Google Pixel 8a High Price Lacks Justification

What you should know


  • The Google Pixel A-series, known for its budget-friendly options and strong camera performance, is facing increased competition from other manufacturers who now offer advanced computational and AI-powered photography at similar price points.
  • Despite the Google Pixel 7a’s price reduction ahead of the Pixel 8a launch, rumors suggest the Pixel 8a might come with a higher price tag, potentially diminishing its appeal as a budget-friendly option.
  • The Pixel 8a is expected to feature notable specifications including a 6.1-inch 1080p display with a 120Hz refresh rate, Tensor G3 processor, and a dual-camera setup, positioning it closely to the Pixel 8 but at a rumored starting price that challenges its value proposition.
  • Speculation about the future of the Pixel A-series includes the possibility of Google discontinuing the budget line in favor of focusing on its premium numbered series, especially if the Pixel 8a’s price increase aligns it more with midrange competitors than budget offerings.


Full Story

The annual 2024 I/O pilgrimage to all things Google is set for May 14. This year, the spotlight’s not just on Android 15 but also on the Pixel 8a, hailed as one of the best affordable Android phones. But hold up—rumors suggest the Pixel 8a might not be so “budget” after all. What’s the deal, Google?

Ever since the Pixel 3a debuted in 2019, Google’s A-series phones have been the toast of our reviews and budget phone roundups. Initially, Google’s computational photography was unmatched. They managed to wring out exceptional camera performance from a modest 12MP sensor on the back, from the Pixel 3a through the Pixel 6a. That was something special.

Now, though, every Tom, Dick, and their pet parrot is meshing computational and AI-powered photography with hefty sensors and telephoto lenses, even on mid-range models. This evolution means Google’s edge in the camera department is slowly getting blunted, especially at the lower end of the market.

While the Pixel 8 Pro is still snagging awards in our flagship phone camera showdowns, the $500 Pixel 7a only got a pat on the back for being “capable” in our review. That’s a step down from the raving “excellent camera!” reviews the $450 Pixel 5a received. Seems like the competition’s catching up, or maybe even overtaking Google.

And then there’s the display issue. Competitors in the same price bracket are flaunting high-res screens with 120Hz refresh rates, leaving the Pixel 7a in the dust. With its price dropped to $349 before the Pixel 8a’s grand reveal, it’s more appealing, sure. But it makes you wonder about Google’s strategy.

Raising the price of the Pixel 8a? Now, that’s a head-scratcher. The specs gap between the Pixel 7a and the upcoming Pixel 8 is already narrow. If the Pixel 8a arrives with a heftier price tag, its raison d’être becomes even murkier.

Rumors are swirling that Google might axe its budget A-series altogether, focusing solely on the main lineup. Yet, a Pixel 8a is supposedly in the pipeline for this year, aiming to compete with the Pixel 8 but at a puzzling price point.

Leaked specs of the Pixel 8a just hit the internet last week. Expect a 6.1-inch 1080 display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. It’s rumored to pack Google’s latest Tensor G3 chipset, start with 128GB of storage, and feature a dual-camera setup with a 64MP main shooter. Not to forget, a hearty 4,500 mAh battery to keep everything running, complemented by 27W fast charging. Here’s a quick spec rundown:

– 6.1-inch OLED display, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate, and 1,400 nits brightness.
– Tensor G3 processor.
– 8GB RAM.
– Options of 128GB or 256GB storage.
– Dual-camera system: 64 MP main + 13MP ultrawide.
– 13MP selfie snapper.
– 4,500mAh battery.
– 27W charging speed.
– Runs on Android 14.

Interestingly, the Google Pixel 8 shares some specs with the 8a, like the Tensor G3 processor and the 1080p 120Hz display. However, the Pixel 8 boasts a slightly larger and brighter screen and beefier camera sensors, promising better low-light photography. Rumor has it, the 8a’s Tensor G3 might be dialed back a notch, too.

Given the rumored $550 starting price for the Pixel 8a, one has to wonder: why opt for the 8a when the Pixel 8 is priced the same? Especially when the next-gen Pixel 9 is expected to debut at $699, making the 8a’s position even more precarious.

And don’t hold your breath for deep discounts on the Pixel 8a until it’s on its last legs, similar to the now $350 Pixel 7a. Crossing the psychological $500 mark pushes the 8a from budget darling to mid-range contender, where the Android competition is fierce.

In essence, bumping the Pixel 8a’s price just for a refresh rate boost or some new pastel colors seems like a misstep. It’s a puzzling move that could leave Google’s budget-friendly champ fighting for relevance in a crowded field.

Daniel, our tech guru at PhoneArena since the dawn of 2010, has been knee-deep in mobile tech since the days of Windows Mobile. His expertise spans the gamut from hardware to software, not to mention a keen eye on the future of digital health, car tech, and the looming 5G revolution. When he’s not dissecting the latest gadgets, Daniel’s balancing act involves travel, devouring books, and diving into the latest tech trends, all while wrestling with the big questions around ethics and privacy in our digital tomorrow.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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