Google Pixel 8a Review: Better Option than Pixel 8 at a lower price point

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Google launched its much anticipated Pixel 8a in India last month at a price that no one would have imagined. The Pixel 8a comes with a hefty price tag starting at Rs 52,999 for the 128GB model, stepping up from the Pixel 7a’s launch price of Rs 43,999. So the question arises: is the Pixel 8a truly worth its price? Well, we have been using the Pixel 8A for some time; based on my time with the device, here are my thoughts on Google’s latest smartphone:

Google Pixel 8a 5G Price & Availability

Google Pixel 8a comes in the following storage configurations in India-

  • 128GB storage- 52,999
  • 256GB storage- 59,999

Google Pixel 8a comes in Obsidian, Porcelain, Bay, and Aloe shades, and sells via Flipkart.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Smooth and attractive design
  • IP67 rating
  • 7 years of software updates
  • Impressive camera performance

Cons

  • Less camera features than Pixel 7a
  • Thick bezels
  • Slow charging
  • No adapter inside the box

Google Pixel 8a 5G ReviewDesign & Build

The Google Pixel 8a shares a similar design with the Google Pixel 8, offering a comfortable and pleasant feel in hand. The device is smaller in dimensions, resulting in a lighter weight. Upon closer inspection, you will notice some design tweaks.
Despite costing less than the Pixel 8, the Pixel 8a features modifications to the protective glass and rear panel. The display is equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, while the rear panel is constructed of plastic. An aluminum frame seamlessly joins the glass and plastic body. The curved design of the rear panel ensures a good grip. The display itself is flat.
The rear panel showcases a plastic camera strip that resembles metal. The camera module consists of a dual sensor setup and an LED flash. The camera strip mirrors the premium look of the Pixel 8. On the right side, you will find the power button and volume rockers, while the bottom edge houses the microphone, Type-C port, and stereo speakers. The top edge includes a microphone that doubles as a secondary speaker.


The front of the device features a 6.1-inch display, which offers an adequate size. While the base models of the Samsung Galaxy S-Series and iPhone series also come in a similar size, their prices are significantly higher than that of the Pixel 8a. A punch-hole sensor for the selfie camera sits at the top of the screen, surrounded by slightly thick bezels. These bezels may be a drawback at this price point, as most other smartphones feature slimmer bezels. However, users may gradually become accustomed to them with use.


The Google Pixel 8a is IP67-rated, providing protection against water and dust. It can withstand light splashes and sweat, but may not be suitable for heavy rain. The device weighs 188 grams and has a thickness of 8.9mm, slightly more than some other smartphones on the market. Nevertheless, the smaller screen size and compact design could be advantageous.

Google Pixel 8a 5G ReviewDisplay

The Google Pixel 8a outshines the Google Pixel 7a when it comes to display quality. The 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED screen with HDR on the Pixel 8a impressed us greatly. It boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, an improvement over the Pixel 7a’s 90Hz rate. However, due to the absence of an LTPO OLED panel, the Pixel 8a can only switch between 60Hz and 120Hz. Most games ran at 60Hz, but some apps and scrolling reached 120Hz, providing a smooth experience. The display’s colors are highly accurate, with the AMOLED panel offering vibrant colors in Professional or Natural profiles. The Pixel 8a features Adaptive and Natural profiles, both of which maintain decent color accuracy without oversaturation. The display delivers precise colors at all brightness levels. Despite offering 2000 nits brightness, the Pixel 8a’s full brightness isn’t reached, yet it performs well outdoors. HDR10 functions effectively, adjusting brightness automatically in bright light and allowing manual adjustments for viewing HDR content in the dark. In conclusion, the Pixel 8a’s stunning display is a significant advantage for the smartphone.

Google Pixel 8a 5G Review - Performance

The Google Pixel 8a operates on the Stock OS, which is based on Android 14, providing users with a clean and user-friendly interface. One of the standout features is that Google offers 7 years of software updates for Pixel devices, ensuring that the Pixel 8a will receive updates until 2031-32. Additionally, the Pixel 8 Series introduces new software features such as the Snapshot widget, allowing users to pin photos on their screens, and the Inside Out wallpaper. Moreover, the device boasts impressive AI capabilities, including Auto Eraser, Magic Editor, Best Take, and more.

Equipped with Google’s Tensor G3 chipset, the Pixel 8a matches the performance of the premium Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro models. This means that all apps on the device run smoothly, and with a refresh rate of 120Hz, the user experience becomes even smoother. Whether you’re sending an email or using Instagram, the Pixel 8a handles everything seamlessly. However, many smartphones in this price range are equipped with Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset which defeats the Tensor G3 by a margin.

