Google Pixel 7a is a rarity. It's a mid-range phone that runs above that spec in many areas, making it hard to pass, especially when the price starts at $499.
This puts the future of the A series into question as the line between Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 becomes so blurred that the two devices are almost indistinguishable. This phone gets you $100 off, but even looking beyond Google's offerings, there are several reasons why it's the best choice for those on a budget.
Quality of design and finish
The Pixel 7a follows Google's current design language, including a bar that houses the rear camera. The brushed metal finish makes it stand out even more, though it offers limited protection when it sticks out. Instead of glass, the back panel is made of polycarbonate, making it less likely to break but just as susceptible to fingerprints and smudges. I didn't have a case for my test unit, but I recommend getting one.
It's nice to see a mid-range phone get a 90Hz screen refresh rate for smoother navigation. It's off by default and can be turned on in the settings where, somewhat surprisingly, it doesn't cut battery life as much as you'd expect. The 6.1-inch OLED is the same panel as the Pixel 6a, but this time it's 200 nits brighter. Google has also managed to improve the fingerprint sensor and bring Face Unlock to the Pixel 7a, though the latter only works for unlocking the screen and not for biometric passwords in other apps.
The same works under the phoneProcessortensor G2other Pixel 7 phones do, opening up a range of features to these two. So is the RAM increase to 8GB with a familiar 128GB of storage. The Pixel 7 has one advantage, as there's a 256GB variant.
Despite the smaller 4385 mAh battery, it performs more efficiently here with the Tensor G2, lasting a few hours longer on a single charge on average. Plus, Google is finally bringing wireless charging to the A-series with just 5W of charging power, so it's slower than your average charger.
Knowing Google's habit of sticking to trusted hardware, I was surprised to see it match the new camera module on both the rear and front cameras. If this is a sign of things to come, we might start putting more emphasis on hardware to match the software on future Pixel devices.
This time around, the Pixel 7a gets a new 64-megapixel main camera (26mm equivalent), a Sony IMX787 sensor, which is also the first A-series phone to feature a Quad Bayer Type 1/1.73 sensor with 0.8 µm gets. It also has an f/1.9 aperture and optical image stabilization. The 13-megapixel (equivalent to 14mm) ultra-wide-angle lens has a 120° field of view and an aperture of f/2.2. It also uses a Sony sensor, the IMX712. Also new to the Pixel line is a 13-megapixel front camera with an ultra-wide focal length equivalent to 20mm.
As usual, there is no telephoto (onlyPixel 7 Prohas one), so you'll have to rely on Google's secret sauce in the form of Super Res Zoom to rescue cropped photos without getting grainy. This increases to 8x zoom and the 2x shortcut is always available in the camera app, which is important as previous Pixel A series phones were always left out of Google's hybrid zoom features.
Google's style has always been to sprinkle its firmware from flagships to A-series phones to develop a stable shooting game at a more affordable price. This assumption remains the same, only the difference seems to be rapidly shrinking.
All the standard on-screen controls apply, be it sliders for highlights/shadows and color temperature, as well as automated help that steps in, such as how to activate Night Sight in the main camera mode in low-light conditions. Google has also nicely introduced the Long Exposure mode as an addition to the interface, although there is still no trace of the Action Pan from the flagships. You also don't get Cinematic on the video side.
You can shoot in RAW, but not full resolution in RAW or JPEG, so the main camera always shoots 16-megapixel pixel-blending photos. Unfortunately, there is no manual control either.
Other software features available in Google Photos also stand out, spearheaded by the Magic Eraser for removing people and objects from images. The camouflage that debuted on the Pixel 6a also returns, along with the Unblur and Portrait Blur tools introduced on the Pixel 7 flagships. Google has added an extra called Sky, which lets you see color tonal changes in the sky in any photo can apply.
With different hardware underneath combined with Google's software calculations, the Pixel 7a seems to have jumped further than its predecessor. Not only is Night Sight twice as fast as before, but all images are rendered faster regardless of mode. While I would have preferred more detail, I can't really complain about what I captured with a phone that currently costs much less than a typical flagship.
