Google’s Pixel 8a carries the Tensor G3 chip, advanced AI at a price of $499

Ahead of its I/O developer conference, Google revealed the Pixel 8a, and like other devices in its “a” series, the 8a offers many of the same features as the main Pixel line with discounts of specifications selected to keep the price reasonable. This year, strike an attractive balance.

The company also detailed a new way to get the Pixel tablet. Here’s what you need to know.

Google Pixel 8a: a familiar design on the outside

Google redesigned the 8a to make it look more like the Pixel 8 ($699) and Pixel 8 Pro ($999), and less like last year’s square Pixel 7a ($499). The Pixel 8a measures 6.0 by 2.9 by 0.4 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.8 ounces, which is nearly identical to the 7a (6.0 by 2.8 by 0.4 inches, 6.8 ounces ) but slightly larger than the Pixel 8 (5.9 by 2.8 by 0.4 inches). , 6.6 ounces).

Despite the fresh looks, the base 128GB model still costs $499. A new 256GB model is only available for $559 in Obsidian (black); the 7a was not offered with this option.

Google Pixel 8a in Bay (Blue), Aloe (Green) and Obsidian (Black)

Left to right: Pixel 8a in Bay (blue), Aloe (green) and Obsidian (black) (Credit: Google)

A USB-C (v3.2) port sits on the bottom edge, while a volume rocker and power button line the right edge with a fingerprint sensor under the display.

The Pixel 8a has an aluminum frame and a plastic back. Gorilla Glass 3 protects the screen. This is a fairly old glass that is more prone to shattering (but less prone to scratching) than the much newer Gorilla Glass Victus. A 6.1-inch OLED display dominates the front of the phone. It has a resolution of 2,400 by 1,080 pixels, an adaptive refresh rate of 120 Hz and a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits (1,400 nits HDR). This is a significant step up from the Pixel 7a display, which has the same resolution but a refresh rate of up to 90Hz and a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits. A small cutout for the selfie camera is visible at the top of the screen.

In terms of durability, the Google Pixel 8a has an IP rating of IP67, just like the 7a. It can withstand most dust and sit in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have a stronger IP68 rating, which means they’re slightly more waterproof.

The Pixel 8a is available in four colors: Aloe (green), Bay (blue), Obsidian (black) and Porcelain (white/grey). The matte aluminum rear camera bar matches the color of the rear panel for a nice, uniform look.

Tensor G3 and 5G: the latest technology inside

Google’s Tensor G3 processor powers the Pixel 8a. This is the same system-on-a-chip (SoC) found in the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. Google designed the G3 with a powerful neural processing unit intended primarily to handle AI tasks rather than burn through heavy processing and gaming tasks. It’s a solid chip, but it delivers a different performance vector compared to top-tier processors like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Like the Pixel 7a and 8 series, the Titan M2 security chip is built in to keep your data safe sure

Illustration of the tensioner G3

(Credit: Google)

As noted, the phone ships with either 128GB or 256GB of storage. There is no expandable storage on board. In comparison, the identically priced Samsung Galaxy A35 comes with 128GB of storage i includes a microSD card slot for 1 TB of storage.

For RAM, the Pixel 8a has 8GB like the 7a and the Pixel 8. To get more RAM in a Pixel, you’ll need to get the Pixel 8 Pro, which has 12GB.

The 8a packs a 4,492mAh battery, up from the 7a’s 4,385mAh battery. It is capable of wired charging up to 18W and Qi wireless charging at 7.5W.

In terms of connectivity, the 8a supports sub-6GHz 5G (including C-band), as well as the faster (but less widespread) mmWave 5G. This means it can connect to most of the fastest 5G networks in the US. The device supports dual SIM (physical SIM and eSIM), Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 and NFC.

Cameras: Aiming to be the best

Google is touting the Pixel 8a as “the best smartphone camera under $500” — a bold claim. The phone features a 64MP f/1.89 main shooter with optical image stabilization. Google says it’s the exact same sensor as last year’s 7a. The phone also has a 13MP f/2.2 ultra-wide shooter with a 120-degree field of view on the back and a 13MP f/2.2 selfie camera like the Pixel 7a, though its field of view is slightly wider at 96.5 degrees versus 95. degrees. Video capture reaches 4K resolution at 60 frames per second (fps).

Close-up of Google Pixel 8a cameras in porcelain (white).

(Credit: Google)

Of course, Google Photography isn’t all about the hardware. The company has made great strides in computational photography and AI to produce beautiful images. The Pixel 8a includes Best Take, Magic Editor, and Audio Magic Eraser, features not available on the Pixel 7a.

Best Take lets you modify group photos by replacing faces to create a better photo; Magic Editor uses generative AI to allow you to move or resize elements within an image; and Audio Magic Eraser lets you easily remix audio in your videos. These software-based features could help the Pixel 8a live up to Google’s claim.

Google Pixel 8 Magic Editor interface

Magic Editor in action on the Pixel 8 (Credit: Google/PCMag)

To learn more about these AI features, check out our Google Pixel 8 Pro review.

Recommended by our editors

Software: Long-term commitment and some AI

The Pixel 8a comes with Android 14 on board and will have seven years of security and operating system updates. This is the same policy as the Pixel 8 series, ideal for those who like to use their phones for longer periods of time. Samsung is the only other company that formally offers a long-term commitment to its Android phones.

From left to right: Google Pixel 8, Pixel 8a, Pixel 8 Pro

Left to right: Google Pixel 8, Pixel 8a, Pixel 8 Pro (Credit: Google)

AI is built into the 8a, just like the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. Google’s Gemini Nano, an AI chatbot that runs locally on a smartphone, will be available on the Pixel 8a. The company says Gemini Nano can be enabled as a developer option and is enabled (rather than a default feature). Other onboard AI options include Call Assistance (which can put you on hold or route your call through a phone tree), Live Translate, and Circle to Search.

Google also added new parental control options that will be available during initial phone setup and will allow parents to customize settings such as screen limits and tracking.

The Pixel 8a is available for pre-order starting today (May 7) and will hit stores on May 14.

A new way to buy the Pixel tablet

Google is tweaking the Pixel tablet, which debuted last year for $499. That price includes a speaker base that helps the tablet transform into a smart display. Starting May 14, the Pixel tablet will be available for the lowest price of $399, without the dock. Otherwise, it’s the same device that Google launched in 2023.

Pixel Tablet on marble surface

Google Pixel Tablet (Credit: Eric Zeman)

Is it enough to spark interest in Google Whiteboard? We labeled the speaker dock as a big plus when we reviewed the Pixel Tablet last year. It works as a charger and unlocks a Hub mode that lets you use your Pixel tablet as a smart display. Making the Pixel Tablet available without the dock marks a change in strategy and repositions the slate to some extent. Rumors suggest that Google is working on keyboard and stylus accessories for the Pixel tablet, which would make the tablet a better productivity tool than before, but those reports have yet to be confirmed. The dock is available separately for $129.

The Google Pixel tablet is available for pre-order starting today and will be available on May 14.

More news is sure to come from Google I/O 2024, which starts on May 14. Find out what to expect from Google’s big developer conference.

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