I’ve always been quite excited to try a Pixel smartphone. I’ve been using the flagship Pixel 7 Pro and this year the 8 Pro as my primary device, and what I know is time truly tells how competent a device is. With the launch of the new, relatively affordable Google Pixel 8a, I was curious to see if it would feel like a significant compromise on the flagship. Thankfully, it doesn’t, but read on to know the big picture.


The powder blue matte finish feels new and will hopefully not keep slipping off surfaces like its predecessor’s from last year. There are four color options: Aloe (pastel green), Bay (powder blue), Porcelain and Obsidian. I quite like the shiny aluminum strip in which the camera module rests.   


The Pixel 8a has a 6.1-inch OLED display with 2400 x 1080 resolution and up to 120Hz refresh rate. The smartphone also offers up to 1400 nits in HDR content and 2000 nits peak brightness. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 cover glass. I queued up Guardian: The Lonely and Great God on Netflix and the Pixel 8a didn’t disappoint. The colours are vibrant and the viewing angles uniform. The audio through the stereo speaker is decently loud but lacks depth and generally makes me want to just switch to my earbuds for a more immersive experience. 


The Pixel 8a has the same basic camera setup as the Pixel 7a - a 64MP quad-pixel main camera and a 13 MP ultra-wide camera. While the lack of hardware updation is a bit disappointing, the camera app has new functionalities and the photographs overall don’t disappoint. Exactly what you’d expect from a Pixel smartphone. 

Snapped indoors under artificial lighting

Snapped indoors under artificial lighting

Snaps taken on an overcast afternoon were still cheerfully bright enough. Whether indoors or outdoors, the colours were consistently vibrant, with bold yet natural levels of saturation. Portraits carried a lovely, blurred background effect as well. The camera sometimes delivers a slightly warmer tone while taking multiple consecutive snaps of the same frame, an issue that’s plagued a few older Pixels as well. There’s no telephoto lens of course, but the photos taken in 2x zoom were still noise-free enough. Night Sight worked fabulously well, rendering low-light snaps with ample brightness without much noise or blowing them out.  Features such as Best Take, Night Sight, Magic Eraser and Magic Editor -are now available on this smartphone as well.

There’s a 13 MP front camera, which snaps decently clear selfies. I also quite liked the video quality on this during WhatsApp calls and a few work briefings. All the AI features that debuted with the flagship Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro also find a home in the Pixel 8a. You can get a summary of emails, and Circle to Search for information based on images. There’s Live Translate too to help navigate language barriers as you travel.

Tech Specs

The Google Pixel 8a runs on the proprietary Google Tensor G3 with the Titan M2 security coprocessor, which also enables hardware level security and privacy features. There’s only an 8 GB RAM option but two storage variants - 128 GB and 256 GB. The smartphone is snappy most of the time, with only occasionally stutters while switching apps or Googling at times. The only other gripe is that one part of the smartphone gets a bit warm if the camera is on for more than 4-5 minutes. The Pixel 8a ships with the latest Android 14, and offers no UI overlays, always a big hit with Android fans. Another win for the Pixel 8a is the promise of 7 years of software updates.

Bright, vivid colours rendered under the sun, along Marina Beach

Bright, vivid colours rendered under the sun, along Marina Beach


The smartphone battery has been upgraded to 4,492 mAh and goes on for a whole day and a little more. The typical usage for me involved streaming music on Spotify, watching YouTube videos, and some casual gaming apart from taking photographs and videos when out and about. The charging time is painfully slow, taking well above an hour to charge fully from zero.


The Google Pixel 8a has its own ways of endearing the consumer. It’s built to be compact and offers a host of meaningful AI features which the flagship also offers, the display is great although the bezels are a bit too obvious, and as expected of any Pixel, offers a great photography experience. Having said that the Pixel 7a at the time of launch was priced at ₹43,999, which made it much easier to recommend. At almost ₹10,000 more, the Pixel 8a does offer much software-based features but also finds itself in a very awkward price bracket. I wouldn’t think twice before recommending it if it had been introduced at the same price point as its predecessor. 

Consistently well-lit noise-free photos in low-light conditions at a café

Consistently well-lit noise-free photos in low-light conditions at a café


₹52,999 (128 GB)

₹59,999 (256 GB)

Pros - Great camera, seven years of software updates, meaningful AI features, decent battery life

Cons - Gets warm with certain functions, camera hardware same as last year’s Pixel 7