Pixel 8a AI features — these are all the tools you'll want to try first

Google Pixel 8a in hand.
(Image credit: Future)

With the release of the Pixel 8a, would-be users may have a hundred questions about what exactly Google’s midrange phone can do. While our Google Pixel 8a hands-on addresses many of those points, you might still be wondering about the AI features included on the phone.

That's because AI has emerged as one of the key areas with smartphones, driven home with the release earlier this year of the Samsung Galaxy S24 series and its Galaxy AI feature set. But Samsung's actually something of a newcomer here, as AI features have been a central part of the Google Pixel story since the phone maker started using its own Tensor chipsets nearly four years ago. The Pixel 8a, powered by the Tensor G3 silicon introduced with last fall's Pixel 8 release, is just the latest phone in that process.

In fact, the Google Pixel 8a offers many of the same capabilities found on the Pixel 8 — good news since those were pretty well received on Google's flagship phones. So what exactly will you find the first time you fire up your Pixel 8a? Here's a look at the top AI features built into this $499 phone.

An image showing the Samsung Galaxy S24 with the Circle to Search feature being used on screen

(Image credit: Future)

Circle to Search

Circle to Search has taken the tech world by storm and for good reason. Originally released with the Galaxy S24 series, the feature came to the Pixel 8 in January, Circle to Search makes searching for elements in a picture very easy. All you have to do is draw a circle around the thing in the photo you want to find out about.

Once you circle part of an image, the AI will quickly search through the web to find the relevant information, present the results in a window that slides up from the bottom of the screen. That's a particularly important part of the Circle to Search story — you don't have to leave the app you're in to look up something. Once you're done browsing through result, you can dismiss the window and get back to what you're doing.

Google Pixel 8a in hand.

(Image credit: Future)

Live Translate

One of the AI features coming for the Google Pixel 8a is live translation, which includes real-time conversation translation. This feature is great while booking a holiday or conducting business in other countries using the Phone app on your Pixel. The feature taps into the phone's AI to translate the words of the other caller as they speak.

This means that conversations no longer have to wait for the translator to catch up and then reply, making conversing with people much more seamless — at least in theory. Live Translate also works for in-person conversations, so it's also helpful for travelers.

So far we know that Pixel's Live Translate supports Arabic, Danish, English, German, Spanish, Farsi, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese (s) and Chinese (T) in Chat. Meanwhile, the Pixel Ai will currently translate media from German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese and the interpreter mode will cover German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese. 

Google Pixel 8a in hand.

(Image credit: Future)

Pixel Call Assist

The Google Pixel 8a will come with the same call assist feature as the Google Pixel 8. This addition to the phone app will allow users to avoid some of the more common annoyances that come with owning a telephone, namely spam calls and being placed on a constant hold. 

The Call Screen feature allows users to connect the caller with Google Assistant, which asks who they are and the reason for the call. This allows the AI to block some of the more annoying cold callers. meanwhile, the Hold for Me feature allows the AI to wait on hold for you, sparing the need to wait for hours on end listening to terrible music. Once another person joins on the other end of the phone then your Pixel will make you aware with push notifications and vibrations.

The Call Assist features have a wealth of other features that work in the background to help make use of your phone just that much easier. While they may be less exciting than other options, they have their purpose in improving users' overall quality of life.

Google Pixel 8a in hand.

(Image credit: Future)

AI-Based photo editing

The Google Pixel 8a also has a wealth of AI editing features that make it easy to create high-quality images on your Pixel 8a. Among the tools at your disposal are Magic Editor, which debuted with the Pixel 8 nd gives you the ability to move objects around in a photo; you can also resize or remove them. Adjusting the colors of your photo is just a matter of taping some buttons.

Best Take ensures you'll never have another group shot where one person is frowning, looking away or otherwise mucking up a perfectly good photo. The feature leverages. Google AI to swap out faces, making it almost impossible to tell that the image has been edited. All you need to do is take several pictures and allow the AI to do its thing. This is another Pixel 8 exclusive to have found its way to the Pixel 8a.

The final AI-based editing software focuses on removing unwanted sounds and elements in videos and photos. With Magic Eraser, removing unwanted photo bombers is as simple as tapping the screen. Meanwhile, Audio Magic Eraser uses AI to separate the different sound sources in a video clip and allow you to adjust the volume to remove unwanted noises.

Pixel 8a AI outlook

Don't let the Google Pixel 8a's low-price fool you. It's every bit as capable an AI device as far more expensive phones. It boasts the same AI capabilities as the Pixel 8, which costs $200 more, and it also matches much of what you get from the $799 Galaxy S24.

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.