Before I wrote this review, I was already a big fan of the best Pixel phones — now I’m an even bigger fan. This handset takes all my favourite elements of Google’s flagship devices and packs them into a more affordable alternative.

Last year, the Google Pixel 7a became one of Digital Spy’s top Android phones for under £500 because it made very few compromises to the cameras, battery, performance and charging specs compared to the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. I think much the same about the Pixel 8a, if you’re on a budget, it’s one of the best phones on the planet.

The Google Pixel 8a was released on May 14, 2024, about seven months after the Google Pixel 8 and the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

At launch, the Pixel 8a costs £499, £200 cheaper than the Pixel 8 which started at £699, although some of the best Pixel 8 deals have dropped the price to as little as £570 in recent months. For a more in-depth look at how the two fare against one another, you can read about the Google Pixel 8a vs the Google Pixel 8. But if you’re hoping to spend as little as possible for as many perks as possible, you’re already in the right place.

Screen size 6.1 inch
Resolution 1080 x 2400 pixels
Battery 4,492mAh
Cameras 64MP wide, 13MP ultrawide, 13MP front
Operating system Android 14
Processor Google Tensor G3
Storage 128GB, 256GB
Water resistance IP67
Weight 188g

Google Pixel 8a review: what’s new

The Google Pixel 8a takes what was so good about the Google Pixel 7a and builds on it. The two devices aren’t that different but the changes still make it the better piece of kit in 2024.

Firstly, the Google Pixel 8a ditches the 7a’s sharp corners and glass back in favour of a more rounded design with a matte plastic build. There have been some changes to the available colourways too — you can buy the 8a in Aloe green, Bay blue, Obsidian black and Porcelain white (the 7a came in Charcoal black, Sea blue, Snow white and Coral red).

Both use very similar screen tech however the Google Pixel 8a has an Actua OLED instead of a regular OLED which means it’s brighter than before, and it comes with an Adaptive Refresh Rate up to 120Hz, increased from 90Hz previously.

Under the hood, the Pixel 8a is loaded with the latest Tensor G3 processor, whereas the Pixel 7a uses the Tensor G2. Plus there’s a new 256GB storage option alongside the 128GB device. As well as that, the battery has been boosted from 4,385mAh to 4,492mAh.

Google Pixel 8a review: design

When you first unbox the Google Pixel 8a, you’ll see the family resemblance immediately. Like all Google Pixels, it has a sleek camera strip across the back, and this one is a little flusher against the casing than the flagships, so it rests perfectly still on flat surfaces.

Google has switched out the glossy design for a matte plastic build. It’s made from 76% recycled plastic which is a definite step in the right direction. I like how it looks, it’s smart and feels super smooth, although I did find it just as slippy as the Pixel 8.

google pixel 8a held in hand with purple nails

Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

The new materials make the handset feel sturdier, as though it would survive a few knocks and bumps. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 which isn’t as scratch-resistant as the Victus glass used on the Pixel 8 but will go some way to protecting it against falls. Like its predecessor, the Pixel 8a is IP67 water and dust-resistant so it will survive sudden rainfall and other accidents.

You can buy the Google Pixel 8a in four different colours. I tested out the Bay blue model, the colour is bright and fun, arguably more interesting than your standard smartphone colourways.

On the front, the 6.1-inch screen is surrounded by thicker bezels than I’m used to on my flagship device. But for a cheap smartphone, the bezels are still relatively slim and I soon got used to the screen having a slightly thicker frame.

A hole-punch camera is centred towards the top of the display and around the frame you will find a power button, volume rocker and a USB-C port. There’s no headphone jack, nor will you get a MicroSD card slot to expand the storage.

One thing I like about the Pixel 8a is how compact the design is. I could slot it into my jeans pocket without it poking out and I could easily use it one-handed without straining my thumb too much to reach the other side of the screen.

Google Pixel 8a review: display

The Google Pixel 8a has a 6.1-inch Actua OLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels, 430ppi and a 20:9 aspect ratio. The screen is beautifully crisp and clear, with vibrant colours that make it pop.

