Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8: Which Should You Buy?

Recently, the Google Pixel 8a was added to the family of Pixel 8s with a price tag of $499, making it the most affordable offering in the series. However, after the Pixel 8 was recently available for $549 on the official Google Store, many of you may wonder if it’s worth saving those $50 and getting the Pixel 8a instead. I recently got my hands on the 8a and obviously, I had to see it for myself. That’s what led me to compare the two devices. So, here’s what I conclude upon comparing Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8!

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8: Specs comparison

Before we compare the devices thoroughly, let’s have a look at the specifications of both Pixel 8a and Pixel 8.

SpecsGoogle Pixel 8aGoogle Pixel 8
Dimensions152.1 x 72.7 x 8.9 mm150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9 mm
Weight188 grams187 grams
ProcessorTensor G3 (4nm)Tensor G3 (4nm)
RAM/Storage8GB LPDDR5X/ 256GB UFS 3.18GB LPDDR5X/ 256GB UFS 3.1
Display6.2-inch FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 430 ppi, 2000 nits peak brightness6.1-inch FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 428 ppi, 2000 nits peak brightness
Rear Camera64MP Main + 13MP Ultra-wide50MP Main + 12MP Ultra-wide
Front Camera13MP10.5MP
VideoUp to 4K at 60FPSUp to 4K at 60FPS
Dual SIMYes; Does not support eSIMYes; Does not support eSIM
Connectivity5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC5G, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC
PortUSB Type C USB Type C
Charging18W fast charging, 7.5W wireless charging27W fast charging, up to 18W wireless charging
IP RatingIP67IP68
SoftwareAndroid 14
7 years of OS updates
Android 14
7 years of OS updates

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8: Design

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8 Design in Hand

Talking about the Pixel 8a’s design first, it would be an understatement to say that this is probably the most unattractive device I have seen in a while. At least from the front it is, thanks (not) to the thick asymmetrical bezels at the front, making it look like a device from a decade ago. Even the Pixel 6a looked better than this. This single-handedly brings down the curvy personality of the phone, which comes with rounder edges.

That’s why, even though the Pixel 8 has a boxier design, it looks more modern and stylish. I also like the Pixel 8’s camera module better in comparison to the 8a, for its bulkier design lets me type more comfortably when placing it on a desk. Pixel 8a shrinks the camera module by a lot. However, the good thing is that neither of the devices wobble.

When I picked up the two devices, I realized that the 187-gram Pixel 8 felt a lot denser and premium in my hand. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8a, although features a plastic body on a metal frame, is just slightly heavier at 188 grams and doesn’t even bring that sophisticated in-hand feel. While brushing your fingers against the matte plastic back of the 8a is satisfying, the Pixel 8’s glass back just feels better, period.

Everything else is similar, like the volume rocker and power button placement, speaker grille location, etc. However, the antenna bands on the Pixel 8a’s metal frame are noticeably wider. That does bring a certain amount of additional durability to the phone, albeit at the cost of aesthetic appeal.

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8: Display

As for the display, it is pretty solid on both phones, if you can look past the Pixel 8a’s horrendous bezels. They are equally bright though, maxing out at 2000 nits. As a result, I couldn’t detect any such differences in the brightness levels when using indoors or outdoors.

However, I did notice that, while the Pixel 8 had a warm display tone by default, the Pixel 8a had a cooler tone, which appeared slightly bluish from the sides.

Anyway, both phones offer phenomenal viewing angles like any other top-tier AMOLED out there. The display size is almost similar as well with the Pixel 8a featuring a 6.1-inch panel, while the Pixel 8 has a 6.2-inch screen.

However, both the phones offer a 120Hz refresh rate as well. For your reference, its predecessor, the Pixel 7a, came with a 90Hz panel. Also, the Pixel 8a comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on top, while the 8 brings a more superior Gorilla Glass Victus protection.

The blacks and whites are perfectly balanced on both phones, which I noticed when watching Damsel on Netflix. But, do note that both these displays are not backed by LTPO tech.

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8: Cameras

Talking about optics, both the Google Pixel 8a and 8 come with a dual rear camera setup. However, the Pixel 8a comes with a 64MP primary sensor, while the Pixel 8 features a 50MP sensor. Now, although you see more megapixels on the Pixel 8a, it’s a Quad PD sensor. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8’s primary sensor is an Octa PD one.

As for the other sensors, there’s a 13MP wide-angle sensor on the Pixel 8a. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 sports a 12MP wide-angle sensor. At the front, you see a 13MP sensor on the Pixel 8a, while the Pixel 8 brings a 10.5MP selfie shooter.

While the Pixel 8a has visibly better on-paper camera specs for the most part, does it translate well in real life when compared to the Pixel 8? To answer this question, I put both camera setups to the test in different scenarios.

