Google Pixel 8a vs OnePlus 12R


When I think of direct competitors to the all-new Google Pixel 8a, the OnePlus 12R comes to mind immediately. In this article, we’ll compare the Google Pixel 8a vs OnePlus 12R, two outstanding mid-range offerings. Truth be said, you’d do just fine getting either one of these two smartphones for $499. The thing is, they are quite different, and we’ll note a bunch of those differences in this article, and hopefully help you make a purchasing decision.

We’ll kick things off with their specifications, and will then move to their designs, displays, performance, battery life, cameras, and audio performance. The two phones not only look different but include different specs (including those performance-related), not to mention different camera setups and so on. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Specs

Google Pixel 8a vs OnePlus 12R, respectively

Screen size:
6.1-inch OLED display (120Hz, HDR, 2,000 nits)
6.78-inch LTPO4 AMOLED display (Curved, 120Hz LTPO, HDR10+, 4,500 nits)
Display resolution:
2400 x 1080
2780 x 1264
SoC:
Google Tensor G3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM:
8GB (LPDDR5)
8GB/16GB (LPDDR5X)
Storage:
128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1)
128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1)
Rear cameras:
64MP (wide, f/1.9 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS), 13MP (ultrawide, f/2.2 aperture, 120-degree FoV, 1.12um pixel size)
50MP (f/1.8 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.0um pixel size, OIS, PDAF, Laser AF), 8MP (ultrawide, f/2.2 aperture, 16mm lens, 1.12um pixel size), 2MP (macro, f/2.4 aperture)
Front cameras:
13MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.12um pixel size)
16MP (f/2.4 aperture, 26mm lens, 1.0um pixel size)
Battery:
4,492mAh
5,500mAh
Charging:
18W wired, 7.5W wireless (charger not included)
100W wired (charger included)
Dimensions:
152.1 x 72.7 x 8.9mm
163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8mm
Weight:
188 grams
207 grams
Connectivity:
5G, LTE, NFC, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.3
Security:
In-display fingerprint scanner (optical) & facial scanning
OS:
Android 14
Android 14 with OxygenOS 14
Price:
$499+
$499+
Buy:
Pixel 8a (Best Buy)
OnePlus 12R (Best Buy)

Google Pixel 8a vs OnePlus 12R: Design

The Google Pixel 8a comes with a flat display and a centered display camera hole. Its corners are also quite rounded. The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, has a curved display and a centered display camera hole. It also has sharper corners than the Pixel 8a, but they’re still rounded. The bezels on the OnePlus 12R are notably thinner in comparison, though. Both smartphones include their physical buttons on the right-hand side, but the layout is different. The Pixel 8a has a power/lock key above the volume up and down buttons. It’s the other way around on the OnePlus 12R.

The OnePlus 12R also has an alert slider switch on the left side. Both smartphones have a frame made out of aluminum, but their backplates are different. The Pixel 8a comes with a plastic backplate, while the OnePlus 12R has glass on the back. Speaking of the back, their camera islands are also different. The Pixel 8a has a camera visor on the back, which connects to the frame on the left and right side. It’s covered by metal. The OnePlus 12R has a regular camera island in the top-left corner, a circular one. It is connected to a frame on one side, for design purposes.

The OnePlus 12R does have a considerably larger display than the Pixel 8a. Because of that, it’s considerably taller and wider, while the two phones are almost identical in terms of thickness. The OnePlus 12R is 19 grams heavier, as it weighs 207 grams, compared to 188 grams of the Pixel 8a. Both smartphones do have an IP rating. The Pixel 8a is IP67 rated, while the OnePlus 12R has an IP64 rating. The Pixel 8a is better in that regard. Both phones are quite slippery, while the Pixel 8a is easier to use with one hand.

Google Pixel 8a vs OnePlus 12R: Display

The Google Pixel 8a has a 6.1-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) OLED display. That panel is flat, and it supports HDR content. The panel offers a refresh rate of 120Hz, and the peak brightness of this panel is 2,000 nits. The display aspect ratio is 20:9, while the screen-to-body ratio is around 81%. The Pixel 8a’s display is covered by the Gorilla Glass 3 protection from Corning.

Google Pixel 8a Review AM AH 23Google Pixel 8a Review AM AH 23
Google Pixel 8a

On the other hand, the OnePlus 12R, includes a 6.78-inch 2780 x 1264 LTPO4 AMOLED display. This panel is curved, and it has an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It can project up to 1 billion colors, and it supports HDR10+ content. Dolby Vision is supported here too, while the theoretical max brightness is 4,500 nits, though you’ll never be able to get that high. The screen-to-body ratio here is around 90%, while the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protects this display.

