Pixel 8a vs Pixel 7a: Small steps in the expected direction [Video]

Google is back with another potential budget buster, but how does the Pixel 8a compare to last year’s equally solid Pixel 7a? Here’s everything you need to know.

This year, the lines between the base Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a are blurrier than ever before. If you’ve looked at a Pixel in the past, the A-series stands out with a mix of some flagship specs. competent cameras and smooth software. That’s all packaged at a more accessible price point – but what has changed from the previous generation?

Hardware

The design is the first point of difference. The Pixel 8a has a more refined look with smoother, rounded corners compared to the blockier design of the Pixel 7a. This makes the Pixel 8a a little more comfortable to hold, as the vibrant aesthetic slips into your hands without making a dent.

Color options are another battlefield. The 8a offers a wider selection with Obsidian (black), Porcelain (beige), Bay (dark blue) and Aloe (green), while the 7a is available in Arctic Blue, Carbon, Coral and Cotton. The phones have almost the same weight this time, as 5 grams changes little to the total mass. Plastic is used on the back plate, but the 8a features more recycled materials in its construction.

Google Pixel 7a Google Pixel 8a
Mate 6.1 inches 6.1 inches
Dimensions 152.4 x 72.9 x 9.0 mm (6.0 x 2.87 x 0.35 in) 152.1 x 72.7 x 8.9 mm (6.00 x 2.87 x 0.35 in)
Display 90 Hz / FHD+ / Gorilla Glass 3 / 2,400 x 1,080 pixels / 431ppi 120 Hz / Gorilla Glass 3 / 2,400 x 1,080 pixels / 430ppi
Chip set Google Tensor G2 Google Tensor G3
RAM 8GB DDR5 8GB DDR5
Storage 128GB UFS 3.1 128/256GB UFS 3.1
Battery 4,385mAh 4,492mAh
Rear camera 64 MP wide / 13 MP ultra-wide 64 MP wide / 13 MP ultra-wide
Front camera 13 MP 13 MP
Biometrics Fingerprint scanner in the display Fingerprint scanner in the display
To colour Arctic blue / carbon / coral / cotton Obsidian / Porcelain / Bay / Aloe
Weight 193g 188g
IP value IP67 IP67

The display is another key differentiator. Both phones are expected to have a 6.1-inch screen size, but the 8a clearly takes the lead with its pOLED technology, which offers a potentially smoother 120Hz refresh rate for a smoother user experience. It also features a significantly higher peak brightness of 2,000 nits compared to the 7a’s 1,000 nits. Both phones use Gorilla Glass 3 for protection – so no upgrades in screen robustness. I would rate the Pixel 7a’s bezels as less “offensive” because they are thick on the Pixel 8a.

The performance part reveals a clear advantage for the 8a. It features the latest Tensor G3 chip, which may offer faster performance than the Tensor G2 in the 7a. A side bonus is also the improved thermals. Both phones have 8GB of RAM and a base configuration of 128GB. Only the Pixel 8a offers a larger storage variant of 256GB if you want to keep more files on the device.

Software

Despite the Pixel 8a’s exciting new features, it’s important to remember that both phones share the core Android experience with Google’s exclusive Pixel tweaks. Here’s what to expect on both devices:

Google Pixel 7a Google Pixel 8a
Software Supplied with Android 13 Comes with Android 14
Functions Fingerprint scanner in the display
Face unlock
Blur photo
Google One VPN
Fingerprint scanner in the display
Face unlock
Google One VPN
Twin Nano
AI wallpapers

Both devices offer a wealth of Pixel exclusive features. These include Magic Eraser for removing unwanted objects from photos, Real Tone for capturing realistic skin tones, Call Screen to screen spam calls, Direct My Call to get information about companies you are calling, Hold for Me to automatically stand guard during calls and transcribe the waiting time and Live Translate for real-time translation in different languages.

But it doesn’t stop there. Gemini Nano is coming to the 8a in the near future. This enables on-device processing such as recorder summaries, smart replies in Gboard, and much more. Although Face Unlock is present on both phones, you can pay securely on the Pixel 8a thanks to the Tensor G3 processor.

One of the biggest differentiators for the Pixel 7a and 8a is the update lifecycle. Both will continue to be supported for a while. However, the Pixel 8a will get the full seven-year update promise given to the Pixel 8 series. This will be a big selling point and one that makes the 8a a viable option for many more people.

