Looking for a decent, affordable phone that still boasts premium features? It sounds like a unicorn-type scenario, but thankfully, many manufacturers are coming out with solid devices for affordable prices that look, feel, and operate like more expensive variants, with a few concessions, of course. Among these are the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 and Google Pixel 8a. Both are relatively new entries in the company’s respective lines that won’t break the bank but will provide a pretty fabulous experience.

So how do they compare to each other, and which one is right for you? We’re here to help.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Design and basics

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024

(Image credit: Motorola)

First, let’s see how these two phones compare in terms of design, materials, and basic specs.

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 comes in Caramel Latte or Scarlet Wave and boasts a massive 6.7-inch 2,400 x 1,080 FHD+ pOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. However, it taps out at 1,200 nits peak brightness. In his review, Derrek Lee says the phone is “incredibly vibrant,” even when used in Natural color mode (there are also Radiant and Vivid color modes). He does, however, find that the panel offers a bit too much contrast, sometimes resulting in darker parts of images and videos being a little too dark. 

Covered in 2.5D glass with vegan leather (read: plastic) body, it has an IP52 water-repellent design, which means it isn’t quite as durable as the Google Pixel 8a. But with a protective case and some caution, you should be fine with light sprays in the rain: just no accidental dunks! Lee says the phone does a great job overall, not only in terms of its design but also performance, to “emulate the flagship experience while retaining its low price tag.” 

With standard 256GB built-in storage (or 128GB on certain models), this phone offers a rarity with devices of late: a microSD card slot so you can expand storage up to 2TB. If you plan to take lots of photos and videos and download apps, this could sway your decision. It runs Android 14 with a promise of only one major software update and three years of security updates. This could be the deciding factor between these two phones, especially when you consider how long Google supports its Pixels in comparison. 

There’s a lot to like about the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024, as noted in our review.

Battery life is a crucial feature, and this phone has a sizeable 5,000mAh battery that affords up to 40 hours per charge. Plus, it supports 30W TurboPower charging (double that of last year’s model) and 15W wireless charging with a separately purchased charger (it works with any Qi-enabled wireless charger). There are also a few settings options for conserving battery life that are worth exploring if you find you need more in a pinch. 

In terms of other basics specs, you get dual stereo speakers with support for Dolby Atmos, a nice inclusion given that this is a mid-level priced phone; two mics, FM radio, and yes, it even has a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can connect your old pair of wired earbuds or headphones. There’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor, a nice departure from the usual side-mounted sensor in other Motorola phones, along with face unlock. 

Of course, let’s not forget the phone’s standout feature, which is noted in its name: the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 comes with a built-in stylus so you can perform certain tasks with more precision and give your finger a break. It’s thicker than previous-gen models but functions much the same. Lee says he doesn’t use the stylus enough to consider it a make-or-break feature. It’s a nice-to-have but not a need-to-have feature.

AI wallpaper on a Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

By comparison, the Google Pixel 8a is the new budget option in the Pixel line, with similar features to the more expensive Pixel 8 but with a lower price tag. It has a smaller 6.1-inch Actua OLED display with the same 2,400 x 1,080 resolution and 120Hz along with 1,400 nits brightness in HDR and up to 2,000 nits peak brightness, so you can confidently use it outdoors without worrying you won’t be able to see the screen. 

The screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with a fingerprint-resistant coating, so you’ll find it more durable than the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. This is also thanks to the higher IP67 water and dust-resistance rating. 

Made of matte composite with a matte aluminum frame, it comes in Obsidian, Porcelain, Bay (a first for an A-series phone), and the limited-edition Aloe finish. Nicholas Sutrich says in his initial Pixel 8a review that the phone is comfortable to hold and quite simply “looks nice” with its rounded corners. In fact, he says it’s his new favorite design of all the latest Pixel phones. 

The Google Pixel 8a also comes with either 128GB or 256GB storage, but the differentiator here is that you can’t add more via microSD card since there’s no expansion slot. You do get a trial for Google One cloud storage, though this is only temporary unless you’re willing to pay to continue to subscription once the free trial period is over. 

Running Android 14 as well, Google future-proofs your purchase by offering a whopping seven years of OS and security updates along with a consistent stream of Feature Drops. So, from the perspective of longevity, there’s more confidence that this phone won’t be outdated in a few years than the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. Plus, the Pixel 8a will hold its value should you decide to upgrade and want to trade it in or resell it down the line. 

