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Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

The new Google Pixel 8a intends to offer many new features initiated by the recent Pixel 8. Unfortunately, the latter enters into competition with the previous ones. The company's telephones.

Every year, Google has the habit of offering a lighter and less expensive version of its latest high-end smartphones. Only a few months after the release of the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, the company recently released the new Google Pixel 8a.

The ambitions of this Google Pixel 8a are quite clear: to offer an experience close to the Pixel 8 (excellent photographs and features based on AI) while doing certain concessions to display a lower price than the latter. We were able to test the Google Pixel 8a for several years and noted that it ultimately rubs against the surface. the toughest competition on the market : that of his own predecessor. Discover our full review of the Google Pixel 8a.

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

© Julian Madiot Editor's note: This review was completed by fully realizedé à from a copy of the product provided by the manufacturer.

An atypical design but so pleasant in the hand

Google Pixel regulars won't be very surprised when looking at the new Google Pixel 8a. The latter takes up the codes previously initiated by the firm's old models 2-3 years ago. We still find a matte coating on the back of the device with three colors available in France (volcanic black, porcelain white, azure blue) as well as ;an exclusive color, aloe green. The edges are also covered with a matte aluminum coating that is very pleasant to the touch. Very good point à note: neither the back nor the borders of the Pixel 8a retain fingerprints, despite the fact that the intensive daily use.

On the back of the Google Pixel 8a, we find the still distinctive photo block of Google phones. Whether you like it or not, the latter clearly stands out from mid-range Android phones. Google even managed to do this. Reduce the protuberance of the sensor so that it no longer tilts the phone when using it on a flat surface. A problem that we kept finding on Pixels in recent years until now. the eighth generation.

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

© Julian Madiot

Side buttons and connectors, the Google Pixel 8a hardly surprises. All of the physical buttons are located on the right edge of the phone where they are located. you can adjust the volume of the device as well as its power supply. The &agrav; SIM card is located, as for à him, on the side LEFT. Below the Pixel 8a, you'll find the USB-C port as well as a single speaker and microphone.

On the side From the front, the Google Pixel 8a shocks with its immense borders. The latter do not even have the luxury of being uniform since the bottom edge is more imposing than the others. An observation which takes up even more space within certain applications where The top and bottom edges of the device further reduce the screen size available on the device. displaying content.

On a daily basis, handling the Google Pixel 8a proves very pleasant. The phone is relatively small with its 6.1 inch screen which allows it to be easily used anywhere. one-handed and fits in any pocket. In terms of design, the Google Pixel 8a is a real success as long as you get used to it. its fairly significant borders.

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

The photo block is not too protruding and allows the phone to be used on a table. © Julian Madiot

A screen that lacks a little juice

The Google Pixel 8a is equipped with a 6.1-inch OLED panel capable of having high brightness. HDR of 1400 nits and high brightness maximum which can go up to 'à 2000 nits. For the first time on a Pixel a, the screen has a technology called Pixel A. "Actua" and allowing you to climb up to 'à 120 Hz refresh rate and automatically adapt according to the content displayed.

As a reminder, the refresh rate of a smartphone screen is fairly equivalent to the FPS (frames per second) on a smartphone. ;computer screen. The higher this rate, the smoother the images in your applications and games will be. An adaptive refresh rate allows you to automatically adjust this rate based on the content displayed. to save the device's battery (a screen saver, which does not need animations, will often run on ; 1 Hz so as not to consume too much).

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

The Google Pixel 8a's screen is good, but its brightness is poor. automatic sometimes takes its time. © Julian Madiot Unfortunately, this option is not activated by default on the Google Pixel 8a. You will therefore have to take a look in the settings of the head. ;the phone and the “display" to benefit from a higher frequency. 120 Hz… Punctual. Indeed, this option called "fluid display" automatically juggles between 60 and 120 Hz depending on what is displayed à the screen. It is therefore impossible to lock the 120 Hz for maximum fluidityé or 60Hz to save battery. We therefore hope for an improvement on this side. for a potential Google Pixel 9a.

Side brightness, the Google Pixel 8a is perfectly usable in direct sunlight or in a dimly lit area such as a tunnel or alley without urban lighting. The functionality brightness automatic which allows the latter to be modified depending on the ambient environment, however, remains quite approximate. During our test week, we much preferred adjust the brightness ourselves. of the Pixel 8a rather than trusting it and having to wait several seconds for good readability.

