Google Pixel 8a official: A more affordable way to experience Google’s AI

Even before AI and machine learning became buzzwords, Google was already utilizing these technologies behind the scenes to power services like Search and Google Assistant. In line with recent trends, however, it has started applying and advertising AI for anything and everything, especially for its Pixel devices. AI features, however, are normally accessed through online services, which incurs security and privacy issues, or on the device itself, which requires powerful hardware that’s often available only on more expensive flagships. That’s the kind of situation that the new Google Pixel 8a is trying to change, offering a more accessible device to access Google’s AI-powered features and services for years on end.

Designer: Google

The Pixel 8a is practically the Pixel 8 in both design and spirit. It has the exact same appearance, though in a slightly smaller size and one important change in materials. The back of this newer Pixel phone is a matte composite instead of the Pixel 8’s glass rear. The color options available are also slightly different, with the Pixel 8a leaning more towards fun and saturated hues like Aloe green and Bay blue. Otherwise, the two are almost exactly identical, which some Pixel fans have grown pretty fond of.

The Pixel 8a even shares the same Tensor G3 processor as the current flagship, though we won’t be surprised if we find out later that it has been dialed down a bit. That said, it still has enough power to support almost all of Google’s AI features on the Pixel, from Circle to Search to Gemini assistant for summarizing pages or notes to removing background noise from recorded video. There will still be some features exclusive to the Pixel 8, of course, but you can already enjoy most of what’s available on the Pixel 8a, especially when it comes to photography.

It will definitely need it because one of the biggest corners that Google had to cut was the camera system. Neither the 64MP main camera nor the 13MP ultra-wide has autofocus, and both have slightly lower specs than the Pixel 8. In other words, the Pixel 8a will rely more heavily on AI and algorithms to compensate for the camera hardware’s limitation. There are also some other key differences, like a slower (but still fast) 18W charging speed.

All in all, you’re getting nearly the same Pixel 8 experience for $200 less, with the Pixel 8a going for $499 for 128GB of storage and $549 for the first-ever 256GB option for a Pixel “a” series. Aside from the camera, none of the “downgrades” are deal-breakers, making the Pixel 8a a very worthwhile investment for the future, especially since the phone will also be getting Android updates for seven years.