The Google Pixel 8a could be the next mid-range Pixel phone, offering an affordable alternative to the Google Pixel 8 and the Google Pixel 8 Pro (both of which are also yet to launch at the time of writing).
We say “could be”, because there’s some doubt as to whether there will actually be a Pixel 8a or not, and we’ll get to why that is below. But it’s certainly a possibility, and given our 3-star Google Pixel 7a review, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Below, you’ll find everything we’ve heard about the Pixel 8a so far, and we’ll add to this as soon as we hear anything new. Then further down we’ve included a list of the things we most want from this phone – if it ever actually launches.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next mid-range Pixel phone
- When is it out? Possibly mid-2024
- How much will it cost? Likely around $499 / £449 / AU$749
Google Pixel 8a: release date and price
The question isn’t so much when the Pixel 8a will release as whether it will at all, because a couple of sources suggest it might not.
First, there was a claim from an “anonymous but trustworthy source” speaking to Android Authority in December 2022 that Google is developing a Pixel 8a, and it’s apparently codenamed “akita,” but this source added that depending on how the Pixel 7a sold, Google might decide to scrap it, and move to only releasing a new a-series model once every two years.
Since then, leaker Yogesh Brar has posted on X (formerly Twitter), saying that the Pixel a-series “seems to be coming to an end”, and that “it is certain that there won't be any 8a coming.” So that sounds rather more conclusive, but nothing has been confirmed just yet.
Pixel a series seems to be coming to an end. With the spec and price bump on the Pixel 7a, it is certain that there won't be any 8a coming.Google will likely stick with vanilla and Pro models alongside a foldable going forward. Something similar might happen with SamsungMay 1, 2023
If we do get a Pixel 8a, it will probably be announced in May of 2024, as the last two models were unveiled in May of their release years. However, while the Pixel 7a also went on sale in May, the Pixel 6a didn’t ship until late June, so the actual Pixel 8a release date is less clear, but expect it sometime around the middle of 2024, if it lands at all.
Alternatively, we might be waiting for the Pixel 9a in 2024, or not get any new a-series models at all, depending on which of either of the leaks above is right.
As for what the Pixel 8a might cost, Google upped the price for the Pixel 7a in the US and the UK, and it doesn’t do this every year, so we’d think the Pixel 8a will likely have the same price tag as the Pixel 7a, which would mean a starting price of $499 / £449 / AU$749. Don’t be surprised if it costs a little more though.
Google Pixel 8a: news and leaks
The most significant Pixel 8a leak so far takes the form of leaked photos of the phone, showing very curvy corners and very big bezels, with a design that otherwise looks a lot like the Pixel 8 (or indeed the Pixel 7a). You can see some of these below.
Since then, leaked photos of a Pixel 8a dummy unit made of metal have shown off a very similar design. This dummy unit apparently has dimensions of 153.44 x 72.74 x 8.94mm, making it slightly longer than the Pixel 7a, which might mean it's screen is slightly bigger than 6.1 inches.
Beyond that, based on past form we can guess that the Pixel 8a will probably have a new Tensor G3 chipset, so it should be more powerful than the Pixel 7a or even the Pixel 7 Pro – which didn't feel lacking for power in our Google Pixel 7 Pro review.
Google Pixel 8A codename AkitaTensor G3#Google #Pixel8 #Pixel8a pic.twitter.com/KMihyGk9exSeptember 21, 2023
Having said that, an early benchmark for a phone believed to be the Pixel 8a includes an underclocked version of the G3, which actually performs slightly worse than the G2, so it might not be so powerful after all. This benchmark also mentions 8GB of RAM and Android 14.
Going by past form, it’s likely that the Pixel 8a will have different and worse cameras than the Pixel 8, and many of its other specs may differ too, so those details are harder to predict, but we’ll update this section as soon as we hear anything more about the Pixel 8a.
Google Pixel 8a: what we want to see
The Pixel 7a is a reasonable phone but not an exceptional one, so there’s lots we want to see improved with the Pixel 8a, including the following things.
1. Better battery life
Our biggest complaint about the Pixel 7a was its battery life, with our review finding that it would struggle to make it through a full day.
That’s really not ideal for a smartphone, so we’d like to see big improvements to battery life with the Google Pixel 8a.
2. Faster charging
Longevity isn’t our only issue with the Pixel 7a’s battery – we were also disappointed by how slowly it charged. It charges at up to 18W, which is exceptionally slow by 2023 standards. Now, the standard Pixel 7 doesn’t charge much faster, but we also want improvements there.
So for the Pixel 8a, we’d like at least 25W charging, and ideally far faster speeds than that.
3. Longer-term software updates
Since Google makes Android it should be leading the way with how long its phones get software updates for, but it’s not. Samsung offers more (four years of OS updates), and even the top-end Pixel 7 Pro is only guaranteed to get three years of major Android version upgrades, and five years of security updates.
The latter is competitive, but only getting new versions of Android for three years isn’t, especially on a top-end phone, but even on an a-series model, so we want better support offered for the Pixel 8a.
4. A lower price
The Google Pixel 7a costs substantially more than the Pixel 6a (at least in the US and UK), which makes it hard to recommend when the Pixel 7 itself is a bit of a bargain.
So at a minimum we don’t want another price rise for the Pixel 8a, but ideally Google will find a way to reduce the price back down to Pixel 6a levels – in other words charging around $449 / £399 / AU$749 for it.
5. A 120Hz refresh rate
The Pixel 7a has a 90Hz refresh rate, which even for a mid-range phone isn’t special in 2023, so we’d like to see that boosted to 120Hz for the Pixel 8a.
We doubt this will happen though – the Pixel 7 itself also only has a 90Hz refresh rate, and while there are rumors that the Pixel 8 might get a 120Hz one, we think it’s unlikely the 8a will get the same upgrade.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.