Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 6a: Which Pixel is worth getting?

A comparison between Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 6a is necessary when two generations have passed. You want to know if the latest mid-range Pixel is worth the upgrade and the cash. Every new model offers something that the previous model doesn't, even more so with a two-model gap.

Both Android phones have a few specs in common, but the Pixel 8a has more to offer than the Pixel 6a. You may have skipped last year's model because there wasn't much of a difference, but that's not the case with these Pixels since the Tensor 3 processor brings some new features to the table. Let's see what the newer model offers and discover how much of a difference there is between them.

Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 6a: Design

The Google Pixel 8a in the Bay blue colorway

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

In some cases, you can tell which Android phone is a Pixel and which is not by looking at the design. Even though these are two Pixel phones and keep the general aesthetic, you can still tell them apart by looking at the design. 

For example, the Pixel 8a has more rounded corners on the chassis, leaving behind that square look. In the Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 6a comparison, you'll also see you have more colors to choose from. The Google Pixel 8a comes in Aloe (Green), Bay (Blue), Obsidian (Black), and Porcelain (White). The Pixel 8a comes with a matte-textured rear, which is a great anti-smudge addition.

The Pixel 6a, on the other hand, has sharper edges, giving it that square look. You get one less color option with the older mid-range model since you can only choose from three: Black, White, and lighter green. Or like Google likes to call them Charcoal, Chalk, and Sage. Both phones share an IP67 rating and Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 6a: Display

The home screen of the Google Pixel 6a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Both Pixel phones share a 6.1-inch display with a 1080 x 2400 resolution, Now
Playing, HDR support, 20:9 aspect ratio, Full 24-bit depth for 16 million colors, Always-on, Refresh rate, and brightness. For instance, the Pixel 8a wins when it comes to its 120Hz adaptive (60Hz out of the box) refresh rate and 2,000 nits peak, thanks to the Actua display that the Pixel 8 also features. Both models may have Corning Gorilla Glass three, but the one on the Pixel 8a is scratch-resistant, while it's not on the older model.

The Google Pixel 6a lags with a 60Hz refresh rate and features 778 nits for brightness, making it a little more difficult to see outdoors. Don't let the 60Hz refresh rate make you discard this phone since, in his review of the Pixel 6a, Nicholas Sutrich mentions that this refresh rate is smoother than on other displays with the same refresh rate.    

Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 6a: Hardware

Multitasking on the Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Regarding the chipset, the Google Pixel 8a is the winner with a Tensor G3. It's not the fastest on the market but will give users more processing power. Both Pixel phones have almost the same battery size, the 8a having a 4410mAh battery and the 6a having a 4492mAh one. Our Nicholas Sutrich mentions in his review that the battery life is not very impressive when you must always put the display at 100% brightness. But if you use the Pixel 8a at a 60Hz refresh rate and auto-brightness, you can get more out of the battery. 

The camera you saw on the Pixel 7a makes a comeback in the 8a, with a 64MP primary camera and a 13MP selfie camera to capture all the fun. Both Pixel 8a and 6a phones share Stereo speakers and two microphones. The Pixel 8a has wireless charging, a feature you won't find on the 6a, but it will be on the slow side with 7.5W. Both phones share a USB Type-C port.

With the Google Pixel 6a, you get a chipset two generations behind with a Tensor G1. The battery on the 6a isn't all that bad since it can last all day and maybe not even dip below 30%, as Nicholas Sutrich said in his review of the older Pixel model. The peak brightness on the 6a is not as high as the latest model, coming in at 778 nits.

The Pixel 6a has two 12MP rear cameras, one main and the other ultrawide. However, it only has an 8MP camera for selfies.

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CategoryGoogle Pixel 8aGoogle Pixel 6a
OSAndroid 14, seven OS and security updatesAndroid 12, updates to Android 14, three years of OS and five of security updates
Display6.1-inch, 120Hz OLED, 2400x1080, HDR10+, 2000 nits, Gorilla Glass 36.1-inch, 60Hz OLED, 2400x1080, HDR10+, 778 nits, Gorilla Glass 3
ChipsetGoogle Tensor G3Google Tensor G1
Storage128GB/256GB UFS 3.1, no expandable storage128GB, UFS 3.1, no expandable storage
Cameras64MP/13MP main with OIS, 13MP front-facing, HDR12MP/12MP main with OIS, 8MP front-facing, HDR
Ingres protectionIP67dust and water resistanceIP67 dust and water resistance
Connectivity5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.35G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Battery4,492mAh, 18W wired charging, 7.5 wireless charging4,410mAh, 18W wired charging, no wireless charging
Dimensions152.1 x 72.7 x 8.9mm152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9mm
ColorsAloe, Bay, Obsidian, PorcelainCharcoal, Chalk, Sage

Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 6a: Software

Circle to Search on the Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Google)

While both Pixel phones have AI features, since the Pixel 8a has a more powerful processor, it's clear that you'll get more on the Pixel 8a. For example, the latest mid-range Pixel model features Best Take, Magic Editor, Circle to Search, Gemini Nano, Live Translate, and Audio Magic eraser. Other helpful features let you screen calls, Photo Unblu, and navigate phone trees. 

There is a vast difference in the years users will get system and security updates. For example, the 8a gets seven years of system and security updates, and it does ship with Android 14 out of the box. And since Pixels always get the updates first, you'll enjoy the stable version of Android 15 when it becomes available later this year.

The Pixel 6a still has some AI features up its sleeve, such as the Magic Eraser tool and Live Translate. However, when it comes to updates, the 6a only gets three years of OS updates and five years of security updates. So, 6a fans could get the latest update, which brings the Android 15 version. 

The Pixel 6a shipped with Android 12 but can be upgraded to Android 14. Unfortunately, it looks like Android 15 will be the last upgrade it gets. So, upgrading is a must if you want to keep getting OS and security updates for many more years.

Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 6a: Who wins?

The home screen of the Google Pixel 6a with wallpaper from Backdrops

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Google Pixel 8a is a clear upgrade from the 6a, but what matters most to you will determine whether you upgrade or not. If you stay with the older model, you're only looking at one more system update before it's stuck at that version, but you get seven more years with the latest mid-range model.

The Pixel 8a also gives you more AI features to play with and more powerful cameras. If you only use your phones for basic things and you're not a heavy user, the Pixel 6a will do just fine. But since most of us use them for everything these days, the upgrade looks very tempting.

Judy Sanhz

Judy is a tech geek who loves technology. She has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering various devices and programs. She stays updated on the latest gadgets, upgrades, features, and news. She aims to make complicated tech information easy for everyone to read. When she's not writing about tech, she's watching Indiana Jones for the 100th time.