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The best Google Pixel 8a alternatives: Samsung, Apple, and more

The Pixel 8a is the latest Google mid-ranger, but what if this isn't quite doing it for you?
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Published onMay 7, 2024

Google Pixel 8
MSRP: $699.00
Check price
Positives
Solid cameras
Faster wired charging
Industry-leading update promise
Unique AI features
Compact size
Negatives
Tensor G3 lags behind in benchmarks
Missing features reserved for the Pixel 8 Pro
No telephoto camera
Samsung Galaxy A35
MSRP: $400.00
Check price
Positives
AMOLED display
120Hz refresh rate
Expandable storage
Long battery life
Impressive performance for the price
OIS Camera
Negatives
Plastic mid-frame
Mediocre speaker
Back panel scratches easily
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
MSRP: $429.00
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Positives
A15 Bionic chipset
Touch ID
Improved battery life
Negatives
Extremely dated design
Cramped, low-res display
Inflexible camera
OnePlus 12R
MSRP: $499.99
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Positives
Excellent everyday performance
Incredibly fast 80W wired charging
Sharp, super-bright OLED screen
The alert slider is great
Superb value
Negatives
No wireless charging
Oxygen OS can be clunky at times
Cameras are mid-to-bad
Nothing Phone 2a
MSRP: $349.00
Check price
Positives
Quirky design
Crisp AMOLED display
Punchy speakers
Decent cameras
Quick wired charging
Negatives
Poor US support
Limited IP rating
Weak camera zoom
Google Pixel 7a
MSRP: $499.00
Check price
Positives
The best sub-$500 camera phone
Solid performance and plenty of RAM
Neat size and design
Smooth, feature-rich software
Improved 90Hz display
Great upgrade commitment
Negatives
Slow wired charging, even slower wireless charging
Mediocre battery life
Tensor G2 runs hot
Pixel 7 and Pixel 6a are better value
Pixel 8a Bay
Google

The Pixel 8a is Google’s latest mid-range phone, and there’s a lot to like here. You’ve got the same level of horsepower as its flagship stablemates, some AI features, premium extras, and seven years of updates. Is the phone not quite up your alley, though? Then take a look at our list of the best Google Pixel 8a alternatives.

Buying the right Pixel 8a alternative for your needs

The Google Pixel 8a is a mid-ranger with some flagship stylings. That includes the flagship-tier Tensor G3 chip, great cameras, an IP67 rating, wireless charging support, and seven years of updates. So any great Pixel 8a alternative needs to tick some or most of these boxes.

Google Pixel 8: The best Google Pixel 8a alternative

Google Pixel 8 in hand
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 8 is ordinarily more expensive than the Pixel 8a, coming in at $699. But the good news is that it frequently goes on sale for $500 to $600, and it’s worth getting this phone at a discount over a full-priced 8a.

Google’s vanilla flagship phone effectively brings more of what makes the Pixel 8a great. That means faster wired and wireless charging, better rear cameras, better protective glass on the front and back (Gorilla Glass Victus), and an IP68 rating instead of IP67.

You’re also still getting Google’s Pixel-exclusive software features, several AI features, and seven years of security patches and OS updates. So this is definitely one of the best Pixel 8a alternatives on the market.

Google Pixel 8Google Pixel 8
AA Recommended
Google Pixel 8
Bright display • Upgraded face-unlock • Improved camera
MSRP: $699.00
A bright display from Google's 2023 flagship phone
The Google Pixel 8 introduces the new Actua display, a 6.2-inch panel that's 42% brighter than the Pixel 7. Backed by the fully updated Tensor G3 chipset, and a new 50MP camera, this promises to be one of the more exciting Pixel phones.

What makes it stand out

  • Loads of AI features: The combination of the Tensor G3 chipset and Google’s software prowess means we’ve got some great AI capabilities, such as Audio Magic Eraser, Magic Editor, and the Best Take photo mode.
  • Seven years of updates: The Pixel 8 matches the Pixel 8a by offering seven years of software updates. Only Samsung is matching Google in this regard.
  • Great cameras: The Pixel 8 brings improved camera hardware over the Pixel 8a, so we fully expect images taken on the Pixel 8 to look just a little better than Pixel 8a pictures.
Google Pixel 8aGoogle Pixel 8a
Google Pixel 8a
Great budget cameras • Extensive software guarantee • 120Hz OLED display
MSRP: $499.00
Best possible Pixel experience for the price
With the Pixel 8a, Google put all of its focus on value. A 6.1-inch display is backed by the Tensor G3 chip and decent specifications, a 64MP main camera is backed by most of Google's latest AI-powered features, and a 7-year update promise will keep this moderately priced phone ticking for years to come.