For this price, you won’t find much better screen tech, especially now the 8a has an Adaptive Refresh Rate of up to 120Hz (with a minimum of 60Hz). Not only does that make the handset smooth to use but it also allows for an always-on display so I could check the time or my notifications without picking up the handset. Not all mobiles have this, in fact even the iPhone 15 left out that feature.

google pixel 8a held in hand with purple nails

Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

I used the Google Pixel 8a to catch up on shows like Doctor Who on the best streaming services, snap and edit photos and scroll through social media apps like Instagram. The screen isn’t as bright as you would get on a pricier device like the Samsung Galaxy S24 but it is brighter than its predecessor at 1,400nits typical and 2,000nits peak brightness, I could easily see it on a sunny day.

To unlock the handset, there’s a choice of the in-display fingerprint scanner or facial recognition (as well as the usual PIN or password). Both worked well, I didn’t have any trouble getting into the phone, although I find the fingerprint works slightly more quickly and felt more natural.

Google Pixel 8a review: camera

The Google Pixel 8a keeps the same camera setup as its predecessor, because if it isn’t broken, why fix it? On the back of the phone, there’s a 64MP main camera and a 13MP ultrawide lens, while on the front, there’s a 13MP selfie snapper. There’s no dedicated telephoto zoom lens, so the camera relies on digital 8x Super Res zoom instead.

Combining this hardware with Google’s advanced software makes for some good-looking, well-balanced shots at all times of day and night. The shutter speed responded to my touch instantly so I never missed a moment. Whether photographing on a summery day or a dreary typically British one, you’ll get pleasant shots from simply pointing and shooting.

There will be no need to fiddle with any controls, but if you like to make adjustments, you can modify the brightness, shadow and white balance.

google pixel 8a held in hand with purple nails

Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

Google’s camera app consistently boosts shots to make them look lively and vibrant but not so much that they seem unrealistic. This camera system also managed to balance the light and dark areas of the shot well enough that you can see plenty of detail in both. There were times when the photos were a little darker than I would have liked but luckily that’s easily fixed with a quick edit.

A huge bonus of buying a budget Pixel phone is that you’ll get many of the same post-capture editing tools as its pricier siblings. That includes Photo Unblur to clean up your pictures, Portrait Light to deliver the most flattering shots of people, Best Take which can combine group shots so everyone looks their best and the Magic Eraser so you can resize and reposition objects in the scene.

Granted, there are a couple of features you won’t find here, like Video Boost which is only available on the Pixel 8 Pro. We wouldn’t mark that down as a drawback though because you still get way more options here than you would on any other similarly priced handset.

Google Pixel 8a sample photos

Take a look at the gallery below to see some examples of unedited shots taken on the Google Pixel 8a.

google pixel 8a sample photo

Google Pixel 8a review: performance and battery

The brain of the operation is the Google Tensor G3 processor — that’s the same chip that powers the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. It sits alongside 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128 or 256GB of storage.

Built for purpose, the Tensor chip allows for more efficient artificial intelligence features processed on the phone including Live Translate and Call Screening. The Tensor G3 isn’t as powerful as other chipsets like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (used in some of the best Samsung phones) but given this is a cheap smartphone it’s great to see such a capable bit of hardware under the hood.

Day to day the phone runs quickly and smoothly across the majority of tasks including photo editing. It did sometimes slow down when I was flicking between open windows and occasionally crashed while trying to load up an app. If you’re a mobile gamer looking for one of the fastest phones ever, you won’t find that here, but for most people the Pixel 8a will do everything you could need just fine.

google pixel 8a held in hand with purple nails

Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

Google claims the 4,492mAh battery in the Pixel 8a will last 24+ hours of use (the same as the Pixel 7a). During testing this rang true, on days I didn’t spend hours and hours using the phone, it would easily last me the whole day, the evening and even into the next morning. When I spent longer using it like for streaming Prime Video movies or making my way around the city using Google Maps, the battery drained much more quickly so I needed to give it a boost in the evening.

