Google Pixel 8a vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: May the better model win

The Google Pixel 8a vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 FE mid-range battle is here. After comparing the specifications of both phones, you may get a clearer picture of which phone is right for you. The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE has been out for a while, but it still wins in some areas compared to the new Pixel 8a.

Both Android phones have a lot to offer, but what matters most to you will determine which one you go with. For example, some users will only consider a phone if the camera specifications are good, while others care more about the software. Pixel phones get the latest Google features first, but is that a solid reason to get the Pixel 8a? We'll give you a detailed comparison to see where each phone loses and wins, and which is best for your tech needs.

Google Pixel 8a vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Design

White Galaxy S23 FE with Mint case

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

You can identify which phone is which by looking at the design. The Google Pixel 8a stands out because the aluminum camera bar runs along the back and has more rounded corners than the previous model, giving it a more elegant look. With this new design, the Pixel 8a looks practically identical to the Pixel 8. The Google Pixel 8a is available in Aloe, Bay, Obsidian, and Porcelain. It also has a matte finish on the back that matches the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro style.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE has three camera modules in the upper left-hand corner without the border that the S21 FE has. It is available in Mint, Purple, Cream, Graphite, Indigo, and Tangerine finishes. Unlike past models, the back of the phone has a glass finish. You also get lovely silver accents in the form of separate camera rings. The aluminum frames have a matte finish and are 30 grams heavier than the previous model, and the bezels are a little thick.

Google Pixel 8a vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Display

The homescreen of the Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Google Pixel 8a has an improved display this time, but the size is still the same, with a 6.1-inch panel. You can also count on a 120hz OLED panel with a 1080 x 2400 resolution and a middle-hole punch cutout for the selfie camera.

The display has an optical fingerprint reader and has been bumped to the same Actua display featured on the Pixel 8. The Pixel 8a's peak brightness is 40% higher than the previous model at 2,000 nits in HDR mode. The layer of Gorilla Glass 3 for protection isn't as good as its Galaxy competitor. You enjoy features like an Always-on mode and widgets like At A Glance and Now Playing on the lock screen.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE features a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a 1080 x 2340 resolution that offers decent sharpness and color accuracy. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate (60Hz when idling) and Gorilla Glass 5, not Victus, like the previous model. The Galaxy S23 FE supports HDR10+ video content, and the brightness is better in this model than the S21 FE. The Galaxy S23 FE isn't as bright as its Pixel 8a competitor, with a peak brightness of 1,450 nits.

Google Pixel 8a vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Hardware

The Galaxy S23 FE in all its colors

(Image credit: Samsung)

How long can the Google Pixel 8a last in terms of battery life? With a 4,492mAh battery that supports 18W wired charging and 7.5W wireless charging, the Pixel can last a day. You can stretch that to as long as 72 hours on the extreme battery-saver mode. It has a slightly inferior battery than the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE but a better Tensor G3 chip than last year's flagships. The cores are new, and they have improved performance. There is no information on the thermal management at this point. It also has a USB Type-C 3.2 port.

There is no change regarding RAM, you still get the same 8GB memory from last year. You also get UFS 3.1 storage instead of the faster UFS 4.0 storage, which is a shame. The Pixel 8a offers two storage options: 128GB and 256GB, the latter being a first for the Pixel A series. The Pixel 8a shares the exact RAM and storage capacity as its Galaxy S23 FE competitor.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE has a 4,500mAh battery that supports 25W wired and 15W wireless charging. Unfortunately, battery life is middling with about half a day's worth of usage resulting from a single charge. The phone has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor that is slightly less powerful than its Pixel competitor. The Samsung model sold outside the United States has an Exynos 2200 processor. Both the Pixel 8a and the Galaxy S23 FE feature stereo speakers.

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CategoryGoogle Pixel 8aSamsung Galaxy S23 FE
OSAndroid 14, seven OS and security updatesAndroid 13, fours OS updates and five security
Display6.1-inch, 120Hz OLED, 2400x1080, HDR10+, 2000 nits, Gorilla Glass 36.4-inch, 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED, 1080x2340, HDR10+, 1450 nits, Gorilla Glass 5
ChipsetGoogle Tensor G3Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Storage128GB/256GB UFS 3.1128GB/256GB
Cameras64MP/13MP main with OIS, 13MP front-facing, HDR50MP/8MP/10MP main with OIS, 10MP front-facing, HDR10+
Ingres protectionIP67 dust and water resistanceIP68 dust and water resistance
Connectivity5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.35G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
Battery4,492mAh, 18W wired charging, 7.5W wireless charging4,500mAh, 25W wired charging and 15W wireless charging
Wireless chargingYesYes
Dimensions152.1 x72.7 x 8.9mm158 x 76.5 x 8.2mm
ColorsAloe, Bay, Obsidian, PorcelainMint, Purple, Cream, Graphite, (Samsung exclusive Indigo, Tangerine

Google Pixel 8a vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Software

Circle to Search on the Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Google)

Google promises seven years of software and security updates with the Pixel 8a and Android 14 out of the box, so you're sure to get monthly Feature Drops as well as major OS upgrades for quite a while. With this mid-range Pixel, you get a lot of the smart AI features you would see on the Pixel 8. You get Call Assist, Pixel VPN, Magic Eraser Audio, Speech-to-Text, and Gemini.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE comes with Android 13 based on One UI 5.1 but can be upgraded to Android 14 based on One UI 6.1 right away. However, this model doesn't offer as many updates, as Samsung promises only four years of system updates and five security updates. You also get the same AI experience you would on higher-end models (when updated to One UI 6.1), such as DeX support, Photo Remaster which fixes blurry pictures, and the Summarize feature which gives a summary of long articles when using the Samsung browser.

This model also includes Interpreter Mode, which is very helpful whenever you need something translated. Other included features are Circle to Search, Auto format, Correct spelling, and Translate in Samsung Notes.

Google Pixel 8a vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Which should you buy?

A person holding an Obsidian Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Google)

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is available now for a starting price of $599, and the Google Pixel 8a starts at $499 in the US. The Pixel 8a is cheaper and has fun AI features you won't find on the Galaxy S23 FE, so if you're a selfie enthusiast and always want the latest system updates, the Pixel 8a might sound more appealing.

But if you've always wanted to have the AI features you would see on Samsung's higher-end Galaxy S models like the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and want to flaunt a more elegant-looking phone, then the S23 FE could be your choice. In the end, it always comes down to your preferences and budget.

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.