Choosing the right smartphone can be a daunting task, especially when considering all the features and specs that modern devices offer. If you’re eyeing the Google Pixel 8a, there’s a critical aspect you need to be aware of: its relatively slow charging speed. While the Pixel 8a is marketed as an AI powerhouse with exceptional camera capabilities, it falls painfully short compared to the competition when it comes to charging speed, which might be a dealbreaker for some users.

At 18W, the Pixel 8a charges considerably slower compared to its competition in the same $499 price range. Take the OnePlus 12R, for instance. Priced identically, it boasts 80W SUPERVOOC fast charging in the US (100W in other markets), making it about 4.5 times faster on paper than the Pixel 8a. The Nothing Phone 2a offers 45W charging speed, and even the more affordable Samsung Galaxy A35, at $100 less, supports 25W fast charging. Not to mention, even Apple’s iPhone SE, not typically known for fast charging, surpasses the Pixel 8a with its 20W capability.

For those in the UK, the Pixel 8a faces stiff competition from the iPhone SE, Galaxy A55, and Nothing Phone 2a. The iPhone SE trumps the Pixel with its faster 20W charging, the Galaxy A55 matches the A35’s 25W, and the Nothing Phone 2a offers the same 45W fast charging as its 2a counterpart. In India, the situation for the Pixel 8a looks even bleaker. Competing against devices like the OnePlus 12R (100W), OnePlus 11 (100W), iQOO 12 (120W), and the Nothing Phone 2 (45W), all of which feature significantly faster charging speeds, the Pixel 8a’s 18W is undoubtedly sluggish. In their review, Beebom described the Pixel 8a’s charging speed as “painfully slow”, something that’s been echoed by other reviewers.

Google’s emphasis on the Pixel 8a’s AI and camera prowess makes sense, given the phone’s target market. However, if you’re a frequent traveler or someone who relies heavily on your phone throughout the day, the slow charging speed can be a serious drawback. When your battery runs low after extensively using AI features and the camera, you need a phone that gets back up and running quickly. Unfortunately, the Pixel 8a doesn’t meet that expectation. It’ll leave you tethered to an outlet far longer than its competitors.

It’s baffling that Google chose to stick with the same 18W fast charging found in the Pixel 7a. One might have expected an upgrade to at least the 27W charging of the Pixel 8, or to match Samsung’s 25W in the Galaxy A35 and A55. Such an improvement would have placed the Pixel 8a above the iPhone SE and provided another compelling reason to upgrade from the Pixel 7a.

For potential buyers, particularly former non-Pixel users who have been spoilt by way much faster charging speeds, this is a significant consideration. The inconvenience of slower charging might not seem like a big deal initially, but it can become a major frustration over time. If you’re often on the go and find yourself in situations where quick top-ups are necessary, the Pixel 8a’s charging speed will likely be a disappointment.

Consider your daily routine and travel habits. If you’re regularly in environments where power outlets are scarce or your time to charge is limited, a faster-charging phone could be crucial. Competitors like the OnePlus 12R, Nothing Phone 2a, and even the Galaxy A35 offer far superior charging speeds, making them better suited for users needing quick, reliable power. Interestingly, tests show that the Pixel 8a battery outlasts the Pixel 8, but use cases may differ.

While the Google Pixel 8a shines in areas like AI and camera technology, its 18W charging speed is a glaring weakness. Prospective buyers, especially those accustomed to faster charging phones like yours truly, should weigh this factor heavily. If reliable and quick charging is a priority for you, it might be wise to explore alternatives that won’t leave you waiting by the charger. The Pixel 8a may excel in many areas, but when it comes to keeping you powered up and ready to go, it simply lags behind the competition.

Hillary Keverenge
2197 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.