Google Pixel 8a boasts budget-friendly excellence with Pixel’s essential tech

Software longevity aside, you get Pixel family performance, features and a reliable camera for an affordable price.

by Justin Choo

The Google Pixel 8a is the latest budget pixel and maintains its status as a solid entry point into the Pixel experience.

Is this another home run for Google? Positioned as a budget-friendly option without compromising on high-end features, the Google Pixel 8a packs a robust suite of capabilities for the everyday user and the tech enthusiast who want a no-frills phone with the essentials.

Design and Build

The Pixel 8a introduces a refreshed design with a new frame incorporating recycled aluminium, glass, and plastic, contributing to a minimal environmental footprint. Like the Pixel 7a, it boasts an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance and features a new scratch-resistant Actua display.  The 6.1″ display features a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness, which makes it great for content.


Under the hood, the Pixel 8a gets the same Google Tensor G3 processor like the rest of its Pixel 8 family, which means that core features should more or less have a similar performance across the board,  especially with the Pixel 8,  much like previous generations. Coupled with 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage options, the device is equipped to handle heavy multitasking and storage needs.

Camera Capabilities

Photography remains a strong focal point for the Pixel 8a. On top of famed software enhancements such as Night Sight for low-light conditions, it gets the new ‘season 8’ features like Best Take and Magic Editor (e.g. Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur). The integration of Google’s AI in the camera software allows for features like Best Take, which helps capture the perfect group shot by combining elements from multiple shots. Be thankful if you have very cooperative friends.

Software and Security

The Pixel 8a probably leads its price category with this: seven years of OS and security updates — also a first for the budget sibling in the Pixel family. Most will argue that seven years is way too long and your battery will be dead long before that, but you never know, and it’s a nice perk to have. Software security is fortified via the Titan M2 chip, while personal security is beefed up with emergency SOS and car crash detection, providing a little peace of mind.

Smart Features

What makes Pixel 8a popular, aside from its clean user interface, is its suite of simple but effective productivity tools. Features like live translation and Magic Audio Eraser make tasks simpler and more intuitive. This smart integration extends to real-time functions like directly recognising objects within photos or videos from the search function.

This is all thanks to Gemini Nano, a slimmed-down but powerful language model designed to run directly on your Pixel phone. It analyses text and content intelligently, enabling features like smart text suggestions in your apps, summarizing long articles or recordings, and even offline translation. Nano can make the Pixel more speedy and responsive as these processes don’t rely on internet connectivity. It keeps your data on the device for privacy protection and opens the door to exciting new features that take advantage of its on-the-fly analysis capabilities.

Another win for the budget-conscious?

The Google Pixel 8a stands out in the crowded mid-range market; the ‘baby’ Pixel has always been a compelling buy and you more or less have most of the essential Pixel experience with this model. On paper, at least, once again, it makes it difficult for people to choose between the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a. Google’s latest looks to be a compelling choice for those who seek high-quality technology without the premium price tag.