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Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 6a: Should you upgrade?

Is the latest A-series phone enough of an upgrade over its two generation old predecessor?
By

Published onMay 7, 2024

Google Pixel 8a
MSRP: $499.00
Check price
Positives
Fingerprint-proof matte finish
Rich OLED display
Tons of Tensor G3-powered features
Solid battery life
Unrivaled software update commitment
Pixel-pedigree cameras
Negatives
Cheap materials
Limited zoom capabilities
Slow wired and wireless charging
Pixel 8 discounts make it a harder sell
Google Pixel 6a
MSRP: $449.00
Check price
Positives
Powerful Tensor chip
Easy to use in one hand
Excellent image processing
Great software
Long-term update commitment
Negatives
Worse than average battery life
Slow charging
Only 60Hz display
Tensor runs hot

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 6a: At a glance

  • The Pixel 8a is $50 more expensive than the Pixel 6a's price at launch.
  • The Pixel 8a has a more powerful processor and more RAM.
  • The Pixel 8a has better camera hardware and all of Google's AI-powered camera software features.
  • Both phones have the same screen size, but the Pixel 8a has a higher display refresh rate.
  • The Pixel 8a has a lot longer software support than the Pixel 6a.
  • The Pixel 8a supports wireless charging.

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 6a: Specs

Google Pixel 8aGoogle Pixel 6a
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 6a
6.1-inch OLED
2400 x 1080 resolution
60Hz refresh rate
20:9 aspect ratio
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Processor
Google Pixel 8a
Google Tensor G3
Google Pixel 6a
Google Tensor
RAM
Google Pixel 8a
8GB
Google Pixel 6a
6GB
Storage
Google Pixel 8a
128/256GB
Google Pixel 6a
128GB
Battery
Google Pixel 8a
4.492mAh
18W wired charging
7.5W wireless charging
Google Pixel 6a
4,410mAh
18W wired charging
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 6a
12.2MP wide camera
ƒ/1.7 aperture
OIS

12MP ultra-wide camera, 114deg FoV
ƒ/2.2 aperture
Connectivity
Google Pixel 8a
5G
4G LTE
Wi-Fi 6e
Bluetooth 5.3
Google Pixel 6a
5G
4G LTE
Wi-Fi 6e
Bluetooth 5.2
Operating System
Google Pixel 8a
Pixel UI
Android 14
Google Pixel 6a
Pixel UI
Android 12 (upgradeable to Android 14)
Water resistance
Google Pixel 8a
IP67
Google Pixel 6a
IP67
Colors
Google Pixel 8a
Aloe, Bay, Obsidian, Porcelain
Google Pixel 6a
Chalk, Charcoal, Sage
Dimension and weight
Google Pixel 8a
152.4 x 73.7 x 10.1mm
192.8 grams
Google Pixel 6a
152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9mm
178 grams

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 6a: Price and availability

Pixel 8a Aloe Lifestyle
Google

Pixel 8a: Starts at $499

Pixel 6a: Launched at $449

The Google Pixel 8a will be available for pre-orders starting May 7, 2024, and will go on general sale on May 14, 2024. The affordable A-series device keeps its predecessor’s starting price point of $499. However, for the first time, Google is introducing a higher storage variant with a 256GB version, priced at $559.

Apart from the standard black and white colorways, or Porcelain and Obsidian in this case, the Pixel 8a will also have Bay and Aloe color options. However, the 256GB storage version, likely the preferred choice for most users, will only be available in Obsidian at launch.

Google Pixel 6a, display on, showing the homescreen
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

On the other hand, the Pixel 6a launched two years ago at $449 — $50 less than the Pixel 8a’s retail price. While the older A-series device isn’t officially available on the Google Store anymore, you can still find it for a discounted price, between $280 and $350, on Amazon and other online stores.

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 6a
30%off
Google Pixel 6a
Powerful Tensor chip
Excellent cameras
Great software

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 6a: Should you upgrade?

Pixel 8a Obsidian Lifestyle
Google

At this point, the Pixel 6a is around two years old, so it’s understandable that the new Pixel 8a is the better phone. But does the latter offer enough to justify an upgrade? It depends on how much you want Google’s AI features.

There are hardware upgrades, of course. While both have 6.1-inch OLED displays, the Pixel 8a’s screen has a higher 120Hz refresh rate, making the 6a’s 60Hz panel feel incredibly sluggish. The display is much brighter as well, offering a peak brightness of 2,000 nits, which is almost double what you get with the 6a. The Pixel 8a also gets an improved design, similar to its flagship siblings, but with more rounded edges.

Additionally, Google’s latest phone comes with the more powerful Tensor G3 processor, has more RAM at 8GB, and finally introduces a new variant with 256GB of built-in storage. The cameras are far better, with the 64MP wide and 13MP ultrawide dual camera system doing a much better job than the Pixel 6a’s camera unit. Then there’s wireless charging, which is quite a rare feature at under the $500 mark.

Google Pixel 6a in Sage color in hand, seen from the back
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

There are some similarities, too. While Google says the Pixel 8a is the most durable A-series smartphone yet, courtesy of its aluminum frame, both phones have Corning Gorilla Glass 3 up front and an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The slight increase in battery capacity shouldn’t make much of a difference. Especially disappointing, though, is the Pixel 8a’s 18W “fast” charging, the same as what you get with the 6a.

As always, the selling point of Google phones is the software. The Pixel 8a benefits from almost all the AI-powered camera and software features we first saw with the Pixel 8 series. This includes features like Gemini Nano, Circle to Search, Live Translate, and plenty more, along with a host of camera features like Magic Editor, Best Take, and Audio Magic Eraser, to name a few. The Pixel 8a’s software package is almost on par with far more expensive alternatives, making it one of the best mid-range phones you can get.

It’s not just about new features, either. The Pixel 6a will still receive one more major OS upgrade and a couple more years of security updates. On the other hand, Google continues what it started with the Pixel 8 series to give the Pixel 8a seven years of major software upgrades!

The Pixel 8a has a lot going for it. A faster processor, better cameras, a more durable build, and an impressive suite of software features make the 2024 release an excellent upgrade over the Pixel 6a. That said, the latter will get another major OS update and is still a decent performer, especially in the camera department. We think you can comfortably hold on to the 6a for at least another year, even if the Pixel 8a is quite enticing.

Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 6a: Will you upgrade?

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Google Pixel 8a vs Pixel 6a: FAQ

Yes, both the Pixel 8a and Pixel 6a come with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.

While the new Pixel 8a supports 7.5W wireless charging, the Pixel 6a does not.

No, neither A-series Pixel offers expandable storage via a microSD slot.

Yes, both phones offer dual-SIM support in the form of a nanoSIM and eSIM.

No, the two affordable Pixels don’t come with headphone jacks.

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