Higher Google Pixel 8a price makes no sense

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Higher Google Pixel 8a price makes no sense
The annual 2024 I/O pilgrimage to all things Google will take place on May 14, and besides Android 15 there will be a tribute to the altar of one of the best affordable Android phones for the year, the Pixel 8a.

According to the latest rumors, however, the Pixel 8a is not going to be exactly a budget phone. What gives, Google? 

The Pixel A-series is increasingly clashing


Ever since their inception with the Pixel 3a in 2019, the Google Pixel A-series of phones have earned our review and best budget phones roundup praise. 

At the beginning, Google's computational photography was second to none. It managed to squeeze more high-end phone camera performance from a single, modest 12MP sensor on the back of the Pixel 3a - Pixel 6a than many flagship handsets at their time.

Now that every phone maker and their pet parrot have paired computational and AI-powered photography with big sensors and telephoto cameras even on midrangers, Google's traditional Pixel camera advantage is increasingly being eroded on the low end.

While the Pixel 8 Pro earns accolades in our flagship phone camera comparisons, the $500 Pixel 7a only earned a "capable camera with lots of features" remark in our review. Compare that to the "excellent camera!" comments for the $450 Pixel 5a, and it seems that the competition tides have turned on Google.

In another example, phones in this price range are now brandishing high-res displays with 120Hz refresh rate, unlike the Google Pixel 7a. The handset now goes for $349 ahead of the Pixel 8a unveil and that is way more likely to attract takers, despite Google's crafty computational photography magic.

Google Pixel 7a

5G, Unlocked, 128GB Storage, 8GB RAM, Android 13, Google Tensor G2 Processor, 6.1-Inch OLED Display with 2400 x 1080 Pixel Resolution and 90Hz Refresh Rate Technology, 64 + 13MP Dual Rear-Facing Camera System, 13MP Selfie Shooter, 4,385mAh Battery with 18W Charging Capabilities, Two Color Options

Google Pixel 7a

5G, Unlocked, 128GB Storage, 8GB RAM, Android 13, Google Tensor G2 Processor, 6.1-Inch OLED Display with 2400 x 1080 Pixel Resolution and 90Hz Refresh Rate Technology, 64 + 13MP Dual Rear-Facing Camera System, 13MP Selfie Shooter, 4,385mAh Battery with 18W Charging Capabilities, Two Color Options

A Pixel 8a price increase makes no sense 


The specs scissor between the Google Pixel 7a and the Google Pixel 8 is already too close for comfort, but if the Google Pixel 8a lands with the rumored higher price, its existence would make even less sense.

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Perhaps that is why there are swirling rumors that Google may ditch its budget A-series of Pixel phones altogether, and only focus on the numbered game. Still, we know that a Pixel 8a is on tap for this year, and it will seemingly rival the Pixel 8 at a price point that makes you go hmm.

Google Pixel 8a

  • Display 6.1 inches 2400 x 1080 pixels 120Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 64 MP (Dual camera) 13 MP front
  • Hardware Google Tensor G3 8GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 4492 mAh
  • OS Android 14

According to the Pixel 8a specs that leaked just last week, it will offer a 6.1-inch 1080 display with 120Hz refresh rate. It should also be powered by Google's latest Tensor G3 chipset and start off with 128GB of storage. On the back, a 64MP main and 13MP ultrawide cameras will be responsible for Google's computational photography heavy lifting. Inside, a 4,500 mAh battery will keep the lights on, while the phone would come with 27W charging speeds. Here's a complete rundown of the Pixel 8a specs to expect:
  • 6.1-inch 2400 x 1080 pixels OLED display with 120Hz refresh rate and 1,400 nits brightness;
  • Tensor G3 processor;
  • 8GB RAM;
  • 128GB/256GB storage;
  • 64 MP main + 13MP ultrawide camera system;
  • 13MP selfie camera;
  • 4,500mAh battery;
  • 27W charging speed;
  • Android 14.

Coincidentally, the Google Pixel 8 is powered by a Tensor G3 processor, has a 1080p 120Hz display, and a 4575 mAh battery. The screen is bigger and brighter, though, while its camera sensor sizes are larger than what would be on the Pixel 8a, giving it superior photographic abilities in low light. Rumor has it that the Tensor G3 that will be in the Pixel 8a will be slightly underclocked, too.

Given the starting Pixel 8a price tag of $550 that is bandied about, it is hard to fathom why would anyone go with the Pixel 8a before the Pixel 8. After all, right now Google sells the Pixel 8 at $549!

Pixel 8 128GB

6.2 inches 120Hz OLED screen | Google Tensor G3 chip | 50MP+12MP cameras | 4,575mAh battery | 7 years of software support
$446 49
$699 99
Buy at Woot

Pixel 8 128GB

6.2 inches 120Hz OLED screen | Google Tensor G3 chip | 50MP+12MP cameras | 4,575mAh battery | 7 years of software support

Pixel 8 128GB

6.2 inches 120Hz OLED screen | Google Tensor G3 chip | 50MP+12MP cameras | 4,575mAh battery | 7 years of software support

Even when Google releases its next Pixel series in the fall with the Pixel 9 starting at $699, as usual, the Pixel 8a will still have a tough time explaining its purpose in life. If Google indeed bumps its price by a tad, it will cost as much or more than the better Pixel 8 that will be deprecated, while for just $150 more one would be able to get the latest and greatest Pixel 9.

Deep Google Pixel 8a price discounts aren't expected until it is on its way out at the same time next year, too, similar to what is happening to the $350 Pixel 7a now. Passing the psychological $500 starting price threshold, however, will throw it from the comfort of the budget category to the company of formidable midrangers where the Android competition is most fierce.

In short, it will make very little sense for Google to raise the price of the Pixel 8a just because it has bumped the refresh rate a little to 120Hz, or because it may come in new jolly pastel colors.

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