Home » Google Pixel 7a in the test: The cheap smartphone is really that good

Google Pixel 7a in the test: The cheap smartphone is really that good

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Google Pixel 7a in the test: The cheap smartphone is really that good

At least since their own Tensor SoC design, Google has shown that they are serious about their smartphones. The Google Pixel 7 Pro (test report), which was launched at the end of 2022, earned a strong 5 out of 5 stars. We really had to complain about the too slow loading speed. The little brother, the Google Pixel 7 (test report), also gets the coveted 5 out of 5 stars. Although it is a bit weaker in terms of the battery and the missing telephoto lens, it offers a significantly better price-performance ratio.

Traditionally, Google launches a slightly slimmed-down mid-range model about six months after the release of their flagship models. Last year this was the Google Pixel 6a (test report). Pixel fans were particularly happy about the same camera setup and the same processor as in the Google Pixel 6 (test report) and Google Pixel 6 Pro (test report). The price of the Pixel 6a was 450 euros at the market launch and has now fallen to 330 euros. The Pixel 6a is still out there and it’s a real Pixel bargain.

Now Google is showing the Pixel 7a. This time it costs 510 euros at the market launch in the Google Store and thus 60 euros more than the Pixel 6a back then. This is a questionable price decision, since the Pixel 7 currently also costs around 500 euros. This test report should show how the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 7 differ and whether it might not be better to use the Pixel 6a.

With its design, Google remains true to the well-known pixel look. The slightly raised visor, which houses the camera setup and the flash, runs across the back of the Pixel 7a. This means that the Pixel 7a lies securely on its back and does not wobble like other smartphones whose camera is only on one side. In contrast to the Pixel 7, Google uses plastic instead of glass for the back. It comes in a choice of white, black, blue and red. The latter are only available in the Google Store.

The Pixel 7a is compact compared to many other Android smartphones with dimensions of 152 × 72.9 × 9 mm – roughly comparable to the Pixel 6a (152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm). The Pixel 7 (155.6 × 73.2 × 8.7mm) is longer, but otherwise almost the same. Its weight is 193.5 g (Pixel 7: 197 g, Pixel 6a: 178 g).

Overall, the Pixel 7a makes an excellent impression. The metal frame is tight, nothing creaks, the buttons have a very good pressure point, the antennas are in the right places and there are no sharp edges.

As with the other current Pixel phones, the 7a also has no jack connection. The speakers on the bottom are sufficiently loud. However, they sound tinny from a certain volume and fall off in direct comparison to the Pixel 7.

The display of the 7a is 6.1 inches, just like the display of the 6a. The Pixel 7’s display is slightly larger at 6.3 inches. The display edges are wider on the 7a than on the 7er. All three smartphones offer a resolution of 2400 × 1080 pixels and rely on OLED. Very nice: The Pixel 7a, like the Pixel 7, supports a refresh rate of 90 Hz, which makes it feel buttery smooth to use. The Pixel 6a, on the other hand, only has 60 Hz – that was a big minus point in the Pixel 6a test report at the time. Attention: If you want to use the 90 Hz on the Pixel 7a, you must first activate the option in the settings under Smooth Display activate.

The maximum brightness of the display is extremely high and can easily keep up with that of the Pixel 7. In general, Google uses a really excellent display here, which at most differs from many displays in high-end models due to the slightly too thick edges and the not quite perfect viewing angles.

While the Pixel 6a still uses the same camera module as the Pixel 6, Google is building a new variant into the Pixel 7a compared to the 7 series. This is the first time Google has experimented here in a long time. We are all the more excited about the direct photo comparison.

A 64-megapixel sensor is used as the main camera, supported by a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens without autofocus. Like the 7 Pro, the Pixel 7 uses a 50-megapixel main sensor and a 12-megapixel autofocus wide-angle camera. Something has also changed at the front. Here the Pixel 7a shoots with a 13-megapixel lens, the Pixel 7 with a 10.8-megapixel sensor.

Overall, the Pixel 7a takes good pictures that exude the typical pixel aesthetic. The main camera in particular is convincing. The images are sharp and realistic. Even without autofocus on the wide-angle lens, you can get quite close to objects, especially when the photographer activates the double digital zoom. Nevertheless, macro shots cannot be taken with the Pixel 7a as well as with the Google Pixel 7 and its autofocus of the wide-angle lens.