The battery is slightly smaller at 4,492mAh, and it is rated to last for more than a day as well. An Extreme Battery Saver mode can extend life up to 72 hours when in a pinch. It, too, supports both fast and wireless charging. 

Along with face and fingerprint unlock, you get stereo speakers with two mics and noise suppression but no Spatial Audio. There’s no headphone jack, so keep that in mind: for personal listening, you will need a pair of wireless headphones or a Type-C USB adapter.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Specifications

Before diving into the operation and cameras, let’s take an at-a-glance look at the specs.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell – Column 0 Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 Google Pixel 8a
OS Android 14 (1 Year OS Update, 3 Years Security) Android 14 (7 Years OS & Security Updates)
Colors Caramel Latte, Scarlet Wave Obsidian, Porcelain, Bay, Aloe
Screen Size 6.7 inches 6.1 inches
Screen Resolution 1,080 x 2,400 1,080 x 2,400
Screen Type pOLED OLED
Refresh Rate 120Hz 120Hz
Processor Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 Google Tensor G3
RAM 8GB (16GB Ram Boost) 8GB
Storage 128GB, 256GB (expandable up to 2TB) 128GB, 256GB (not expandable)
Cameras 50MP, 13MP ultra-wide, 32MP front 64MP, 13MP ultra-wide, 13MP ultra-wide front
Speakers Stereo Speakers (Dolby Atmos) Stereo Speakers
Battery 5,000mAh 4,492mAh
Wireless Charging Yes Yes
Bluetooth 5.1 5.3
Water Resistant IP52 IP67
Cellular 5G 5G
Size 6.4 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches 6 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches
Weight 190 grams 188 grams

There are some notable differences between these two phones, but let’s dive deeper.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Google Pixel 8a: Power and processing

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024

(Image credit: Motorola)

When it comes down to it, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? And both these phones have great specs to delight casual users. 

As noted, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 runs on Android 14 out of the box. It also has a Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor, which isn’t the most powerful (it’s the same chip that was in the Moto G Stylus 5G 2023), but it will keep up with basic tasks like web surfing, streaming videos, and music, and even gaming. 

This pairs with the 8GB RAM, up from 6GB in last year’s model. This is expandable up to 16GB using the RAM Boost feature, which uses the phone’s internal storage as virtual memory when needed. The trade-off is you have less storage when you’re using it. Lee doesn’t see a point in using it and hasn’t run into issues with gaming leveraging the 8GB RAM and Snapdragon processor alone. It’s quite impressive in this respect. 

With Google being so heavily involved in AI technology, it’s no surprise that even its entry-level device gets plenty of AI features. You will not see anything of the sort with the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 beyond being able to access the Gemini app from the device and do cool things like create AI wallpapers. But it has some unique features of its own, typically relating to use of the built-in stylus. 

There’s Moto Note app, for example, for jotting down notes without having to unlock the phone. There’s also a cool feature that lets you make a drawing with the stylus and add an effect, then turn it into an animated illustration. But that’s pretty much all you find when it comes to frills in this phone. 

However, you do get secure protection through ThinkShield for mobile. Additionally, Ready For integration is upgraded to Smart Connect, so you can easily connect the phone to a PC or external display to mirror contents, use it as a second screen, move files, share peripherals, and more.

Multitasking on the Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Also loaded with Android 14 (but, as noted, plenty of software and security support far beyond that), the Google Pixel 8a is powered by the Google Tensor G3 chip, the same as its bigger siblings. It offers 8GB RAM, enough to meet most users’ needs for a mid-range phone. 

Like its bigger sisters, the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, the Google Pixel 8a has lots of AI features, including Circle to Search (search for images by circling them right from the app you’re in), the Gemini built-in AI assistant, Pixel Call Assist, Call Screen, Direct My Call, Hold for Me, Clear Calling, and other features. A fun new feature called Audio Emoji lets you create your own soundtrack audio effects during a call, like applause or laughing. 

As with other Pixel devices, the Google Pixel 8a is protected with plenty of security, including VPN by Google One, the Tensor security core, Titan M2 security chip, and anti-malware and phishing protection. With Family Link, you can manage privacy settings for kids and do things like establish screen time limits and share location. 

