Google’s Pixel smartphone family has always found ways to impress, and that’s perhaps never been more true than last year with the Pixel 7 line, which ranks among the best smartphones. It took what the Pixel 6 started and refined it in some crucial ways. However, with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro shining so bright, the new Pixel 7a has its work cut out for it. While the $500 Pixel 7a serves as a budget model for the Pixel 7 lineup, the higher-end Pixel 7 starts at only $100 more – with a street price that regularly sees discounts taking it well below even the Pixel 7a’s price. So, let’s have a look at where the new phone sits and what it manages (or doesn’t manage) to do to stand out.
Google Pixel 7a – Design and Features
The Google Pixel 7a is unmistakably a modern Pixel. It’s boasting the same camera visor on the rear that’s perhaps the Pixel’s most iconic feature. Like the rest of the Pixel 7 line, that visor has received a design improvement that rids it of unsightly seams. The Pixel 6a has a particularly ugly visor up close, so it’s refreshing to see the Pixel 7a steer clear of that error. While the visor on the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro sticks out from the back of the phone, the Pixel 7a’s visor protrudes less.
There’s very little about the Pixel 7a to indicate that it’s not just a Pixel 7. The differences are incredibly subtle. To start, the Pixel 7a is just a little smaller, which makes it terribly comfortable in just one hand. It goes for a cozy 6.1-inch display instead of 6.3 inches, but it packs the same 1080 x 2040 resolution as the Pixel 7, which actually gives it an increased pixel density. It’s still an OLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate, but Google is keeping quiet about its peak brightness, because it’s presumably not hitting the same heights as the Pixel 7’s 1,400 nits. That said, it’s been more than bright enough for everyday use. The bezels on the Pixel 7a aren’t ultra-slim, but they’re not glaring eyesores either.
The subtleties continue with the display’s cover, which is Gorilla Glass 3 rather than the Gorilla Glass Victus found on the Pixel 7, 7 Pro, and plenty of other top-tier smartphones. The frame is still aluminum, but the rear is made of plastic. It doesn’t feel particularly cheap though, and it’s a reasonable spot to save on materials. The frame offers IP67 protection, keeping dust out and allowing for the occasional dip down to 1 meter depths for 30 minutes. Again, that’s a small downgrade from the Pixel 7’s IP68 rating.
An under-display fingerprint scanner and facial recognition sensor are both still on board for the Pixel 7a. Both are just as snappy as they are on the non-A models, which is quick enough that I often don’t even realize the phone’s already unlocked from spotting my face before I get my thumb on the fingerprint scanner.
Previous A-models skipped out on wireless charging, but the Pixel 7a finally includes it. It’s a slightly tempered version though, charging at just 7.5 watts instead of the 20 watts available on the Pixel 7 and lacking the ability to reverse wireless charge. Even wired charging gets a small downgrade, peaking at just 18 watts instead of 20 watts, but it’s a difference few are likely to notice.
Considering that the design offers largely small downgrades from the Pixel 7, I’d say it’s purely the inferior phone in this respect. It could have had its place as the smaller-hand model, but it’s not really trimming all that much. Even though it has a smaller screen, it shaves a meager 3.6mm off the height and a negligible 0.3mm off the width – the cost of thicker bezels. It’s also a hair thicker.
Google Pixel 7a – Software
The Google Pixel 7a comes running Android 13 with the same flavoring on top as the Pixel 7 line. It keeps things largely simple with an emphasis on style, as showcased by Google’s Material You color theming. This tries to create a unified color scheme platform-wide, making the phone’s software feel more personal. Unfortunately, Google’s version of Android 13 is also on the more restrictive side and doesn’t optimize screen space the best, particularly compared to the utilitarian One UI from Samsung.
The home screen will only display a 5x5 grid of apps or smaller, and it takes a chunk at the top of the display to dedicate to the date and At a Glance (a feature that displays various types of relevant information – package delivery, calendar events, and such). Google search and Assistant is also pegged to the bottom of the home screen. Third-party launchers can get around some of this. I’m still not impressed with Google’s space use in the quick settings shade, though, which uses overly large buttons, limiting how many settings I can actually access quickly: 4 at first and 8 when fully expanded. By contrast, One UI (and earlier Android versions) shows 6 quick settings and screen brightness at first and 12 when fully expanded.
