Google Pixel 7a review_ Meet the brand new finest sub-$500 Android telephone

Smartphone consumers are consuming properly this week. Google simply introduced its first-ever foldable, the Pixel Fold, for $1,799, and discounted its most inexpensive telephone, the Pixel 6a, right down to $349. And if you cannot determine between splurging for a fold or hitting the funds street, there exists the Pixel 7a for $499.

The Google Pixel 7a delivers one of the best A-series expertise but, however that comes at a value.

Let me be clear: The Pixel 7a will not win any design awards. And its not-so-smooth alignment of again glass and aluminum body ought to inform you all it’s good to find out about the place the telephone sits inside Google’s Pixel hierarchy.

Additionally: All of the {hardware} Google introduced at I/O 2023

However on the finish of the day, it is an A-series system; the fifth era of its type. Meaning Google has had years to refine, polish, and improve its mid-ranger components, and the maturity reveals on the brand new Pixel.

This can be a mid-range telephone completed proper. Principally. This is why.


Show 6.1-inch FHD gOLED at 90Hz Processor Google Tensor G2 RAM/Storage 8GB with 128GB Digital camera 64MP essential, 12MP ultrawide, and 13MP entrance Battery 4,385mAh with 18W wired charging and seven.5W wi-fi Connectivity USB-C, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 5G (mmWave and sub6) Colours Charcoal, Snow, Sea, and Coral Value $499

What’s new with this mannequin

There are three main enhancements to this yr’s Pixel A-series system: Show refresh charge, an upgraded processor, and wi-fi charging, all of which have been anticipated arrivals in the end. Consequently, the Pixel 7a additionally will get a worth bump from final yr’s $449 to now $499.

1. 90Hz is now customary

June Wan/ZDNET

A quick refresh charge show actually spoils you. It actually has for me. So you can think about the grin on my face when Google determined to carry the smoother panel from its flagship Pixel line right down to the 7a.

The end result is a clear Android expertise that is simply as {smooth} to have a look at as it’s to swipe, faucet, and work together with. And scrolling by way of longer webpages does not come off as a blur of textual content, however slightly a river of perceptible phrases that make the visible of it simpler on the eyes.

Additionally: Google unveils Pixel Fold,’the thinnest foldable telephone in the marketplace’

Notice that by default, the Pixel 7a is ready to 60Hz; you may should dig into the show settings and toggle on Easy Show to be able to see (and really feel) the distinction. Even then, Easy Show is simply an adaptive refresh charge setting, which means the Pixel will throttle between 90Hz and 60Hz relying on what job you are doing and the telephone’s battery life.

From what I might inform (or what I could not inform?), the shift just isn’t that aggressive, which is nice.

2. Lastly, wi-fi charging*

This is a have a look at the Pixel 7a in Sea blue. June Wan/ZDNET

The Google Pixel A-series is lastly getting wi-fi charging — however there’s an asterisk there. The charging charge maxes out at 7.5 watts, which isn’t one of the best, but in addition not the worst. It takes a great two hours to cost the telephone from 0% to 100%, so I will allow you to determine what to make of that.

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That should not be an issue for those who’ve assimilated right into a wireless-powered life-style and infrequently plop your telephone onto a charging dock at any given second. I am responsible of that, so I respect the existence of the Pixel characteristic greater than how succesful it’s.

3. Tensor G2 brings all of the magic

The brand new 64MP essential digital camera allows you to seize extra element. June Wan/ZDNET

Google’s flagship processor, Tensor G2, has additionally made its manner into the Pixel A-series, bringing enhancements to the 7a’s machine-learning capabilities, computational options, and total effectivity.

All that’s to say that the Pixel 7a breezes by way of most apps and providers that you simply throw at it, from each day actions like social media searching and emailing to extra strenuous duties like exporting 360-degree movies and working GPS navigation within the background. The telephone will get heat to the contact, however by no means to the extent of discomfort.

Additionally: Google Pixel 7a vs iPhone SE (2022)

The digital camera system on the Pixel 7a is as performative as Google’s finest telephones, and I am getting natural-looking pictures with unbelievable dynamic vary more often than not, however the post-processing perks are what separate the telephone from different sub-$500 choices just like the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G and iPhone SE (2022).

