Last Week in Tech — The Pixel 5 Event and the Xbox Series X/S

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By — Danny Kistner

Photo curtesy — Daniel Ramero

Google Pixel 5 Event

Ahead of Apple’s iPhone curve, Google brought to the table two new Pixel devices in last week’s event. The Google Pixel 4a 5G, a continuation of their less expensive phone line, boasting a camera just as good as their new and highly-leaked Pixel 5. The 4a now has a larger screen and more powerful battery, starting at $499. The 5, on the other hand, starts at $699 bringing Stadia to their mobile systems, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and wireless and reverse-wireless changing. 

Their forever unbeatable camera also received an upgrade, which includes the addition of an ultrawide lens supporting HDR+ and bracketing, for clearer photos. Portrait mode got a rather unique upgrade; called portrait light, it gives users the ability to change the lighting within photos already taken and has added night sight capabilities. Video has also improved, through even with cinematic pan, we have to wait and see if it outmatches the iPhone 12. The Pixel 5 now sports Extreme Battery Saver mode and is expected to allow the phone to last for up to 48 more hours. 

Several other notable announcements were made, including Google TV, giving users the chance to put all their streaming services in one place with a watchlist controlled by phones and laptops. This came directly alongside the release of their new Chromcast, now with a voice-controlled remote and three additional colors, for around $50. Nest also saw a new edition to its audio products, revealing a new speaker that they claim to have 50% more bass and 75% more volume than the original Google Home, starting at $99.

Xbox Series X and S

Besides two, rather masterfully made, cinematic trailers for these two new and highly anticipated gaming consoles, we only know what Microsoft has told us. The Xbox Series X will go for $499, whereas its smaller, lighter counterpart, the Series S, will go for $299; both arriving November 10th. 

Sony has taken an almost opposite approach with the new PS5. Announced some weeks ago, it’s only just now releasing prices for the normal as well as digital edition. Indeed, between these two consoles there’s almost no distinct differences, besides their drives. 

The Series X, from most first impressions, is fairly plain, matte black with a fan at its top for the larger machine’s extra capability. This plainness is hardly a bad thing though, especially when compared to the slightly more abstract physical shape of the PS5, it certainly has the advantage of being less distracting. The Series S, on the other hand, looks quite a bit different. White, its ventilation grill is quite obvious on its front, though when laying on its side is just as minimalistic as the X.  

Besides the expected ports, buttons, and disc reader, the Series X and S also boast two different computers, meant so that each console can deliver the same kind of experience at two entirely different resolutions. The X is expected to deliver 120 frames per second at 4k, whereas the S is said to be delivering at 120 frames per second at 1440p. As a result, the Series S only has 10 gigs of ram, as opposed to 16, a different GPU, and less graphical power. 

In terms of which you should buy, it depends entirely on the kind of gaming experience you value. If resolution is more important to you than frame rate and you have a 4k TV that can handle the Series X, it’s not a difficult choice. However, if you’re willing to risk a slightly less crisp resolution to spend almost $200 less, there shouldn’t be much stress in regards to which one you should choose, either.