In this article, we’ll compare two rather interesting smartphones, that are not exactly too similar. We’ll compare the Google Pixel 5a 5G vs ASUS ZenFone 8. Some of you may wonder why are we comparing the two, as the former is a mid-range phone, while the latter is a flagship device. Well, the price difference between these two phones is not that big, and they are both quite compelling handsets, so it makes sense. Also, they’re both readily available in the US (and some other regions), and some of you may be wondering which one to get.
These two phones differ a lot when it comes to the design, while their specs are also considerably different. They do not have a lot in common, to be quite honest, which will make this comparison all that much more interesting. We’ll start things off by listing their specifications, and will then move to the design, display, performance, battery, camera, and audio categories. Having said that, let’s kick off the Google Pixel 5a vs ASUS ZenFone 8 comparison.
|Google Pixel 5a 5G||ASUS ZenFone 8|
|Screen size||6.34-inch fullHD+ OLED display (60Hz)||5.9-inch fullHD+ Super AMOLED flat display (120Hz refresh rate)|
|Screen resolution||2400 x 1080||2400 x 1080|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888|
|Storage||128GB, non-expandable||128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1); non-expandable|
|Rear cameras||12.2MP (f/1.7 aperture, 27mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF, OIS)|
16MP (ultra-wide, f/2.2 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, 119-degree FoV)
|64MP (f/1.8 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, 26mm lens, PDAF, OIS)|
12MP (ultra-wide, f/2.2 aperture, 112-degree FoV, 14mm lens, 1.4um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF)
|Front cameras||8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)||12MP (f/2.5 aperture, 28mm lens, 1.22um pixel size, dual pixel PDAF)|
|Battery||4,680mAh, non-removable, 18W fast battery charging||4,000mAh, non-removable, 30W wired charging, reverse wired charging|
|Dimensions||154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6mm||148 x 68.5 x 8.9mm|
|Weight||183 grams||169 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||Rear-facing fingerprint scanner||In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)|
|OS||Android 11||Android 11|
|Price||$449||€599 / €669 / €799 / starting at $629|
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs ASUS ZenFone 8: Design
As you can see in the image provided above, these two phones do differ quite a bit, even when you just look at them. They do also use different build materials. The Pixel 5a 5G is made out of metal, which is an improvement over the design of the Pixel 4a 5G, as that phone utilized plastic. The thing is, the Pixel 5a 5G is covered by plastic, its metallic shell is, that is. It’s covered by resin, technically. So, if you’re not informed, you wouldn’t even know that metal is underneath. That definitely helps with the grip, though.
The ZenFone 8, on the other hand, combines an aluminum frame with a glass back, which is the most frequent combination in today’s flagships. It has Gorilla Glass 3 on the back, so you’ll need to be careful when it comes to micro scratches, as the Gorilla Glass 3 is not as good as some newer glass protection iterations from Corning. The ZenFone 8 is more slippery than the Pixel 5a 5G, and its back side is curvier.
Both phones have a display camera hole in the top-left corner, and both utilize flat displays. Holding them is a completely different experience, though. The ZenFone 8 is considerably less grippy, though it’s also considerably smaller. It’s much easier to use with one hand, despite its slippery nature. The ZenFone 8 is lighter as well, in addition to being shorter and narrower than the Pixel 5a 5G.
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs ASUS ZenFone 8: Display
The Google Pixel 5a 5G features a 6.34-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) OLED display. That display does offer HDR support, and it’s protected by the Gorilla Glass 3. As already mentioned, Gorilla Glass 3 doesn’t handle scratches that great, so you may notice some micro scratches after a few weeks / months. That’s what happened with my Pixel 4a unit, and many other phones with Gorilla Glass 3. So, using a screen protector may not be a bad idea. By the way, this display is flat.
The ASUS ZenFone 8 also comes with a flat display. Its panel measures 5.9 inches, and it’s also a fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) display. The thing is, this display offers a 120Hz refresh rate, compared to a 60Hz refresh rate on the Pixel 5a 5G. This is a Super AMOLED panel, and it supports HDR10+ content. Its peak brightness is 1,100 nits, and it does get brighter than the Pixel 5a 5G’s panel. The ZenFone 8’s display is protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus, the latest and greatest protection Corning can offer.
The ASUS ZenFone 8 does have a better display here, there’s no doubt about it. Not only does it get brighter, but it’s also a lot smoother thanks to the high refresh rate, not to mention that it offers better protection as well. Both panels do offer really vibrant colors, though, and those blacks are deep on both, as they should be on OLED displays. Both panels are also more than sharp enough, and offer good viewing angles.