The other best Pixel 8a alternatives

  • Samsung Galaxy A35 5G: Samsung’s lower mid-range phone is the best bet for Galaxy fans in the US, but those in other markets should think about the more capable Galaxy A55 5G.
  • Apple iPhone SE 2022: The third iPhone SE model is getting on in years, but it’s still the most affordable Pixel 8a alternative if you want an Apple handset.
  • OnePlus 12R: This mid-range OnePlus phone is definitely worth considering if performance, battery life, and fast charging are your priorities in a smartphone. Just don’t expect great cameras or any premium additions.
  • Nothing Phone 2a: Nothing’s first A series phone is only available in the US via its developer program, and it’s not as full-featured as the Pixel 8a. But it’s cheaper and does all the basics really well.
  • Google Pixel 7a: Google continues to sell its previous mid-range Pixel device. You do miss out on some on-device AI features, seven years of updates, and a new Tensor chip, but it still brings a great camera and nifty software features.

Samsung Galaxy A35: The best alternative for Samsung fans

 

Galaxy a35 5g awesomelemon front
Samsung

The Galaxy A55 5G is a great Pixel 8a alternative, but it isn’t available in the US. So we’d recommend you take a look at the Galaxy A35 5G if you’re in North America. The device brings a $400 price tag, an IP67 rating, a solid 120Hz OLED screen, and a larger battery with faster charging than Google’s phone.

It’s not all good, though, as the Galaxy A35 5G’s Exynos 1380 chip is a step down from the Pixel 8a’s Tensor G3 SoC. There’s also a distinct lack of AI features here compared to Google’s phone, as well as no wireless charging. It’s also worth noting that Samsung’s A-series phones have typically lagged behind the Pixel A range as far as camera quality is concerned.

In any event, the Galaxy A35 5G is still worth a shot if you want a decent budget phone, and the addition of five years of updates only sweetens the deal. People outside the US should keep the A55 5G in mind too, owing to the premium build and improved performance.

Samsung Galaxy A35Samsung Galaxy A35
Samsung Galaxy A35
AMOLED display • 120Hz refresh rate • Long battery life
MSRP: $400.00
Samsung Galaxy A55 5GSamsung Galaxy A55 5G
Samsung Galaxy A55 5G
Premium, water-resistant design • Long battery life • Vivid 120Hz AMOLED display
MSRP: $470.00
The top Galaxy A series phone for 2024.
The Samsung Galaxy A55 5G is a mid-range phone that succeeds the Galaxy A54 5G. The most notable changes are a switch to a metal frame, improved Gorilla Glass, and a new Exynos chipset with AMD graphics.
See price at Amazon
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Samsung Galaxy A55
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy A55

What makes it stand out

  • Big battery and 25W charging: The A35 5G offers a 5,000mAh battery, along with relatively slow 25W charging that’s still faster than the Pixel 8a’s 18W speeds.
  • One UI: Samsung’s Android software isn’t as lightweight as the Pixel UI, but it offers way more features and customizability.
  • Lengthy update promise: The Galaxy A35 5G brings four OS updates and five years of security patches. It’s not as good as the Pixel 8a’s seven years of updates, but still very respectable.

Apple iPhone SE 2022: The best alternative for Apple fans

iPhone SE 2022 review second opinion showing back of the phone in hand
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

There aren’t many options if you want a cheap iPhone that rivals the Pixel 8a, but the iPhone SE 2022 remains the best pick in this regard. Apple’s device matches up well with the Google phone in a few areas, serving up a similarly powerful A13 Bionic chip, dust/water resistance, wireless charging, and years of software updates.

There are some significant downsides, though, as the iPhone SE 2022 only offers a single, 12MP rear camera. It also lacks Pixel 8a features like a high refresh rate OLED screen, 128GB of base storage, 5G, and USB-C. Instead, you’ll have to make do with a 60Hz LCD screen, 64GB of base storage, 4G, and a Lightning charging port.

Nevertheless, the iPhone SE 2022 is the best Pixel 8a alternative if you like iOS and want access to Apple’s ecosystem of services. But you’ll be sacrificing a lot in other areas by opting for this device.

Apple iPhone SE (2022)Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Guaranteed long-term software updates • Improved battery life • Powerful A15 Bionic chipset
MSRP: $429.00
One of the most affordable iPhones you can get
The latest iPhone SE has the same body as its predecessor but sports a faster chipset, more RAM, and a bigger battery.

What makes it stand out

  • Access to Apple’s ecosystem: Do you use other Apple devices and/or services? Then the iPhone neatly integrates with these offerings.
  • Some premium extras: The iPhone SE 2022 also brings water resistance and wireless charging, much like the 8a.
  • iOS: The iPhone’s operating system differs from Android in a number of ways, making it worth a look if you want something different.