Google Pixel 7a – Gaming and performance
Google’s not giving the Pixel 7a a downgraded performance profile compared to its bigger siblings. The same Tensor G2 chip powering the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro is nestled away inside the Pixel 7a. It has less material to spread its heat into, but even with Genshin Impact running at full settings for upwards of a half hour, it doesn’t feel uncomfortably hot. It definitely gets quite warm, and I measured a peak around 106.5 degrees Fahrenheit on the display, but it wasn’t scorching my hands.
Meanwhile, the performance on offer from the Tensor G2 holds up to everyday use perfectly well. I hardly noticed a hitch throughout my use of the phone. It pulled open apps, browsed sites in Chrome, and scrolled Twitter like a champ. It doesn’t have the beefiest gaming chops, with some noticeable dips and hitches running Genshin Impact at maximum settings, though it was smooth enough to still play the game just fine.
Even if this is Google’s budget phone, the experience using it never feels lower-end, thanks to the speed available. The processing power combined with a responsive display really makes for smooth operation. Connectivity is also up to speed, with Wi-Fi 6E providing plenty of bandwidth for cloud gaming or streaming while 5G networking keeps the bandwidth up on the go. I was perhaps most pleased to see that even the USB-C port isn’t subtly downgraded, instead maintaining the same USB 3.2 level seen on the Pixel 7. Plenty of cheap phones skimp and opt for bog-standard USB 2.0, which makes transferring files unbearably slow.
The 4,385mAh battery inside the Pixel 7a can go the distance. It’s a little bigger than the Pixel 7’s, though smaller than the Pixel 7 Pro’s, but it only has to contend with a 6.1-inch screen. All-day battery life with casual use is easily attainable, and I never felt like the phone was sucking down too much charge while idle or under light use – something I’m constantly wary of from my Pixel 7 Pro.
Google Pixel 7a – Camera
The Google Pixel 7a upgrades from the cameras found on last year’s Pixel 6a, but don’t expect the same camera system as what the full-fat Pixel 7 is packing.
Here are the cameras the Google Pixel 7a includes:
- 64MP (binned to 16.1MP) Wide, 0.8-micron, f/1.89, PDAF, OIS, 80-degree FOV
- 13MP ultrawide, f/2.2, 1.12-micron, 120-degree FOV
- 13MP Selfie (12.2MP actual), 1.12-micron, f/2.2, 95-degree FOV
If there’s one thing Google consistently gets right, it’s the cameras. And the Pixel 7a does not disappoint. Between the main sensor and the ultra-wide, the Pixel 7a captures true-to-life footage even in challenging scenarios. I never catch it seeming to over-saturate or over-sharpen the photos. And with a 64MP sensor, the main camera can even crop in for a functional 2x zoom that holds up surprisingly well.
The cameras pass one crucial test as well – the main sensor and ultra-wide feel like they’re more or less the same camera running different lenses. The ultra-wide suffers from a bit of noise in dark environments, but for outdoor scenery during the daytime, it looks great, and appears very similar to the main sensor with sharpening and color that matches. I’ve seen plenty of phones, even expensive ones, with a great main sensor complemented by an ultra-wide camera that looks downright awful next to it.
Even though the Pixel 7a is using different cameras than the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, it compares quite well. With side-by-side images from the main sensor of the Pixel 7a and 7 Pro, I can’t see any distinct differences. The Pixel 7 Pro has its 5x telephoto sensor to set it apart, but the Pixel 7 doesn’t.
Flipping around front to the selfie camera, it captures color with a similar feel to the rest of the system, and it manages decently well in bright and dim conditions without getting too noisy.
The Pixel 7 offers the best version of Android, with guaranteed security updates through fall 2027—plus the best Android smartphone camera we've ever tested. It also has excellent build quality and costs half as much as Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra.How is the Google pixel rated? ›
The Google Pixel 5a and OnePlus 10 Pro tie for the No. 5 rating in the Best Cell Phones of 2023 category. The two Android phones have a lot of similarities, but the most notable difference is the cost. The OnePlus 10 Pro is close to double the price of the Pixel 5a, but it also has significantly more features.Why is Google pixel so special? ›
Google's Pixel phones are our favorite Android phones here at WIRED, and they have been for a few years. They have industry-leading cameras, get speedy software and security updates directly from Google (like iPhones do from Apple), and are priced competitively.How do I get the most out of Pixel 7? ›
- Type by Speaking With Google Assistant. ...
