Using the Pixel 5

Pixel XL, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 5

October 29, 2020 is the day I received the new Pixel 5, and the day I realized….hmmmmm, this phone is small. 🙂 Not that small is a bad thing….for sure it is the lightest phone I have had in 4 years or more, weighing in at 5 3/8 ounces naked, or 6 5/8 ounces dressed in the see thru Synchrony case from Otterbox (scroll down to see it).

I was a bit concerned with my aging eyesight and reduced font size, but, I can read everything just fine.

I like the color even though Lori hates, hates, hates, green. Well, hey, this is Sorta Sage….not green. And besides….it’s my phone. 😉

Unboxing and Setting Up

Opening the box, I found……

Sorta Sage Pixel 5

My lovely green….errr, Sorta Sage…..Pixel 5.

I then took the Pixel 5 out to see what was in the box under it….

In addition to the Pixel 5, I found an instruction manual, USB-C to USB-C cable, an adapter for USB to USB-C, and the wall plug / charging unit. There was a Google Fi invitation with the box, but not in it.

I then turned the Pixel 5 “on” and was greeted with a prompt to get ready to set it up by finding the Pixel 3 XL USB-C cable. I found that cable and….

Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 5, Otterbox Clear Case for the 5

I connected the two phones together as instructed and fired up the transfer process.

Then I took out the old SIM from the 3 XL and put it in the 5. I saw AT&T come up and was relatively happy with that. No 5G, but, I suspect I need a new SIM card or I might need to fire up the eSIM to get that…..I will update that here, so check back later.

After about 20 minutes, it seemed like the phone was done transferring all the information, but, it turns out I still had a a lot of work to do to get it so I could use the phone as my main device.

I had to finish all the Google Pay credit cards, I had to input passwords for all my apps, I had to re-connect all the bluetooth devices, etc.

That process took most of the night, but, I was psyched anyway, so I stayed up.

Finally, I had a phone I could use with the apps I use most settled in with the Pixel 5.

I had read that some people had problems with NFC and Google Pay, but, for me it worked fine at CVS. The big test will come at Save Mart when I finish grocery shopping: That went well…..the Pixel 5 NFC is working fine at the grocery store. Drugs and food / booze….all the essentials. 🙂

Taking Pictures

OK, the main reason (except for being able to Beta test the latest and greatest OS) I got a Pixel phone was the camera.

I must say, the Pixel 5 camera is every bit as good, if not a bit better than my Pixel 3 XL….it is not “stupendous” like it was back with the original ground-breaking Pixel camera, but, it is still a great camera (and software)…..just not ahead of the crowd anymore. I read that the camera hardware is the old tried-and-true hardware I have in my Pixel 3 XL. If that is true, then the camera is aging and Google needs to upgrade it. I suspect /hoping the Pixel 7 will be better? I will know in two years. 😉

That said…..I love the ability to take a 12.2 Mega pixel photo, then easily, with the hit of my thumb, switch it to 2x zoom (ok, 2x is wimpy, but, it works!) and then switch it to a 16 Mega pixel wide mode with the same flick of my thumb. Night Sight is still an option, but, damn, taking a moon shot, still sucks. And I don’t take selfies for obvious reasons….

Here are a few pics with different settings:


Since I was using Night Sight, and Blaze was moving his head….he came out a bit blurry.

Blaze with 1x Night Sight

I zoomed in for the best picture of the evening at 2x.

Blaze at 2x zoom and Night Sight

My first try using the wide angle (107 degrees) .6 x setting. Looks interesting.

Blaze at .6 zoom wide angle and Night Sight

Note that I did not move for the above pictures. Three different views, one Pixel 5, same location. Pretty cool.


On my early morning walks, I pass by an empty lot with a fantastic view of a Tracy Watertower and the rising sun. I had some great Pixel 3 XL pics taken here, and was looking forward to the wide angle camera on the Pixel 5. I was underwhelmed, but, maybe I’m jaded, or I need to find better scenery. 😉

Watertower at dawn with 1x zoom (pigeons flying to the left of the watertower)

The next picture is wide angle. I am learning, and pointed the camera at the tower instead of between the tower and the rising sun.

Watertower with .6 zoom wide angle (can still see the pigeons)


Sitting in the backyard, I took three pics of the pool.

Pool at 1x
Pool and Duck at 2x zoom
Pool at .6x wide angle

Again, I did not move from my comfy spot on the lounge chair….since it was warm outside….I took a nap. Getting old…haha


A few days later, here is a video of Blaze running in slow motion. Very cool.

Oh…..the metallic clinking sound you hear is his collar in slow motion. So funny…..

Using the Pixel 5 as a Phone

Everything seems to be working fine:

I can call Lori, text Lori and Kristen, report spam, send a picture, connect to my Garmin watch via Bluetooth, play music on our Bose speaker, watch a YouTube video, stream “The Mandalorian” from Disney+, etc. etc. Here is something: The phone vibrates slightly when listening to audio. I read somewhere that the Pixel 5 vibrates the screen to hear the sound….cool!

I just turned off the automatic display brightness setting. Where that feature was perfect on the 3 XL, it is severely lacking on the Pixel 5. 😦

I’m loving the Otterbox Synchrony transparent case…..very cool as it shows off the nice Sorta Sage color. 🙂


I am liking the size and weight of the phone now that I am using it. It is fast, and sounds good while watching video (“This is the way”). The Pixel 5 still takes excellent pictures and the video is pretty cool (it has a slower slow motion mode which is fantastic). Even though it no longer has the very best camera / software combination on the market, it is still impressive enough for this wanna be photographer. See my blog entry on that here.

In short: The Pixel 5 is a very good phone, not spectacular, but, more than adequate for all of my needs, and I get the latest and greatest updates immediately and can beta test the latest operating systems as Google rolls them out. In short, I can still be an “engineer” of sorts. 🙂

I am looking forward to the Pixel 7 with, hopefully, updated camera hardware and software though. 🙂

Geek On!

“I have spoken”

More stuff to GEEK out with….


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