Google Pixel 8a, One Month Later: Misunderstood?


The thing with a lot of smartphones nowadays is that after a big debut with all the glitz and glamour involved, it takes a while for the tiny cracks to show up. With that in mind, it’s been some time now since the Google Pixel 8a was launched (rather unceremoniously I may add), and after a month of using Google’s latest midrange phone, it’s been an interesting experience so far. It’s clear that Google has put some considerable improvements into the Pixel 8a, but is it able to keep in the long run?

READ: Google Pixel 8a Review: Almost There!

Is it Durable?

I take good care of my smartphones, and I make sure to equip them with screen protectors and cases so as to withstand daily use and add a bit of protection from unexpected knocks and bumps. I’ve done the same with the Pixel 8a, although after a while I decided to use it caseless as I do find the “Bay” blue variant visually pleasing to behold (the screen protector stayed on though).

The matte plastic back and aluminum frame have held up rather nicely sliding in and out of pockets regularly, and compared to previous Pixels with glossy rear finishes, I’ve found the 8a’s design to be more resilient to scratches in general. I should stress though that I’ve been extra careful when handling the phone, but not to the point of it being uncomfortable to use.

An Unsurprising Camera

One of the most consistent aspects of the Pixel 8a is its camera performance, which isn’t surprising. Google smartphones are renowned for their exceptional camera quality, and if you’ve used a Pixel phone recently, you’ll know what to expect. The Pixel 8a delivers camera performance that’s similar to the 7a and the Pixel 8 (albeit with a few differences compared to the latter). If you’re familiar with Google’s computational photography and how their software processes photos, the Pixel 8a won’t disappoint.

It’s something that Google has nailed throughout the years, and for Pixel users upgrading from an older model, photo quality will be very familiar – and most importantly, look good. Video quality is decent, although there are times when it still falls short especially in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

Daily Usage

The Pixel 8a is a pretty reliable daily driver smartphone, at least during my time using it. I haven’t encountered any major issues for everyday tasks like phone calls, text messages, web browsing, social media, essential apps (banking, transportation, entertainment), and such, and overall it’s been a smooth experience so far.

It handles all my software needs without a hitch, including Google’s special AI features like Magic Eraser and Circle to Search, and I’d like to think that it provides a very stable smartphone experience. Unlike some previous Pixel devices (the Pixel 6 and 6a come to mind) that suffered from connectivity problems, the Pixel 8a hasn’t given me any trouble – Wi-Fi, 5G/4G data connectivity have all been smooth sailing so far.

Battery Gripes

One area to consider is battery performance. When I first set up the Pixel 8a, I was getting impressive screen-on time of around 7-8 hours, which is fantastic for a Pixel phone. However after the initial week when my apps settled in and the phone learned my usage patterns, the battery life adjusted to what I typically get with other Pixel phones, which was around 5-6 hours of screen-on time.

Outdoor use with high brightness, heavy camera usage, navigation, and mobile data can further reduce screen-on time to 4-5 hours, similar to the Pixel 8. Additionally, the Tensor G3 chip inside isn’t the best for thermal management, so the phone can get warm with heavy data use and constant camera use. However, it doesn’t get as warm as older Pixel phones from the last generation.


After a month with the Pixel 8a, I can say it’s a reliable daily driver smartphone. It runs all my apps, has a fantastic camera, and holds up well to daily use, but if you prioritize battery life and thermal management, a Snapdragon-powered device might be a better fit. However for Pixel fans or those curious about Google’s latest phone, I can probably summarize this post with the phrase “so far, so good.”

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Mike Viray
A writer and content creator with a love for tech and music, Mike is also an avid gamer as well. He and his wife are big fans of Mario Kart.

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