Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 7a: What a difference a year makes


In case you’ve missed it, the Pixel 8a announcement took place simultaneously as Apple was unveiling its latest iPads. After months upon months of leaks, Google’s latest affordable phone is now finally official. It comes with a better display, newer chip, new design colors, and still takes tons of inspiration from Google’s seemingly endless bag full of AI goodies. 
While nothing with the Pixel 8a is groundbreaking in any way (it’s a mix between the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 8), it’s that marriage of excellent hardware and hard-to-beat $499 starting prce that make this new phone yet another value champ. Look high, look low, you might not find another Android phone that offers so much value at this price point, period. 

The improvements that the Pixel 8a brings to the Pixel 7a are all quite notable, so let’s dive in and see what separates the two phones.

Pixel 8a vs Pixel 7a differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Slight adjustments here and there

No major shake-ups in the design section, the Pixel 8a looks mostly similar to the Pixel 7a, and in extension, to pretty much all recent Pixels. The new phone has slightly more rounded corners, but those don’t introduce major implications to the user experience. 

Another change to the Pixel 8a is that the Gorilla Glass 3 glass is also found at the rear, a more than welcome improvement over the so-called “3D thermoformed composite back” of the Pixel 7a, which gave off a slightly cheap feel. Both devices boast fingerprint-resistant coating, and IP67 water/dust-resistance. 

Other than that, there are some rumors that the Pixel 8a could score a slightly curvier and more rounded design, especially around the back. There are also rumors that the new phone could actually adopt thicker bezels. This could potentially leave the Pixel 7a looking like the more premium phone, provided that the rumors play out that way. 

Size-wise, the Pixel 8a and the Pixel 7a are mostly similar in terms of size and weight. The new phone is lighter, narrower, and thinner, but the differences are so minuscule that you probably wouldn’t be able to tell. Still, worthy of a passing mention. 

Display Differences

The essential aspects of the Pixel 8a screen are mostly the same as the ones of the Pixel 7a: 6.1 inches in size, FHD+ resolution, and OLED technology. However, Google has introduced two critical changes that surely put the Pixel 8a in flagship phone technology. 

While the Pixel 7a only has a 90Hz screen with so-so maximum brightness, the Pixel 8a boasts a much smoother 120Hz display with up to 1400 nits of maximum brightness in HDR mode. No two ways around that: these changes are superb additions to Google’s best-value Pixel phone! In fact, the Pixel 8a creeps extremely close to the Pixel 8 flagship phone, which has pretty similar display specs.

Both the Pixel 8a and the Pixel 7a have in-display fingerprint scanners, and we hope that Google has introduced some improvements to the accuracy of the sensor. It was a bit slow on the Pixel 7a, so there’s certainly headway for improvement. 

Performance and Software

Tensor G3 vs Tensor G2
The Pixel 8a comes with the Tensor G3 chip that’s also found in the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, which continues Google’s push towards AI and ML instead of relying on raw power. That said, the Tensor G3 is definitely a very decent step-up in comparison with its previous generation. 
Meanwhile, the Pixel 7a comes along with the same Tensor G2 chip found in the Pixel 7/Pixel 7 Pro models, as well as the Google Pixel Fold. Judging from our benchmark comparisons with the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 8, the Tensor G3 should be a very decent upgrade over the Tensor G2 chip. 

RAM and storage-wide, the Pixel 8a comes with 8GB of RAM, as well as 128GB or 256GB of native storage. That’s already double the choices in comparison with the Pixel 7a, which is only available in 128GB. 


It’s all in the software

There aren’t many differences between the Pixel 8a and the Pixel 7a in terms of camera hardware. However, the majority of potential improvements could come courtesy of software improvements.

Last year, the Pixel 7a introduced new sensors to the lineup, a 64MP Sony IMX787 main camera and a 13MP Sony IMX712-powered ultra-wide cameras, and unsurprisingly, we find those two on the Pixel 8a as well. No major changes in the hardware, as we mentioned, but interestingly, the Pixel 8a seems to support Super Res Zoom up to 8x, which is something the Pixel 7a didn’t have. Sure, the latter can also digitally zoom 8x, but the newer phone will use AI to deliver better results.

Hardware doesn’t play such a major role with Pixel phones, as the majority of camera improvements come from software, image-processing upgrades, and tons of AI/ML goodies. This should be the case with the Pixel 8a as well. Here are just a few of the more notable AI features the Pixel 8a has in store:

  • Best Take: Combines several pictures, ensuring that none of your subjects blinked or looked away from the camera. 
  • Audio Magic Eraser: When you’re shooting a video, this feature intelligently isolates the sounds that you want to record apart from the distracting sounds around you.
  • Magic Editor: This one allows you to change the background of your photo, lift and move your object around, or erase any unwanted objects. 
  • Photo Unblur: Removes blur from any of your photos.
  • Portrait Light: Aims to deliver more flattering portraits by balancing the specular highlights and harsh shadows on one’s face. 

In any case, we expect the Pixel 8a will deliver very decent image quality, slightly better than the Pixel 7a, but the changes won’t be that major.

Audio Quality and Haptics

The Pixel 7a delivered very decent audio quality coming out of its dual stereo speakers, but it slightly lacked it in terms of bass and loudness. The Pixel 8a has all the potential to fix that, or so we hope. 

Haptics-wise, we feel the Pixel 7a delivers a decent experience for its price range, treating us to a fairly strong haptic feedback that isn’t mushy at all. There’s that extra level of strength and accuracy that could help the Pixel 8a separate itself from the Pixel 7a, let’s see if Google will boost this area of the device or will leave things as they are. 

Battery Life and Charging

Massive upgrade incoming?

The Pixel 8a comes with a 4,492mAh battery, a slight bump over the 4,385mAh battery inside the Pixel 7a. That’s not enough to justify a much grander battery life increase, which is why Google’s official battery life stats for the Pixel 8a and Pixel 7a are the same: beyond 24-hour battery life and up to three days in Extreme Battery Saver mode. 

In our own custom benchmark test in the Pixel 7a review, the phone hit 15 hours and 27 minutes in our browsing test, above 9 hours in the video-streaming test, and four hours and a half in the 3D gaming exercise. That’s mostly comparable to the Pixel 8

Charging-wise, the Pixel 8a comes with the same charging speeds that the Pixel 7a delivered: 18W wired and 7.5W wireless. Those were painfully slow on the Pixel 7a, so we are bracing for equally slow charging on the Pixel 8a as well

Specs Comparison


Judging from the rumors, the Pixel 8a deliver some serious upgrades over the Pixel 7a. A better display, slightly faster performance and power efficiency, as well as a larger battery make this one a very worthy successor to the Pixel 7a. As the price remains the same ($499 in the US), this means that grabbing the Pixel 8a is a no-brainer move, especially if you’re coming from a much older Pixel phone.

Should you upgrade from the Pixel 7a, though? Well, probably not. While it’s true that you’ll get some better nice-to-haves, your Pixel 7a is still a device that’s more than usable in 2024, and will remain so for many years. 

One thing is certain, things are looking up for Pixel fans. 

👇Follow more 👇

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top