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Google Pixel 8a vs 7a Compared: Which Offers the Best Value?

Pixel 8a versus 7a
© tabitazn/Adobe Stock, Google

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Google launched its new mid-range phone, the Pixel 8a. But despite all the trendy AI goodies that come with a 2024 phone launch, is it really better than the Pixel 7a that we praised over the past year? We put the two phones head-to-head to check which offers a better value in terms of price, performance, and features.

With the regular flagship models getting pricier over the years, the Pixel A models continue to offer a strong bang for the buck, even if their prices also crept up in most countries. The Pixel 7a is frequently featured on best phone lists, including nextpit's own sub-$600 phone list, evoking some value offered on the defunct Nexus phone series.

The Pixel 8a follows a similar recipe used for its predecessors, including using a toned-down camera kit, the same processor as the standard models, but with slightly less memory, and some cost-cutting decisions in other areas. Let's check the main specs before checking the details:

Google Pixel 8a & 7a: Main specs face-to-face

  Google's mid-rangers compared
Picture Google Pixel 8a Product Image Google Pixel 7a Product Image
Google Pixel 8a Hands-on
Google Pixel 7a Review
  • 6.1-inch OLED
  • 2400 × 1080 pixels
  • 120 Hz
  • 6.1-inch OLED
  • 2400 × 1080 pixels
  • 90 Hz
  • Google Tensor G3
  • Google Tensor G2
  • 8 GB LPDDR5x RAM
  • 128 / 256 GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • No storage expansion
  • 128 GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • No storage expansion
  • Android 14
  • Seven Android upgrades
  • Seven years of security updates
  • Android 13
  • Three Android upgrades
  • Five years of security updates
  • Main: 64 MP, f/1.89, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 13 MP, f/2.2
  • Main: 64 MP, f/1.89, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 13 MP, f/2.2
Selfie Camera
  • 13 MP, f/2.2
  • 13 MP, f/2.2
  • 4492 mAh
  • 18 W wired charging
  • Wireless charging
  • 4385 mAh
  • 18 W wired charging
  • 7.5 W wireless charging
  • 5G | eSIM | Wi-Fi 6E | Bluetooth 5.3 | NFC
  • 5G | eSIM | Wi-Fi 6E | Bluetooth 5.3 | NFC
IP Certification
  • IP67
  • IP67
Dimensions and weight
  • 6 × 2.86 × 0.35 in, 6.63 oz
  • 152.1 × 72.7 × 8.9 mm, 188 g
  • 6 × 2.8 × 0.4 in, 6.8 oz
  • 152 × 72.9 × 9.0 mm, 193.5 g

Just like the Pixel 7a follows the overall design of the standard Pixel 7 phone, the new Pixel 8a has a similar style to the Pixel 8 phones launched last year. When comparing the intermediate phones, we can see they have similar dimensions, with the new model being slightly lighter.

The new Pixel 8a phone features rounder corners when compared to the Pixel 7a—and even to the regular Pixel 8—but the overall feel in the hand should be pretty similar between the two models.

Google Pixel 8a promotional image in the Aloe Green color
There is no doubt about it: The Pixel 8a can be a very green phone. / © Google

One significant change in terms of design lies in the colors. While the Pixel 7a was offered in charcoal (gray), snow (white), sea (light blue), and coral (orange), the Pixel 8a ditched the trend of pale colors and went for a more saturated color palette: obsidian (dark gray), porcelain (white), bay (blue), and aloe (green). The last option is listed as "limited" in the official datasheet, suggesting it could be exclusive to the Google Store.

The screens on both Pixel phones have similar specifications: 6.1-inch diagonal, FullHD+ resolution, Gorilla Glass 3 protection, HDR support, and high-contrast OLED panels.

Google Pixel 7a review images
The Pixel 7a has a lower peak brightness and refresh rate when compared to the Pixel 8a. / © nextpit

The Pixel 8a improves in two categories over the 7a, however: The new phone can reach a peak brightness of 2000 nits (versus around 1000 nits for the 7a), and the screen refreshes at up to 120 times per second, compared to 90 on the 7a. The result (in theory at least) are better sunlight viewability and smoother animations when browsing documents, web pages, or playing compatible games.

Google Pixel 8a vs. 7a: Performance

In the performance department, although the Pixel 8a is powered by a newer generation of Google's Tensor chip, we don't expect to see a noticeable improvement. Benchmark tests between the Tensor G2 and G3 chips return equivalent numbers in general task tests, while the G3 can get better scores in gaming benchmarks, at the cost of consistency, with lower results under longer gameplay sessions.