Still, all the apps on the Pixel 8a smartphone run very smoothly, especially when the refresh rate is 120Hz. The exception is a long gaming session on a hot day that leads to frame drops. Daily tasks like emails, Instagram scrolling, using Slack, Whatsapp, and more are seamless and multitasking is smooth as well. Indian summer does raise the temperature of the device a little, but then that is expected.

The Pixel 8a tends to heat up quickly when gaming or shooting videos in the hot weather of Delhi, which may lead to some concerns regarding its thermal performance. We tested it with Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact, experiencing frame drops and overheating after extended gameplay sessions. While the Tensor G3 performs adequately for everyday tasks, there are other phones available at this price range, such as the iQOO 12, OnePlus 12R, and Xiaomi 14 Civ, that offer superior performance.

Furthermore, the benchmark scores of the Pixel 8a are impressive. It achieves a Geekbench 6 single-core score of 1581 and a multi-core score of 4093 points. The AnTuTu score also turns out to be high, showcasing the device’s overall performance capabilities.

Google Pixel 8a 5G ReviewCameras

The Google Pixel phones are renowned for their exceptional photography capabilities, and the Pixel 8a continues this legacy. Equipped with a dual camera setup at the back, featuring a 64MP Sony IMX 787 camera and a 13MP ultrawide lens, the smartphone delivers impressive performance. While the device lacks the ability to capture macro shots like the Pixel 8, this limitation is unlikely to impact most users given the limited demand for such shots at this price point.

The 64MP sensor with OIS is a standout feature, producing stunning 16MP images with exceptional detail and minimal noise. The color reproduction is natural, and the dynamic range is impressive, particularly for red, green, and white hues.

The main sensor excels at capturing portrait shots, maintaining focus on the subject while blurring the background. However, it may encounter challenges with edge detection and subject separation in some instances.

Even at 2x zoom, the Pixel 8a delivers satisfactory results for zoomed-in photos, although the quality is not on par with a dedicated telephoto sensor. While there is a slight decrease in detailing when zoomed in, this is to be expected.

In low-light conditions, the device performs admirably, producing images with minimal noise and improved brightness using the Night Vision mode. Although there may be slight variations in color, the overall output remains impressive.

The 13MP ultrawide sensor, which operates with fixed focus, surprises by capturing images in 16MP by default. While it may not match the primary sensor in terms of detailing, it still delivers images with adequate detail, minimal noise, natural colors, and a wide dynamic range.

Google has also enhanced the selfie sensor on the Pixel 8a, enabling the 13MP camera to capture selfies with natural skin tones and good detailing in both 1x and 1.4x modes.

Google Pixel 8a ReviewBattery Life and Charging

Google Pixel 8a packs a slightly larger battery than Pixel 7a. It comes with a 4492mAh powerhouse which worked an entire day due to improved battery efficiency, all thanks to the Tensor G3 chipset. Other than gaming, usage included social media apps, mail, clicking photos, and more. It still lasted an entire day. The bummer is that there is no adapter inside the box and the fast charging speed is 18W only.

We had a 67W charger which charged the device from 0 to 35% in 30 minutes. This means a full charge took about 1.5 hours which is very long. At this price point, various smartphones support 120W charging speeds that can charge larger batteries within 30 minutes. The Pixel 8a also supports wireless charging.

Review Verdict: Should You Buy the Google Pixel 8a 5G?

Smartprix Rating: 4/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Among all the premium and mid-range smartphones available, the Google Pixel 8a stands out as an impressive choice, despite having some drawbacks. These drawbacks may not appeal to everyone. The main issue is the 18W charging speed, which seems inadequate considering the price. The Tensor G3 chipset provides decent performance, but struggles to handle the heat during Indian summers, leading to quick overheating. The battery life is acceptable but not exceptional compared to other devices in the same category.

However, when it comes to the display and camera, the Pixel 8a excels and is unmatched in this price range. Pixel phones are renowned for their photography capabilities, and the Pixel 8a lives up to this reputation. The OLED display is also impressive, offering HDR support, natural colors, and a smooth streaming experience.

Moreover, the 6.1-inch screen size gives the phone a compact look that is not common among other devices in this segment. For those who prefer compact smartphones, the Pixel 8a could easily become a top choice.

First reviewed in June 2024.


Shivangi AgarwalShivangi Agarwal
Shivangi is an honours graduate in English from Delhi University with a passion for reading and writing. Always keen to know more about the latest gadgets, when she is not reading about tech, she loves listening to Hindi music and grooving to the latest Hindi beats.

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