Google’s New Pixel 8a is a $499 Phone with Flagship-Level Promises

A woman with curly hair taking a selfie with a Google Pixel 8a phone, focusing on her stylish rings and green nail polish, against a green textured background.

The new Google Pixel 8a has been announced and it has some serious upgrades, bringing it close to the flagship Pixel 8 devices at a notable discount.

The Pixel 8a hasn’t changed much from the 7a when it comes to looks and it has a similar design and some color swaps. It also has more rounded corners, aligning with the look of the Pixel 8.

But underneath the surface, the Google 8a gets a big upgrade with the addition of the Google Tensor G3, the same one as the Pixel 8. The 7a, meanwhile, only offered the Google Tensor G2.

A gif of the Google Tensor G3 chip.

However, don’t expect any big changes to the camera as the specs there remain essentially the same. However, there are a few new features, including Magic Editor, Best Take, and Ultra HDR. All of these are already on the Pixel 8, but not the former budget model, the 7a. Best Take and Magic Editor both utilize artificial intelligence to help users get the perfect shot. With Best Take, the Pixel 8a can make a composite from multiple images to create a group photo where everyone looks good. Using the feature, users can select which option of a subject’s face to use in the final result.

Meanwhile, Magic Editor turns the Pixel into an AI photo editing powerhouse. Users can select objects they want to erase, move a subject around, or change the lighting, for example.

Similarly, videos on Pixel 8a can now take advantage of Audio Magic Eraser, which also uses AI to edit sound. With it, users can remove distracting sounds entirely.

A man with braided hair talks on a Google Pixel 8a smartphone in the color Aloe. He's indoors by a window with grid-like panes wearing a colorful knitted sweater.

To further double down on the AI upgrades, Google’s Gemini AI assistant will also come to the Pixel 8a. With it, users can outsource tasks like writing a thank-you note or summarizing emails, as Google explains in a press release. The Pixel 8a also gets Circle to Search, which lets users, well, circle, tap, or “scribble” on an image, text, or video and automatically launch a search for whatever that may be. Pixel Call Assist will let 8a users take advantage of features like Call Screen, Direct My Call, Hold for Me, and Clear Calling.

So while the hard specs of the Pixel 8a’s cameras don’t show an overhaul from the 7a, new AI features powered by an updated chip can make an upgrade feel worth it.

The Google Pixel 8a’s Actua display is now 40 percent brighter and has a faster refresh rate at 120Hz, which will make smooth scrolling all the smoother. The 8a also finally gets a 256 GB storage option, a necessity for anyone looking to take advantage of the new photo and video features. Plus, the 8a gets Audio Emoji, which can send an audio reaction or visual effect over calls.

The Google Pixel 8a starts at $499 — that’s $200 less than the starting price for the Pixel 8, which will run users at least $699. Additionally, users can pre-order on Google Fi Wireless to get $499 back over 24 monthly credits when they sign up for a plan. Preorders for the 8a begin today, and the new phones will be available next week on May 14.

Image credits: Google