Google Pixel 8a rumored release date, price and specs

Google Pixel 8a leaked render from @OnLeaks
(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix)
Latest Pixel 8a News

Updated April 17
• Another Pixel 8a colors leak seems to confirm the four colors slated for this year's model.
• Here's a Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 8 comparison based on the 8a's rumored features.
• A phone carrier posted an image of the Pixel 8a ahead of its launch.

The Google Pixel 8a figures to be the first of several phones Google releases this year. It's likely to show up next month at a time that's turning out to be quite interesting for midrange phones.

Some of the best phones released recently have been lower-cost phones that still pack in some premium features. That includes the current Pixel 7a, which wowed us with its terrific cameras, fast-refreshing display and sub-$500 price.

But other phone makers are coming out with fully-featured cheap phones as well. Samsung's Galaxy A series has gotten better year after year, with the newly announced Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 trying to steal Google's thunder. We've already had a chance to test the  OnePlus 12R, which delivers premium power and battery life while matching the Pixel 7a's $499 price.

So how does Google responded to this stepped-up competition? An increasing number of Pixel 8a rumors provide some clues, as the clock ticks down to an expected Pixel 8a preview in May.

Here's what we know so far about the Google Pixel 8a and what we're hoping to see from the new version of Google's lower-cost smartphone.

Google Pixel 8a cheat sheet: Biggest rumors

  • Rumored release date: May 14, 2024
  • Predicted price: $549
  • Design: Similar to Pixel 8, with 6.1-inch 120Hz display
  • Cameras: Similar to Pixel 7a (64MP main; 13MP ultrawide, 13MP selfie)
  • Specs: Tensor G3, 128GB or 256GB storage, 4,500 mAh battery, 27W charging
  • Colors: Porcelain, Bay, Obsidian, Mint
  • Software: Android 14

Google Pixel 8a release date rumors

Google I/O 2024 graphic

(Image credit: Google)

Even though there's no official word on when the Pixel 8a might appear, we have a pretty good idea as to a possible launch date now that Google has announced when Google I/O 2024 will take place. Specifically, the annual developer event gets started on May 14 and runs for two days in Mountain View, Calif., near the company's headquarters.

Why should Google I/O's date matter? Because three of the five Pixel A series phones Google's released have been shown off first at the company's annual Google I/O conference. The only two exceptions were in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic canceled Google I/O, and 2021 when supply shortages moved the Pixel 5a launch to August. 

Whether Google makes the phone available immediately after I/O or sets a ship date for a few weeks later, we'd anticipate the Pixel 8a arriving no later than early summer. That prospect looks even likelier now that Google has stopped selling the two-year-old Pixel 6a at its online store, leaving room for a new midrange phone in its product line.

Google Pixel 8a price

Pixel 7a price at Google I/O 2023

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Pixel 8a release date may be coming into focus, but the phone's price remains a point of speculation. Few credible pricing rumors have surfaced to date, though we expect that to change in the next few weeks, with Google I/O approching.

Here's what we do know: The Pixel 7a costs $499 for its lone model. That was a price hike of $50 from the Pixel 6a's price. The cost of making phones has been on the rise, and that's translated to higher prices across the board with recent handset releases, but we'd be very surprised if Google were to raise prices again on its budget phone.

For one thing, the company is going to want to maintain some pricing gap between the Pixel 8a and the $699 Pixel 8. For another, the price of devices like the OnePlus 12R puts pressure on Google to keep the cost of its phones down. Holding the Pixel 8a at $500 or less addresses both of those concerns.

A recent report from a German publication has revealed the price of both the 128 GB and the 256 GB Pixel 8a in euros, according to a German retailer source. Supposedly the price for the two models has risen to €569 for the 128GB version and €630 for the 256GB model. This would mean an increase of roughly  €60 over the Pixel 7a. Even if those prices are accurate, a cost increase in one region doesn't necessarily mean price hikes all around.

Google Pixel 8a design and display

google pixel 8a leaked renders in cream

(Image credit: OnLeaks/Smartprix)

The Pixel A series phones tend to reflect the designs Google introduced with the Pixel flagship that came out the previous fall. That trend is likely to continue, with the Pixel 8a following the Pixel 8's lead. Expect a horizontal camera bar spanning the length of the phone's back panel with rounded corners and a contoured design.

Indeed, the first leaked renders of the Pixel 8a suggest a very familiar design for the upcoming phone. The biggest departure from the Pixel 8 looks to be a slightly larger bezel on the bottom of the display, but that's typical of Pixel A series devices. A prematurely posted Pixel 8a photo at US Cellular seemingly confirms the expected design.

From the looks of it, the Pixel 8a will be available in four colors according to a leak: porcelain, obsidian, bay, and mint. A second leak also shows off those colors, so we're fairly certain that rumor will pan out.

Four colors of Google Pixel 8a.

(Image credit: Android Headlines)

Information accompanying the original leaked render suggest a modest change in dimensions, with the Pixel 8a rumored to measure 152.1 x 72.6 x 8.9mm. That would be slightly smaller than the 152.4 x 72.9 x 9.0mm-Pixel 7a.

