Google looks to be using an under display top speaker on the Pixel 5

While Google’s flagship phone shares the Pixel 4a’s design language, one key difference is the more uniform screen bezel. In fact, there’s no top grill as the Pixel 5 likely leverages an under display speaker.

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This interesting design aspect was noticed today on Reddit after a look at Google’s official “Pixel phone hardware diagram.” The top speaker (4) is clearly not touching the top bezel and firmly in the screen. Just above it is the proximity and ambient light sensor (2), similar to the Pixel 4a where the latter component is under the display to the right of the speaker.

In the diagram, these components appear to be centered. However, a Pixel 5 screen protector on the Google Store suggests that it’s slightly left of center.

The Pixel 5 is not the first phone to feature an under display speaker where the screen is ever so slightly vibrating to deliver sound. It’s found on high-end televisions and the LG G8, with my colleague Ben Schoon noting last year how “the sound quality is crisper with this tech, and I found the caller’s voice being overpowered by background noise less often

Developed in-house by LG, CSO [Crystal Sound OLED] repurposes the OLED display as a diaphragm, vibrating the entire surface to produce sound with impressive volume.

LG

With Acoustic Surface Audio+™ and TV center speaker mode, sound comes directly from the center of the screen with actuators behind the TV vibrating to create acoustics that move with the picture.

Sony

The Huawei P30 Pro and P40 Pro also leverage this technology, and you can see a teardown from JerryRigEverything of the latter device below.

On the Pixel 5, this under display top speaker is paired with the bottom-firing one to deliver stereo sound. It remains to be seen how well this works on the Pixel 5, but — coupled with the wireless charging implementation — reveals that the technology innovation on Google’s flagship is subtle, but definitely present.

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