REVIEW: Google Pixel 8a, a great mid-tier all-rounder, worth being on your short list

    When it comes to buying a new phone, not everyone reaches for the flagships, especially given the climbing prices of the top-end phones. Google’s Pixel 8a is their latest mid-tier phone that offers a lot of great features for a fraction of the price.

    The Pixel lineup is Google’s most genuine execution of hardware to show off the Android software. Having spent a couple of weeks with the phone, it’s time to break it down.


    The Google Pixel 8a is a great example of Google’s continued commitment to delivering a sophisticated, grown-up design in its mid-range lineup.

    At first glance, the device impresses with its minimalist aesthetic, characterized by clean lines and a balanced form factor that feels both modern and timeless. The design of the device itself lends itself to being complimented by a case and with the review, Google provided a bright blue case.

    The Pixel 8a leverages a now familiar unibody design with a smooth, matte finish that not only enhances its visual appeal but also feels great in the hand.

    The device’s front is dominated by a vibrant 6.1″ OLED display, framed by subtly curved edges that seamlessly blend into the phone’s body, creating an immersive viewing experience. Google has minimized the bezels to maximize screen real estate, giving the Pixel 8a a more premium look and feels typically found in higher-end models.

    The punch-hole front camera, discreetly positioned at the top, ensures an uninterrupted display surface, contributing to the device’s sleek profile.

    On the back, the Pixel 8a features a signature dual-tone design, a hallmark of the Pixel series, but with a refined touch. The camera module, a distinctive horizontal strip, houses the dual-lens setup and is neatly integrated, avoiding the unsightly camera bumps seen on many contemporary smartphones. This design choice not only maintains the device’s slim profile but also enhances its stability when placed on flat surfaces.

    The device is available in a range of appealing colours, from the classic Just Black to the playful Sorta Seafoam, allowing users to express their personal style.

    The choice of materials, including a recycled aluminium frame, underscores Google’s commitment to sustainability without compromising on durability. The Pixel 8a feels robust and well-crafted, with a build quality that inspires confidence. The weight of the phone plays into the overall feeling of the phone and its thin design, still carries a decent weight.

    The Google Pixel 8a’s design is a great example of striking the right balance of aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability. It stands out in the mid-range market with its refined look and feel, offering users a device that is not only visually appealing but also practical and environmentally conscious.

    Whether you’re upgrading from an older model or switching from another brand, the Pixel 8a promises a satisfying and stylish user experience.


    The Google Pixel 8a continues to uphold Google’s reputation for delivering exceptional performance in its mid-range devices. Powered by the latest Google Tensor G3 chipset, the Pixel 8a offers a significant boost in processing power and efficiency. This custom-built SoC is designed to handle a variety of tasks with ease, from everyday apps to more demanding applications, ensuring a smooth and responsive user experience.

    One of the standout features of the Pixel 8a is its integration with Google’s AI and machine learning capabilities. The Tensor G3 chipset enhances the device’s ability to manage background tasks efficiently, enabling smarter battery management and optimized app performance. This results in longer battery life and a more fluid multitasking experience, which is particularly noticeable when switching between multiple apps or running intensive applications like photo and video editors.

    The Pixel 8a is equipped with 6GB of RAM, which complements the powerful chipset and ensures that the device can handle multitasking without any lag. Whether you’re streaming high-definition content, playing graphics-intensive games, or running productivity apps, the Pixel 8a maintains a steady and reliable performance. The integration of the Titan M2 security chip also ensures that the device runs securely, protecting sensitive information and enhancing overall system integrity.

    Storage options for the Pixel 8a start at 128GB, providing ample space for apps, photos, and videos. The storage performance is swift, thanks to the UFS 3.1 technology, which contributes to faster data access and app load times. This speed is particularly beneficial when working with large files or high-resolution media, making the device suitable for both casual users and those with more demanding storage needs.

    The Pixel 8a’s software experience is another area where it excels. Running on the latest version of Android, the device benefits from Google’s streamlined and bloatware-free interface, which is both intuitive and user-friendly. Regular updates and security patches ensure that the Pixel 8a stays up-to-date with the latest features and protections, maintaining its performance over time.

    Connectivity options are robust, with support for 5G networks providing faster download and upload speeds, reduced latency, and a more reliable connection. This is complemented by Wi-Fi 6E support, which offers enhanced wireless performance, especially in crowded environments. Bluetooth 5.2 ensures stable connections with peripherals and wearables, adding to the overall seamless user experience.


    The Google Pixel 8a is packed with an array of features that enhance its functionality and user experience, solidifying its position as a strong contender in the mid-range smartphone market. Here’s a comprehensive look at some of the standout features that make the Pixel 8a a compelling choice.

    Camera System

    The Pixel 8a offers a versatile camera system, leveraging Google’s advanced computational photography capabilities. The dual-camera setup includes a 12.2 MP main sensor and a 12 MP ultra-wide lens, providing flexibility for various shooting scenarios.

    The camera software, powered by the Tensor G3 chipset, brings features such as Night Sight, which excels in low-light conditions, and Super Res Zoom, offering high-quality zoom without compromising detail.

    The Portrait Mode is particularly good, providing professional-looking background blur and shows that not everything requires more lenses (and more cost) to land great photos.

    AI and Machine Learning

    A cornerstone of the Pixel 8a’s feature set is its integration with Google’s AI and machine learning technologies. These capabilities are evident in the device’s real-time language translation, which can translate conversations, text, and even images instantly, making it an invaluable tool for travel and communication.