- Quickly Switch Between the Front and Rear Cameras. ...
- Use Live Translate in Phone Calls, Videos, and More. ...
- Use the Quick Tap Gesture to Launch Apps or Features. ...
- Enable One-Handed Mode. ...
- Automate Your Device With Rules.
After testing it out for six months, we still think the new Pixel 7 is the best Android smartphone for most people, especially if you don't need the bigger display, slightly better battery and more advanced cameras of the Pixel 7 Pro.How long do Pixel phones last? ›
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.Why isn t Google Pixel popular? ›
Google's phones focused on just software with mediocre tech specs and cameras, famously keeping the same primary camera sensor from the Pixel 2 through the Pixel 5. Despite improving the photo software every year to compensate, Google's phones still got a reputation for lagging behind other top phones in hardware.What are the unique features of pixel 7a? ›
Pixel 7a also has many of the best camera features Pixel has to offer, including Photo Unblur ,1 Magic Eraser ,2 and Night Sight , as well as the highest-rated security features 3 to keep you and your online activity protected. You'll also have Google Assistant voice typing and Live Translate .Why choose Pixel over iPhone? ›
Photos from a Pixel usually have better dynamic range, look more colorful, and represent your skin tone more accurately than an iPhone. The Pixel has more useful and fun camera software features such as Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Motion Mode, and more.How many years will Pixel 7 last? ›
Pixel 6 and later phones will get updates for at least 5 years from when the device first became available on the Google Store in the US.
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. Google says the issue has been resolved.Does Pixel 7 get hot easily? ›
What to do if your phone gets too hot. If your phone is too hot, disconnect it from its power source if it's plugged in, move it to a cooler place, and do not use it until it has cooled down. You can also contact Pixel support.What phone does Bill Gates have? ›
The billionaire, in a ask-me-anything session on Reddit revealed that he is a Samsung loyalist. Gates currently uses Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and before this he used Galaxy Z Fold 3 as his primary phone.What phone does NASA use? ›
To begin answering these questions, NASA is equipping the trio of SPHERES on the space station with a Nexus™ S handset made by Samsung Electronics and powered by Google's Android™ platform. Each SPHERE Satellite is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment.What are the common issues with Pixel? ›
- 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.
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.Is Pixel safer than iPhone? ›
Android phones are generally considered less secure than iPhones thanks to Apple's focus on encryption. But both are more susceptible to hackers thanks to their popularity. The more people who use a phone, the more high value a target it presents to hackers.Is Pixel 7 worth in 2023? ›
Hence, there's nothing that suggests the Pixel 7 has lost its worth in 2023. It's a no-frills device that does what it's supposed to. It comes with solid specifications, is perfect for any task, and won't make too much of a difference in the future.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 Google Pixel 7 better than iPhone 14? ›
For now, the Pixel 7 has the better display and camera, plus a lower price tag when compared to the iPhone 14. With a starting price of $599 for the 128GB model and even better Pixel 7 deals, Google definitely has a chance to compete, especially since the iPhone 14 starts at $800 like its predecessor did.
- #1 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3.
- #1 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3.
- #3 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
- #3 Apple iPhone 13.
- #5 Google Pixel 5a.
- #5 OnePlus 10 Pro.
- #7 Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max.
- #7 Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus.
- Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Best overall. $999 at Amazon.
- Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus. Runner-up. $849 at Amazon.
- Google Pixel 7a. Best Value. $449 at Best Buy.
- Samsung Galaxy A54 5G. Best mid-range pick. $399 at Amazon.
- OnePlus 11. Best Software and Speed. $500 at Best Buy.
- See More.
Like their predecessors, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are guaranteed to receive five years of software support.How often should I buy a new Pixel phone? ›
Upgrading Your Phone Every Three Years
Most people upgrade their phones every two to three years. By then, the battery starts to become bothersome and Android phones stop receiving updates. It's also usually enough time for tech companies to introduce some new features you might want on your next phone.
