Google Pixel 8a vs iPhone 15: iOS or Android?

Google has just revealed the Pixel 8a, its latest mid-range device to tempt people away from upgrading to the iPhone.

While they run completely different operating systems (we won’t get into the iOS vs Android debate here) these two devices have plenty in common. From yearly updates that’ll keep the phones fresh for ages, pocketable builds and a focus on camera performance.

If you’re happy to choose between Android and iOS these are two excellent picks. Here we will compare some of the big differences and run through some of the similarities too.

A-series vs Tensor

Both of these phones run on chips designed by their manufacturers, and they’re built especially to cater for the needs of the different operating systems. For instance, the Tensor G3 found inside the Pixel 8a focuses less on performance, but more on AI skills and enables Pixel features like Magic Eraser, Translation and so on.

Performance, both for everyday use and gaming, will likely be better on the iPhone 15 as the A16 Bionic chip is very impressive in this area.

Tensor G3

Both phones start with 128GB of onboard storage, however while the Pixel 8a only goes up to 256GB the iPhone 15 can be purchased with 512GB of storage. Neither has a microSD card slot.

A fair camera fight

While we haven’t fully reviewed the Pixel 8a yet, judging by the pedigree in the photographic department of the series we’d expect to challenge the best camera phones at its price. The iPhone 15 camera is also very capable in this regard.

Until we’ve properly tested the Pixel 8a, we will stick to the specs. On the back of Google’s device, there’s a 64MP main camera, with an f/1.89 lens plus an ultra wide 13MP camera alongside it. On the front, there’s a 13MP camera for selfies.

4K video is supported up to 60fps and there are a multitude of AI-infused camera features. Best Take, for example, lets you switch up facial expressions if things don’t look right, while Magic Editor lets you change the look of the image through GenAI. You won’t find any of these features on the iPhone 15.

Moving over to the iPhone 15, Apple’s device has a main 48MP main camera with a wide f/1.6 lens and a 12MP ultrawide. 

The video support is certainly better than the Pixel, with Dolby Vision HDR recording, 4K at 24fps and 1080p up to 240fps. As a comparison, the Pixel 8a can only record 1080p up to 60fps.

iPhone 15 back
iPhone 15 back

Two distinct designs

These are two good looking phones, with distinct touches and plenty of colour choices. They have matte backs to prevent fingerprint buildup and metal rims for rigidity.

They both take different approaches to the camera bump, though. On the Pixel, the cameras are spread across the back inside a visor, while on the iPhone they’re shunted to the side.

In terms of colour choices, the iPhone’s hues are quite subdued. It’s available in black, blue, green, yellow and pink. The Pixel 8a also comes in black, plus white, a bright blue called Bay and a vivid green called Aloe. 

Both tick plenty of feature boxes

Both the Pixel 8a and the iPhone 15 have handy extras not seen on every phone. These include wireless charging, an IP68 rating (iPhone) or an IP67 rating (Pixel) for protection against water and dust plus some form of fast charging.

The Pixel 8a has a fingerprint sensor built into the display for biometric unlocking, while the iPhone 15 has Face ID instead.

iPhone 15 home screen
iPhone 15

120Hz vs 60Hz

There are plenty of similarities between the two displays on these phones, but there are some key differences too.

Both are 6.1 inches, flat (rather than curved) and use the OLED screen tech that we prefer for its punchier colours and inky, deep blacks. The iPhone has a marginally higher resolution, although the difference is minimal. Both support HDR formats and reach levels above 1000 nits of brightness

The big difference between the two panels is the refresh rate. The iPhone 15 is merely a 60Hz panel, whereas the Pixel 8a is 120Hz. A faster screen makes for smoother scrolling and more responsive gaming, and it’s something we’ve wanted Apple to bring to all its non-Pro phones for ages.

How do the prices compare?

The iPhone 15 is the cheapest model in the range, with the 128GB base model starting at £799/$799. However, shop around and sites in the UK like Amazon have it for £699.

The Pixel 8a is cheaper, starting at £499/$499 – again for 128GB of storage.

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