New Google Pixel could be the best Android phone under £500

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Google has taken the wraps off its latest Android smartphone, the Pixel 8a. The brightly-coloured mid-range blower comes in a limited edition luminous green hue and at £499 is a cheaper, more pocketable alternative to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

For that price, it makes the Pixel 8a the most expensive A-series Pixel yet, but there are some decent upgrades on previous models to try and justify the high price tag. It’s the first mid-range Pixel to boast a 120Hz high refresh rate screen, so text and apps will scroll by much smoother than on older phones.

The display is 6.1-inches but that is relatively compact for a modern phone. It packs in wireless charging support, Google’s Tensor G3 chipset also found in the pricier Pixel 8s, plus a guaranteed seven years of software support. That’s mightily impressive for a phone of this price, and is a great reason to invest in this £499 phone over more expensive Android phones.

You should also expect an excellent main camera, as you find on all Google Pixel phones – for still images, even the A-series beat most other phones, in our opinion. Along with the 64MP camera there’s also a 13MP ultrawide, plus a slew of helpful AI onboard to edit photos. Google has features such as Magic Eraser for erasing unwanted people or objects from photos, Best Take, which can take a few images taken back to back and pick out everyone’s best face to create a perfect snap, and Photo Unblur, which does exactly what it says – even on older images in your Google Photos library.

Also packed into the AI smarts is Audio Magic Eraser, which can detect unwanted background noise in your videos such as chatter, wind, or sirens, and cut them out after the fact to leave you with the audio focused on what you were recording. We are fans of this sort of AI – much more ethical and useful than scary deep fake technology.

The eye-catching green colour is called Aloe, and can be bought from Google with a case to match it. Suffice to say you’ll get some questions from your pals, but sometimes it’s nice not to go with the crowd. There’s also a blue Bay colour, along with the standard issue black or white if you want to blend in. It comes with 128GB storage, but you can pay more for a 256GB model – but that one only comes in black.

You can order the phone today from Google, Vodafone, and other UK retailers. It goes on full sale in stores and online on Tuesday 14 May.

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