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs ASUS ZenFone 8: Performance
The Google Pixel 5a 5G comes with the Snapdragon 765G SoC, just like its predecessor. That is a mid-range processor from Qualcomm. In addition to that, Google packed in 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM here, along with 128GB of storage, we’re guessing UFS 2.1. The ASUS ZenFone 8, on the other hand, comes with the Snapdragon 888, which is a considerably more powerful SoC. It also includes 6GB, 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.1 flash storage. Needless to say, the ZenFone 8 has better performance-related hardware specs.
That being said, the Pixel 5a 5G does come with stock Android. The ZenFone 8 includes ASUS’ ZenUI 8 skin on top of Android 11. ZenUI 8 is very close to stock Android, though. It does include some extra features from ASUS, most of which are quite useful, but other than that, it’s basically stock Android, which is a good thing. Both software implementations are well-optimized, by the way.
When it comes to performance, both phones are quite snappy. If you compare them side-by-side, you’ll quickly realize that the ZenFone 8 is more fluid. That’s not surprising considering its specs, and also its display is considerably more fluid due to a higher refresh rate, so… there you have it. In day-to-day use, though, both phones will serve you more than well. The ZenFone 8 will do better with graphically demanding games, though.
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs ASUS ZenFone 8: Battery
The Google Pixel 5a 5G comes with a 4,680mAh battery, while the ZenFone 8 includes a 4,000mAh unit. The Pixel 5a 5G does include a larger display, but that display offers lower resolution, plus the chip inside the Pixel 5a 5G consumes less power. The ZenFone 8 battery life is not bad, it’s okay, but it can’t compare to what the Pixel 5 5G can offer. The Pixel 5a 5G is one of the best phones we’ve tested this year, when it comes to battery life.
You won’t need to charge the Pixel 5a 5G even if you’re a power user. That handset managed to provide us with over 8 hours of screen-on-time, and it had juice left to go. We’ve even heard of situations where it lasted for over 10 hours on a single charge. The ZenFone 8 will get you around 6 hours of screen-on-time, at least that was the case for us. All that will depend on your usage, of course, so your numbers may be considerably different.
The Pixel 5a 5G offers 18W wired charging. It doesn’t support wireless charging, or reverse (wireless) charging. The ZenFone 8, on the flip side, offers 30W wired charging, and reverse wired charging. This phone doesn’t support wireless charging either. It does offer considerably faster wired charging, and you can also use it as a power bank.
Google Pixel 5a 5G vs ASUS ZenFone 8: Cameras
The camera setups on these two phones are somewhat different. The Pixel 5a 5G includes a 12.2-megapixel main camera on the back, and a 16-megapixel ultrawide unit. The ZenFone 8 has a 64-megapixel main camera, that is backed by a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. So, they both combine the main camera, with an ultrawide unit. Their sensors are not that similar, though, and Google relies a lot on its software.
That 12.2-megapixel camera inside the Pixel 5a 5G is quite old, and yet it still manages to produce really good results. It does excellent in HDR conditions, and provides sharp images. It also does well in low light, it does allow for a bit more noise to come into the image, but it does manage to pull out a lot of detail from the shadows.
The ZenFone 8, on the other hand, has the same main sensor as the ZenFone 7. I don’t know what ASUS did, but the ZenFone 8 is several steps ahead of the ZenFone 7 in regards to image quality. ASUS apparently improved its camera software considerably. The phone provides sharp, detailed, and vibrant images. It has a good dynamic range, captures a lot of details, even when you capture images of foliage. To make things interesting, it does really well in low light as well. The Pixel 5a 5G is still a bit more consistent overall, though.
Both of these phones have stereo speakers, but the ZenFone 8’s are noticeably better. ASUS managed to fit really powerful speakers inside such a compact smartphone, and that’s impressive. The audio coming from the ZenFone 8 speakers is louder, clearer, and overall better than what the Pixel 5a 5G can provide. The Pixel 5a 5G will be more than enough for most people, when it comes to audio performance.
Both phones offer a headphone jack, which is not something we see often these days. The audio that both phones provide once you hook up a good pair of headphones is… well, good. Don’t expect miracles, and you’ll be good to go. If you do plan on using those speakers often, though the ZenFone 8 is the way to go, when it comes to audio performance.