Friday, May 24, 2024
Smart Phones

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



Intro

The Pixel 8a, the next affordable Google phone, is the worst kept secret right now. Everyone knows it’s coming, the only real uncertainty is when the phone’s getting announced, though we have a very solid potential launch date. 

What upgrades and improvements will the Pixel 8a bring over the Google Pixel 7a? Quite a lot, actually, ranging from purely design touch-ups to major enhancements in the display and battery areas. 

Let’s see how many improvements the Pixel 8a could potentially introduce over the Pixel 7a!

Pixel 8a vs Pixel 7a differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Premium is in, glossy is out

No major shake-ups in the design section, but some notable changes might hit the Pixel 8a. While the general design and size will most likely remain the same, the Pixel 8a is said to adopt a matte backplate, while the Pixel 7a has a glossy rear. Of course, both the Pixel 8a and the Pixel 7a rely on plastic, with glass only showing on the compact Google flagship phones. 

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, we also anticipate changes. Due to the rumored addition of a much larger battery, the Pixel 8a might gain a few millimeters of thickness in contrast to the Pixel 7a

Display Differences

The essential aspects of the Pixel 8a screen will remain the same as the ones of the Pixel 7a: 6.1 inches in size, FHD+ resolution, and OLED technology. However, there are rumors that the Pixel 8a‘s screen will be smoother and much brighter. Reportedly, it will be able to hit up to 120Hz of screen refresh rate for the ultimate in interface smoothness and also achieve up to 1,400 nits of maximum brightness. 

That’s much more than the Pixel 7a which only goes up to 90Hz and has a lower maximum brightness. In fact, the Pixel 8a creeps extremely close to the Pixel 8 flagship phone, which has similar display specs.  

We hope that the Pixel 8a fixes some of the issues that we encountered with the Pixel 7a in-display fingerprint scanner, which is moderately sluggish and often not very accurate.

Performance and Software

Tensor G3 vs Tensor G2
The Pixel 8a will come with the Tensor G3 chip that’s also in the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, but it won’t be the same chip. We are expecting a slightly underclocked version of the Tensor G3 chip to power the upcoming phone. 
Meanwhile, the Pixel 7a comes along with mostly the same Tensor G2 chip found in the Pixel 7/Pixel 7 Pro models, as well as the Google Pixel Fold. The Pixel 8a should be the better performer here. Again, Tensor chips were never about raw performance as they emphasize artificial intelligence and machine-learning.

RAM and storage-wide, the Pixel 8a could come with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of native storage. That’s as much as the Pixel 7a, but this time around, we hope Google entertains the idea of an extra storage version. A 256GB flavor could bring the Pixel 8a dangerously close to the Pixel 8 with 128GB of storage in terms of pricing, so the chances of a 256GB version are slim. 

Camera

It’s all in the software

There probably wouldn’t be that many differences between the Pixel 8a and the Pixel 7a in terms of camera hardware. 

Last year, the Pixel 7a introduced new camera sensors to the lineup, so there’s a strong chance that the Pixel 8a will reiterate those. In particular, we saw the debut of a 64MP Sony IMX787 main camera and a 13MP Sony IMX712-powered ultra-wide cameras at the rear of the Pixel 7a. That one also had a 13MP selfie camera, so we generally expect the same with the Pixel 8a

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. 

In any case, we expect that the Pixel 8a to deliver excellent image quality, slightly better than the Pixel 7a

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?
As we mentioned, there’s a chance that the Pixel 8a will come with a huge 4,942mAh battery, which could be an enormous upgrade over the 4,385mAh battery inside the Pixel 7a. Although we are taking this rumor with a grain of salt, we hope that Google does this, as it could easily be the unique highlight of the Pixel 8a. With the potential power efficiency of a de-tuned Tensor G3 chip, the Pixel 8a could establish itself as one of the longest-lasting Pixel phones. Let’s hope we don’t jinx that. 
As mentioned, the Pixel 7a comes along with a sensible 4,385mAh battery, which helps the device achieve a very decent battery life. 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 will likely come 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 definitely hope that Google proves us wrong and improves the charging capabilities of its upcoming Pixel 8a

Specs Comparison

While the official specs are still a badly kept secret, we’ve summarized our expectation for the Pixel 8a vs Pixel 7a specs. Remember that most of the Pixel 8a specs are a subject to change until the phone goes official. 

Summary

Judging from the rumors, the Pixel 8a could deliver some serious upgrades over the Pixel 7a. A potentially better display, slightly faster performance and power efficiency, as well as a much larger battery could make this one a worthy successor to the Pixel 7a. Provided that the price remains the same ($499), we could see another Pixel success story.

That said, the Pixel 7a is still a very decent device that shouldn’t be overlooked. We’ll reserve our judgement if Pixel 7a owners should upgrade to the Pixel 8a only after the latter goes official. 

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



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