Google Pixel 8a: Rumors, specs, and hopes for Google's 2024 budget phone

The Google Pixel 7a's metal camera bar up close
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

When it comes to value, it's impossible to beat the Pixel A-series. While it started from humble roots, phones like the Google Pixel 7a are now powerhouse devices tucked into unassuming price tags. Compared to everything else in the sub-$500 range, there's simply nothing like a Pixel A-series phone.

To start things off, it's entirely possible that Google will release a Pixel 8a and a Pixel 8a XL in 2024, as revealed by a source close to Android Central. As with previous Pixel A-series phones, we expect the Pixel 8a and Pixel 8a XL to once again be the year's value leaders.

We're also looking forward to an improved Google Tensor processor compared to last year. Tensor is one of the many reasons the Pixel 7a resides atop the list of best Android phones available, and, for most people, it makes more sense to get a Pixel 7a than to spend the extra money on the more expensive Pixel options.

As the rumor mill continues to heat up and more leaks appear, we're getting a clear picture of what the Pixel 8a is going to look like. Ready to find out what's next for Google's mid-range beast? Let's dive in.

Phone deals: Best Buy | Walmart | Samsung | Amazon | Verizon | AT&T

Google Pixel 8a: Price and availability

Pixel 8a hands-on leak

(Image credit: Abhishek Yadav/ via X)

According to a leaked roadmap from December 2022, the Pixel 8a should debut at Google I/O 2024. This is similar to the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7a, which both followed different designs and release patterns from previous Pixel A-series phones.

Google I/O 2024 will happen on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, and we expect the release of the Pixel 8a to follow that conference. An FCC listing of three Google Pixel 8a models all but confirms that as fact.

Pixel 8a retail box showing a black version of the phone

(Image credit: @chunvn8888 / X)

The Pixel 7a introduced a $50 price bump, making it $499. Previously, the Pixel 6a cost $449. We don't expect to see Google raise the price yet again, but one rumor suggests that Google will raise the price, anyway.

Aside from that, if a Pixel 8a XL is made, we expect that model to sport a $599 price tag based on previous pricing patterns.

Google Pixel 8a: Design and displays

Leaked renders of the Pixel 8a.

(Image credit: SmartPrix)

In recent years, the Pixel A-series has launched several months after the mainline Pixel series. The Pixel 6a followed the design of the Pixel 6, and the Pixel 7a followed the design of the Pixel 7. As such, we expect the Pixel 8a to look a lot like the Pixel 8.

And while the Pixel 8a will likely look a lot like the Pixel 7a, this coming year could grant at least one big surprise: two different-sized models. A source close to Android Central revealed that Google is currently testing two Pixel 8a models, each of which is a different size.

Google is testing two different-sized Pixel 8a models according to one source.

One leak of the retail box confirms that the Pixel 8a will look similar to the Pixel 8, including those more rounded corners. We may even get three different colorways this year, including grey, blue, and rose gold.

At this point in time, we're unsure if this means that Google will be releasing both a Pixel 8a and a Pixel 8a XL or if the company is just testing out different sizes to see if one is preferable over the other. Having two Pixel 8a sizes would help Google branch out a bit with its models, offering a total of four different Pixel 8 models instead of the current three models.

The Pixel 7a upgraded the OLED display to 90Hz, and recent leaks show that Google is improving the Pixel 8a's display by ramping it up to 120Hz. Doing so would put it toe-to-toe with the Samsung Galaxy A54 and OnePlus 12R.

Additionally, the latest rumor suggests that the maximum display brightness will see an upgrade to 1,400 nits, up from the 1,000 nit display on the Pixel 7a. All rumors point to a 6.1-inch display for the Pixel 8a.

Google Pixel 8a: Cameras

The camera bar on the Charcoal Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Pixel 7a debuted the first camera upgrades ever seen on a Pixel A-series device. Before that phone, all Pixel A-series phones used the same old 12MP main sensor, while the Pixel 7a upgraded this to a newer 64MP sensor.

As this was the first major camera sensor upgrade in Pixel A-series history, there's little reason to think that Google will look to upgrade the cameras again for the Pixel 8a.

The Pixel 7a uses a 13MP sensor for the ultrawide camera, so there's room for improvement, but no rumors or leaks have pointed to a potential upgrade at this time. A leaked retail box further suggests no changes to camera hardware.