On a daily basis, however: nothing à say again. The screen of the Google Pixel 8a is pleasant to look at. use and the colors are well reproduced. Watching series on Netflix, a YouTube video or images from a video game on the Pixel 8a is done naturally and without you feeling any discomfort. lack of details or colors on our displayed content.

Performance that doesn't make it a gaming phone

The Google Pixel 8a is equipped with of the firm's latest in-house chip, the Google Tensor G3. This same chip equips the company's high-end phones released at the end of 2023, the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

If there is one point where the Google Pixel does not perform particularly well, it is performance in video games. o. The Pixel 8a is no exception à this popular belief and does not establish itself as a smartphone cut out for itself. for gaming.

When first launched, the game Genshin Impactlaunches by default with graphics that oscillate between "weak" and the "average" with 30 FPS. While it is still possible to increase the graphics to maximum with 60 FPS, this is clearly felt in performance. Even less resource-intensive games like Pokémon GO sometimes experience slowdowns. We sometimes observe some drops in FPS and above all a certain heating of the phone which clearly indicate that the Pixel 8a only enjoys games that are a little too demanding.

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

Even a game like Pok&mon GO doesn't escape slowdowns on the Pixel 8a. © Julian Madiot

For more “casual” use, the Google Pixel 8a does what is asked of it very well. The phone alternates perfectly between the different applications launched and it is possible to run several at a time. the rest without feeling slowdowns or complete freeze of the device.

For its Google Pixel 8a, the watchword sideé performance can be summed up in two letters: AI. The manufacturer's latest mid-range phone is equipped with new features based on artificial intelligence that we could find on the latest Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Whether it's the Magic Eraser to fix a photo, the Audio Eraser to remove sound from a video, or the Summary to edit your photos. articles and web pages, the Pixel 8a benefits from all of Google's know-how in terms of artificial intelligence, but the results will often depend of the base material. However, you will not fail to be pleasantly surprised by the modifications and corrections that can be made to your photos and videos.< /p>

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

The "circle to search" is very practical for finding clothes or jewelry. © Julian Madiot

The quality photo of Pixels still there

If Google's phones are not known for being champions of performance or autonomy, the latter shine on one point very particular: photography. This is one of the points most highlighted by Google for several years and which is based on an image processing algorithm capable of enhancing the captured photographs ( sometimes even distort them, but we'll talk about that again in a few lines).

During the day, and when the ideal conditions are there, the Google Pixel 8a excels in photos. The shots taken "on the go" (understand without specific settings first) teem with colors and details. These can be fully exploited for use on social networks, without even having to use them on social networks. go through a filter or editing software. The sharpness is relatively correct even if the smallest details can come to light. missed as long as we zoom in on our photos. The colors remain quite garish but do not become unnatural. No surprises here for a smartphone from Google.

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

The Google Pixel 8a has a x2 optical zoom and is capable of digital zoom up to x8. It's not much, and the loss of quality is great. However, it is already felt. The more pronounced your zoom will be. and the more the Pixel 8a is going to have difficulty with this. restore certain details. The phone will also have a tendency to slow down. exaggerate the light captured and create images much clearer than reality. A rather gray/beige wall then appears completely white and skin tones quickly become pale.

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

This wall is normally darker than the previous one. that it does not appear in this photo taken with a zoom. © Julian Madiot

The "portrait" is not free from flaws either. The latter already doesn' no background blur (more commonly called bokeh) behind its subject when shooting. You must then take your photo. with "portrait" activated so that the Pixel 8a's image processing does not activate and add blur later. It is therefore impossible to have an overview before taking the photo. The results also remain quite messy and the phone has never managed to work properly. do not blur the arms of our glasses and some of our hair during our tests.

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

The "portrait" systematically makes mistakes when it comes to the shape of his glasses. © Julian Madiot

At night, we are sometimes pleasantly surprised by the photo capabilities of the Google Pixel 8a. Outdoors, Google's phone manages to reach the target. capture some light so your scenes aren't completely dark while dimming the few sources of lighting like street lamps or car headlights. The loss of detail is, however, always felt on certain details, particularly distant ones. Indoors unfortunately, the quality is poor. collapses and certain shots just turn out to be unusable as they are as the blurs appear ;rent numerous.

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

Google Pixel 8a review: the excellent little smartphone that arrives too late

Quality videos for correct stabilization

The Google Pixel 8a is capable of filming in two qualities; different: Full HD 1080p and 4K. Both qualities can have a smooth flow. 30 or 60 frames per second that you can choose to improve quality. (but at the expense of the weight of the final file).

