'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
The past month has been all about the Google Pixel 6 series -- arguably the most premium and feature-rich Pixel to launch. And with all the fanfare surrounding the latest duo from Google, you may have forgotten about the other 5G phone that the company launched this year: Google Pixel 5a 5G. Though nearly identical to its year-old sibling, the Pixel 4a 5G, the 5a saw a significant step-up in battery life. That, paired with a no-frills Android experience and a $449 price tag made for a very compelling handset. This Black Friday, things get even better.
While supplies last, Google has the Pixel 5a 5G on sale for $399 -- the lowest I've seen the device go. The phone only comes in one configuration: 128GB, unlocked, and in what Google calls "Mostly Black" finish. Unless you record all your videos in 4K resolution, the onboard storage should be more than enough.
When it comes to the mid-range/sub-$400 market, you'd be hard-pressed to find a smartphone that can stand spec-for-spec against the Pixel 5a 5G. Yes, multi-camera setups, large batteries, and a 60Hz screen are common among the sea of Motorola, OnePlus, and Samsung, but what sets the Pixels apart is the software. Leveraging Google's AI and computational photography, the Pixel experience that you're getting with the 5a is no different than that of the 6 and 6 Pro -- phones that cost $200-$500 more.
So for a Black Friday-low of $399, the Pixel 5a 5G is a no-brainer for anyone wanting a clean, stock Android experience, 5G connectivity for future-proofing, reliable cameras, and all the Google features that will come in the next few years.
Learn more: Google Pixel 5a full review by ZDNet's Jason Cirpriani