OnePlus 12R: The best alternative if you want faster everything

OnePlus 12R cameras
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

OnePlus made a notable splash earlier this year when it launched the OnePlus 12R, and it matches the Pixel 8a’s $499 price tag. The phone actually beats Google’s device in several areas, offering the more performant Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, 100W wired charging (or 80W in the US), and a much bigger battery (5,500mAh). It even brings a super-bright screen and the trademark alert slider.

The phone lags behind Google’s device in a few areas, though, completely missing wireless charging and water resistance. The OnePlus 12R also offers mediocre cameras, which means you should avoid it if photography is a priority. The company also offers four major OS updates and five years of security updates, which is good but not as great as the Pixel’s update policy.

Nevertheless, between the brisk processor, big battery, ultra-fast charging, and great screen, the OnePlus phone is worth a look if you want a performance beast with relatively future-proof hardware.

OnePlus 12ROnePlus 12R
AA Recommended
OnePlus 12R
Excellent everyday performance • Incredibly fast 80W wired charging • Superb value
MSRP: $499.99
Performance-driven for gaming and multitasking
The OnePlus 12R packs in high-end specs, lots of RAM, a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, next-gen cooling, and high-speed charging for under $500.

What makes it stand out

  • Crazy-fast wired charging: The phone lacks wireless charging but more than makes up for it with its wired speeds. It can go from zero to 100% in roughly 30 minutes.
  • Great performance and big battery: The OnePlus 12R drubs the Pixel 8a when it comes to performance, while still offering two days of juice.
  • That bright screen: The phone’s screen can reach 1,600 nits of brightness with auto-brightness, making it ideal for outdoor viewing. It can also reach 4,500 nits of peak brightness for HDR content.

Nothing Phone 2a: The best alternative if you value design

Nothing Phone 2a cameras close up
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Nothing Phone 2a is only available in the US via its developer program, but you don’t need to be a developer to get your hands on it. So what do you get for $349, then?

Nothing’s first A-series phone does the basics well enough, featuring dual 50MP rear cameras, a mid-tier but still capable Dimensity 7200 Pro chipset, and a 5,000mAh battery with 45W charging. You’ve still got the brand’s Glyph lighting system on the back too, making for a unique look in this segment.

Unfortunately, the phone does lag behind Google’s handset in a few areas, lacking water resistance, wireless charging, and updates (although it still gets four years of patches). The Nothing Phone 2a will also leave you wanting on US networks, owing to its status as a developer device. But this shouldn’t be a problem in Europe and India.

Nothing Phone 2aNothing Phone 2a
AA Recommended
Nothing Phone 2a
Quirky design • Crisp AMOLED display • Punchy speakers
MSRP: $349.00
The first true budget phone from Nothing.
The Nothing Phone 2a aims to deliver all the core features and style of the Nothing Phone 2 at a cheaper price point.

What makes it stand out

  • Unique design: The Nothing Phone 2a and its Glyph lighting system make for a head-turning design compared to most phones out there.
  • Relatively fast charging: It takes just over an hour to fully charge the phone’s big battery, and that should be way faster than the Pixel 8a’s charging time.
  • Competitive price: At $349 in the US and £319 in the UK, the Phone 2a undercuts Google’s device in a big way.

Google Pixel 7a: The best alternative for budget-conscious Pixel fans

google pixel 7a home screen lying down
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Google’s previous mid-ranger is still worth a purchase if you can find it at a discount. The bad news is that you miss out on the Tensor G3 chip, a brighter 120Hz screen, seven years of updates, and some on-device AI features.

The good news is that the Pixel 7a still offers a respectable Tensor G2 chip, five years of updates, and some Pixel-only features. It even offers wireless charging and an IP67 rating, which is in line with the 8a. In other words, this is one of the best Pixel 8a alternatives if you want the core Pixel experience at a cheaper price.

Google Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7a
AA Editors Choice
Google Pixel 7a
The best sub-$500 camera phone • Solid performance and plenty of RAM • Improved 90Hz display
MSRP: $499.00
The essential Pixel experience
The Pixel 7a delivers more premium features than ever for under $500, such as wireless charging support, a 90Hz refresh rate display, and a 64MP camera.

What makes it stand out

  • IP67 and wireless charging: These features aren’t common in the sub-$500 market, so we’re glad to see them here.
  • Great cameras: The Pixel 7a brings Google’s excellent image processing, along with a few tricks like Long Exposure and Face Unblur
  • Pixel software: The Pixel 7a doesn’t have Google’s new AI features, but we’ve still got excellent call-related features, Google Recorder, and much more.

FAQs

No, the Google Pixel 8a doesn’t have a headphone jack. If this is a must-have feature for you, we have a list of the best phones with a headphone jack.

No, the Google Pixel 8a doesn’t have a microSD card slot. You should look at our list of the best phones with expandable storage if this is important to you.

No, the Pixel 8a doesn’t come with a screen protector in the box. We have a list of the best Google Pixel 8a screen protectors if you need one.

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