Starting off with the primary sensor performance first, the Pixel 8 takes better portrait shots. However, the edge detection is better on 8a, but the depth mapping is better on 8. As you zoom in, things only get better and you see details like the skin and hair texture retained well.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 8a can’t maintain those details well, smudging them out as you zoom in. The skin tones are also more natural on the Pixel 8, while the Pixel 8a tries boosting them by a bit.

You can clearly see how the Pixel 8’s whites are better, whereas again, the Pixel 8a’s slightly unnatural boosting makes the whites appear warmer than normal. All-in-all, the Dynamic Range is a tad better with the 8’s primary sensor.

However, when it comes to ultra-wide-angle shots, the Pixel 8a takes better photos. As you zoom in, the 8a’s shots appear sharper, whereas the 8 just pixelates those details a bit much.

The 8a’s ultra-wide angle sensor also handles shadows and highlights better, whereas the 8 struggles a bit with those. The 8a also handles light sources better, while the 8 slightly blows them out. However, there’s some noticeable noise in the Pixel 8a shots, especially in the evening and at night.

When it comes to selfies, the Pixel 8 again takes better shots. While at the surface, 8a’s shots may appear better due to those boosted colors, you will see the details slightly fade out when zooming in. The skin tones look unnatural on the 8a, giving the 8’s shots some leverage here.

Talking about videos, both phones are able to shoot up to 4K 60 FPS videos from the rear camera. However, when shooting a video on the Pixel 8, I noticed that it allowed me to switch between the ultra-wide and primary sensor, which is amazing. However, for some reason, Google decided to opt out of this simple feature on the 8a. At the front as well, the Pixel 8 allows you to shoot 4K videos at 60FPS. However, the 8a caps out at 4K 30FPS.

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8: Performance

Let’s admit it, Pixel phones are not known for their flagship-level performance, thanks-no-thanks to their Tensor series of chipsets. The Tensor G3 powering both of these phones is not an insane improvement either, and benchmarks clearly show that.


The Pixel 8 performs better in all the benchmarks. It is also the more stable device, throttling at 71% at the CPU Throttling Test. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8a throttled at around 60%, and the graph was orange all over.

The temperature was also slightly bad on the 8a, having recorded a highest of 45 degrees. On the other hand, the 8, although pretty warm as well, hit a peak of 42 degrees. For some reason, the 8a also got hot when watching HDR content on Netflix for just 15 minutes.

Here’s a quick look at all the benchmarks:

1 / 9

Day-to-day Performance

The day-to-day performance on the Pixel 8a was pretty bad too. In multiple instances, I had CoD Mobile open in the background and just swiped up into the home screen to open the Photos or Chrome app. Then, when I headed back into CoD Mobile, it’d restart the game from the start, which is a clear sign of poor RAM management.

There were also stutters and lags when I had a tad too many apps open in the background and tried to multitask through them. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 had no such issues. It was a lot more seamless and fluid to use. From the looks of it, Google has not optimized the software on the 8a at all.


As for gaming, it was not exactly top-tier on either of the devices. They handled the games well, but nothing commendable. If you’re planning on getting a Pixel, I doubt you’ll get it for gaming. Still, here’s a look at the settings you get with the Tensor G3:

Genshin ImpactHighest +60FPS (Got 40-45FPS)
CoD MobileVery High + Max (60FPS)
Medium+ Ultra (120FPS in Multiplayer/90FPS in Battle Royale)
Smooth + Extreme (60FPS)
Warzone MobileHigh Graphics + Uncapped FPS (40-55FPS)(Choppy Gameplay)

After around 30 minutes of gaming in a non-AC room, the temps at the back of the Pixel 8a hit 44 degrees, while the Pixel 8 was at around 42 degrees.

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 8: Connectivity and Battery

Both phones offer similar connectivity options, with support for sub-6GHz 5G, mmWave 5G, Bluetooth 5.3, and NFC. However, the Pixel 8 offers the latest Wi-Fi 7, unlike the Wi-Fi 6E on the 8a.

As for battery, the Pixel 8a packs a 4,492mAh unit, while the 8 comes with a 4,575mAh unit. When it comes to charging, 8a offers 18W fast charging support, whereas, the 8 brings 27W fast charging support.

You also get support for up to 18W wireless charging on the 8, while the 8a is capped out at 7.5W. Here, again, the Pixel 8 is understandably better. However, do note that you will get around a day of backup on both devices with normal usage. In other words, around 5 hours of screen on time.

Google Pixel 8a or Pixel 8: Stay Away from 8a!

See, on the software front, both the devices come with Android 14, backed by Google’s 7-year software update promise. But, given the current state of the 8a, I don’t think that it can even last another year unless Google takes the device seriously and fixes the optimization issues. The Pixel 8 is just a more stable and reliable device.

Even the design and build quality are superior on the Pixel 8, making it the better choice. The 8 shines brighter over the 8a in the camera department as well for the most part. There’s very little going in favor of the 8a to suggest it over the 8.

Especially since, recently, the Pixel 8 was available for as low as $549 on the official Google Store, it’s an absolute steal deal. Don’t waste those bucks on the Pixel 8a, please.

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