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Google Pixel 8a battery life and charging speeds tested: Is it good enough?

Google's affordable smartphone disappoints in one area, but is it a deal breaker?

Published onMay 26, 2024

Pixel 8a Charging
Paul Jones / Android Authority

Google’s mid-range smartphones have been exceptionally well-rounded for the past couple of years, and the Pixel 8a improves upon that already excellent value proposition. It even veers close to the mainline Pixel 8 in many areas. However, Google has historically maintained a few degrees of separation between its flagship and affordable lines. So, does the Pixel 8a’s budget heritage shine through in aspects such as charging speed and battery life? We’ve conducted extensive real-world testing to find out.

Pixel 8a series battery and charging specs

Google Pixel 8a
Battery capacity
4,492 mAh
Wired charging
18W wired charging, USB-PD
Wired charging times
25%: 14 minutes
50%: 32 minutes
75%: 54 minutes
100%: 100 minutes
Wireless charging
7.5W wireless charging, Qi
Charging adapter
Not included in-box, sold separately

Pixel 8a battery life: What to expect?

pixel 8a vs 8 vs 7a battery life benchmarks

With its 4,492 mAh battery capacity, the Pixel 8a comes within touching distance of the more expensive Pixel 8 and its 4,575 mAh cell. Given that both Google phones sport the same SoC, you’d expect battery life to be on par as well. Luckily, that appears to be the case.

In 4K playback, the Pixel 8a lasts a whopping 170 minutes longer than the mainline Pixel 8. The mid-range Pixel also lasts longer in camera and video recording usage. However, it falls 30 minutes short of the Pixel 8 in our controlled gaming benchmark. The same applies to our web browsing test, where the Pixel 8 holds a slight edge.

The Pixel 8 and 8a trade blows in our controlled battery life tests.

Compared to its predecessor, the Pixel 8a delivers even more impressive results. The newer phone sports an extra 100 mAh of capacity alongside a more efficient chipset in the form of Google’s Tensor G3.

Except in our gaming and web browsing benchmarks, the Pixel 8a outlasted the 7a by a significant margin. In 4K playback and camera use, for example, the difference was a whopping three hours of additional runtime. However, it’s worth stressing that you won’t notice as much of a difference over a regular day of mixed smartphone use.

Overall, the Pixel 8a should comfortably last you through most days, even with relatively demanding workloads thrown in the mix. Google’s previous chips have chugged battery more quickly, so we’re quite happy with the Pixel 8a’s results. However, it’s worth noting that you won’t have enough juice left over for a second day of use.

Does the Pixel 8a charge fast enough?

Google Pixel 8a Charging Time and Power
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Google’s mid-range phone for 2024 can draw just 18W of power when plugged into the wall, meaning the Pixel 8a’s charging speed is the same as previous generations. We’re disappointed to see this spec remain unchanged given that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro got incremental power bumps to 27W and 30W respectively.

We’ve tested the Pixel 8a’s charging performance and found that it takes about 100 minutes for the phone’s battery to go from zero to full. Luckily, even though the 18W spec hasn’t changed from the Pixel 7a, the new phone doesn’t get as hot. This, in turn, allows it to sustain higher power levels for longer. Compared to its predecessor, the Pixel 8a reaches key milestones like 25%, 50%, and full charge about five minutes sooner.

But when compared to the more expensive Pixel 8, the Pixel 8a takes an additional 23 minutes to completely fill up. The difference luckily won’t be as apparent for short charging bursts — the Pixel 8 is only faster to reach 50% by about five minutes. However, the gap widens quite a bit once the battery reaches its maximum capacity.

The Pixel 8a is painfully slow to charge, even without comparing it to the competition.

Still, the Pixel 8’s charging speed is outpaced by much of the competition so it’s not a big win for either Google phone. As we’ll discuss in the next section, you’re better off looking at competing smartphones if you need faster charging speeds.

It’s rare for $500 smartphones to include wireless charging so we’re happy to see it at all on the Pixel 8a. However, the charging power discrepancy between Google’s flagship and the affordable line continues here as well. The Pixel 8a pulls just 7.5W via the Qi wireless protocol. The Pixel 8, meanwhile, can draw up to 18W from Google’s Pixel Stand. Even if you stick to Qi-certified chargers, the Pixel 8 has a higher 12W cap.

In practice, you’ll have to wait several hours for the Pixel 8a’s battery to fill up using wireless charging alone. The wait won’t be agonizing if you charge overnight, but you might as well plug in at that point and reduce the potential battery degradation from wireless charging.

Pixel 8a battery tech vs the competition

Google Pixel 8a vs Google Pixel 7a usb c ports
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Pixel 8a is in line with other smartphones in its class when it comes to battery life. The Tensor G3 may not be the most efficient processor, but it’s still a big improvement over its predecessors. The 4,500mAh capacity also strikes a perfect balance for a phone of this size as a larger battery would necessitate a thicker and heavier design.

You can get smartphones with far larger batteries at the $500 price point, but you’ll have to make sacrifices elsewhere. For example, the OnePlus 12R offers a 5,500 mAh battery but at the cost of a much larger footprint. A larger display will accelerate battery drain so we can’t directly compare capacities between smartphones of different sizes. Still, the 12R will at least limp along to reach two days of use.

That said, one area where the Pixel 8a falls unequivocally behind the competition is in terms of charging time. Even significantly less expensive smartphones offer faster top-ups these days. The Nothing Phone 2a is perhaps the best example — it can pull 45W over USB PD PPS and fully recharge in about an hour. The aforementioned OnePlus 12R performs even better, thanks to its 80W (100W outside North America) SuperVOOC charging that replenishes a fully depleted phone within half an hour.

The competition embarrasses the Pixel 8a's charging speed, but charging overnight could be a solution.

More established brands have started to offer competitive charging speeds as well. Samsung’s 25W Super Fast Charging has become standard across most of the company’s smartphone portfolio. Consequently, mid-range phones like the Galaxy A55 reach various charge intervals several minutes faster than the Pixel 8a.

Is the Pixel 8a’s slow charging speed a dealbreaker? Not quite — it’s still a very well-rounded phone with enough battery life to last between overnight charges. However, those with a more active or travel-oriented lifestyle will likely become frustrated with the Pixel 8a’s charging at times. If you happen to fall in this category, the Pixel 8 may offer a better value proposition, even if does cost a fair bit more.

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