Google has also wisely recognized where to be careful. The camera mode's automatic night vision (which is selectable) doesn't always activate in low light when it considers there's enough light to do without. There will be times when he unnecessarily interferes, but I can't say he's ever really ruined a photo. Still, sometimes less is more, and it's nice to have the option to disable this tool on screen.
All this feels like a welcome change from the Pixel 6a's sometimes aggressive approach. This phone locks focus better and doesn't overly sharpen the final composition. Even with RAW, the results came out better after I went through them in the post. Dynamic range is excellent for a mid-range phone, with a few that I think come close as consistently as the Pixel 7a.
Portrait mode is limited by the lack of a telephoto lens, but again, digital zoom is surprisingly effective. This includes 2x magnification of each subject, which somewhat negates the lack of real optics to help you get closer. The long exposure time is a welcome addition as it encourages experimentation, I wish there was a way to manually control the exposure time.
It is a lens with a fixed focal length, so you lose the macro mode to take close-ups. Still, the ultrawide works well in most situations. However, as with the main camera, low-light photos are worse the farther away the subject is. The field of view is wide enough to fit the frame, so perspective will often not be an issue. It just depends on what you shoot and from which angle you want to shoot.
The good news is that the dynamic range looks rich in these photos, too. By default, Google tends to favor more contrast with the camera, which can always be adjusted with the sliders, but I liked not having to worry so much about dramatic light differences in the same frame.
Unlike photography, nothing has drastically changed on the video side with the Pixel 7a. You can still shoot in 4K at 60fps, but you'll need to drop this down to 30fps if you're using the ultra-wide lens. If you really need a wider angle and a higher frame rate, you should shoot at 1080p/60fps. The dynamic range just doesn't have the same balance here, leaning a bit too much towards contrasting tones that don't always look realistic.
This doesn't mean that all shots are bad, just that sometimes you need to adjust the brightness. Unfortunately, there's no way to control both shadows and highlights like there is with photos, so the available tools are less work. Speech enhancements now work with both the rear and front cameras, giving you some flexibility in how you capture audio.
An excellent mid range shooter
It won't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the Pixel lineup that the Pixel 7a is a competitive mid-range car given the history of the A-series what is striking is how much the line between the 7a and 7 blurs which ask me what Google will do about it. Will it remove the "Pro" suffix from its flagship and only release one phone in one size, leaving the A series as a smaller alternative? Or is it trying to increase the range of flagships to further distance them from the more budget-friendly A-series?
It's hard to say until the Pixel 8 series arrives, but for now the Pixel 7a stands out as one of the best phones you can buy for $500. If your camera needs are modest or you need a skilled photographer you can rely on confidence without paying a small fortune, it's hard to find one that performs better from head to toe for the price.
Are there alternatives?
The most obvious alternative should be the Samsung Galaxy A54, which is also following a similar path with Samsung trying to maximize what it can add to its mid-range lineup. It offers an extra lens and more manual controls, but may not quite match software to create images of the same quality.
The Vivo V27 Pro has even more than Samsung, but is hampered a bit by a more obscure software update cycle that goes against what Google and Samsung are promising. You can theiPhone'a 14if you want a bigger phone that retains many of the same camera capabilities as its Pro sibling.
Should you buy it?
Yes, even if you're considering upgrading from the Pixel 6a. Google has filled in a few feature gaps here, making this phone feel finished and complete as a cheaper option.
Google Pixel 7 verdict
If you must have the latest and best from Google, you can't go wrong with the polished Google Pixel 7. Compared to the Pixel 6, the design is more refined, it's got the latest clever features, new photography skills and an improved high-res selfie camera.