Google equips the Pixel 8a with faster RAM when compared to the Pixel 7a, so we will have to wait for the full review to have a better idea of how the mid-range phones compare.

Google Pixel 8a vs. 7a: Camera

Camera is undoubtedly the feature for which the Pixel phones are better known for. With the Pixel 7a even winning blind tests against much more expensive phones (including Google's Pro models). Google apparently played safe for 2024, repeating the same specs from the Pixel 7a on the 8a.

Google Pixel 8a promotional image in the Obsidian black color.
Google gave the Pixel 8a camera (above) similar specs to those on the Pixel 7a. / © Google

We find the same 64-megapixel resolution, the same f/1.89 aperture, the same 1/1.73'' main sensor size, and even the eight times digital zoom. The hand-me-down also affected the ultra-wide camera, with a 13 MP resolution, f/2.2 aperture, and 120° field of view. Only the selfie camera features a slight difference, with the Pixel 8a sporting a wider 96.5° field of view, compared to 95° on the 7a.

If you ask Google, however, they will quickly flood you with a list of "magic" features enabled by artificial intelligence, which leads us to the next section.

Google Pixel 8a vs. 7a: Software and features

The Pixel 8a offers the same camera features found on the regular Pixel 8 phone, including Best Take for selecting the best faces for different people and the Magic Editor which uses generative AI to remove objects, move people, and more. Another "magic" feature with surprisingly good results is the Audio Magic Eraser, which removes background noises from video recordings.

But probably more important than the new features, and maybe the strongest argument in favor of the Pixel 8a next to its predecessor is its improved software support. Google promises the same seven years of system and security updates on the 8a model as the regular Pixel 8 phones, compared to three and five years, respectively, for the Pixel 7a.

In practice, that means the Pixel 8a should receive at least an upgrade to Android 20, and security patches until May/2031, while the Pixel 7a will stop at Android 16, and with security fixes until May/2028.

Google Pixel 8a vs. 7a: Battery and charging

The battery section has a tiny advantage for the Pixel 8a, with a 4492 mAh capacity, roughly 2.5% more than the Pixel 7a's 4385 mAh. When it comes to charging, both top at 18 W, so using the same charger should result in basically the same charging times for both phones, which can also be recharged wirelessly using a Qi-compatible charger.

Google Pixel 7a review images
Both the Pixel 7a (above) and 8a top at 18 W charging. / © nextpit

And speaking of chargers, none of the Pixel phones come with a power adapter, so if you don't have a quick charger, check the selections on Florian Philon's list of the best wired and wireless chargers.

Pricing and availability for the Pixel 8a and 7a

According to Google, the Pixel 8a will be available on the Google Store and other retailers on May 14th. MSRP for the new phone is $499 in the US and €549 in Europe for the 128 GB model. That represents a €40 increase for the European market, while in the US the MSRP is the same as for the Pixel 7a.

On the other hand, the Pixel 7a currently has bigger discounts in the EU than in the US, making it a tempting option at under €400. While the 450 dollars in the US makes it difficult to recommend it over its successor.

Conclusion: Which Pixel to buy?

Having spoiled the conclusion a bit in the previous section, the Pixel 8a is a better value overall when considering only the manufacturer's suggested retail price, with a superior screen, additional software features, and an improved update support policy.

However, we must remember that Pixel phones tend to see more frequent discounts than most other brands, and we are already seeing that with the Pixel 7a, which can often be found for under $400. And that is before considering phone plan discounts, trade-in offers, and bonus deals.

And just like the Pixel 7a launch, the Pixel 8a also faces competition from the regular Pixel 8, which can sometimes be priced near the 8a's level. Furthermore, the differences between the Pixel 8 and 8a are smaller than those between the 7 and 7a phones, making for a difficult decision. But that is a discussion for another day.

Those currently using the Pixel 7a probably won't see the need to upgrade anytime soon. But the Pixel 8a already offers a strong value proposition, with almost all of the Pixel 8 features at a lower price point for those looking for a new phone. We expect to test the new model soon and will share a more concrete recommendation after our full review, so stay tuned!

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Rubens Eishima

Rubens Eishima

Having written about technology since 2008 for a number of websites in Brazil, Spain, Denmark, and Germany, I specialize in the mobile ecosystem, including various models, components, and apps. I tend to not only value performance and specifications, but also things like repairability, durability, and manufacturer support. I tend to prioritize the end-user's point of view whenever possible.

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