don’t need, and Hold For Me will alert you when an operator is ready to take your call. These features will come to older generation Pixel phones, too, such as the Pixel 4 and Pixel 3a.
Both the new Pixel phones will get three years of Android OS and security updates, three months of Stadia Pro and YouTube Premium, a 100GB of storage with Google One, and Play Pass and Play Points for free.
Remember Stadia? Well, unsurprisingly, Google did. Stadia Pro is getting a free trial to encourage more people to try the game streaming service: simply head over to the Stadia website to try it out. Google also showed how the Google Pixel 4a 5G will make the cloud gaming service more accessible than ever thanks to 5G. Stadia is set to receive Ubisoft’s upcoming Immortals Fenyx Rising as an exclusive, too.
And that’s it! All the announcements, all the devices, and lots of reviews to look forward to on TechRadar.