Google Pixel 8a: Specs and performance

Playing Genshin Impact on a Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

As we approach Google I/O 2024 in May, more rumors are fleshing out the Pixel 8a's spec sheet. For now, we believe the phone will feature a 600mAh larger battery than the Pixel 7a, making it 4,942mAh, according to one leak. That's great news since one of our only complaints about the Pixel 7a was the deficient battery life.

More than that, the Pixel 8a is launching with an upgraded battery stats feature, as confirmed by a Google engineer on a bug report. Allegedly, the Pixel 8a will be the only Pixel phone with the feature until the Pixel 9 launches.

The Pixel 8a should be powered by the same Tensor G3 that powers the rest of the Pixel 8 series.

Tensor G3 was a notable improvement over Tensor G2 as it ran cooler and generally more efficiently than the previous year. Still, some Pixel 8 owners have reported their device still gets hot enough to throttle performance and cause some apps to pause until the phone cools down.

Hopefully, Google will get a better cooling engine in the Pixel 8a to help mitigate this issue.

The Pixel 8a is expected to be powered by a Tensor G3 and a larger battery.

We haven't seen any leaks about other device specs just yet, but we can surmise that Google will likely not increase the amount of RAM or the screen resolution as it did with the more expensive Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

We don't expect the Pixel 8 Pro's temperature sensor to make it to the Pixel 8a, just as it didn't appear in the smaller Pixel 8 for cost reasons.

Google Pixel 8a: Wishlist

The Google Pixel Fold and Pixel 7a held in two hands. The Pixel Fold is noticeably shorter and wider in folded mode.

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

For the price, it's hard to argue with Google's Pixel A-series phones. But there's no reason we can't wish for some improvements, particularly along the lines of the internal hardware. Here are our hopes for how Google could further improve the Pixel 8a over the Pixel 7a.

Less heat

Google's Tensor processors are really, really good at a few things and not so great at others. While they process AI-driven tasks like no other Android-based processor, gaming performance is lacking, and they tend to heat up. A lot.

Search Google for "Pixel overheating," and you'll find plenty of articles and forum posts about how Pixel phones tend to get too hot faster than other competing phones. I don't live in a hot climate, so I don't encounter this issue too often, but folks who live in tropical climates or spend lots of time in the Sun seem to report overheating too often.

Better battery life

Heat output from a light source or processor is normal, but excessive heat output could spell problems with efficiency. True to that line of thinking, Tensor processors tend to be less battery-efficient than competing processors from Qualcomm in any given year.

Many of our Pixel device reviews cite mediocre battery life, and we'd love to see this change in 2023 with Tensor G3. Battery life is highly dependent upon how you use your phone, of course, but we're not the only ones who feel like Pixel phones could do better in this area.

Thankfully, one rumor says Google is increasing the battery by at least 600mAh, a greater than 10% increase over the Pixel 7a.

Faster wireless charging

The Pixel 7a introduced wireless charging for the first time in a Pixel A-series phone. That's great for convenience, but it only charged at a paltry 5W speed.

That's usually enough to trickle-charge the phone if it's sitting on a desk all day, but it's less useful if you're actually looking to fill the battery up in less than a few hours. Bumping this up to a more normal 10W speed would help things a lot.

Improved portrait mode

Over the years, portrait mode on Pixel phones has taken a nosedive in quality. We're not sure why this is the case, but Pixel phones produce the worst quality portrait shots of all competing phones every time we test the feature. But the main culprit isn't overall photo quality; it's the blurred cut-outs that look terrible.

Portrait mode shots from a Pixel phone often have poor edge detection around a subject, leading to strange selections of blurred areas and harsh edge selections. Other companies do a much better job of properly selecting the subject and using a more nuanced blur method to separate the subject from the background.

This is particularly strange given the prestigious nature of Google's AI and Tensor's performance in processing AI-driven tasks. Something's definitely funny on the back end, and we hope Google can fix this soon.

PWM adjustments

As good as Google's Pixel phones might be, the AMOLED displays the company uses from Samsung flicker too much for their own good. The PWM-sensitive community considers Pixel phones to be one of the worst phones for anyone sensitive to flickering lights or displays, matching only the Samsung Galaxy line of phones.

Pixel and Galaxy phones all use the same types of displays, and Google seems content with using the same brightness-control method Samsung loves to use: pulse-width modulation (PWM). Personally, I'd like to see Google adopt a Motorola-like solution for reducing flicker on Pixel phones, as it would mean that I could use a Pixel phone full-time again.

Until then, though, anyone sensitive to flickering lights or displays will continue to have a hard time using Pixel phones like the Pixel 8a.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu