The Ultimate Pixel 8a Guide: release date, reviews, and comparison

The Pixel 8a is official. In a surprising turn of events, Google announced the next part of the tick-tock cycle that the company uses for its smartphone releases - the midrange Pixel 8a phone. The announcement came on May 7th, and coincided almost perfectly with the launch of the new iPad tablets.

You know how the A-series Pixels always bring great bang for your buck? This is especially true for the Pixel 8a, with its third-gen Tensor G3 chipset and a whopping seven-year software support cycle.

And because the word of the year is "AI" (or should we say the abbreviation of the year), the Google Pixel 8a comes with Gemini onboard, Google's own contender in the AI wars, and it can do a lot of things with it. At $499, the Pixel 8a might be your cheapest way into the world of large language models and clever algorithms. And don't forget, it's a long, seven-year journey ahead.

The Pixel 8a has the potential to become one of the best budget phones of the year, so we're pretty excited about it. Here's everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 8a.

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Latest Pixel 8a news

Pixel 8a release date

  • May 7, 2024

The official announcement of the Pixel 8a was expected during the annual I/O event on May 14th, but Google jumped the gun and unveiled its next A-series phone on May 7th. Whether or not the Let Loose iPad event had something to do with this surprise announcement, we may never know. Below you will find the historical records of all Pixel A-series announcement dates.

Pixel 8a price

  • $499 (128GB)
  • $559 (256GB)

The Pixel 8a starts at $499 for the base 128GB model, which is exactly the same as the starting price of the previous model. Google has abstained from asking for additional hard-earned dollars for the 8a, which is indeed very good news. The 256GB variant will set you back $559, and we're not counting the trade-ins and other promos. Below, you'll find a table with the starting price of all Pixel A-series models through the years.

Pixel 8a camera

  • 64MP  wide
  • 13MP Ultrawide
  • 13MP front camera

The Pixel 8a retains the same hardware in the camera department as its predecessor. The main camera sports a 1/1.73" 64MP sensor with a 0.8 μm pixel size under a lens with an f/1.89 aperture and an 80-degree field of view. This main camera uses Quad-Bayer technology, which means it combines 4 pixels into 1 to offer better low-light sensitivity.

The ultrawide camera is also the same as the one found on the previous model; it's a 13MP, f/2.2 camera with a 120-degree field of view. The same goes for the front camera, again a 13MP sensor under a fixed focus f/2.2 lens with a 96.5-degree ultrawide field of view.

This might sound uninspiring, but thanks to the Gemini AI onboard, the camera system on the Pixel 8a can do some impressive stuff. Here are some of the clever features available on the Pixel 8a:

  • Best Take takes a slew of shots and suggest the best one among the bunch.
  • Magic Editor is your mobile photoshop at your fingertips, you can reposition or completely remove objects on your phone.
  • Audio Magic Eraser can smartly remove wind, crowd and other distracting noises from your videos.
  • Magic Eraser lets you remove unwanted objects or distractions from photos.
  • Night Sight is Google's revolutionary low-light computational photography feature. It allows users to capture crisp and bright pictures even in extremely low-light conditions.
  • Photo Unblur is designed to enhance the clarity and sharpness of photos that may have turned out blurry.
  • Super Res Zoom gives you high-quality zoomed-in images without the need for optical zoom lenses and it relies on clever algorithms to do so.

Pixel 8a storage

  • 128GB base
  • 256GB 

In terms of RAM and storage, things haven't changed much since the last generation. The Pixel 8a comes with 8GB of LPDDR5X RAM, and two storage variants. The base model sports 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage, and there's another option with 256GB using the same technology (sadly no UFS4.0).

Pixel 8a design

The Pixel 8a comes with a refreshed design and rounded corners and sides, yet it is unmistakably Pixel. The camera bar is present, as are the vibrant colors with even more vibrant names. There's Gorilla Glass 3 on the back and front of the phones, and an aluminum frame holds this glass sandwich together.

