How the Google Pixel 8a Redefines the Entire Mid-Range Smartphone Segment

What to know

  • Starting at $499, the Google Pixel 8a is an ambitious mid-ranger with several flagship features.
  • With a better display, various Tensor G3 powered AI capabilities, and 7 years of OS support, Pixel 8a redefines what a mid-range device can offer.
  • Pixel 8a is closer to the Pixel 8 family of devices than it is to the A-series.  

The Pixel 8a is finally here. Google’s latest mid-range smartphone, which was barely ever concealed, is everything that was hinted at by several leaks and rumors. But with the specs all set in stone, we can now better determine exactly what the latest A-series Pixel device is all about.

With one foot placed firmly in the familiar mid-range space, Pixel 8a borrows heavily from its cousins in the same generation and skirts the very thin line that separates it from the flagships Pixels. Packing all that ambition in the same price bracket the Pixel 8a redefines what mid-rangers can do, and what they could look like going forward.

Here are all the reasons Pixel 8a is much more than your traditional A-series Google device and how it reshuffles the whole idea of a mid-range device.  

All the ways the Pixel 8A is not your regular mid-ranger

To be sure, the Pixel 8a is in many ways like its predecessor, the 7a. In areas such as the camera, battery and charging, chipset, and dimensions, it remains in the vein of A-series devices of previous years that run parallel to but a rung lower than the more premium devices in the same generation. But those are the sacrifices needed to pull the 8a back from reaching flagship prices. Everywhere else, however, there is a marked departure away from what the A-series has offered traditionally and into more premium territory.  


Here’s a quick spec sheet for the Pixel 8a (with emphasis on premium features):

  • Display – 6.1-inch Actua OLED (2400 x 1080)
  • Refresh rate – 120Hz/60Hz
  • Rear camera – 64MP main, 13MP ultrawide
  • Front camera – 13MP
  • Chipset – Tensor G3
  • RAM – 8GB
  • Storage – 128GB, 256GB 
  • Battery – 4492mAh
  • Charging – 18W wired, 7.5W Qi wireless
  • Dimensions – 6.0 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Weight – 6.8 ounces
  • Dust/Water resistance – IP67
  • Colors – Aloe, Bay, Obsidian, Porcelain 
  • Price – $499/559
  • OS Support7 years

Photo editing features: On par with the regular Pixel 8

Although cameras on Pixel devices can never be overlooked, there’s no real major change in the 64MP main camera sensor and the 13MP ultrawide which are also on the 7a. It’s ultimately the software magic that takes the photos and videos to the next level.

Best Take / Image:

Google has brought all their AI-powered features to the mix. These include features that were first introduced with the Pixel 8, such as Best Take to make everyone look their best in group shots, Magic Editor to make distracting objects disappear, and, our favorite, Audio Magic Eraser to tone down the noise and amplify the sounds that you want to hear in videos. 

Audio Magic Eraser / Image:

Portrait Light and Photo Unblur from yesteryear are there as well to give your photos a more premium touch. 

Magic Editor / Image:

There’s still hardly a contender that challenges Pixel cameras in night or astrophotography. And with several AI-powered editing features, the Pixel 8a runs several leagues ahead of what many mid-tier smartphone photography can accomplish. 

Better Display and Refresh Rate

Pixel 8a’s 6-inch display is still as compact as the 7a’s, which is good news for those with small hands. But at 2000 nits, its brightness is more on par with the Pixel 8. This practical convenience is afforded thanks to the Actua OLED display that was earlier reserved for flagship models.


The higher 120Hz refresh rate also pegs it closer to the Pixel 8, though it set to always bounce dynamically between 60Hz and 120Hz. In that sense, it may not exactly have the flagship level efficiency of the Pixel 8 Pro, but it is still better than the 90Hz display of the 7a. 

If one overlooks the age-old Gorilla Glass 3 covering, which pegs the Pixel 8a as a definite mid-ranger, the display is an upgrade in every other way. 

All of Google’s latest AI features

Google’s AI features are not limited to the image processing domain either. The recently released AI features, such as Circle to Search, Live Translation, and Call Assists, all of which are powered by the latest Tensor G3 chip make Pixel 8a the most up-to-date device out there. Only Google and Samsung’s flagship models boast of similar AI capabilities.

Circle to Search / Image:

Pixel 8a is also compatible with Gemini Nano, making it one of the first devices in this segment to handle most AI tasks on-device. Having all these premium-level AI features at a not-so-premium price is a big plus and will appeal widely to users across segments.     

Software Support and Storage

Pixel 8a is slated to get 7 years of full software updates, which keeps it well within the Pixel 8 family. This is another first for a Pixel A-series device and potentially adds even more value to the device if you can hold on to it for that long. 

Along with the base 128GB storage, Google has also thrown in a 25GB variant at $60 extra for those who just don’t like to bin their files and media.   

What remains unchanged

As alluded to before, the Pixel 8a carves out a space for itself mostly by keeping the price down. As such, most other features of interest remain unchanged from last year. This includes the battery, which at 4492mAh is only slightly better than the Pixel 7a.

Charging via the USB-C cable is stuck at 18W, wireless charging at 7.5W, both of which are unacceptably low at this point. The camera is much the same as its predecessor, though the on-device photo editing makes up for it. With an IP67 rating, the device has significant water and dust resistance, but there are no surprises here either. 

For a device under $500, the Pixel 8a shaves off very little while packing in all the flagship features that it can. With its release, there will be a definite shift in what a midrange smartphone can offer. 

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