Pixel 8a — 5 biggest rumored upgrades

2 months ago
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Before we know it, Google I/O will be here. That’s when we might get our first good look at the Pixel 8a, which could define what we expect in a mid-range phone for the rest of the year. All of the Pixel 8a biggest rumored upgrades paint an exciting picture for the lowest cost Pixel.

So far, we’ve seen a few impressive Android phones that give the existing Pixel 7a a run for its money in offering the best values around. Recent budget phone releases like the Nothing Phone 2a, OnePlus 12R, and Moto G (2024) all have shown us their exceptional value, so the pressure is on for the Pixel 8a to not disappoint if it intends on recapturing the top spot in our best cheap phones guide.

Thanks to all the rumors the last few months, we have a good idea of how the Pixel 8a will turn out ahead of its possible announcement at Google I/O. We’ve even detailed how it’s differentiated from its predecessor in our Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 7a comparison, along with what it needs to do in the camera department in our Pixel 7a vs. Nothing Phone 2a photo shootout.

Here’s all the biggest rumored upgrades we’re most excited for the Pixel 8a.

Leaker shared a lot about the Pixel 8a in a recent post on Twitter, including a specs breakdown of the alleged phone. While it hints at a similar sized display, a 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED, it does mention an upgrade to the refresh rate.

Most people (including us) were satisfied by the Pixel 7a’s 90Hz refresh rate, but the Pixel 8a could gain a better 120Hz refresh rate — resulting in more fluid actions while navigating around the software. This upgrade would inherently boost the phone’s gaming performance too, by providing better response thanks to smoother animations.

Alongside a smoother looking display, the Pixel 8a’s screen is supposedly getting brighter as well. In fact, it’s tipped to reach a peak brightness output of 1,400 nits — which would match the Pixel 8’s reach. Considering how the Pixel 7a reached a modest peak brightness of 931 nits in our own testing, this upgrade would be a giant leap in making the screen more visible under direct sunlight Even though it’s rare we ever see a display reaching a manufacturer’s rated claim, we still hope that the Pixel 8a will be substantially brighter.

One of the earliest Pixel 8a leaks centered around performance benchmark tests that ran on the phone, which unfortunately didn’t look good on paper. Early Geekbench scores hint at an underclocked version of the Tensor G3 chip running on the Pixel 8a, reaching underwhelming scores of 1,218 single-core and 3,175 multi-core.

Even though these are lower than the Pixel 8, they are still better than the 1,018 single-core and 3,065 multi-core scores of the Pixel 7a. Plus, there’s still time for Google to make all the necessary optimizations to boost its performance even more come launch time. But the real magic in having the Tensor G3 powering the Pixel 8a will be in how the silicon could lend a helping hand to some of the AI-powered features it could support.

Battery life is expected to get even better with the Pixel 8a, primarily because it’s rumored to get a larger 4,500 mAh battery cell — compared to the Pixel 7a’s 4,300 mAh one. Combine that with the improved power efficiency of the Tensor G3 chip and its same sized 6.1-inch OLED display, we could see a significant boost to the Pixel 8a’s battery life.

This is particularly important because we’ve already seen how both the Nothing Phone 2a and OnePlus 12R deliver incredibly long battery life, reaching 15 hours and 18+ hours respectively in our own testing. Those results make the Pixel 7a almost laughable with its 10 hours and 5 minutes time, so there’s good indication that the Pixel 8a could last much longer.

One of the downsides of the Pixel 7a was that there was only a single 128GB storage option. For those who aren’t subscribed to any cloud-based photo storing service, like Google Photos, they would be at more of a disadvantage because of the limited storage. Luckily, it appears as though the Pixel 8a will have a 256GB storage option for those who need the extra space for saving content locally. However, the only remaining question is how much Google will charge for this.

What else we want to see

You could argue that these are iterative upgrades we’d expect from any successive phone, but there are ways for the Pixel 8a could wow us. For example, we’ve seen how AI features have played an integral part in recent flagship releases — like the Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8 — which could offset the need for beefier hardware changes.

Here’s what else we’d like to see with the Pixel 8a:
• Longer software support: Owning a cheaper phone shouldn’t automatically mean a shorter lifespan. Instead of the same 3 years of major software updates and 5 years of security updates, we hope Google gives the same kind of love to the Pixel 8a as it does with its flagship line by expanding to 7 years of software and security updates.
• No price increase: No one likes price hikes. Yet, they’re inevitable as we’ve seen with the recent Pixel 8 Pro’s $100 price increase. But one of the biggest incentives for the Pixel A-series of phones have been their affordable prices. The Pixel 7a already got a $50 price increase over the Pixel 6a, so we’re hoping the current price remains in place for the Pixel 8a.
• Better camera performance: This one’s an easy one, given how the Pixel 7a continuously beats out its rivals in the camera front. However, we’d like for the Pixel 8a to take whatever steps are necessary to keep it ahead of the pack — whether they’re newer image processing algorithms, larger sensors or better pixel binning techniques.
• Access to more AI features: We’ve seen how the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro benefit from new AI features such as Best Take, Magic Editor, and an upgraded Call Screen experience. We hope they’re all in store with the Pixel 8a, or at least a few of them to differentiate it enough from the Pixel 7a’s feature set.

We’re quite optimistic about the Pixel 8a. Everything about it so far seems like it’ll continue to be a contender in the mid-range space. If all of the rumors and leaks do come out true, it does beg the question if it can come out on top in a proper Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 8 face-off.
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• 7 Galaxy AI features you’ll wnat to try on Samsung’s flagships…Read more by John Velasco

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