Google Pixel 8a Delivers A 120Hz Screen and High-End AI for $499

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Key Takeaways

  • Google has unveiled the Pixel 8a.
  • The mid-range phone packs a 120Hz display and Tensor G3 AI features.
  • It's available for pre-order, with availability May 14th.

Google has introduced the Pixel 8a a week ahead of I/O, bringing some of the 8 series’ high-end features to a mid-range Android phone.

The repeatedly leaked Pixel 8a brings a rounded, IP67 water- and dust-resistant design that’s more durable than the 7a. More importantly, there’s a new Actua-branded 6.1-inch OLED display that offers both a smoother 120Hz refresh rate (up from 90Hz) and a 40% brighter picture.

The 8a also uses the Tensor G3 chip from the Pixel 8 line, and can handle both Google’s Gemini model as well as Circle to Search, Best Take portraits, and Magic Editor image manipulation. The G3 also offers extra security.

Crucially, Google is promising the same seven years of OS and security updates as for higher-end Pixels. The device should stay up to date for its entire practical lifespan, in other words.

The cameras will be familiar to 7a owners with a 64-megapixel main cam, a 13MP ultrawide and a 13MP front-facing camera for selfies. Google claimed the Pixel 8a has ranked as the best smartphone camera in its class, but you won’t get optical zoom or other perks.

The Pixel 8a is available to pre-order now, starting at the same $499 as the 7a for a 128GB version. You can also get a 256GB model for the first time. The Pixel 7a will remain in the lineup for now at $349, and Google is now selling the Pixel Tablet without a dock for $399.

The 8a might not be the best value immediately upon launch when it’s relatively easy to find the base Pixel 8 on sale. The real bargain will come when Google either ships the Pixel 9 this fall or discounts the 8a.

However, the feature set is still difficult to top for phones in this price class. Google’s combination of AI exclusives and extra-long OS support might also help it compete with rivals like Samsung’s Galaxy A55.