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Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 5a: Is it time to upgrade yet?

The Pixel 8a proves that a lot can change in three generations.
By

Published onMay 7, 2024

Google Pixel 8a
MSRP: $499.00
Check price
Positives
Great budget cameras
Extensive software guarantee
120Hz OLED display
Negatives
Slow charging
Outdated display glass
No LTPO
Google Pixel 5a
MSRP: $389.99
Check price
Positives
Killer battery life
Versatile, easy-to-use cameras
Three years of updates
Negatives
No 90Hz display
Processor not future-proofed
pixel5a vancouver 6

Pixel 8a vs Pixel 5a: At a glance

  • The Pixel 8a has a much brighter and smoother display compared to the Pixel 5a.
  • With a 64MP primary shooter, an upgraded ultrawide lens, and various AI features, the Pixel 8a offers better imaging performance too.
  • The Pixel 8a packs Google’s latest Tensor G3 chip, which delivers near flagship-grade performance.
  • Google’s seven-year software support pledge means the Pixel 8a will continue receiving updates until 2031.
  • Unlike the older Pixel 5a, newer Google phones including the Pixel 8a do not feature a headphone jack.
  • Battery specs remain unchanged, but the Pixel 8a is the only one to offer 7.5W wireless charging.
  • At $500, the Pixel 8a is slightly more expensive than the Pixel 5a at launch.

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 5a: Specs

Google Pixel 8aGoogle Pixel 5a
Display
Google Pixel 8a
6.1-inch OLED
2400 x 1080 resolution
120Hz refresh rate
20:9 aspect ratio
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Google Pixel 5a
6.34-inch OLED display
2400 x 1080 resolution
60Hz refresh rate
20:9 aspect ratio
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Processor
Google Pixel 8a
Google Tensor G3
Google Pixel 5a
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
RAM
Google Pixel 8a
8GB
Google Pixel 5a
6GB
Storage
Google Pixel 8a
128/256GB
Google Pixel 5a
128GB
Battery
Google Pixel 8a
4.492mAh
18W wired charging
7.5W wireless charging
No charger included
Google Pixel 5a
4680 mAh
18W wired charging
Charger in-box
Cameras
Google Pixel 8a
64MP wide camera
ƒ/1.89 aperture
OIS + EIS
8x zoom

13MP ultra-wide camera, 120deg FoV
ƒ/2.2 aperture
Google Pixel 5a
12.2MP wide camera
ƒ/1.7 aperture
OIS

16MP ultra-wide camera, 114deg FoV
ƒ/2.2 aperture
Connectivity
Google Pixel 8a
5G
4G LTE
Wi-Fi 6e
Bluetooth 5.3
Google Pixel 5a
5G
4G LTE
Wi-Fi 5
Bluetooth 5.0
Operating System
Google Pixel 8a
Pixel UI
Android 14
Google Pixel 5a
Pixel UI
Android 11 (upgradeable to Android 14)
Water resistance
Google Pixel 8a
IP67
Google Pixel 5a
IP67
Colors
Google Pixel 8a
Aloe, Bay, Obsidian, Porcelain
Google Pixel 5a
Mostly Black

Dimension and weight
Google Pixel 8a
152.4 x 73.7 x 10.1mm
192.8 grams
Google Pixel 5a
156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm
183g

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 5a: Price and availability

Pixel 8a Porcelain
Google
  • Google Pixel 8a (128GB): $499
  • Google Pixel 8a (256GB): $559
  • Google Pixel 5a: Launched at $449

The Pixel 5a launched during an era of supply chain shortages in a handful of countries and was quickly discontinued just one year later. Fortunately, Google’s budget phones haven’t become all that much more expensive since then. The Pixel 8a launches at a $50 premium compared to its three-year-old predecessor, but it’s still a strong value at $500. At the very least, it didn’t get a $100 hike like the mainline Pixel 8 series.

With so many upgrades on offer (more on that in the next section), the Pixel 8a is a worthy upgrade. The Pixel 5a will no longer receive any security patches either. The 8a is notably the first Google A-series device to offer 256GB of storage too, for a slight premium.

Pre-orders for the Pixel 8a are now open via the Google Store and various carriers. The phone hits store shelves in the US, UK, and other European countries on May 14.