The deeper future integration with Gemini could also mean the Pixel 8a becomes more capable as Google adds and improves existing features with each release with Pixel Feature Drops, app updates, and improvements to Android. While the basic experience remains on both phones, this could change drastically in the coming years.

Battery

Battery screens for the Pixel 7a and Pixel 8a

Since the Pixel 8a has a slightly smaller footprint, you might be surprised to hear that it actually has a larger internal cell than the Pixel 7a. The jump isn’t huge, but could be useful if you want to use the screen at its full 120Hz refresh rate. Setting the screen to the highest refresh rate is a surefire way to reduce daily life, despite the experience benefits.

Google Pixel 7a Google Pixel 8a
Battery size 4,385mAh 4,492mAh
Charging speed 18W wired
7.5W Qi wireless
18W wired
7.5W Qi wireless

In terms of battery life, the 8a features a slightly larger 4,492mAh battery compared to the 7a’s 4,300mAh capacity. Both phones claim more than 24 hours of battery life, but real-world usage may vary. The 8a sticks with the slower 7.5W wireless charging, just like the 7a. It also retains the somewhat slow 18W wired charging again.

Camera

Both phones share the same camera hardware: a 64 MP main sensor and a 13 MP ultra-wide sensor. This means that images and video should be identical to those of the Pixel 8a and 7a in most scenarios. Unfortunately, there’s no telephoto as both phones rely on digital zoom, which can result in some loss of quality when zooming in on distant objects.

Google Pixel 7a Google Pixel 8a
Main sensor Sony IMX787
64 MP
f1.9 aperture
Sony IMX787
64 MP
f1.9 aperture
Secondary sensor Sony IMX712
13 MP ultra wide angle
f2.2 aperture
120˚ field of view
Sony IMX712
13 MP ultra wide angle
f2.2 aperture
120˚ field of view
Front-facing sensor Sony IMX712
13 MP
f/2.2
Sony IMX712
13MP
f/2.2
Camera hardware features OIS
REQUIREMENT
PDAF
OIS
REQUIREMENT
PDAF
Camera software features 8x zoom
Guided framework
4K UHD 60fps
4K UHD 30fps (selfie and wide angle)
10-bit HDR10 video
Real Tone 2.0
8x zoom
Guided framework
4K UHD 60fps
4K UHD 30fps (selfie and wide angle)
10-bit HDR10 video
Real Tone 2.0
Magic editor
Best recording
Magic eraser
Blur photo
Audio magic eraser

The core features of the Pixel 7a and 8a are identical. Where the Pixel 8a starts to make gains is in its range of post-processing features. Some of the key selling points from the Pixel 8 series are available on the 8a, including Magic Editor, Best Take, Magic Eraser, and Audio Magic Eraser. None of these are available on the Pixel 7a through official means.

As we note, there’s little to really differentiate the camera hardware of the Pixel 7a and 8a. Just choose which set of software features is considered “essential” for you, and you will be very satisfied.

Pixel 7a vs Pixel 8a: Which One Should I Choose?

Pixel 7a and Pixel 8a packaging

About upgrading: 9to5Google often provides specific product recommendations. Sometimes we recommend not doing that upgrade, for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: higher device costs, negligible performance improvements, or environmental impact. Whether you want to upgrade is always your decision, but our goal is to help you make the most informed decision possible.

The Pixel 7a sticking around in the lineup means the entry-level Pixel still gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Where the Pixel 8a shows its strength is in its new AI-powered features and industry-leading update schedule. Although the price is set at $499, Google has promised updates until 2031. If you were to use the 8a for its entire supported lifespan, it would only cost $70 per year.

It’s unlikely that many people will make the 8a last that long. That said, you now have the option. The Pixel 7a is now more affordable than ever. If you don’t care about the longest update schedule, it will be supported for another four years. Most of the core hardware is identical to the 8a: except for the SoC and the display.

Ultimately, the Pixel 8a offers a compelling package that blurs the lines between the A series and the regular Pixel 8 series more than ever before. This is both a blessing and a curse, but if you’re still rocking it and have an older, unsupported Pixel, then the 8a is an excellent upgrade option.

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