The Pixel 7a is the best mid-range Android phone available. It squeezes even more of the premium smartphone experience into a smaller, cheaper model. Google's top chip, plenty of RAM and a decent amount of storage, make it faster than most competitors.How long does the Pixel 7a battery last? ›
With the Pixel 7a, you will be able to watch videos for around 9 hours and 7 minutes straight or browse the internet for nearly 15 and a half hours. As for playing games, Google's latest budget phone will let you play games for about 4 hours and 20 minutes on a single charge.Does Pixel 7 have heating issues? ›
The devices affected by the battery drainage and heating issues are the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro.Is Pixel 7 midrange or flagship? ›
The Google Pixel 7 is Google's mid-range smartphone with a current price of $599/£599.Does the Pixel 7 have a headphone jack? ›
This doesn't exactly come as a surprise, given that the Pixel 7 doesn't feature a headphone jack either. Smartphones without headphone jacks are becoming increasingly common, and this trend is no longer limited to just flagships.Is it okay to charge Pixel 7 overnight? ›
To help preserve long-term battery life, you can charge your phone steadily overnight.Does Pixel 7 have battery issues? ›
The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 series of devices seem to be running into battery and overheating issues for some after installing the May 2023 security patch, according to a report from 9to5Google on Monday.Why Google Pixel is better than Apple? ›
The hardware is top quality, the software is the cleanest and smartest I've seen in all my years of using Android, and the camera doesn't make me miss my iPhone, which is saying a lot. Not having much HomeKit-enabled smart home equipment also means the Home experience on this phone is better for me.Why are Google Pixel so cheap? ›
In a bid to reduce costs, Google's designers and engineers worked to build the device in a way that reduced the need for extraneous materials and labor. "[The Pixel 4a] is easier to manufacture, so it takes less people to put it together," Rakowski said.
It is believed that Google failed to sell its Pixel devices in India due to its Soli Radar chip on the front, which utilised the 60GHz frequency band banned for commercial use in India. However, Google later on scrapped that feature. But there are more reasons for Google's failure to attract Indian customers.How many years is Pixel 7 supported? ›
|Phone||Guaranteed Android version updates until at least:||Guaranteed security updates until at least:|
|Pixel 7a||May 8, 2026||May 7, 2028|
|Pixel 7 & Pixel 7 Pro||October 2025||October 2027|
|Pixel 6 & Pixel 6 Pro||October 2024||October 2026|
|Pixel 6a||July 2025||July 2027|
Nearly every software update brings enhancements, new features, and performance improvements. Unlike some other Android phones, you can rest assured that your Pixel phone will be supported for at least five years too.Is Google pixel 7 waterproof? ›
Pixel 7 Pro, 7, 6a, 6 Pro, 6, 5a (5G), 5, 4, 3, and 2 phones are designed to be water-resistant. But normal wear and tear can reduce water-resistance. To help your Pixel phone last longer, avoid actions that could lead to water damage.Why does pixel 7 get hot charging? ›
Some heat is anticipated and perfectly normal, though the phone should not become too warm to handle comfortably. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro supports Fast Charging, and therefore are likely to get warm during charging. This is expected, especially if the device is being operated while it is charging.Will pixel 7 have fingerprint sensor? ›
A fingerprint is utilized to unlock the device. For the fingerprint scanner to operate, hands must be clean and free of moisture, dirt, oil, lotion, dyes, etc. Up to 5 fingerprints can be registered on the device.Why does Google pixel overheating? ›
Intensive use, wireless charging, and atmospheric conditions are the usual reasons overheating smartphones, but now and then, software takes the blame. Recently, that was the case with the Google app running in the background and generating excessive heat on many phones, but mostly the Pixel 6, 6 Pro, and 7.Is Pixel 7 comfortable to hold? ›
Phone design matters, and the Pixel 7 Pro offers a great build, with excellent materials, and it's very comfortable to hold. It's easy to reach everything, the screen isn't too big or too small, and I appreciate how the camera bump protects the lenses better than many phones.Is Pixel 7 laggy? ›
Also, for some users, the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro screen scrolling is lagging or stuttering. This is especially noticeable in social media apps whose feed requires a lot of vertical scrolling.Is the Pixel 7 wireless charging? ›
Requirements for Pixel Stand
Your Pixel Stand can charge any phone that works with Qi wireless charging, like the Pixel 4, Pixel 5, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, or Pixel 7a phones. If you're not sure if your phone uses Qi, check your phone's tech specs or contact the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, those planning to get the Pixel 7 phones will have to spend extra on a charger, as Google does not provide one. All users get in the box is the phone, a Sim ejector tool, a Usb-c to Usb-a adapter, and a 1m Usb-c to Usb-c cable. The Pixel 5a was the last phone Google sold with a charger.Why did Pixel get rid of headphone jack? ›
