Skip to main content
The Keyword


8 things I loved in my first week with the Pixel 8a

Two hands holding Pixel 8a devices; one is bright blue and the other is a mint green. The backs of the phone face the camera. A city scape is in the background.

Our latest A-series phone, Pixel 8a, is now on shelves. It features the same Google Tensor G3 chip that powers Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, which have some of my favorite Pixel features to date. So I was more than happy to take the latest addition to the Pixel family for a spin. After a week with the new phone, here are eight of my favorite things about the Pixel 8a.

1. The screen is stunning

I immediately noticed my photos looked even better on my Pixel 8a’s screen than I was used to. The Pixel 8a has a new Actua display, which is 40% brighter than the 7a’s. I’m a fan of food pics for my phone’s wallpaper and home display, and I almost feel like I can reach out and grab a bite from my current background.

A screenshot of a Pixel lockscreen showing the time 3:13 in a pink hue and a photo of a charcuterie board in the background.

There is also an option to add text to your lock screen. You can announce who your phone belongs to, add a nice hello to yourself, write out a favorite lyric or, in my case, leave a gentle reminder.

A screenshot of a Pixel display showing a pop-up that reads “add text on lock screen” and the words below read “Don’t forget your keys.”

And in an effort to make my display look exactly how I want it to, I turned on themed icons, a setting that matches the color and aesthetic of different on-screen elements to your wallpaper. Now the text, app icons and more on my home screen are mauve- and taupe-tinted to complement that beautiful charcuterie photo.

2. Setup tips and setting prompts help me get the most out of my phone

One of my favorite things about getting a new Pixel phone is how much it holds my hand through the setup process. When I got my first Pixel phone, this was especially helpful. I didn’t have to struggle to figure anything out; the various prompts and suggestions caught me up to speed so I could start using my Pixel right away. Just like when I got my last new Pixel, all I had to do was place it near my previous model and let it wirelessly transfer all my important data over to my 8a — plus, as a nice bonus, we’ve improved transfer feeds.

After this initial setup, my Pixel 8a asked if I wanted to enable various settings for different apps on first use, too — for example, did I want location data turned on for photos? It even offered suggestions on ways to trigger apps. These kinds of prompts and tips won’t stick around forever, they’re just a great intro of sorts to all the different ways I can use my Pixel.

A screenshot of a Pixel display showing the camera open to photograph cacti in pots on a porch. A pop-up black boxed prompt takes up half the screen and reads “try camera shortcuts. Quickly press the power button twice to open camera. To take a photo, press the volume button.” Below this is an outline of the shape of a Pixel phone including the side buttons. Underneath this is a pill-shaped box that reads “OK.”

3. Gemini is an excellent, built-in personal assistant

I was immediately able to start using Gemini exactly how I wanted. After downloading the Gemini app, I could choose how to activate the feature — personally, I found I prefer the ease of just holding down the power button. Now, I can ask Gemini to do simple tasks like summarize my inbox or surface info from my Google Drive, or I can get more creative help, like assistance with writing a note or coming up with a meal plan. Gemini also allows me to attach images to a question, so I can get more info about something in my photo gallery or something I saw online or took a photo of in real-time. Then Gemini provides responses and answers — which I also like to ask Gemini to read out loud to me. Sometimes I feel high maintenance with how much I’m asking Gemini on my Pixel 8a to do but…that’s kind of the idea, right?

4. Incredible photos and image editing are made easy

Pixels always take excellent photos, but now, because Pixel 8a has the same chip as Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, it’s the first A-series phone that can do a lot of the impressive photography and editing features that use AI, like Best Take and Magic Editor. And the AI editing isn’t for photos only: Audio Magic Eraser, previously only available for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, removes unwanted background noise from videos — so, for example, when I wanted to create a video featuring my foster dog for her adoption page, I was able to reduce the sound of background barking coming from my other pups.

5. Pixel Tips are front and center during setup

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Pixel Tips! Pixel Tips are a collection of suggestions that live on your Pixel so you can get an idea of everything that’s available to you. During initial setup, my Pixel 8a’s welcome screen had a quick and easy link to take me directly to Pixel Tips with a “Tap for Tips” option. Of course, I wouldn’t want that to stay there forever, and Pixel user experience accounts for that: After a few days of use, the “Tap for Tips” was gone — so don’t worry about any unwanted text getting in the way of those beautifully lit wallpaper photos. Plus, when I first opened Pixel Tips, I got a pop-up asking if I wanted to connect to nearby Pixel devices to get the most out of using the family of devices.

A screenshot of a Pixel display opened to Pixel Tips. The headline on the page reads “Make the most of your Pixel.” Below this is a photo of a person holding a blue Pixel looking at the screen with the words “Google AI” overlaid on this inside a pill-shaped, purple outline. In separate boxes below this are headlines that read “New Google AI features,” “Camera” and “The essentials.”

6. It fits perfectly in my pocket

Here’s how much I trust the durability of the Pixel 8a: I haven't even ordered a case for it yet. I just slide it into my pocket and go. The engineering team wanted the 8a to be the most durable, sustainable A-series yet so it lasts for as long as possible — excellent news given the A-series phone now comes with seven years of software support1. The upgraded matte back feels very secure in my hand (and my fingerprints don’t leave a mark!). The smaller size helps with this, too. The 6.1-inch phone feels just right in my hand and slides nicely into my pocket, so I don’t need to worry about it falling out.

7. There’s plenty of storage

Generally speaking, when you opt for an A-series phone, you’re getting a smaller, less expensive phone with less storage. That’s a problem for me, because I do indeed like a pocket-friendly phone (see above!) but I also take way too many photos and videos. Now that the Pixel 8a comes in a new 256GB option in Obsidian, the many, many timelapse videos and astrophotography photos I take (and can’t bring myself to part with or forget about) don’t have to get deleted just to save some room.

8. It makes scanning so, so easy

No scanner, no problem. During my first week with the Pixel 8a, I found myself using it as a scanner quite a bit to photograph receipts, financial documents, passport photos and beyond, then save them as text or PDF documents (and this feature was added relatively recently in a Feature Drop). Once I point the camera at whatever it is I want to scan, the scan option automatically pops up to take a photo and separates the document itself from whatever is behind it. Then I can use the Clean tool and drag my finger over areas I want to fix. There’s also an option to remove shadows, which I think makes it look more official. Then I can save it to my Drive folder, download it or share right away.

More Information


Seven years of software support as of date device is first available on the U.S. Google Store.

Let’s stay in touch. Get the latest news from Google in your inbox.