Can the Pixel 8a take over the mid-range market with all of its juicy upgrades?

Pixel 8a reaction post
*Header image - render of the Pixel 8a

The world of leakers is an exciting, action-packed movie-like place. Some companies fall into the hands of leakers (Samsung, Google) more easily than others (Apple). But no one is safe from their big unveiling being somewhat spoiled on X or Weibo (Chinese social media platform).

All those leaks have a bright side to them, though. For all of us phone enthusiasts, leaks mean we get to have pieces of the mobile tech future puzzle early. Almost how like the ancient astrologers staring at the stars predicted emperors rising and falling (mind you, some were pretty accurate with predictions).

Google's upcoming Pixel 8a, a highly-anticipated mid-ranger, has also fallen victim to being 'unveiled' on the internet before its time. And all we're hearing sounds pretty exciting! All these cool rumored updates beg the question: how much better the Pixel 8a will be? Is it going to win the hearts of mid-range buyers and rule the market? Let's discuss it!

Pixel 8a improvements over the Pixel 7a

The Pixel 7a is already made from winning material. At $499, the phone is a very strong performer, be it with its Tensor G2 chip or its camera prowess. It's a solid mid-range device that's worth its price tag. And from rumors and leaks, we're hearing Google has even more cool things in store for its successor, the Pixel 8a.


We hear the Pixel 8a will be curvier than the 7a. Most likely the curves will help with comfort while you're holding it, despite the 7a feeling pretty comfortable already.

Renders courtesy of @OnLeaks and SmartPrix

We hear that it will have a matte texture back instead of its predecessor's glossy finish. Now that's a design upgrade. Glossy phones seem to be getting out of fashion now, and the world is all about matte texture and silky smooth feeling. It seems the Pixel 8a will jump on that trend train. On top of that, a matte finish keeps fancy-look-ruining fingerprints smudges away.

As for colors, we have Obsidian, Porcelain, Bay, and Mint. Google is already quite good with bringing cool colors to the market, so despite those not being too much of a surprise, they're still... well, winning colors.

Improved display

Rumors say the Pixel 8a will finally come with a 120Hz refresh rate. The 7a came with 90Hz, which was a substantial upgrade from the 6a. And now, we're likely getting 120Hz, which is even better.

We're also getting a brighter display with a rumored peak brightness of 1,400 nits. That's a very notable upgrade from the Pixel 7a's 1,000 nits. This matters especially when you're outdoors. Yep, phones with lower brightness displays are so hard to interact with during bright and sunny days.

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Chip, battery

The Pixel 8a will come with Tensor G3 (the one in the Pixel 8 series), but rumors say it may be slightly underclocked for the 8a. However, it should still be able to win over the Pixel 7a's G2 chip. Rumors also indicate a bigger battery is coming, and faster charging. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn't it?

This, if rumors are true, will mark the Pixel 8a with a 4,942 mAh battery (rated capacity), a huge jump over the 4385 mAh's Pixel 7a. However, the Pixel 8a is expected to be a compact phone, and it's near impossible to squeeze a 5,000mAh battery cell in a compact phone, so bear this in mind.

Camera: what isn't broken doesn't need fixing

Everybody's heard of Google's great camera processing abilities. Those are visible in the Pixel 7a as well, and will most likely remain (and be improved upon) for the Pixel 8a.

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Check out some image samples from the Pixel 7a's main camera:

We see natural colors, great dynamic range, realistic skin tones and plenty of detail. All in all, a very reliable camera.

A small wishlist

Also, it's important to address a thing that the 7a isn't doing great and we hear no rumors the 8a is fixing. That's primarily the software bugs that Pixel phones are notorious for. In order for the Pixel 8a to be an even better contender for the title of the best mid-range phone, Google should address the bugs issue. Hopefully, it will.

Apart from that though, I feel like the Pixel 8a will be a great device. Now, let's talk about its competition a bit.

Pixel 8a competition: the Galaxies, the iPhones, the Motos, and the Nords

The mid-range market is quite colorful. Most companies have a mid-range contender, and in recent years, those phones have been getting better and better.

