The Google Pixel 7a is out to impress with its $500 price and hardware that’s similar to the flagship phones, the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, and many will consider this device the ideal mid-ranger. And as for being a follow-up to the Google Pixel 6a, there’s much to like about this device.
Now, I’ve had my retail unit for a few days, enough to form a first impression for someone coming from an iPhone 14 Pro, and here’s a breakdown of what I feel so far!
Google Pixel 7a Design: A signature look worth appreciating
Since this is a retail unit, I had the opportunity to choose the color of my device, and I decided to leave behind my liking for shades of black and grey. And head into the wonderful world of pastels, picking the ‘Sea’ variant.
When I picked it out of the box, I admitted that the device looked pleasing and really didn’t disappoint. Plus, its combination of a plastic back panel, an aluminum mid-frame, and a Gorilla Glass 3-covered 6.1-inch display gives it a feeling of robustness that I appreciate. The fact that it’s IP67 rated gives it another feather in its cap.
As for weight, it measures 0.43 lbs (194 grams), which is acceptable — there’s a 4300 mAh (roughly) cell packed in there — because its distribution is par for the course.
The Pixel 6 series introduced a shift in how Google created hardware, showing that it understood making unique devices was necessary. And its choice to keep designs consistent between its smartphone lineup — despite the price — speaks volumes of its confidence and sound development strategy. On the design front, the Pixel 7a receives our green light.
Google Pixel 7a Battery: Charging voes or temporary blip?
As I wrote earlier, the Pixel 7a has a 4,300 mAh (roughly) cell encased in its chassis, and while battery endurance has been satisfactory so far, charging up the phone has been a whole other story.
I’ve averaged a 5-hour Screen-on Time over the weekend, with the battery level trickling lower as I left the Always-On feature active. Other usage scenarios I used to tax the battery involved active Discord calls while playing rounds of Catan Universe on a cellular connection. Apart from these, the classic social media usage, reading up on articles, and keeping in touch with friends and family rounded out my use.
I’ll be hitting the phone and its Tensor G2 processor harder in the coming week as I try to gauge how it handles thermals during more demanding use.
Coming to charging, officially, the Pixel 7a supports 18W wired charging and 5W wireless charging. Unlike the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, Google doesn’t state the device will charge up to 50% in 30 minutes, and we didn’t observe this either. The Pixel 7a took nearly 2 hours from 0 to 100% during my first test with an 18W charger. It slightly improved when I shifted to a 45W brick for my second charge. But this is still something I’m tracking and will explore further in the full review.
As for wireless charging, having the system in place is a great quality-of-life add-on, but its speed makes it impractical for daily dependence. But if you tend to sit in one place for long periods or have an exceptionally long commute, the feature will help eliminate the hassle of wires and keep your device charged. Though, the lack of reverse wireless charging is a bummer.
Google Pixel 7a Camera: New sensor, familiar performance
The last thing I tested to form my initial impressions was the camera. It’s the first time in a long time that Google is shipping entirely new camera hardware. The Pixel 7a features a 64-megapixel primary sensor and a 13-megapixel ultrawide on the back. Plus, a 13-megapixel sensor on the front.
The images from the sensors have been a perfect mix of contrast that doesn’t overly darken colors, and they’ve been quite sharp too. And so far, they’ve left me satisfied, and I don’t feel I’ve downgraded from the hardware on my iPhone 14 Pro.
But I believe there are some software niggles to fix, as I noticed the viewfinder often showing me a blurry preview, although the resulting image was sharp.
The behavior made me quit the Camera app and return to it to ensure I didn’t capture a bad image. If this issue persists, it can lead to some of you losing out on capturing those perfect moments. I’ll reset my device and see if it fixes the error before coming to a verdict.
Google Pixel 7a First Impressions: The ideal mid-range phone?
If you add up each of the features the Pixel 7a offers, the combination justifies its price and the tag of being an ideal mid-range phone.
Yes, there are a few ways in which it needs to catch up, and it’s fair to draw comparisons to the Nothing Phone 1 and what it offers for roughly $500 around the globe, but in North America, the Pixel 7a is the more viable option.
I’m excited to give this phone — a great successor to the Pixel 6a — more of my time this phone and see how it performs. Look forward to the full review on Pocketnow to learn more about the Pixel 7a.
Google Pixel 7a
A great mid-range device
$450 $500 Save $50
The Pixel 7a is the new affordable smartphone from Google, featuring much-awaited features such as a 90Hz responsive display, a more powerful camera setup, and support for wireless charging. The Pixel 7a is powered by the Tensor G2 chipset, and it’s the best device in the A series yet.