We are positively surprised when comparing the pictures taken with the selfie camera. In our opinion, the Pixel 7a has the edge here – albeit wafer-thin. The wide-angle lens falls off a bit compared to the main lens. Their images are less sharp overall, blur more quickly, especially in poor lighting conditions, and the image is sometimes clearly distorted at the edges. We would have expected more from Google’s software here. In a direct photo comparison with the Pixel 7, the main camera of the 7a falls slightly and the wide-angle camera noticeably. Night shots are also better with the Pixel 7.

Nevertheless, the complaining is on a high level. Because the Pixel 7a produces excellent images on its own, which do not have to shy away from comparison with some more expensive models.

As with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Google’s own SoC Tensor G2 is also used in the Pixel 7a. It is again supported by 8 GB of RAM and the Mali-G710 MP7 GPU. The memory configuration is also identical with a non-expandable 128 GB (UFS 3.1). However, the Pixel 7 has a 256GB option, while the 7a doesn’t. Not surprisingly, the two smartphones perform similarly in the performance benchmark. The 7a achieves 6588 points in 3Dmark Wild Life (Pixel 7: 6564 points) and 1832 points in 3Dmark Wild Life Extreme (Pixel 7: 1835 points). It is roughly on par with other smartphones with a Snapdragon 888 processor. Overall, the Tensor G2 has already proven with the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro that it is more than sufficient for all everyday situations.

The fingerprint sensor is as fast as the Pixel 7 and significantly faster than that of the Pixel 6a. The Pixel 7a also supports face unlock this time, unlike the Pixel 6a. The Pixel 7a knows Wifi 6E, NFC, 5G and Bluetooth 5.3 – one of the few points where the 7a is ahead of the 7. Because the Pixel 7 only brings Bluetooth 5.2. The Pixel 7a convinced us in the telephone test. The other person can be clearly understood, the microphones filter out ambient noise with amazing precision and transmit a clear speech image.

The Google Pixel 7a has largely the same software as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. That’s really good news, since Android, optimized for Pixel phones, is pretty much one of the best the smartphone world has to offer. It is not for nothing that it is one of the most important points for many to choose a Pixel phone.

The software convinces us thanks to the many customization options for the interface, a quick speech-to-text option, the recorder app, many useful functions for editing images afterwards, a three-year major update guarantee, digital wellbeing and much more. For more information about the software, we recommend taking a look at the reviews of the Google Pixel 7 Pro and Google Pixel 7.

The Pixel 7a’s battery has a capacity of 4385 mAh, making it slightly larger than the Pixel 7’s battery (4355 mAh) and smaller than the Pixel 6a’s (4410 mAh). Since the hardware of the Pixel 7 is almost identical, but a slightly smaller display is used, the battery life is longer, as expected. The 7a achieves almost 12 hours in the battery test, while the Pixel 7 achieves 11.4 hours here. The Pixel 6a runs longer at 13.5 hours.

The Pixel 7a is the first a-series smartphone to support inductive charging. In contrast to the Pixel 7, however, it only uses 7.5 watts instead of 20 watts. Reversible charging is only possible on the Pixel 7. Even when charging via USB-C, the Pixel 7a does not break any speed records. It takes almost two hours for a full charge – that’s about as long as the 7 and 6a.

The Google Pixel 7a costs 509 euros at the market launch in the Google Store. Only there can buyers get it in red. Other dealers are already selling it in black for around 480 euros. We assume that the price, equivalent to the Google Pixel 6a, will drop significantly in the coming weeks and months.

The Google Pixel 7a is a really good smartphone. It’s even one of the best you can buy for around 500 euros. It shines with its flawless workmanship, fast and bright display, good cameras, flagship-level hardware and fantastic software. Qi and face recognition are also on board this time. You almost have to look for the weaknesses with a magnifying glass. The loading speed is not very high and the speakers sometimes sound quite thin.

The biggest minus point, however, is hidden in the products of its own Pixel family, with which Google competes with itself. In fact, there is hardly any reason why you shouldn’t buy the Pixel 7 instead of the Pixel 7a. In addition to the camera, the Pixel 7 has the edge in many other smaller areas and currently costs only a few euros more, if at all. We would recommend everyone to grab the Google Pixel 7 (test report) right away. On the other hand, if you want to save money, the Google Pixel 6a (test report), which is still being sold, is a suitable budget alternative. It costs significantly less at 330 euros and still offers an Android experience that is comparable in many areas and maybe even the slightly better photos.

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