Google Pixel 8a preview: Our expectations

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*the image above is the Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 8a Intro

Even since Google introduced the first model from the Pixel A-series back in 2019, the line has become the go-to option for those who want a budget phone with all the software bells and whistles Google has to offer.

The series has enjoyed tremendous success to this day, and the next model we’re eagerly expecting is the Pixel 8a. The phone is just around the corner, and it will give all midrangers a serious run for their money.

We expect the Pixel 8a to launch sometime in May, so there’s still time, but today we’re going to offer you a little preview and summarize everything we know about the Pixel 8a. This piece will expand to a full-blown review as soon as we lay our hands on the Pixel 8a, so stay tuned for that as well.

Table of Contents:

Also read:

Google Pixel 8a Specs

AI magic for the masses
Let’s start with an overview of the expectedΒ Google Pixel 8a specs:

* expected specifications

Google Pixel 8a Design and Display

120 Hz for everyone!
The time has come for all midrange phones to amp up their game and offer a 120Hz display refresh rate. Gone are the days of stuttering 60Hz displays; now you can have that buttery smoothness on a phone that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

According to the latest info, the Pixel 8a features a 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED with a peak brightness of 1,400 nits. The usual camera cutout sits at the upper center of the display. We’ll have to test this claim, so stay tuned for our display tests.

Regarding the design and the overall materials of the Pixel 8a, there’s nothing groundbreaking; the model follows in the footsteps of the design philosophy started with the Pixel 6, and overall looks very similar to its predecessor, the Pixel 7a. Looking at the shape of the phone, it’s a little more rounded on the back and also on the sides.

The camera bar is still present, with an oval cutout for the two cameras. The overall shape and button layout scream Pixel, so you’re getting a very distinct design in a world where smartphones all kind of look the same, which is a bonus.

As far as colors are concerned, the phone is available in bay (light blue), mint (light green), obsidian (black), and porcelain (beige), and they all look very hip, especially the blue version that will further make the Pixel 8a pop up in the crowd.

The Pixel 8a relies on the same under-display biometric tech as its predecessors. There have been some issues with the fingerprint scanner of the early Pixel 6 models, but Google has addressed all of these, so you’ll be fine. Face unlock was introduced on the A-series Pixels with the Pixel 7a, and it’s onboard here as well.

Google Pixel 8a Camera

It’s all in the algorithms
The Pixel 8a will feature the same camera system as its predecessor, namely a 64 MP main camera with OIS and f/1.9 aperture, coupled with a 13 MP ultrawide. This might disappoint some people, but don’t forget how strong and advanced Google is when it comes to image processing algorithms.

We don’t have any samples to show you yet, but if you want to get a little taste of what’s to come, you can check out the Pixel 7a review and scroll down to the camera section.

Of course, we expect major AI features to come to the Pixel 8a that will improve image and video quality drastically (Gemini Nano), so we have to wait and snap some pics and videos ourselves before we make our final comments on the Pixel 8a camera (and post our camera score).

The selfie camera is expected to be carried over as wellβ€”a 13 MP, f/2.2, 20mm equivalent ultrawide snapper.

Google Pixel 8a Performance & Benchmarks

Third generation Tensor
When it comes to hardware and performance, the Pixel 8a has a known entity up its sleeve: the third generation of Google’s proprietary chipset, the Tensor G3. We already have some idea of the performance of this chip; you can check out the benchmarks inside the Pixel 8 review for a quick reference.

The storage and RAM situation is pretty standard, with two main storage options – 128GB and 256GB, both coupled with 8GB of RAM. There are no bonus features, such as a microSD card slot or a 3.5mm audio jack, but we’re all used to not having those by now.

We might see better thermal performance and efficiency, as Google now has some data and feedback from the Pixel 8 series, and the dimensions and cooling system of the Pixel 8a might contribute to slightly better benchmark scores compared to the first iteration of the Tensor G3 inside the flagship Pixel 8, but we’ll have to wait and run those benchmarks to see if this hypothesis holds true.

Google Pixel 8a Software

This is where things get really interesting. The smartphone world is heavy on AI these days; it’s all the rage. All big companies are trying to implement AI in some shape or form, and Google is no exception. We already got Gemini Nano (formerly known as Bard) with the latest Feature Drop, and we expect most of the AI features to be available on the Pixel 8a right out of the box.
You can get a sense of what’s to come by checking out this piece on the expected AI features Google is cooking up for its next phones, but all in all, we might get the new AI-driven Pixie assistant on the Pixel 8a, managing all AI features, such as live translation and transcription, contextual AI search in images, text summaries and suggestions, and many more.

The software support cycle is another hot topic that actually Google started with the seven-year OS updates promise for the Pixel 8 series, so we expect all Pixel phones from now on to offer the same lengthy support, Pixel 8a included.

Google Pixel 8a Battery

A welcome increase
The last Pixel A-series device, the Pixel 7a, came with a 4,385 mAh cell inside, and while not exactly small, we wished Google bumped up the capacity a bit. Our prayers have been answered, as the Pixel 8a is expected to boast a 4,500 mAh battery. Even though we’re taking about a mere 120 mAh upgrade, we expect a substantial increase in battery life.For one, the Tensor G2 was not the most efficient processor out there, and the G3 came with some improvements, so the Pixel 8a should beat the 7a when it comes to battery benchmarks. Speaking of which, we’re going to add some hard numbers to that particular equation pretty soon, so stay tuned for that as well.

When it comes to charging, we have more good news: the Pixel 8a will inherit the 27W fast charging support from the Pixel 8 series, upgrading the 18W charging we had on the Pixel 7a. There will be wireless charging onboard as well, but we’re still not sure whether it will support 7.5W or double that power and offer 15W.

Google Pixel 8a Audio Quality and Haptics

There’s the usual stereo speaker setup found on the Pixel 8a, where the earpiece doubles as a second speaker, while there’s a bigger bottom-firing loudspeaker doing the heavy lifting. Judging from the Pixel 7a, this setup does the job, and we don’t expect major changes in that regard. The same goes for the haptic motor inside.Β 

Finally, there’s no 3.5 mm audio jack, so you’ll have to rely on wireless connectivity or use an adapter if you want to make use of your wired headphones.

Should you buy it?

We can definitely recommend this phone, even before the final evaluation took place. If you want to be on the forefront of AI innovation without dishing out a ton of money, the Pixel 8a is one of your best bets.It has Google behind it, which means it will get seven years of major OS support, and that includes all the AI magic Google will throw in its phones. As an alternative, we could recommend the Galaxy A-series, and the Galaxy A55 in particular.

However, there aren’t many models at that price point to offer a sophisticated AI built inside, and other companies will have to play catch-up in order to be competitive.


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