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 is Google Pixel 7 so slow? ›
If you've used many applications on the phone, it may get slow because the applications keep running in the background. Solution: End running applications. Slide your finger slowly upwards starting from the bottom of the screen until the list of running applications is displayed.Does Pixel 7 have bugs? ›
Whether it comes as a surprise or not, Pixel 7 phones continue experiencing bizarre bugs, just like the 2021 Pixel 6 series of phones did for almost a whole year into their existence. You might've heard about the battery drain bug, which took social media by storm.Does Pixel 7 Pro have issues? ›
One theory being floated around is that the Pixel 7 Pro is not good at heat management and it originated after many people revealed that the issues usually appear after prolonged use. In some cases the display first flickers green and then turns black but does go back to being normal after a while.How old is a Pixel 7a? ›
|Compatible networks||GSM/EDGE UMTS/HSPA+, CDMA EVDO Rev A, WCDMA LTE, LTE Advanced 5G sub-6 / mmWave|
|First released||May 10, 2023|
|Related||Pixel 7 & 7 Pro|
The smartphone is fueled by a Non-removable Li-Po 4385 mAh + Wired, PD3. 0 + Wireless. Google Pixel 7a comes in three colors: Charcoal, Snow, Sea, and Coral. It is built with a glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), aluminum frame, and plastic back.
The Pixel 7 comes with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back, which is more resistant to scratches and cracks than the Gorilla Glass 3 that graces the display of the Pixel 7a.Which one to buy iPhone 13 or Pixel 7? ›
|Specification||Apple iPhone 13||Google Pixel 7 5G|
|Internal Memory||128 GB||128 GB|
|Display||6.1 inches, 1170 x 2532 pixels||6.3 inches, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 90 Hz|
Can Android phones initiate a FaceTime call? Since FaceTime is an Apple-owned service, no. Android users can only join FaceTime calls hosted by Apple users.Is it hard to switch from Samsung to Pixel? ›
It's easier than ever to set up a new Pixel device. In about 30 minutes, you can copy over your data from any iPhone or Android phone and sync your cloud content. It takes just five steps from Android, and six steps from iOS.How many updates will the pixel 7a get? ›
How many Android updates will the Pixel 7a get? The Google Pixel 7a will get three Android platform updates and five years of security updates. This means the Pixel 7a will be updated to Android 16 at least and will be supported with security updates up until May 2028 at least.Is Pixel 7 glass back? ›
Fast and secure, with an advanced camera and amazing battery, the sleek, yet rugged, Pixel 7 is IP68-rated for water resistance and is designed with tough, scratch- and drop-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus® front and back.Is it worth upgrading from Pixel 6 to 7? ›
All in all, the new chip inside the Pixel 7 didn't blow us away with major improvements over the Pixel 6. It feels a bit snappier, a bit tighter, but we'd be fine with the older phone. The software isn't much of a differentiating factor either as both phones run practically the same version of Android.What is the problem with Pixel 7 2023? ›
Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro, 6a, Pixel 7, and 7 Pro owners are reporting issues with their phones overheating and draining battery exceptionally quickly following the May 2023 update. In some cases, this is leading to battery life being cut in half, if not worse, and the phone being hot to the touch.Does Pixel 7 have bad picture quality? ›
Apparently, the quality of the final photos is very low, more typical of mid-range smartphones. According to reports, the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro front camera photos lose a lot of detail when lighting conditions are not perfect, resulting in blurry, noisy or washed-out images.Why is my Pixel 7 so warm when 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.
Pixel 7 And 6 Owners Blame Google App For Massive Battery Drain And Overheating Issues. A deluge of Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 users are reporting high battery usage and overheating, which seems to be linked to the Google app after the latest May 2023 security update.Does the Pixel 7 fast charge? ›
Fast wired charging rates (up to 20 watts on Pixel 7 and up to 23 watts on Pixel 7 Pro) are based upon use of the Google 30 W USB-C® Charger plugged into a wall socket.Does Pixel 7 lay flat? ›
On the Pixel 7, you get a screen made from Gorilla Glass Victus, while in back, there's an even more pronounced camera bar that now extends seamlessly from the phone's frame across the width of the device. This should provide some added durability while still allowing the device to lie flat (well, mostly) on a table.Is Pixel better than Apple? ›
Photos from a Pixel usually have better dynamic range, look more colorful, and represent your skin tone more accurately than an iPhone. The Pixel has more useful and fun camera software features such as Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Motion Mode, and more.Why is 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.Do Google pixels last long? ›
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.