To compare it more precisely to other phones, I downloaded and played a two-hour video at full brightness. In that time, the battery level dropped by 12% suggesting it would have lasted almost 17 hours of playback. In that same test, another top affordable Android, the Samsung Galaxy A55 only lasted around 14 hours.

The Google Pixel 8a supports 18W charging, and in my experience, it took just under two hours to charge the handset from 0 to 100%. This smartphone also supports wireless charging.

Google Pixel 8a review: software

The Google Pixel 8a runs Android 14, and for the first time, promises seven years of software updates (the Google Pixel 7a only got three years of system updates). That means you’ll still get new feature drops until 2031 and as long as you don’t lose or break it, you shouldn’t need to upgrade your phone until that point.

Because it’s one of Google’s own smartphones, the Pixel 8a runs pure Android — I prefer it to any other version of the OS because it looks nice and colourful without overcomplicating things or becoming cartoonish, it’s very user-friendly and it doesn’t come loaded with annoying bloatware like some other handsets (looking at you, Samsung).

Google Pixels are known for their impressive artificial intelligence-based features, and what’s great is that you get almost all of the same features on the budget Pixel 8a as you would with Google’s most expensive smartphone.

google pixel 8a held in hand with purple nails

Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

A lot of the best AI features are within the camera apps, but there are lots of others to explore — like Circle to Search which allows you to search for literally anything on the screen, whether that’s a word, an image or a video, by long pressing on the navigation bar and then circling it.

Other handy Pixel features include Call Screening so you don’t get hassled by spam calls, Clear Calling to filter out distracting noises when you’re on the phone, Live Translate to interpret conversations, menus and text messages, and so on.

I made a lot of use of some of the simpler features too. You can place the phone face down to turn on Do Not Disturb, the bedtime mode turns the whole system monochrome during set times at night, and there’s a notification to tell you to put your phone away while you’re walking.

To add to that, the Google Pixel 8a introduces Audio Emojis like a clapping sound to go along with the clap emoji and a laughing noise to go with the laughing emoji.

Pixels all come with a VPN pre-installed to protect your online activity and the handset can detect when you’ve been in a car crash and alert the emergency services. Every new Pixel user will benefit from a couple of other apps as well, like six months of Fitbit Premium for free, and three months of YouTube Premium.

Google Pixel 8a review: verdict

I’ve enjoyed testing the Google Pixel 8a, often budget phones can’t compare to my usual flagship, but this one delivers a lot of the same specs and features for less cash.

The camera delivers crystal clear shots, the battery lasts all day, the software is loaded with cool AI tools, the screen is super smooth and the design is lightweight and pocket-friendly.

Sure, the Pixel 8a won’t cope so well with intense mobile gaming and there’s no dedicated zoom lens on the camera. You could also complain about the charging speeds. However, those aren’t dramatic drawbacks.

If you are on a budget and looking for one of the best iPhone alternatives, the Google Pixel 8a is undoubtedly a top choice.

Google Pixel 8a review: also consider

For a similar price, you could buy one of these Google Pixel 7 deals, it was the tech giant’s 2022 flagship smartphone with a slightly bigger 6.3-inch screen with a sleek glass design, although it is worth knowing that it will charge more slowly and will only get software updates until the end of 2025.

If you’re on a budget, you could also consider buying one of the best refurbished phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 which has recently been dropping in price but boasts a solid camera, decent performance and a stunning pocket-friendly 6.2-inch design.

Some might prefer an even cleaner version of Android with a more minimal interface, the Nothing 2a is our top choice in that case. To add to that it has a lovely screen and speedy performance, although the camera doesn’t match up to the Pixel 8a.

Google Pixel 8a

Google Pixel 8a

->Google Actualités

5/5 - (349 votes)
Article précédentL'art des nouveaux donjons et dragons
Article suivantComment résoudre le puzzle Oridys's Rise dans Elden Ring


S'il vous plaît entrez votre commentaire!
S'il vous plaît entrez votre nom ici