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Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Which is better?

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Which is better?


Weight: 188gDimensions: 152.1 x 72.7 x 8.9mmScreen size: 6.1 inchesResolution: 1080 x 2400Chipset: Google Tensor G3RAM: 8GBStorage: 128GB/256GBBattery: 4,492mAhRear camera: 64MP+13MPFront camera: 13MP

The Pixel 8a doesn't feel as premium as the Pixel 8, but it offers similar specs at a lower price. Battery life isn't as impressive, but everything else about this phone is near flagship quality.

Pros: Useful AI tools, great color options, 7 years of Android updates Cons: Good but not great camera, battery life could be longer, could be cheaper

Weight: 187gDimensions: 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mmScreen size: 6.2 inchesResolution: 1080 x 2400Chipset: Google Tensor G3RAM: 8GBStorage: 128GB/256GBBattery: 4,575mAhRear camera: 50MP+12MPFront camera: 10.5MP

The Pixel 8 boasts similar specs to the Pixel 8a, but the former feels more premium in the hand, is more water-resistant, and has an arguably better camera despite its lower megapixel count.

Pros: High-performance Tensor G3 chipset Premium design AI camera tricks Cons: Minor design changes Minimal camera upgrades No temperature sensor

The Pixel 8a is Google's latest budget phone, but what stands out isn't how it mirrors the Pixel 7a, but how it looks very similar to the Pixel 8, at least on paper.

The Pixel 8a brings significant changes to its design, display, and internal components, leading many to question whether the Pixel 8 will continue to remain in the lineup. But is that fair?

We are here to find out. We have extensively tested these two Google smartphones for our full Google Pixel 8a review and Google Pixel 8 review. Below we bring you our final verdict on comparing these two smartphones.

We'll start with an overview of the key specifications of these two phones, and then we'll go into detail, point by point, of what the facts and figures actually mean.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Specs Comparison

Below we've put together a spec comparison between the Pixel 8a and the Pixel 8. As you can see, on the surface, these are very similar devices.

Swipe to scroll horizontally Google Pixel 8aGoogle Pixel 8Dimensions: 152.1 x 72.7 x 8.9mm150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mmWeight: 188g187gDisplay: 6.1″ OLED6.2″ OLEDResolution: 1080 x 24001080 x 2400Refresh rate: 120Hz120HzChipset: Google Tensor G3Google Tensor G3Rear camera: 64MP (wide), 13MP (ultrawide)50MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide)Front camera: 13MP10.5MPRAM: 8GB8GBStorage: 128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GBBattery: 4,492mAh4,575mAhCharging: 18W wired, 7.5W wireless27W wired, 12W wirelessGoogle Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel8. Price and availability

The Pixel 8 will be released on October 4, 2023, and the Pixel 8a will be released about seven months later on May 14, 2024.

Official pricing for the Pixel 8 starts at $699 / £699 / AU$1,199 for the 128GB model, while doubling the storage to 256GB will cost you $759 / £759 / AU$1,299.

The Pixel 8a is significantly cheaper, with a list price of $499 / £499 / AU$849 for the 128GB model, and you'll need to pay $559 / £559 / AU$949 to double the storage to 256GB.

With a price difference of $200/£200, the Pixel 8a would seem the clear winner. But that's not the case: the Pixel 8 has been on the market for six months and is now enjoying huge discounts from third-party retailers and even Google itself.

These offers ebb and flow, but the Pixel 8 sells for roughly the same price as the Pixel 8a, which makes this comparison even more interesting.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Design and Display

Google Pixel 8a (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Design-wise, like in many other ways, the Pixel 8a feels like the missing link between the Pixel 7a and Pixel 8. It has a glass back versus the plastic back of the Pixel 7a, but some people might prefer the warmer, softer matte finish of the Pixel 8a.

The Pixel 8a's corners are also starting to resemble the Pixel 8's, with a more rounded gradient. They're even rounder, in fact. But the Pixel 8 shows off its flagship credentials with much slimmer, more even bezels. In contrast, the Pixel 8a has a relatively large bottom.

The two phones weigh roughly the same, with the Pixel 8a coming in at 188g and the Pixel 8 at 187g. They're also both 8.9mm thick, though the Pixel 8 is about 2mm thinner in either direction.

Google Pixel 8 (Image: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

While the two phones look similar, the Pixel 8 feels more premium the moment you hold it in your hand. Aside from its cool glass back and smaller bezels, it has a more prominent camera visor that blends seamlessly into the metal frame on either side. In contrast, there's a pronounced seam between the Pixel 8a's smaller visor and its proprietary aluminum frame.

The Pixel 8 also has some less obvious but no less impressive design specs: It's IP68 water- and dust-resistant instead of IP67, and like the 8a, it has Gorilla Glass Victus display instead of Gorilla Glass 3.

While the Pixel 8's screen is slightly smaller, it's actually slightly larger than the Pixel 8a's screen — 6.2 inches versus 6.1 inches — but it makes a difference.

