Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: What’s the difference?

Every year, Google releases at least three smartphones, and more often than not they are among the best phones available today.

In 2024, the best Pixel phone (and the most expensive) is the Google Pixel 8 Pro, which launched alongside the cheaper Google Pixel 8. Until now it has been the cheapest in the series, but Google recently announced a new budget phone, the Google Pixel 8a.

The Google Pixel 8a is available for pre-order today and starts from £499 for the 128GB storage model – that’s £200 cheaper than the Google Pixel 8, which started at £699, although Google’s flagship has been selling for around £570 in recent months on the best Pixel 8 deals.

With that in mind, is it worth spending a little extra on the Google Pixel 8 or should you save money by opting for the Google Pixel 8a? You’ve come to the right place to find out.

Even if it only goes on sale May 14we already know a lot about the new Google Pixel 8a, because it appears in the Google Store a week before its release.

Digital spy have yet to try out the new Pixel 8a handset, but based on what Google has made public, we compared it to the Google Pixel 8 in terms of design, display, camera, performance, battery and software.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8

google pixel 8 and pixel 8a phone

Digital spy

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

While it’s clear that these two phones are closely related, the Pixel 8a looks a little different than the Pixel 8.

The 8a has more rounded corners and a new matte back instead of the glossy glass of the Pixel 8. The Google Pixel 8a is also available in a number of different colorways, including Aloe Green, Bay Blue, Obsidian Black, and Porcelain White. The Google Pixel 8, on the other hand, is available in mint green, hazelnut green, obsidian black and rose pink.

Both have a polished aluminum frame, both have Google’s iconic camera bar stretched across the back and both are IP67 water and dust resistant.

Like the Pixel 7a that preceded it, Google has opted to use a 6.1-inch screen on the Pixel 8a, compared to the Pixel 8’s 6.2-inch screen, although both use OLED screen technology and both have the same resolution of 1080x. 2400 pixels.

The 8a is slightly more pixel dense at 430PPI instead of 428PPI, but that doesn’t make any difference to how the human eye sees the screen.

There is an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz available on the two devices, which ensures an always-on screen and you also get peak brightness of up to 2,000 nits on both devices.

To protect the screen, the Pixel 8a has Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is slightly older than the Pixel 8’s Gorilla Glass Victus and probably slightly less scratch resistant.

There’s not much difference between the two screens aside from the 0.1-inch size and cover glass, so while we haven’t tried the 8a yet, based on our experience with the Pixel 8 we expect the screen to be just as satisfying will be to use for everything from taking and editing photos to watching shows on the top streaming services.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Camera

Powering the camera system, the Google Pixel 8a uses a 64MP Quad PD wide lens and a 13MP ultra-wide camera. In comparison, the Pixel 8 has a 50 MP Octa PD wide-angle camera and a 12 MP ultra-wide camera.

Just because the Pixel 8a has more pixels doesn’t mean it has better camera quality. The Pixel 8’s main camera has a wider sensor (1/1.31″ instead of 1/1.73″) and a larger aperture (ƒ/1.68 instead of ƒ/1.89), meaning it should be able to let in more light than its cheaper brother or sister.

We can’t accurately compare what that means until we get our hands on the device, but it could make a noticeable difference.

Pixels are known for their artificially guided camera software that enhances pre- and post-capture shots. Best? They work the same way on all Pixel devices, whether that’s the budget Pixel 8a, the flagship Pixel 8 or even the Google Pixel Fold.


Jason Murdock

Neither the Pixel 8 nor the Pixel 8a have a telephoto lens, so both rely on a digital zoom that crops the photos rather than physically getting closer to the subject. To enhance their appearance, both feature 8x Super Res Zoom.

Other features include a special Night Sight that lets you take photos in low light, blurred photos and true tones to ensure everyone’s skin looks good in all your photos and videos.

To edit your photos after Google has worked its magic, there are a lot of cool features you can try out.

The Pixel 8a gets the same tools as the Pixel 8. That includes Best Take to combine group photos so everyone looks their best, the Magic Editor to move, resize and delete objects in your photos, and the Audio Magic Eraser to get rid of annoying background noises in your videos.

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

The Google Pixel 8a and Google Pixel 8 have the same Google Tensor G3 chipset, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB or 256 GB of internal storage.

Built to power all of Google’s AI features like Live Transcribe and the Magic Eraser, the Tensor processor is fast and efficient, even if it’s not as powerful as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 equivalent found in a few of the best Samsung phones are used. We expect it to work the same on the Pixel 8a and Pixel 8.

The battery used in the Pixel 8 is slightly larger (4,575 mAh) than the one in the Pixel 8a (4,492 mAh), but the difference is so small that it shouldn’t have much of an impact. We didn’t test the 8a’s battery, but in our experience the Pixel 8 lasts all day and even into the next day, which bodes well for the new model.

pixel 8 and pixel 8 propixel 8 and pixel 8 pro

Jason Murdock

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Software

The Google Pixel 8a and Google Pixel 8 run Android 14 and both receive seven years of system updates. Whichever device you buy, you can expect the same features.

I’ll go through a few to give you an idea of ​​how extensive Google Pixel’s features are.

First, Circle to Search lets you highlight words, images, or videos and search for them online. You also get Pixel Call Assist with Call Screen, Hold For Me and Direct My Call.

In addition, the At A Glance Widget shows you all your reminders, the weather forecast and travel updates on your lock screen. And the Pixel 8a introduces the new Audio Emoji feature to activate sound with visual effects.

Security is important to Google, which is why it includes a built-in VPN in all its smartphones.

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 8: Verdict

The Google Pixel 8a and the Google Pixel 8 aren’t worlds apart in terms of design, hardware or features – in fact, they’re very similar devices and they have identical software.

For £70 more, the Pixel 8 has a slightly better camera system than the Pixel 8a, a slightly larger battery and a more resilient, slightly larger screen. If any of these factors are important to you, it may be worth spending the extra money.

If you want to say you want to save as many pennies as possible, you should buy the Google Pixel 8a. We hope it will be one of the best Android phones you can buy for under £500, as you won’t miss out on any major specs or features compared to the flagship.

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