The overall dimensions and weight of the phone haven't changed much since the previous model. The Pixel 8a comes in at 152.1 x 72.7 x 8.9 mm and weighs 188 grams. The display has a 6.1-inch diagonal, just like the previous model. Speaking of colors, here are the available Pixel 8a hues.

Pixel 8a colors:
  • Aloe
  • Bay
  • Porcelain
  • Obsidian

Pixel 8a display

  • 6.1-inch OLED, 120Hz

The Pixel 8a features a new Actua Display, which has a 6.1-inch diagonal. Behind the fancy name, we find a 60-120 Hz refresh rate panel with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a FHD resolution of 1080x2400 pixels, resulting in around 430 PPI pixel density.

The panel also supports HDR and has an always-on option. Google has bumped up the brightness and now cites 1,400 nits of HDR brightness and up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness. According to Google, this is 40% brighter than the Pixel 7a.

Pixel 8a battery and charging

  • 4,492 mAh

The battery of the Pixel 8a has grown in size with an additional 100 mAh compared to the previous generation, and the phone now sports a 4,492 mAh cell inside. Google advertises the phone as having 24+ hours of battery life and up to 72 hours with Extended Battery Saver.

In terms of charging, the Pixel 8a can charge with up to 18W wired and 7.5W wirelessly, no change from the previous model.

Pixel 8a features and software

The Pixel 8a ships with Android 14 out of the box and given the fact it also sports the Tensor G3 chipset, there are some great software features taken straight from the Pixel 8 series. Google introduced its own AI called Gemini (formerly Bard) on the Pixel 8, and now the company offers this AI magic on an A-series device for the first time with the Pixel 8a.

Gemini can perform tasks like summarizing your recent emails or swiftly organizing your inbox, translate and transcribe stuff for you, use contextual Circle to Search, and many more. The Pixel 8a also features AI-powered Pixel Call Assist features, including Call Screen, Direct My Call, Hold for Me, Clear Calling, and more, ensuring seamless communication experiences.

Pixel 8a software features at a glance:
  • Face Unlock
  • Direct my call
  • Alt text
  • Call Screen
  • Hold for Me
  • Clear Calling
  • Wait times
  • Live Translate
  • Recorder Speaker Labels
  • Assistant Voice Typing
  • Voice Messaging Transcription
  • At a Glance
  • Gemini

Last but not least, Google offers seven years of major OS and security updates for the Pixel 8a, meaning it will be supported until 2031.

Pixel 8a hardware and specs

The Pixel 8a relies on the third generation Tensor G3 processor, an in-house silicon developed by Google (with some help from Samsung initially). The first iterations of the chip were lagging behind the competition in terms of raw power, but with the GG3,Google seems to have closed the gap a little.

The Tensor G3 comes with overhauled components, and it is primarily focused on on-device generative AI. This includes cutting-edge ARM CPUs, an enhanced GPU, updated ISP and Imaging DSP, and the company's next-generation TPU, purpose-built for running Google's AI algorithms.

Pixel 8a specs at a glance:
  • Dimensions: 152.1 x 72.6 x 8.9mm
  • Display (diagonal): 6.1", OLED, 60-120Hz, 2000 nits peak brightness
  • Cameras: 64MP main, 13MP ultrawide, 13MP front
  • CPU: Tensor G3 with Mali-G715 GPU
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Battery: 4,492mAh
  • OS: Android 14

Pixel 8a comparisons

We have a couple of useful comparisons of the Pixel 8a pitted against its main rivals. Check these out and see how Google's new midranger fares against the competition.

Should you buy the Pixel 8a?

You should buy the Pixel 8a if you like Android phones and want the best bang for your buck. At $499, this future-proof AI-equipped midranger offers a great package. Google promises seven years of OS updates and Feature Drops, which means that you will be at the forefront of smartphone AI innovation. The new Pixel 8a also comes with a brighter and smoother display and all the AI magic you can think of.

You should not buy the Pixel 8a if you want the best raw performance available. In this case, you should opt for the Pixel 8 Pro, as it offers the same software and AI magic but with more beefy hardware to support it, or wait for the Pixel 9 family to arrive.

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