First, let's briefly define what I am referring to as mid-range here. I'm focusing on the price. Mid-range sits between "affordable" or "budget-friendly" phones and entry-level "vanilla flagships". That would mean the price range of a mid-range phone is between $300-$500.

We have some strong contenders in this category. We have the Galaxy A55 (but it's not sold in the U.S.), a series of Motorola phones, OnePlus Nord, and a possible new iPhone SE. All in all, these are the Pixel 8a's contenders for the mid-range crown.

I will not be directly comparing all of them in this article, but I'll address some main points. Also, I'm going to give my prediction on who gets on top.  

Pixel 8a vs Galaxy A55

If you're in the U.S., that's pretty simple. The A55 isn't coming to the States. As for other parts of the world: we have similar pricing, and designs are good on both, but it's likely the Pixel will win in the processing power and camera capabilities (that is, if you fancy more natural-looking photos).

Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy A55 5G1163
Google Pixel 7a1437
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy A55 5G3487
Google Pixel 7a3461
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A55 5G930
Google Pixel 7a1631
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A55 5G916
Google Pixel 7a1095

The Pixel 7a is already better in terms of processing prowess, and the 8a will probably get a better chip.

Pixel 8a vs contenders from Motorola

Here things are getting more interesting as Motorola has plenty of devices spanning the budget-friendly and the mid-range sectors. Let's take the most recent example, the Moto Edge 50 Fusion which was unveiled yesterday. Still no US release info, though.

The Edge 50 Fusion comes with a 6.7-inch 120Hz display, good design, a capable 50MP camera and the mid-range Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chip. On paper, it seems capable to take on the Pixel, but in reality, the Pixel will likely have the superior camera and possibly chip, and also, scores more points thanks to being available in the U.S.

Pixel 8a vs iPhone SE

We're still to get a new and modern-looking iPhone SE. Rumors point to a more modern design, but this phone is not here yet and there's no information on when it will be (it may not launch until 2025). The question here is less about specs and more about what experience you'd rather have: iOS or Android. And that's a question with many aspects to it that I won't be addressing here. But all in all, who wins here depends on OS preferences.

However, it's an objective fact that if you compare the 8a to the iPhone SE from 2022, the 8a should win. I mean, the modern design, camera, and features - are all better than the iPhone SE from 2022. But things aren't so clean-cut when it comes to a new iPhone SE. For when it happens...

Pixel 8a vs OnePlus Nord 3

Currently, there are multiple versions of the OnePlus Nord line. The one that fits best with the category of a mid-ranger is the OnePlus Nord 3. However, the OnePlus Nord 3 is not available in the U.S. so far, and maybe it won't be at all.

The Nord is pretty strong when it comes to specs, sporting a 6.7-inch 120Hz display, MediaTek Dimensity 9000 chip, and a triple camera system with a main sensor with 50MP resolution. The chip here is closer to flagship processors like the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (in the Z Fold 4 and Flip 4, for example).

Here's a reference of the chip in the Flip 4 and the chip in the Google Pixel 7a.
Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 41051
Google Pixel 7a1437
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 42683
Google Pixel 7a3461
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 42094
Google Pixel 7a1631
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4968
Google Pixel 7a1095

However, the fact that the Nord is not available in the U.S. means the Pixel 8a's got the win here. Other OnePlus Nord versions are more in the budget-friendly category.

Conclusion: the Pixel 8a chances are pretty good

Although not everything defaults to who's got the best specs; processing power, camera specs, and battery are all very important aspects of an experience with a phone. And this quick glance over the competition shows the Pixel 8a has stellar chances of winning some serious market share, especially in the U.S. Also, the phone is expected to pack some notable upgrades over its predecessor as well, making a Pixel A-phone even more enticing.

Hopefully, Google will take advantage of this situation and climb to the top of the mid-range game with the 8a. We'll probably know soon as the phone is rumored to get its unveiling in May, during Google's I/O conference (starting May 14).

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