See price at Amazon
Google Pixel 8a
Google Pixel 8a
Great budget cameras
Extensive software guarantee
120Hz OLED display
See price at Amazon
Google Pixel 5a
6%off
Google Pixel 5a
Killer battery life
Versatile cameras
Three years of updates

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 5a: Should you upgrade?

pixel5a vancouver 5

Google’s modern smartphone design language is on full display with the Pixel 8a and it’s a big departure compared to the Pixel 5a that released in 2021. For starters, the new phone gets Google’s signature camera visor, a staple of every Pixel phone since the Pixel 6.

The biggest difference you’ll notice going from the Pixel 5a to the Pixel 8a is the latter’s higher-end display. At 6.1 inches, it’s a bit smaller, but you gain some features like a 120Hz refresh rate, significantly higher brightness, and an in-display fingerprint reader. The Pixel 5a’s 60Hz refresh rate was already going out of fashion in the smartphone market when it was released, so the upgrade to 120Hz is definitely a welcome upgrade.

The Pixel 8a features a 0.2-inch smaller display than the Pixel 5a, which will make for a noticeable ergonomic difference in the hand. The narrower and shorter build will fit smaller hands even better, for example. And the higher refresh rate means that you’ll notice an immediate improvement in smoothness, especially during animations and scrolling.

The Pixel 8a's display is the biggest upgrade if you're coming from an older device like the 5a.

On the subject of smoothness, Google has given the Pixel 8a its latest and greatest Tensor G3 SoC. While it’s a bit underpowered compared to the best mobile processors, the G3 is still a bargain and a half at $500. The Pixel 5a’s Snapdragon 765G was a much more modest chip by comparison, although the phone did cost less. The newer Pixel 8a also gets 2GB of extra RAM, matching the more expensive Pixel 8.

The Pixel 8a’s camera hardware is slightly better across the board, too — the 64MP primary sensor is the star of the show, and it’s a big upgrade over the Pixel 5a’s 12MP shooter. Besides the obvious resolution bump, the new sensor is also larger and capable of gathering more light. This directly translates to better-looking shots with less processing, especially when the sun goes down.

The Tensor G3 also powers the many language and camera-related AI features, including Google’s Gemini Nano language model. We’ve only seen the latter power smaller features like Summarize in the Recorder app and Smart Reply in Gboard so far, though. Elsewhere, the Pixel 8a also packs the new AI-based Best Take, Magic Editor, and Audio Magic Eraser features that we first saw on the mainline Pixel 8 series.

Pixel 8a Aloe In hand
Adamya Sharma / Android Authority

While battery capacity hasn’t changed going from the Pixel 5a to the 8a, the latter features wireless charging support for quick top-ups. However, it’s rather slow at 7.5W — most other smartphones top out at 15W or higher. Still, it’s rare to see any wireless charging support on a $500 device.

Moving on, software support might be a big reason to consider the Pixel 8a, as it enjoys Google’s seven-year update guarantee. The Pixel 5a, meanwhile, received only three years of updates and will receive its final one in August 2024. On the other hand, the Pixel 8a is easily the longest-supported Android phone on the market at its price point, with promised support stretching up to 2031.

The Pixel 5a will soon stop receiving updates, making it insecure compared to any new phone.

Luckily, the Pixel 8a’s hardware should also last in your pocket for the next seven years. Similar to the Pixel 5a, it features a satin aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 3 on the front, and a matte-finish plastic back. While the display protection is a bit dated, it still has IP67 water resistance that can handle incidental splashes and rain without hesitation.

Google’s A-series smartphones have historically offered excellent value, and the Pixel 8a continues that tradition. For the most part, it delivers an experience that’s nearly on par with the company’s flagship smartphones, while costing several hundred dollars less. And even though we heard rumors of a price hike earlier, that didn’t materialize, and Google has stuck to the $500 price point. The Pixel 8a thus seems like a compelling buy, particularly if you’re coming from an older device in the series like the Pixel 5a.

Will you upgrade from the Pixel 5a to the Pixel 8a?

72 votes

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 5a: FAQ

No, the Pixel 8a does not have a headphone jack. The Pixel 5a was the final Google phone to include a headphone jack.

Yes, the Pixel 8a and 5a both feature an IP67 water resistance rating.

Yes, Google’s Pixel 5a and 8a smartphones both support dual SIM and eSIM and can connect to 5G networks.

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