Brilliant Pixel 8a proves why Google should never make another $500 mid-range phone

is now official.

While our full review will be out soon, I can already tell you that the 8a is quite likely going to be the most well-rounded mid-range phone money can buy in the first half of 2024 – or maybe even until the end of the year.

is a proper, premium flagship phone, which launched at a price of $700.

However, the thing is that the “proper” flagship Pixel 8 is no longer $700 – at least if you shop around. And that makes me think that the Pixel 8a might/should be Google’s last $500 Pixel.

To be fair, I’ve talked about this in the context of the “Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7” last year but, this time around, the Pixel 8a and the vanilla Pixel 8 are even more similar, yet different enough to cause some major confusion for those shopping for a new phone.For example, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a now seem to share the same 120Hz OLED display with 2000 nits of peak brightness, which is great news for the mid-ranger. The two also have practically the same battery size.

But even more crucially, the Pixel 8a finally offers a 256GB storage variant – just like the flagship Pixel 8 (although you can only get the 256GB Pixel 8a in black).

Moreover, both the Pixel 8a and Pixel 8 come with a promise for 7 years of software support. And to top it all off, the $500 Pixel 8a gets the best AI features the Pixel 8 already has.

Even if they seem identical on the surface, the Pixel 8 is a better phone than the Pixel 8a

However, aside from those similarities, the vanilla Pixel 8 is still the more premium phone between the two, boasting plenty of improvements over the mid-ranger.

  • The Pixel 8 has a glass back vs plastic on the Pixel 8a
  • The Pixel 8 comes with a slightly more comprehensive IP68 water/dust resistance (vs IP67 on the Pixel 8a)
  • Although the display tech seems the same, the Pixel 8 has noticeably thinner display borders, which make it more compact and premium
  • The primary camera on the Pixel 8 boasts a larger sensor; the ultra-wide camera has auto-focus for macro photography; and the selfie camera can shoot 4K 60fps (vs up to 4K 30fps on the Pixel 8)
  • The Pixel 8 has faster wired and wireless charging than the Pixel 8a, and it offers Reverse Wireless Charging (for charging your earbuds on the back of the phone)

As you can see, there are quite a few “under-the-hood” differences between the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a that make the vanilla Pixel the “proper flagship” phone that it actually is.

The visual difference between the two is also enough to make the vanilla Pixel 8 the outright winner – it just looks like a premium phone thanks to its thin bezels. On the other hand, the Pixel 8a seems to have the thickest display borders in the $500 price segment – even thicker than those of the Galaxy A55.

The rumors say the amazing Pixel 8a could be the last $500 phone Google makes, and I hope that’s true

For those who aren’t following “the big Pixel news”, we’ve already heard rumors about the Pixel 8a being the last “A” Pixel Google will ever make. And whether this happens or not, I believe it now makes sense why it could/should happen…

In the end, if Google can afford to drop the price of the vanilla Pixel flagship to $500-550 six months after launch (as it did prior to releasing the Pixel 8a), then there’s no reason to make a whole new phone that’s dangerously similar (but still somewhat worse).

Google can simply repurpose the vanilla Pixel as a mid-range phone by dropping the price and switching up its marketing strategy.

That being said, if the rumors are true and Google does indeed stop making $500 Pixel phones, I don’t think Android’s big daddy should stop making “affordable” phones altogether. Not at all!

Killing off the $500 Pixel by replacing it with the vanilla Pixel mid-year would open up an incredible opportunity for Google to make the Nothing Phone 2a competitor the global market is missing!

The Nothing Phone 2a is a good $350 that gives you a ton of value, and if that sounds familiar, it’s because this used to be the role of Google’s legendary Pixel 4a.

Of course, it’s different times now but that’s good news! $350 should be getting you a noticeably better Pixel phone today than it did back in 2020 (despite the inflation).

Sure, a $350 Pixel won’t be nearly as close to a flagship phone as a $500 one but that’s the point! The $350 Pixel would be ideal for those who want a device that nails the basics of a good smartphone without many bells and whistles.

If Nothing can pull it off, there’s no reason Google can’t.

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