This is a picture I captured with the brand new 64MP essential lens. Discover how properly the clouds within the background are captured. June Wan/ZDNET

Photograph-editing instruments like Magic Eraser and Photograph Unblur are enabled with Tensor G2 on the helm, and there are different Pixel favorites, like Lengthy Publicity, that I used to seize the transferring subway under. You may get some ghosting results for those who’re not holding the telephone steadily when it is capturing such pictures, however when all the pieces goes as deliberate, you find yourself with images that may sometimes require a tripod and different equipment to seize.

With the steadiest of fingers, you can also seize velocity like by no means earlier than. June Wan/ZDNET

What I would wish to see within the subsequent mannequin

The Pixel 7a just isn’t excellent, and has its causes for being comparatively inexpensive, although I will admit that discovering its flaws was not the simplest. Actually, there are solely two facets that I’d counsel enhancing heading into the subsequent mannequin.

1. A bigger battery (or sooner charging)

June Wan/ZDNET

If you introduce a extra highly effective SoC and a sooner refresh charge show, however hold the battery capability roughly the identical as final yr (4,385mAh from 4,400mAh), endurance numbers are certain to take a success.

On common, I received about two and a half hours of screen-on time with the Pixel 7a; not nice, however acceptable for those who can take care of battery nervousness or do not label your self as an influence person.

Dialing the refresh charge again right down to 60Hz received me about half-hour of extra utilization, however at that time, you are higher off selecting up the discounted Pixel 6a — which Google nonetheless sells in shops — that offers you 80% of the Pixel 7a expertise.

Assessment: Google Pixel 6a: Half the worth of a Pixel Professional, however simply nearly as good

The middling battery life is simply additional emphasised whenever you notice the telephone solely costs at 18W, wired. That is in comparison with similarly-priced opponents which are slowly however absolutely adopting sooner 30W and 65W charging charges.

There are two options to the above issues, as I’ve hinted within the titling: A bigger battery, sooner charging, or each! A bigger battery dimension, even when it is on the expense of a barely thicker telephone, would put the Pixel 7a comfortably on the high of my suggestions lists.

2. A show that beats the solar

It is solely Might, however New York is in full-on summer time mode proper now. Meaning there is a road efficiency each different block, vacationer mayhem, and the solar beaming down with pleasure. And as I make my commute to the workplace, I am unable to assist however discover how troublesome it’s to see what’s on the Pixel 7a display when exterior.

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Maybe I ought to’ve anticipated this when I discovered myself setting the brightness to round 80% at dwelling. At the same time as I am typing this evaluation from the ZDNET workplace, the Pixel’s adaptive brightness thinks that 100% is probably the most applicable stage on this ambiance.

A Google spokesperson tells me the Pixel 7a will get as much as 500 nits on common brightness, with a peak of 1,000 nits for HDR and excessive brightness mode. From what I am seeing, that is probably not sufficient to beat the sunnier months to return.

Backside line

The Google Pixel 7a delivers one of the best A-series expertise but, with much-desired enhancements just like the 90Hz refresh charge show, wi-fi charging, and the corporate’s newest Tensor G2 processor. That each one contributes to its $499 price ticket, snapping the A-series streak of $449 over the previous two generations.

Ought to I purchase one?

For the brand new worth, the Pixel 7a is in a really attention-grabbing place throughout the Google lineup. It is about $100 lower than the still-relevant Pixel 7, which has a greater digital camera system, bigger show, and longer battery life, and is about $150 greater than the still-available Pixel 6a, which gives an analogous Android expertise however with out the fancier show and charging tech. If you cannot determine between both finish of that spectrum, then the 7a may be the correct telephone for you.

Alternate options to contemplate

BEST PRICE Google Pixel 6a For those who can reside with out the 90Hz show and wi-fi charging, then I would have a look at the Pixel 6a, which Google nonetheless sells for $349. View at Amazon

BEST PRICE Samsung Galaxy A54 5G For a mid-range Android that places show high quality and battery life entrance and heart, try Samsung’s A54 5G. View at Amazon

BEST PRICE Google Pixel 7 For $100 extra, the Pixel 7 offers you a greater digital camera system, a bigger show, and a extra premium construct high quality. View at Amazon

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