Both video qualities of the Pixel 8a are very good and easy to play. exploit, whether for use on social networks or to make some adjustments afterwards.

The Pixel 8a also has three stabilization modes for its video:

  • Locked: to perform a fixed shot and eliminate hand tremors.
  • Standard: for everyday videos.
  • In motion: when you move with a lot of vibration (on a motorcycle for example).

The Pixel 8a's stabilization is relatively good. People with some natural tremors or those with severe tremor may not be able to use it properly. On board a vehicle will be able to take advantage of this to produce better quality videos. However, this stabilization does not work wonders either and will quickly find its limits.

A battery still not up to par and fast charging in name only

For many years now, we have been recommending Pixel & our entourage and our readers. Unfortunately, if there is indeed a black spot that often comes back, it may be a problem. our ears, it's the autonomy of the latter. Google phones are often far behind the competition in the field, especially compared to the Nothing Phone or the Samsung Galaxy A.

Unplugged &agrav; 8 a.m., our copy of the Google Pixel 8a was still showing 40% à the end of the day around 6 p.m. We are therefore far from  "more than 24 hours of autonomy" promised by Google, but this will still allow you to enjoy the Pixel 8a for a whole classic day. Obviously, the autonomy The battery life of the phone depends mainly on how you use it. For our tests, we mainly used the phone. the following applications: Phone, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Youtube, Genshin Impact et  Gmail.

Regarding charging, Google announces "fast charging" on its official website mentioning the Google Pixel 8a. The latter depends above all on what we mean by "rapid" since the telephone is limited &agrav; a load of up to 'à 18 W. Here are the readings for our recharge on our test copy:

  • At 4:30 p.m., our Pixel 8a displayed  20%
  • At 4:40 p.m., our Pixel 8a displayed 33%
  • At 4:50 p.m., our Pixel 8a displayed 46%
  • At 5 p.m., our Pixel 8a displayed 57%
  • At 5:10 p.m., our Pixel 8a displayed 68%
  • At 5:20 p.m., our Pixel 8a displayed 77%
  • At 5:30 p.m., our Pixel 8a displayed 87%

One hour of charging to gain around 80%, we've had better. Allow a little less than 2 hours to fully recharge the Google Pixel 8a. That's a lot, especially since no charging block is provided in the box.

High connectivity efficient and so many years of updates. day

The Google Pixel 8a was able to be tested with multiple other objects paired with it. this last. Whether it's Airpods Pro, Nothing Ear (2) or a Google Pixel Watch, we haven't noticed any problems. no problem connecting &agrav; our connected objects and devices. The Pixel 8a is also compatible with 6E wifi bands for fast and smooth connections. We were able to browse the web, download apps, and spend hours on play online games without experiencing unwanted disconnections.

Side communications, the Google Pixel 8a is compatible with the 4G and 5G bands as long as you have a compatible plan. During our week of testing, we had no problems whatsoever. making calls that turned out to be as clear for us as for our interlocutors.

Let us finally mention the number of bets à updates planned for the Pixel 8a. Like its two previous high-end phones, Google will provide the Pixel 8a with seven years of updates. OS update and updates safety day. An example in the industry and one that should be welcomed since it will allow users to enjoy the Google Pixel 8a for a long time.

Our conclusion of the Google Pixel 8a test

The Google Pixel 8a is a good little phone. no doubt about it. Its format and design make it a very pleasant device to use. take charge and &agrav; handle on a daily basis while allowing it to be easy to use. tidy. Its photo capabilities are worthy of a Pixel phone and allow you to take very good shots as long as the ambient conditions (in particular brightness) are met. Finally, the addition of Google's AI within the Pixel 8a allows you to benefit from very useful and reliable tools.

Unfortunately, the Pixel 8a suffers from the issues inherent to the device. Google's range of phones. Its autonomy is more than average while recharging clearly takes its time. Add à This has very pronounced asymmetrical edges (but which may not bother some users) and a high quality. very variable photo in low light; and you get a Pixel 8a that is as interesting as it is frustrating.

But the real problem with the Google Pixel 8a comes from the competition. By raising its base price to 549 euros (compared to 509 euros for the Pixel 7a), Google places its new mid-range phone facing the Pixel 7a. serious competitors like the latest Nothing Phone (2) or the Samsung Galaxy A55. But above all, the Google Pixel 8 released at the end of 2023 has well lowered prices in recent months, and that's why we recommend instead stretching your budget a little and going with the latter (or considering a Google PIxel 7' nbsp;Pro).

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116