CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test phones

Google's Pixel 8A Arrives With a Bigger Dose of AI

It inherits a bunch of features from the pricier Pixel 8, further closing the gap between Google's budget and mainstream phones.

Lisa Eadicicco Senior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Expertise Apple | Samsung | Google | Smartphones | Smartwatches | Wearables | Fitness trackers
Lisa Eadicicco
3 min read
Google's Pixel 8A mobile phone

The Google Pixel 8A in its four color options (from left to right): obsidian, aloe, porcelain and bay.

James Martin/CNET

If there's one consistent theme with new phones in 2024, it's AI. And that holds true for the newly announced Pixel 8A, which launches on May 14 for $499. Google's affordable Pixel phone will inherit some key AI features from its pricier siblings, such as the ability to run the search giant's Gemini Nano model, Audio Magic Eraser and Best Take, marking the first time those tools will become available on Google's budget-tier phone line. 

AI Atlas art badge tag

The Pixel 8A is yet another sign that Android phone-makers are infusing more AI-fueled features into their devices, piggybacking on the success of services like ChatGPT. AI has played an important behind-the-scenes role in phones for years, but tech companies are shining a bigger spotlight on the technology as part of an effort to make their phones stand out from the pack. 

Read more: AI Is Changing Our Phones, and It's Just Getting Started

Watch this: Google's Pixel 8A Is Here: What's New and Different

None of the AI features on the Pixel 8A are entirely new, but their arrival on a cheaper Pixel further suggests Google hopes to establish itself as a leader in consumer AI products. Audio Magic Eraser lets you reduce unwanted background noise from videos. Best Take combines image data from a series of photos taken at the same time so that you can adjust facial expressions. Both features debuted on the Pixel 8 series last year. The Pixel 8A will also support Magic Editor, the tool for moving, adjusting or enlarging objects in a photo, which Google previously announced will be coming to all Pixel phones. 

The move comes after Samsung debuted its own set of AI-focused features, called Galaxy AI, on the Galaxy S24 lineup earlier this year. It's since expanded those features to other Samsung devices, including previous Galaxy S series phones and foldable devices. Apple, meanwhile, is expected to provide a first glimpse into its generative AI plans for the iPhone at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Google's Pixel 8A mobile phone

The Pixel 8A has a 6.1-inch screen that should be brighter than the Pixel 7A's. 

James Martin/CNET

Otherwise, the Pixel 8A inherits some notable traits from the rest of the Pixel 8 lineup, such as seven years of software updates, a brighter screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, Google's Tensor G3 processor and an option to purchase the obsidian (black) color variant of the phone with 256GB of storage. There should also be some battery life improvements, thanks to more power-efficient software and a slightly larger battery capacity compared to the Pixel 7A, Google says. 

Camera quality seems to be essentially the same as last year's Pixel 7A, with the Pixel 8A including a 64-megapixel main camera, 13-megapixel ultrawide camera and a 13-megapixel front camera. Still, the upgrade to Google's newer Tensor G3 processor may bring some improvements to image processing. 

Google's Pixel 8A mobile phone

The Pixel 8A's camera hardware is similar to the Pixel 7A's. 

James Martin/CNET

You can also expect a similar software experience as with Google's other Pixel phones, with features such as Circle to Search -- the visual search tool that lets you draw a circle around an object on screen to search for it -- and Hold for Me, which waits on hold for you during a phone call. Safety-oriented features like car crash detection and Safety Check will also be available on the Pixel 8A. 

Overall, the Pixel 8A seems like it will continue the A-series tradition of being a solid alternative to Google's pricier flagship phone. It's yet another signal that Google is further bridging the gap between its mainstream and budget phones, which could ultimately make it harder for its standard Pixel devices to stand out. 

The Google Pixel 8A Looks Slick in All These Colors

See all photos

Google Pixel 8A vs. other Pixels

Google Pixel 8AGoogle Pixel 7AGoogle Pixel 8
Display size, tech, resolution, refresh rate 6.1-inch OLED; 2,400x1,080 pixels, 60-120Hz adaptive refresh rate6.1-inch OLED; 2,400x1,080 pixels; 60/90Hz 6.2-inch OLED; 2,400x1,080 pixels; 60-120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Pixel density 430 PPI429 PPI428 PPI
Dimensions (inches) 6 x 2.9 x 0.4 in.6.00 x 2.9 x 0.4 in.5.9 x 2.8 x 0.4 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 152 x 74 x 10.2mm152 x 74 x 10.2mm150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 193 g (6.8 oz.)193 g (6.81 oz.)187 g (6.6 oz.)
Mobile software (at launch) Android 14Android 13Android 14
Camera 64-megapixel (main), 13-megapixel (ultrawide)64-megapixel (main), 13-megapixel (ultrawide)50-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Front-facing camera 13-megapixel13-megapixel10.5-megapixel
Video capture 4K at 30/60 FPS4K at 30/60 FPS4K at 24/30/60 FPS
Processor Google Tensor G3Google Tensor G2Google Tensor G3
RAM/storage 8GB + 128GB or 256GB8GB + 128GB8GB + 128GB, 256GB
Expandable storage NoneNoneNone
Battery 4,492 mAh (18W fast charging, 7.5W wireless charging)4,385 mAh (18W fast charging, 7.5W wireless charging) 4,575 mAh (27W fast charging, 18W wireless charging with Google Pixel Stand, 12W wireless charging Qi chargers)
Fingerprint sensor Under-displayUnder-displayUnder-display
Headphone jack NoneNoneNone
Special features 5G (5G sub6 / mmWave), IP67 rating, VPN by Google One, Circle to Search, 7 years Android OS updates, 7 years security updates, Best Take, Audio Magic Eraser5G (5G sub6 / mmWave), IP67 rating, VPN by Google One, Circle to Search, 3 years Android OS updates, 5 years security updates 5G (Sub 6,/mmWave); IP68 rating; VPN by Google One; 7 years of Android OS updates, 7 years of security updates; Best Take; Audio Magic Eraser; Magic Editor, 2x "optical quality" zoom; macro focus, Battery Share

Editors' note: CNET used an AI engine to help create several dozen stories, which are labeled accordingly. The note you're reading is attached to articles that deal substantively with the topic of AI but are created entirely by our expert editors and writers. For more, see our AI policy.