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The Google Pixel 8a could be the best Pixel phone of 2024

This is going to be a busy year for Google Pixel devices. In less than a month, Google is expected to launch its first new Pixel phone of the year with the Google Pixel 8a. After that, we expect the Google Pixel Fold 2, perhaps another Pixel tablet, the Pixel 9 series, and the Pixel Watch 3 to debut later in the fall.

There’s a lot to look forward to with all these Pixels, but if you ask me, I think the Pixel 8a is the most promising of the bunch. In a year where Google has been planning exciting upgrades for its flagship and foldable phones, Google’s budget-focused model is what’s really on my mind.

Google is at its best with cheap phones

Google’s Pixel phones have been around since 2016, with the first Pixel A-series device – the Google Pixel 3a – introduced in 2019. The Pixel 3a was a special phone for several reasons. It offered a flagship camera, high-quality display, reliable performance, and clean software.

The Pixel 3a offered all of that in a well-designed package that retailed for just $499. To no one’s surprise, it quickly became our budget phone recommendation of the year. Previous Nexus phones have proven that Google has a knack for delivering high-quality, affordable smartphones, and the Pixel 3a proves that Google still has a deft skill in this area.

Subsequent entries in the Pixel A series have only continued to emphasize this point. Built on the formula of the Pixel 3a, the Google Pixel 4a and Google Pixel 5a were among the most widely used phones in 2020 and 2021, respectively. They were easy to live with with phones that did everything I asked of them, and at a price hundreds of dollars less than competing phones. The Google Pixel 6a and Google Pixel 7a had some issues with unreliable chipsets and price increases, but despite that, they’re still easy to recommend.

That’s not to say that Google hasn’t had success with more expensive phones, but it’s clear that the company has a unique knack for creating budget devices. Even in a year in which Google released the best Pixel flagship ever — the Google Pixel 8 Pro — the cheaper Google Pixel 8 took a lot of the limelight away from it.

Why could the Pixel 8a be so exciting?

Google has yet to announce the Pixel 8a, but the next entry in the Pixel A series has been leaked. A lot . We have a pretty good idea of ​​what the Pixel 8a will look like inside and out, and assuming what we’ve heard about the phone is true, it looks like Google made all the right decisions for this year’s release.

One of the main issues with the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7a is their chipset. The former is powered by Google’s first-generation Tensor chip, while the latter has a second-generation Tensor G2 chip. Naturally, we expect the Pixel 8a to get Tensor G3.

The Tensor G3 chip is far from the most technically impressive smartphone chip available in 2024, but – at least in my experience – it is a significant upgrade over the previous Tensor iterations. It runs cooler, is more battery efficient, and overall is a chipset I can rely on with more confidence than Google’s previous two pieces of silicon.

Speaking of the battery, there is word on the street that Google is working on increasing the battery capacity and wired charging speed of the Pixel 8a. More specifically, the phone should go from a 4,385 mAh battery to a 4,500 mAh battery. It will also boost charging at up to 27W compared to just 18W. Faster chip, bigger battery, faster charging? Signboard. I. higher.

And that’s not all! Perhaps more excitingly, multiple reports claim that the Google Pixel 8a is getting a 120Hz refresh rate for its display. One of the Pixel 7a’s most notable upgrades was the 90Hz refresh rate compared to the Pixel 6a’s maximum 60Hz, so hitting 120Hz after just one year is incredible.

We’re not expecting any major upgrades to the camera, but that’s honestly fine. Camera quality was one of the Pixel 7a’s strongest features. It was other aspects of the Pixel 7a that brought it down – be it the unreliability of the Tensor G2 chip, slow charging, etc. These things need to be addressed head-on with the Pixel 8a, and pairing it with the same reliable 64MP main camera + 13MP ultra-wide camera, we could end up with a recipe that’s impossible to beat.

It all depends on one thing

Let’s assume that everything I mentioned above is true. Google is shipping the Pixel 8a with a Tensor G3 chip, a larger battery, faster charging, and a 120Hz display. These are fairly significant upgrades, so surely this will come at the cost of a price increase? not necessarily.

Information about the Pixel 8a’s price is mixed. Some reports claim that the phone could see a price increase of $50 to $100 over the Pixel 8a, while others suggest that it will retain the same starting price of $499 as the Pixel 7a. If – and only if – Google delivers on these rumored upgrades without a price increase, we’ll consider this a truly special phone.

At $499, it’s hard to imagine the Pixel 8a not becoming one of our top budget smartphone picks for 2024. However, if Google raises the price to $549 or even $599, things get messy. If I can buy a Google Pixel 8 for just $549 right now, why would I bother buying a Pixel 8a in the first place? Google needs to get this right. But if so? Well, I’ll have to update our picks for the best cheap phones — and perhaps our list of the best smartphones overall.

Google is widely expected to announce the Pixel 8a at Google I/O on May 14.



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