Should those dimensions prove accurate, you'd expect that the Pixel 8a would once again feature a 6.1-inch OLED panel, just like its predecessor. That's a little bit smaller than the Pixel 8's 6.2-inch screen. 

We had thought Google would continue to use a 90Hz display on the Pixel 8a to distinguish the phone from its flagships with their 120Hz panels. However, a rumor claims the Pixel 8a's screen will also get a 120Hz rate, and that its maximum brightness will match the Pixel 8's 1,400-nit rating.

Pixel 8a photo from X

(Image credit: Abhishek Yadav/X)

Our best look at the Pixel 8a's potential design thus far comes from a photo that was posted to X (aka Twitter) last fall prior to the Pixel 8's launch, and further images published by TechDroider. Everything you'd expect to see — the camera bar, the punch-hole cutout for the front camera in the phone's display, and so forth — are quite visible in that image. As are the unfortunately chunky bezels.

A video claims to show the Pixel 8a in the wild — the color and shape of the devices in the Google Fi ad don't match any of Google's existing phones.

Google Pixel 8a specs

Tensor G3

(Image credit: Google)

Besides the look of the phone, the other Pixel 8a change that's easy to forecast is what system-on-chip will power the device. Since Google switched to its own Tensor silicon with the Pixel 6, the subsequent A series model has come with that same chipset. In the case of the Pixel 8a, that would be the Tensor G3 introduced last fall.

Leaked Pixel 8a benchmarks suggest that the phone is using an under-clocked version of the Tensor G3. The Geekbench numbers for the Pixel 8a trailed not only the Pixel 8 but also the Pixel 7 as well. We'd caution against reading too much into that, though, as phone makers tinker with how to best optimize silicon prior to rolling out their phones In others, the version of the G3 that produced those underwhelming numbers may not be the one that ships in the finalized phone.

That said, the Tensor processor hasn't really focused on performance to date. Instead, Google's thrust has been the silicon's Tensor engine and the AI-powered features it can support. Look for Pixel 8 capabilities like the Magic Editor and advanced Call Screen capabilities to find their way to the Pixel 8a.

A battery health feature that displays stats about a device's battery is supposed to debut as part of the Pixel 8a launch. That's according to an anonymous Google engineer, responding to questions about why the feature appeared and then disappeared on older Pixel models in March.

Google Pixel 8a cameras

Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Cameras are one of the key parts of any Google phone, which is why it's curious that we've heard so very little about the cameras on the Pixel 8a. That would seem to suggest that Google's not planning many changes from the 64MP main camera and 13MP ultrawide lens featured on the Pixel 7a. Considering that Google just switched to the 64MP sensor with the Pixel 7a release, it wouldn't be unusual for the company to not usher in many changes with the Pixel 8a. (Here's a closer look at potential Google Pixel 8a vs. Pixel 7a differences.)

The Pixel 8 did benefit from more advanced image processing to improve colors and details in the photos it captured, and Google could introduce a similar upgrade to the 8a. The Pixel 8's ultrawide lens also gained a macro close-up mode with its ultrawide camera, which is another feature that could find its way to the Pixel 8a.

Google Pixel 8a software

Android 14 logo

(Image credit: Google)

Since Android 15 isn't likely to come out until the fall, we'd look for the Pixel 8a to debut with Android 14. As of this writing, Android 15 is available as a beta; we presume Pixel 8a owners will be able to install that beta once they've gotten the phone in their hands.

The software question we're wondering about is what kind of support Google plans to offer for the Pixel 8s. With the 7a, Google promises three years of software updates, plus an additional two years of security support. However, the Pixel 8 introduced much broader support, with Google offering software and security updates for seven years to cover last fall's flagships. 

We're intrigued to see if that extended support will include the Pixel 8a, as that phone will feature the same Tensor chipset as the rest of the Pixel 8 lineup or whether Google reserves extended seven-year support for its more expensive flagship handsets.

Google Pixel 8a: What we want to see

At the start of the new year, we drafted a wish list of Pixel 8a improvements we wanted to see. We won't repeat that here, but the arrival of the OnePlus 12R makes battery life improvements more necessary than ever for Google's budget phone. 

The Pixel 7a managed to match the battery life performance of the average smartphone in our custom battery test, which is certainly an improvement over its predecessors. But the OnePlus 12R has blown away the competition, producing the second best result in our best phone battery life rankings. It would be too much to ask the Pixel 8a to replicate that, but some continued progress in lasting longer on a charge would be welcome.

The Pixel 7a's display was bright enough compared to other midrange phones, but phone makers continue to up the ante on just how bright they can make their screens. Again, the OnePlus 12R sets a high bar here, adapting a panel with a peak brightness of 4,100 nits. We didn't get anywhere close to that number when testing the phone, but it's still a brighter display than the Pixel 7a's panel. We hope the Pixel 8a takes up the challenge.

As for any other changes, we're waiting to hear more about potential plans for the Pixel 8a. And now that a potential launch date is in sight, we expect the pace of Pixel 8a rumors to pick up considerably.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.