Google Pixel 8a smartphone review – affordable power and AI at your fingertips

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  • VERDICT

The Google Pixel 8a is an attractive and capable smartphone that offers a compact size but the power and features that will meet all your needs.

The Google Pixel smartphones have a wide fan base and the latest – the Pixel 8a – will be sure to expand it even further to include users who are after a more compact device but still packed with features.

The Pixel 8a has a 6.1-inch Actua OLED display with a 1080 x 2400 resolution at 430PPI (pixels per inch) and a refresh rate running at up to 120Hz.

This is big improvement over last year’s Pixel 7a which peaked at 90Hz, so the added smoothness of the screen is noticeable.

Google’s Pixel 8a’s display has 1400 nits peak brightness (HDR) and up to 2000 nits peak brightness with HDR support.

The Pixel 8a has slightly thicker bezels around the display.

It doesn’t have the same edge-to-edge look other cheaper smartphones with larger screens offer.

On the design side you’re still getting the trademark Pixel look complete with rounded edges and the matte back panel plus the polished aluminium bar which houses the cameras.

The device also inherits the Tensor G3 chip from the rest of the Pixel 8 family – the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro – so it’s pretty snappy and able to process AI functions and tasks.

It has 128GB and 256GB storage options and has 8GB RAM.

Speaking of AI, the Pixel 8a supports the Gemini app and which can become your default assistant so it can help you write emails, take notes, brainstorm ideas summarise your emails and even plan your holiday.

Circle to Search is another AI-powered feature which has been unlocked for users.

With this all you need to do is circle an object in a photo to find out what it is and where you can purchase it.

It also makes features like Call Assist possible along with Call Screening and one of our favourites – Hold For Me which lets the user leave an on-hold queue and get a call back when they reach the front of the line. Not bad for a phone that costs less than $1000.

Google Pixel smartphones have always had excellent cameras and the Pixel 8a does not disappoint.

It has dual rear cameras including a 64-megapixel main lens and a13-megapixel ultrawide lens.

And on the front is a 13 megapixel ultra-wide camera to take those selfies with a larger field of view so you can fit even more into your shot.

While it’s not as good as the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro, the Pixel 8a camera is still really impressive.

You don’t get the telephoto lens of the more expensive models, but you still get excellent results in all kinds of lighting conditions including low light.

We found our images to have natural and true colour, accurate skin tones and a satisfying level of detail.

And it wouldn’t be a Pixel without some photography tools like Magic Eraser and Magic Editor which lets you do everything from resize and reposition objects, get rid of unwanted things in your photo and even find the best expressions for the people in your group shot.

The Pixel 8a will be supported with seven years of software updates which include Android OS and security updates.

Image captured with the Google Pixel 8a

It also has a built in VPN which provides users with protection when joining public Wi-Fi. This creates their own personal tunnel to the internet on that network and would prevent other users snooping their connection.

The Google Pixel 8a is priced at $849 which is $100 more expensive than last year’s pixel 7A.

Image captured with the Google Pixel 8a

The price of the device did not increase in the US and Google is saying the increase for Australians was due to currency exchange rate fluctuations.

Image captured with the Google Pixel 8a

At this price, the Google Pixel 8A does have a lot of competition with other brands offering similar or slightly superior feature sets at a lower price.

But the power of the brand and the unfettered Android operating system which offers a pure experience without additional user interfaces is what will attract customers to the device.

Image captured with the Google Pixel 8a

The Google Pixel 8a is available now and is priced at $849 for the 128GB model and $949 for 256GB. It is available in Bay (blue), Obsidian (black) and Porcelain (beige).

VERDICT

The Google Pixel 8a is an attractive and capable smartphone that offers a compact size but the power and features that will meet all your needs.

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