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Google Pixel 8a charges slower than the Galápagos tortoise runs the 400m

18W just isn't enough anymore, Google!
By

Published onMay 18, 2024

Many are (quite rightly) scratching their heads over the seemingly small differences between the Google Pixel 8 and the newer Pixel 8a. However, one of the few reasons to pick the regular Pixel 8 over the more affordable 8a is charging times.

We tested it, and it takes about 100 minutes to fully charge the Google Pixel 8a. While it was charging, I did some research and discovered that the leisurely Galápagos tortoise moves, on average, at about 0.26 kilometers an hour, or 4.3 meters per minute. In the time it takes the Pixel 8a to charge, a particularly determined tortoise could finish a 400m race with a few minutes to spare. Talk about slow.

As such, the regular Pixel 8, which is still pretty sluggish to charge in the grand scheme of things, is a fair bit faster to get back on its feet than the 8a. Still, there are some improvements over the last generation’s frankly rubbish-to-charge Pixel 7a.

Why does my Pixel 8a charge slowly?

Unless you’re clocking even more than 100 agonizing minutes from empty to full, this slow charge time is entirely expected behavior. If you’re experiencing much longer times, you might need to pick the correct USB charger.

The reason for such sluggish times is that the Pixel 8a only supports charging at up to 18W over USB Power Delivery. That’s less power than many other handsets, even at the $500 mark, and notably less power than the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, at 27W and 30W, respectively.

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

The good news, if we can call it that, is that the Pixel 8a charges with an almost identical power profile to the older Pixel 7 (also an 18W handset). Google appears to have fixed the overheating issues that caused the Pixel 7a to throttle back on power. Sadly, the improvement is only worth about a five-minute improvement to hitting 50%, 75%, and 100% capacity. But that’s something, at least.

Looking at temperatures, the Pixel 8a appears to have a bit of headroom. We recorded peak internal temperatures at 2°C lower than the Pixel 8, while average charging temperatures were 4.7°C lower. It certainly appears that the Pixel 8a could handle a little more power (at least thermally) if it were available.

Google's Pixel 8a charges slightly faster than the 7a, but is well behind the Pixel 8.

As a result of its extra power, the regular Pixel 8 hits full charge in 77 minutes, about 23 minutes faster than the Pixel 8a. Similarly, the phone is 10 minutes faster to 75% full and five minutes quicker to 50%. Every minute matters when you’re looking to get back on your feet in a hurry. Sadly, the Pixel 8a fails to deliver on anything close to what we consider contemporary fast charging.

Budgets phones don’t have to scrimp on charging power

Pixel 8a Charging
Paul Jones / Android Authority

At just $500, we’re not expecting all the bells and whistles on the Pixel 8a, but faster charging isn’t an anomaly at this price. For example, the $499 OnePlus 12R sports 100W (80W in the US) charging that takes the far bigger battery from empty to full in around half an hour. The Pixel 8a isn’t even half-charged by that point.

But even if we don’t look at this extreme, the mid-range Samsung Galaxy A55 (and the more expensive Galaxy S24) sports 25W charging. Samsung’s mid-ranger hits full in less than an hour and a half. It is not exactly fast, but it is still quicker than Google’s budget phone and hits those key 50% and 75% milestones sooner. Meanwhile, Samsung’s regular flagship has a 25W charging capability that can fill a phone in around 70 minutes. Better still, the Nothing Phone 2a, a far cheaper budget handset, offers 45W charging that refills the phone in about an hour.

Plenty of budget phones offer far faster charging than the Pixel 8a.

You only have to look around to see that affordable phones don’t have to charge slower than a tortoise’s pace. To Google’s credit, it packs a lot into the Pixel 8a, but some important everyday features, like charging, are spread far too thin. I’d rather sacrifice wireless charging, which is also a pathetically slow 7.5W anyway, in exchange for faster-wired charging that shaves 20 or 30 minutes off the time to full.

No one wants to wait 100 minutes or more to charge their phone in 2024, Google. Please make your next budget phone charge much faster.

See price at Amazon
Google Pixel 8a
Google Pixel 8a
Rich OLED display
Tons of Tensor G3-powered features
Pixel-pedigree cameras
See price at Amazon
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Excellent cameras
Fun, exclusive Android 14 customizations
Industry-leading update promise

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