Both of these displays are really good. They’re vivid, have deep blacks, good viewing angles, and good touch response. Both displays are also more than bright enough, but the OnePlus 12R can get a bit brighter, which is something you’ll notice in direct sunlight. The OnePlus 12R’s panel is also sharper, but that’s not something many people will notice, both are sharp enough. It also has the advantage of an adaptive refresh rate and better display protection. The Gorilla Glass 3 is quite dated at this point, and it’s rather prone to microscratches, especially compared to the Gorilla Glass Victus 2.

Google Pixel 8a vs OnePlus 12R: Performance

Google has included its own Tensor G3 processor inside the Pixel 8a. That is the same chip that fuels the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, the company’s current-gen flagship smartphones. The phone also includes 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 flash storage. The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, is fueled by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and it includes up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 3.1 flash storage.

Both of these phones perform really well day-to-day. It is worth noting that the OnePlus 12R is a bit snappier when it comes to jumping from app to app, and on a number of other fronts. That’s mainly due to that chip and faster RAM, probably, but the difference is not that big. The Pixel 8a is not laggy by any means, it’s just that the difference is noticeable in direct comparison, even though the Pixel 8a offers great performance.

When it comes to gaming, the OnePlus 12R is the better choice, especially if you’re planning on tackling very demanding games. The Tensor G3 is not really made for games, even though it can handle them. If the games are not demanding, it really doesn’t matter. In caseyou’re planning on tackling a bunch of graphically-demanding games, the OnePlus 12R is better equipped for something like that. If you’re not planning on doing that, either phone will do just fine in terms of performance. The Pixel 8a does offer longer software support, though.

Google Pixel 8a vs OnePlus 12R: Battery

The Google Pixel 8a has a 4,492mAh battery on the inside. The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, includes a 5,500mAh battery. Do keep in mind that the OnePlus 12R also has a considerably larger display, though. When you look at these two phones and their batteries, you’d think that the OnePlus 12R is miles ahead. Well, that’s not exactly the case. It did offer better battery life for us, but it wasn’t as far ahead as we expected it to be.

For some reason, the OnePlus 12R offered considerably different battery life performance than the OnePlus 12. Still, the vast majority of people will be able to get through the day on a single charge, as the battery life is good, it’s just not outstanding. The Pixel 8a is not far behind, though. Getting around 6.5 hours of screen-on-time with a little bit of battery left in the tank was doable for us, on both smartphones. The OnePlus 12R was able to push things a bit further, though. Your mileage may vary, though, of course. Also, remember that gaming was not included in the equation on those days.

The Google Pixel 8a supports 18W wired, and 7.5W wireless charging. The OnePlus 12R, on the flip side, comes with 100W wired charging support. Out of these two phones, only the OnePlus 12R includes a charger in the box, though. It also charges a lot faster, but you’re giving away wireless charging as a tradeoff. It all depends on what matters most to you, of course.

Google Pixel 8a vs OnePlus 12R: Cameras

The Google Pixel 8a includes a 64-megapixel main camera on the back, along with a 13-megapixel ultrawide unit (120-degree FoV). The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, has a 50-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide unit (112-degree FoV), and a 2-megapixel macro camera. The OnePlus 12R does have three cameras on the back, but the secondary and tertiary cameras are not that great.

AH OnePlus 12R Review (2)AH OnePlus 12R Review (2)
OnePlus 12R

The Pixel 8a provides photos that Pixel users are used to. You’ll be getting contrasty images that are very similar to the ones from the Pixel 7a. Google did not change the camera hardware here at all. The images are very good, though they do look processed, in case you’re unaware, many would say in a good way, though. The OnePlus 12R’s images do end up looking closer to real life, but less rich, as they’re not as processed. Both main cameras can shoot great photos in both day and night. The nighttime images from the Pixel 8a will end up looking brighter, though, for better or worse. Both do a good job, though.

Ultrawide cameras also did a good job, but we did prefer the Pixel 8a’s, however. It simply offered more detail compared to the one on the OnePlus 12R, and it also did a better job of keeping in tune with the main camera’s processing/colors. The macro camera on the back of the OnePlus 12R is not something you’ll be using often. That 2-megapixel camera can provide a usable shot in great lighting, but most of the time, chances are you’ll be staying away from it. 2-megapixel cameras should not be included on phones at this point in time.

Audio

Both of these smartphones come with stereo speakers included. The speakers on the OnePlus 12R are a bit louder, though. The Pixel 8a’s speakers are basically on the level of the Pixel 7a. They’re good, but they could be a bit louder. Both sets of speakers are well-balanced.

You will not find an audio jack on either of these two smartphones. You can always use their Type-C ports, in case you need to connect your headphones via a wire. Alternatively, you can use Bluetooth 5.3 which is included on both devices.

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