Both screens are vibrant FHD+ OLED, but Google says they can both reach a peak of 2,000 nits, though the Pixel 8 does get a lot brighter with the auto mode turned off: We recorded 655 nits on the Pixel 8a and 1,000 nits on the Pixel 8.

Meanwhile, both have a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, and given the similar performance elsewhere, both screens offer an equally smooth experience.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Camera

Pixel 8a rear camera array (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Both phones feature dual-camera systems, but that's where the hardware similarities end, with the Pixel 8 having a clear advantage in this regard.

The flagship smartphone packs a large 50MP 1/1.31-inch main sensor with a wide f/1.68 aperture. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8a copies the Pixel 7a's 64MP 1/1.73-inch main sensor with an f/1.89 aperture.

Simply put, the Pixel 8's main camera captures a lot more light than its mid-range sibling. And more light generally means sharper, clearer images, especially when we're talking about two phones that use the same image-processing algorithms. The result is crisper nighttime photos and sharper 2x zoom snaps.

Pixel 8 rear camera array (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The secondary camera is also different: the Pixel 8 has a 12MP 126-degree ultra-wide autofocus, while the Pixel 8a has to make do with a 13MP 120-degree unit and fixed focus. In addition to capturing larger pixels and having a wider angle, the Pixel 8's ultra-wide autofocus also doubles as a macro camera, which the Pixel 8a lacks.

That said, the Pixel 8a's camera system can still pull off all the same AI tricks as the Pixel 8. For example, Best Take can manipulate group photos to make sure everyone's smiling, while Audio Magic Eraser can remove unwanted background noise from videos.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 8's 10.5MP selfie camera is less than the 13MP Pixel 8a but captures larger pixels.

When comparing these camera systems, the differences aren't noticeable: Google's renowned camera performance is based primarily on image processing excellence, and this applies equally to both phones, especially since they're powered by the same Tensor G3 chip.

Still, the Pixel 8 takes noticeably better photos.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Performance and Software

Both phones run on Google's Tensor G3 chipset (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The two areas where it's nearly impossible to tell these phones apart are performance and software, as they're nearly identical in both regards.

Google used the same 4nm Tensor G3 chip for the Pixel 8a that debuted in the Pixel 8. At least, that's what we're assuming. In last year's equivalent model, the Pixel 7a's Tensor G2 used an inferior package than the Pixel 7's Tensor G2, which technically ran a bit hotter. We speculate the same will be true this year, but that hasn't been confirmed.

Based on our experience, that's not to say there's anything wrong with the Pixel 8a: both phones received roughly identical scores in both the CPU-focused Geekbench 6 and the GPU-focused 3DMark.

Both the phones come with 8GB of RAM and the storage options are also identical at 128GB and 256GB.

Naturally, both phones feel incredibly smooth when flicking between home screens and apps, and they both run the most advanced games at high graphics settings without a hitch.

Meanwhile, on the software side, both the smartphones run Android 14. Google's UI brings the best of Android with sleek menus, non-existent bloatware, and a range of smart AI features.

Both phones will also have access to Google's new Gemini AI assistant, which will allow you to get all sorts of help typing, talking, adding images and more on the go, including summaries of recent emails.

Google is offering the same seven-year update guarantee on both phones, which means you'll get the latest versions of Android and the latest security patches for years to come.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Battery Life

Google Pixel 8a's USB-C charging port (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The Pixel 8's battery capacity is the larger of the two, but only slightly: 4,575mAh compared to the Pixel 8a's 4,492mAh, which isn't really a meaningful difference.

We'll have to wait for the Pixel 8a's final verdict before we can say for sure which phone has better stamina. We're still running our own battery tests, but so far it looks like a close match. In addition to having similar battery capacities, the two phones also have the same Tensor G3 chip and roughly the same display, although the Pixel 8's screen is brighter.

When we reviewed the Pixel 8, we found that it got roughly six hours of screen-on time even with a full day of intensive use, and we're hoping to see similar results with the Pixel 8a, which would be a big improvement over the Pixel 7a.

But when it comes to charging, the Pixel 8 wins. The Pixel 8 supports 27W wired and 12W wireless, which, while not particularly impressive, is still far ahead of the Pixel 8a's 18W wired and 7.5W wireless.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Verdict

(Image credit: Google/Future)

There's no denying that there's a fair bit of overlap between these two phones – with similar designs, performance, displays and, of course, software, the flagship Pixel 8 seems in a precarious position.

But they're not exactly the same, especially if you prefer that ineffable flagship feel: The Pixel 8 is made from premium materials, is more water-resistant, has higher-cost materials, and has smaller display bezels.

The Pixel 8a takes great photos for the price, and its camera is undeniably good.

If you can get the Pixel 8 at a deep discount (which you certainly can now that it's so far into its lifespan), it's still a much better deal than the Pixel 8a right now, but once the Pixel 8a's price starts to drop, it's likely to overtake the Pixel in value. The difference here may simply be a matter of timing.

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