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Google’s all new Pixel 8a leans heavily on AI

Along with its camera and a pureplay Android user interface, its on-device AI is one of the headline features of the Google Pixel 8a

Ashwin Rajagopalan | Published 21.05.24, 02:47 PM
The Pixel 8a is the first major Pixel device to debut post Google’s on-device Gemini launch and it’s the generative AI features that set this smartphone apart

The Pixel 8a is the first major Pixel device to debut post Google’s on-device Gemini launch and it’s the generative AI features that set this smartphone apart

We’ve had a soft spot for Google’s Pixel ‘a’ series devices. Back in 2022, when the Google Pixel 6a marked a return of sorts for the Google Pixel brand to the Indian market, we thought that the ‘a’ in the branding might connote affordability. That device landed at a sub-Rs 40,000 price point. Quite a lot has changed since 2022, the Pixel 8a debuted in May 2024 at a starting price of Rs 52,999 onwards (you can snag it under Rs 50K with some discounts). Google’s Pixel ‘a’ series devices have been largely driven by their rear camera and the promise of a pureplay Android user interface. This year, not surprisingly it’s on-device AI that is one of the headline features of the Google Pixel 8a.

The Pixel 8a comes with more rounded corners with a design language that’s more aligned to the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro that debuted in the last quarter of 2023. We also like the matte finish that makes this device less prone to drops with greasy palms. The device is powered by Google’s newest Tensor G3 chip that’s at the heart of the Pixel 8 twins. While the camera hardware hasn’t changed much (50MP primary lens + 13MP ultra-wide lens), it’s Google’s box of camera tricks that set this apart. The Pixel 8a is the first major Pixel device to debut post Google’s on-device Gemini launch, it’s the generative AI features that set this device apart.

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Google Gemini

There’s a whole bunch of tasks that give you a flavour of Gemini’s smart skills and also a glimpse of the future

There’s a whole bunch of tasks that give you a flavour of Gemini’s smart skills and also a glimpse of the future

While the Gemini app hasn’t yet arrived on the India Google Play Store, you can still access Gemini on your Pixel 8a. There’s a whole bunch of tasks that give you a flavour of Gemini’s smart skills and also a glimpse of the future where smartphones seem set to help you with mundane and sometimes repetitive tasks. You can build a grocery list and export it to Docs or plan events or get email summaries and get contextual help across Google apps. You can also get help to draft emails and texts.

Circle to Search

Circle to Search has become an integral part of Google’s Pixel line

Circle to Search has become an integral part of Google’s Pixel line

This might have been first publicised by Samsung in its promo campaign for the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, but it has become an integral part of Google’s Pixel line. This one is as simple as it sounds. If something catches your attention, all you have to do is circle it and it automatically throws up a bunch of Google search results.

Best Take

The camera on Google’s Pixel devices have always made it easy to recommend for smartphone users who take their mobile photography seriously

The camera on Google’s Pixel devices have always made it easy to recommend for smartphone users who take their mobile photography seriously

It’s the camera on Google’s Pixel devices that have always made it easy to recommend for smartphone users who take their photography seriously (who doesn’t these days?). We first tried this useful feature on the Pixel 8 Pro. It fixes those group pictures where someone blinks or looks away (we all have those camera-shy friends). The Pixel cam captures facial expressions even before you hit the shutter button. The AI solution offers to replace the bad face with the best possible shot.

Upgraded Magic Eraser

Google has further upgraded Magic Eraser

Google has further upgraded Magic Eraser

This has been one of our favourite features over the past couple of years on Google Pixel devices. Google now offers this feature for premium users of Google Photos. Google has further upgraded Magic Eraser; it’s even easier to remove photobombers, distractions or messy backgrounds from your photos. You can erase them all at once or tap to remove them one by one. You also have the option to circle or brush over what you want out of the photo and Magic Eraser will use machine learning to determine exactly what you’re trying to remove.

Audio Magic Eraser

This was a feature that launched first on the Google Pixel 8 Pro. Now Pixel brings it to the Pixel 8a. Using Google AI, this feature reduces distracting sounds in video so you can hear the ones you want. Think of disruptive sounds from cars, wind, or wailing infants. It splits the video file into multiple audio segments and erases sections of the background audio for the perfect video.

Live Translate

One of the handiest features in Pixel devices that delivers a near seamless experience. You get multiple tools that include image translation with Google lens and Live captions and translation of messages.

The Google Pixel 8a costs Rs 52,999 (8GB/128GB) and 59,999 (8GB/256GB). It’s available in four colours - Aloe, Bay, Porcelain and Obsidian. Google is offering an instant discount of Rs 4,000 on select cards and other launch offers.

Last updated on 21.05.24, 02:48 PM
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