    Google Assistant is of course deeply integrated into the phone, offering voice-activated controls, proactive suggestions, and hands-free navigation, all aimed at making everyday tasks more convenient. I often leverage voice control to operate smart home lighting with ‘Hey Google, turn the lights in the office blue’.

    Software and Updates

    Running on the latest version of Android, the Pixel 8a offers a pure, bloatware-free software experience. This streamlined interface ensures smooth performance and quick access to Google’s suite of apps and services.

    One of the key benefits of owning a Pixel device is the promise of timely software updates and security patches, ensuring the device remains up-to-date with the latest features and protections. Google’s commitment to software longevity means that Pixel 8a users will enjoy several years of updates, keeping the phone relevant and secure.

    Overnight Google held their I/O developer conference where significant AI announcements were made to Gemini and those features are likely to arrive on the Pixel 8a in future updates.

    Battery and Charging

    The Pixel 8a is equipped with a 4,492mAH battery that supports all-day usage, thanks to efficient power management driven by the Tensor G3 chipset and adaptive battery technology.

    The phone learns your usage patterns to optimize power consumption, ensuring you get the most out of each charge. Additionally, the device supports fast charging, allowing you to quickly top up the battery and reduce downtime. Qi wireless charging is also supported, adding an extra layer of convenience.

    Display and Audio

    The 6.1″ OLED display on the Pixel 8a offers vivid colours, deep blacks, and excellent contrast. This makes for a great experience when you’re watching YouTube, TikTok, scrolling X, gaming, and casual use.

    The 1080 x 2400 OLED resolution ensures sharp and detailed visuals, while features like HDR support enhance the viewing experience. The screen offers densely packed pixels at 430 pixels per inch, and a variable refresh rate up to 120hz.

    Complementing the display is a stereo speaker setup that delivers clear and immersive audio, whether you’re watching videos, playing games, or listening to music.

    Connectivity and Biometrics

    The Pixel 8a is well-equipped with modern connectivity options, including 5G for faster mobile internet speeds and Wi-Fi 6E for enhanced wireless performance. Bluetooth 5.2 ensures stable and efficient connections with accessories and peripherals.

    For security, the device features an in-display fingerprint sensor, providing quick and secure access to your phone, and Face Unlock, offering an additional convenient and secure way to unlock your device.

    Smart Features

    Google continues to innovate with smart features like Call Screen, which helps filter out spam calls, and Hold for Me, which takes over the task of waiting on hold during calls, allowing you to focus on other tasks.

    Issues and Opportunities

    The Google Pixel 8a is an impressive mid-range smartphone, but like any device, it has room for improvement. Here are some areas where Google could address issues and seize opportunities to enhance the next version of the Pixel A series.

    Screen size is probably where I found the device lacking, but this is a very personal opinion. Coming from a 6.7″ display, I have been spoilt and really felt the smaller device. Others will see the smaller form factor as a benefit, making it easier to fit in smaller pockets and hands.

    The phone supports Dual SIM capability to support both your private and work lives. Like most phones, this is done using a single nano-SIM and eSIM, but increasingly we will see dual eSIM phones and that’s my home for the Pixel series in the future as they lead the market on Android hardware.

    Price and Availability

    The Google Pixel 8a is competitively priced to attract a wide range of consumers looking for a premium mid-range smartphone experience. Here are the key details regarding its price and availability in Australia:

    The Google Pixel 8a (128GB) is available for A$849.00. This pricing positions the Pixel 8a as an attractive option for those seeking advanced features and performance without the premium price tag of flagship models.

    The device is available for purchase through various channels, including:

    • Google Store: The official Google Store offers the Pixel 8a directly to consumers, often with exclusive deals or bundled offers.
    • Major Retailers: Electronics and department stores such as JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, and Officeworks stock the Pixel 8a, providing both in-store and online purchasing options.
    • Telecommunications Providers: Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone offer the Pixel 8a, with options for outright purchase or on-contract plans that spread the cost over a period.
    • Online Marketplaces: The Pixel 8a is also available on popular online platforms like Amazon Australia, providing additional purchasing convenience and potentially competitive pricing.


    The Pixel 8a is available in a variety of colours to suit different tastes and preferences. The colour options include:

    • Just Black
    • Sorta Seafoam
    • Clearly White
    • Coral Pink (limited edition)

    Pre-Order and Launch Promotions

    • Pre-Order Incentives: Customers who pre-ordered the Pixel 8a through the Google Store or participating retailers received a complimentary pair of Google Pixel Buds A-Series, adding extra value to their purchase.
    • Launch Offers: Some retailers and carriers provided launch offers such as discounts, extended warranty plans, or bonus accessories for early adopters.


    If you’re chasing a new phone and don’t want to spend the world, then the Pixel 8a is a fantastic option. Having lived with this phone, it’s a little small for me personally, having enjoyed the Pro models for a few years I’m chasing the extra screen real estate, but outside of that, it’s an incredibly capable phone.

    The camera is great and sure it doesn’t have 15 lenses, but what it does lack in hardware, it tries to make up for in software. The reality is the photos that come off this phone are stunning and will more than capture the precious memories of loved ones and loved locations.

    The phone is a great all-round solution, offering a great combination of display quality, battery life and performance.

    If you’re in the Android camp, the Pixel 8a is definitely worth being on your shortlist.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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