"We ultimately decided that including a headphone jack detracted from core product specifications and didn't align with the Google ecosystem we are striving for," a Google representative told Insider. "We significantly improved the Pixel 6a's Bluetooth performance by adding Bluetooth v5.What are the slots on the bottom of Pixel 7 for? ›
On the bottom are the Type-C port for charging and the speaker grille. The slot for the SIM card is on the left edge. On the front, you see a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with up to 1,500 nits of peak brightness and negligible bezels and it looks beautiful, to say the least.Is 128 GB enough for a phone? ›
128GB is usually enough for most people, but a big reason why many still consider upgrading to 256GB is simply to get some peace of mind. After all, you don't want to have to bother freeing up storage space all the time. If that peace of mind is important to you, 256GB will do the job.Why won t Pixel phones have SD cards? ›
Most Android smartphones used to support microSD cards a few short years ago, but in the last few years, the high cost of manufacturing and shipping phones with MicroSD support rendered it a rarity. In essence, Google (and other companies) sacrificed expandable storage for sleeker designs and lower costs.What is a Google Pixel 7 worth? ›
How much does a Pixel 7 cost? Pixel 7 prices start at $307 and cost $409 on average as of June 2023.Is Pixel 7a 5G? ›
Yes, the Google Pixel 7a supports 5G connectivity.How much is a Google pixel 7 full retail? ›
The Pixel 7a is $499, the Pixel 7 starts at $599, and the Pixel 7 Pro starts at $899. The price changes a bit depending on the storage capacity: Pixel 7 Pro (512 GB) —$1099.Why should we not use phone while charging? ›
Using your phone a lot while it's charging can also cause the lithium ion battery to degrade faster than it would otherwise. That's because both using your phone and charging your phone causes the battery to heat up. When you do both at the same time, it heats up the battery and puts a lot of stress on it.Is it bad to leave your phone on all the time? ›
Shutting down your phone can help it run more smoothly by eliminating memory leaks. A memory leak occurs when an app requires a certain amount of memory in order to work, but fails to free up this memory when it is no longer needed. This slows down your phone's performance and adds an additional drain on your battery.
We spend all day feeding our brain information, so when it comes time to turn it off, we should do the same thing to our phones too. Numerous studies have found that using your phone before bed is harmful to your overall health, so let's break it down and see why.Why does my Pixel 7 battery drain so fast? ›
Using apps like GPS directions, games, and video recording for a long time will drain the battery quickly. You can close out all running apps by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and tapping Clear all.Why is Google killing my battery? ›
The cache and data of the Google App take up a significant amount of storage space and can also drain the battery. To solve this issue, go to the Settings app on your device, select Apps, and click on Google App. After that, click on Storage and then click on the Clear Cache button.How do I extend the battery life on my Pixel 7? ›
- From your Google Pixel phone, open the Settings app.
- Scroll down and tap Battery.
- Tap Battery Saver.
- From the Battery Saver page, tap the toggle next to Use Battery Saver to the On position.
- Tap Set a schedule.
- Select one of the following:
You should pick the Pixel if you want more bang for your buck, more camera features, the best of Google services, quick Android updates, and a smarter voice assistant. You should pick the iPhone if you rely on Apple services and already own other Apple devices.Why Pixel is better than other Android phones? ›
Being a Google-made phone, the Pixel is optimized to make better use of Google apps and services than any other Android phone. It's also free from bloatware, receives quick updates, and gets new Pixel Feature Drops every few months to increase the device's usability.Is Google pixel still worth it? ›
TL;DR: Yes, but you might want to wait. The Pixel 7 Pro has a ton of things going for it. It looks great. Its Android 13 software is bliss to use and its multicamera array on the back takes stunning photos that comfortably rival shots from Apple's best phone.Why does the Google pixel not sell? ›
The Pixel doesn't and can't sell as well as the two biggest competitors simply because it is not Google's business plan. Instead, the Pixel is intended for a more niche user that values flexibility, durability, and getting the most out of their Android phone.Why is Pixel so good? ›
We love its unique design, sharp display, customisable interface and excellent camera. While the more affordable Pixel 6a is the best value Google phone in 2023, the Pixel 6 has a better 50MP camera, a higher refresh rate and wireless charging.Who builds Pixel phones? ›
Who manufactures Google Pixel phones? While early versions of the Pixel phone were manufactured by HTC and LG, the Pixel 3 and newer models are made by Foxconn.
