Overnight Google has announced the 2024 budget offering of their Pixel 8 line, the Pixel 8a, with the focus once again on Google’s AI that was front and centre for the Pixel 8 line predecessors.  

Last year the Pixel 7a ended up replacing the Pixel 7 in the market and we suspect the same for this year given the $849RRP of the Pixel 8a.

Design-wise, the Pixel 8a is much of the same with the same design language of the few previous Pixel smartphones with the camera bar spread across the rear of the phone.  The rear of the phone has a smooth matte finish giving it a very elegant look.

Inside, the Pixel 8a comprises a metal frame and camera bar and arrives with an IP67 rating and a new scratch-resistant 6.1-inch Actua display, making it the most durable A-series phone from Google yet.   The display has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz which is an improvement of the 90Hz on the Pixel 7a last year, although it is still not an LTPO display but cycles between 60 and 120Hz depending on the refresh rate best suited to what is displayed on the screen.

The Pixel 8a includes much of the same Google AI that the premium Pixel 8 line includes such as asking Gemini, the built-in AI assistant, to summarise Google Docs, circle to search, Voice Assistant voice typing, Live Translate and the At a Glance widget.

Also powered by the Google Tensor G3, much of the AI takes place on-board the device and the machine learning it powers allows for improved photo and video quality, audio on phone calls, and most importantly, security.  The included Titan M2 security chip offers multiple layers of security to keep all of your personal information safe and secure.

Other security features include the inbuilt VPN by Google One, Face Unlock with full support for Class 3 biometric security (which means you can use it for banking apps and secure log ins etc) and a full seven years of the latest OS and security updates (plus the Pixel Feature Drops).

Storage-wise, this year is the first time there is a 256GB offering of the A-series line.  Other hardware improvements include the larger 4492mAh which can charge at 18W wired and 7.5W wireless (Qi one).

The camera on the Pixel 8a arrives with all the features we’ve grown to love on the Pixel 8 line including:

  • Night Sight, 
  • Best Take – Best Smile, Silly Face to deliver the best group photo each time
  • Photo Unblur 
  • Super Res Zoom
  • Audio Magic Eraser – Computational audio capability to reduce distracting sounds in your video, like crowds, noise and more.
  • Real Tone Video – Expanding on Real Tone for the camera
  • Guided Frame –  Beyond a selfie assistant, it now works on front and rear cameras and recognises pets as well as faces.

This is possible not just thanks to the Tensor G3 chip but also the rear 64MP and 13MP ultrawide cameras and the 13MP front camera.

Personal safety also takes a front seat with Car Crash Detection, Crisis Alerts and Safety Check.  The Pixel 8a can detect if you’re in a crash and call emergency services for you or for Crisis Alerts and Safety Check you set a timer and the phone will contact an emergency contact if you don’t respond within that time frame.

This year, customers who purchase the Pixel 8a will receive three months of YouTube Premium, three months of Google one for new users, and six months of Fitbit Premium.

The Google Pixel 8a will be available for AU$849 in Bay, Porcelain and Obsidian (correct, at this stage Australia will not see the Aloe colourway) from Google Store and your usual Google Pixel sellers.