While it’s considered the “budget” option in the line, the Pixel 8a’s features and price suggest more mid-range. Sutrich says this phone reflects Google’s “best mid-range hardware yet, further blurring the line between the company’s flagship ‘premium’ offerings and this mid-range winner.” He singles out the thermal management as well, noting that the Pixel 8a performs better than even the Pixel 8 Pro in benchmarks, making it a good phone for intense activities like gaming, too.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Google Pixel 8a: The cameras

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024

(Image credit: Motorola)

How do the cameras in these two phones two stack up against one another? 

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 has a 50MP ultra-pixel main camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) combined with a 13MP ultra-wide rear camera with macro vision. The front camera is a favorable 32MP for taking fabulous selfies and group shots, recording videos, and more. 

It has all the expected shooting modes, including portrait, pro (using a long exposure), panorama, night vision, live photo filters, and more. The cameras also have some AI features, including Google Auto Enhance, Auto Smile Capture, Google Lens, Shot Optimization, and Auto Night Vision. 

You can also do basic things like take burst shots, use a timer, assistive grid, add a watermark, shoot in RAW mode, scan barcodes, and more. 

Lee says the cameras do a “pretty good job,” producing images that are sharp, detailed, and vibrant with decent dynamic range. “The images won’t blow you away,” he says, “but they’re perfectly usable.” The phone also does a respectable job with low-light shots, resulting in images with not a lot of noise.

Taking a picture with the Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Comparatively, the Google Pixel 8a has a larger 64MP quad PD wide camera with Super Res Zoom up to 8x. It has a 13MP ultra-wide camera as well, but the front camera matches that at only 13MP, a significant drop compared to the higher-res front camera in the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. It isn’t all about resolution, of course. The Google Pixel 8a’s front camera, for example, has an ultra-wide field-of-view, so you might be able to get more people or more of a background in your shots. 

Google’s bevy of AI features translate to the cameras in the Google Pixel 8a as well. Enjoy features like Magic Editor for repositioning and resizing objects as well as using preset backgrounds, Best Take for choosing the best facial expressions for each person in a photo to get the best one, Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Night Sight, Portrait Mode, and more. With Audio Magic Eraser for videos, you can even remove distracting background noises. 

Sutrich says the Pixel 8a’s cameras produce results almost identical to that of the Pixel 7a, both taking fabulous photos given their price. With good high contrast, color-accurate images, and solid performance when capturing subjects in motion (like pets or kids), you won’t run into any major issues with the cameras in this phone.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 vs. Google Pixel 8a: Which should you buy?

The homescreen of the Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

There are compelling reasons to buy both phones when looking at the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 and Google Pixel 8a. The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 has the option for expanding storage, increasing RAM, Dolby Atmos support, and a headphone jack. Of course, there’s also the built-in stylus and all the fun and useful things you can do with it. You could also theoretically use a stylus with the Google Pixel 8a, but you’d have to buy one separately, and the experience wouldn’t be as seamless without the apps designed specifically for one. 

But overall, the Google Pixel 8a stands out for superior specs in many respects. From the Gemini AI integration to the more durable design, additional color options, and higher peak brightness, it won’t disappoint. Also, consider that it’s a smaller phone. If you prefer that, the Pixel 8a will be more suitable. If you’re looking for a phone with a larger screen, you might find yourself considering the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 instead. 

The biggest factor that could influence your decision between these two phones is the seven years of software and security support that Google offers. If you’re the type who buys a phone and hangs onto it for years, you’ll appreciate that the Pixel 8a won’t be outdated in two to three years. This will also be appreciated by those who are saving to upgrade. You can resell the Google Pixel 8a for a pretty penny to put towards a new one, even three, four, five, or more years down the line. 

By contrast, with Motorola only offering one major software update and three years of security updates, this phone will get really old really quickly. Thus, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is more of an in-between phone while you save up for a year or two to buy something bigger and better or a phone you get on a contract that includes a trade-in upgrade in two to three years. 

Both these phones are great options for a killer price. If your budget is about $400 and you want to see what else is out there in this price range, check out our picks for the best Android phones under $400, including other models from both brands. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the best Android phones under $500 include the Google Pixel 8a, along with other options from brands like Samsung, Nothing, and OnePlus. Once you have saved up or your needs change and you’re ready to upgrade to something more premium, the best Android phones don’t always have to be expensive ones, as our picks suggest.

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