- Battery drain. Your phone's battery should keep up with you. ...
- Slow charging. ...
- Screen problems. ...
- Speaker issues. ...
- Bluetooth blunders. ...
- Fingerprint scanner trouble. ...
- Auto-rotate issues. ...
- Camera problems.
Android Central has attributed the discontinuation to the scarcity of the Snapdragon 765G SoC, saying whatever limited supplies the Mountain View company managed to get its hands on were allotted to the Pixel 5a. The chip shortage is also why the Pixel 5a is available in just the US and Japan.What is considered a midrange phone? ›
What is a mid-range phone? There's no technical definition, but as mentioned above, we define mid-range phones based on price: anything that costs more than $350/£250 but less than $850/£600 if you buy it SIM-free. Anything cheaper than that is really a budget phone, and anything more expensive is a flagship.Is Pixel 6 mid-range? ›
The Pixel 6a is Google's latest mid-range smartphone offering the same chips and performance as its top phones, but in a new, smaller body for a cheaper price.Is Pixel 7 always 90Hz? ›
Yes, the Pixel 7a has a 90Hz refresh rate
The Google Pixel 7a comes equipped with a 6.1-inch OLED display that has a 90Hz refresh rate. While this is pretty standard for most Android phones nowadays, it's something that's been missing from all previous Pixel A-series smartphones.
These days, buying a mid-range phone on a budget can still land you useful benefits such as a strong camera, beefy battery, muscular performance, and more. Over the past few years, we've even seen handy premium features such as wireless charging trickle down into this sector, though it's still not ubiquitous.Are mid-range phones worth it? ›
Indeed, not only do the latest mid-range smartphones look and feel as slick as their “flagship” counterparts, they can actually outperform them in key areas. So even if you're considering splashing out on a top-of-the-range handset, you would be well advised to check out the mid-range before spending the cash.Is Google pixel better than iPhone? ›
You should pick the Pixel if you want more bang for your buck, more camera features, the best of Google services, quick Android updates, and a smarter voice assistant. You should pick the iPhone if you rely on Apple services and already own other Apple devices.How long do Pixel phones last? ›
The best Android phones
Unlike some other Android phones, you can rest assured that your Pixel phone will be supported for at least five years too.
Ultimately, deciding which phone to buy depends on your needs and budget. If you want a budget-friendly phone with a great camera, the Pixel 6a is a superb value option. If you are looking for the latest technology, the Pixel 7a is worth considering.
Exposure to Extreme Temperatures
Direct sun will significantly heat your phone, especially when compounded with heavy use. Place the device somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight, turn down the screen brightness, and let it cool in the shade. It's also a good idea to turn off the Pixel while it cools down.
The Pixel 7a has a 6.1-inch OLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and a pixel density of 20:9 and a screen-to-body ratio of 81.8%. The display has a 90Hz refresh rate, too, similar to the one on the Pixel 6a.Does Pixel 7 have connection issues? ›
The Pixel 7 series is no stranger to network issues here and there. While it's a small issue that can be addressed, how does it get fixed? This guide will take you through a couple of steps you can take to fix your Pixel 7 connection issues when they arise.Will the Pixel 7 be less buggy? ›
Similar general performance improvements have been made across the board to help with app crashes and overall system stability. The Pixel 7's camera software is also getting a solid update to allow for better, more accurate color capture on the front-facing camera, in addition to a general performance increase.Is Pixel 7 water resistant? ›
Pixel 7 Pro, 7, 6a, 6 Pro, 6, 5a (5G), 5, 4, 3, and 2 phones are designed to be water-resistant. But normal wear and tear can reduce water-resistance. To help your Pixel phone last longer, avoid actions that could lead to water damage.