google pixel 7a vs pixel 7 2
google pixel 7a vs pixel 7 2

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 7a is the latest entry in Google’s smartphone portfolio, providing an even more budget-friendly alternative to 2022’s Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. In years gone by, Google has previously cut a number of features to hit the A series’ lower price point. The Pixel 7a is different, blurring the lines with the already affordable flagship. When it comes to the Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7, which should you buy? That’s what we’re going to decide.

Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: At a glance

If you’re looking for a quick summary of the differences, here’s the TDLR of the Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7:

  • Both phones offer the same powerful Google Tensor G2 processing and Titan M2 security co-processor.
  • The phones offer similar camera specifications, but the Pixel 7 has more features. For instance, the Pixel 7a misses out on cinematic blur and is limited to 4K30 video on its ultrawide and selfie cameras.
  • The Pixel 7 has a marginally larger display, but the 7a has the same resolution and refresh rate.
  • The Google Pixel 7 supports faster wired and wireless charging than the 7a.
  • Google has vastly improved the build quality of the Pixel 7a, but the Pixel 7 retains a slight edge regarding glass drop protection and water resistance.
  • Google’s Pixel 7a is $100 cheaper than the Pixel 7 was at launch. However, Google’s regular discounts on the Pixel 7 mean it’s often a close all between the two.

Keep reading to learn more about the Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7 and how they differ.

Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: Specs

Google Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7

Display

Google Pixel 7a

6.1-inch OLED
FHD+ 2,400 x 1,080
20:9 aspect ratio
90Hz refresh rate
Gorilla Glass 3 cover

Google Pixel 7

6.3-inch AMOLED
FHD+ 2,400 x 1,080
20:9 aspect ratio
90Hz refresh rate
Gorilla Glass Victus Cover

Processor

Google Pixel 7a

Tensor G2

Google Pixel 7

Tensor G2

RAM

Google Pixel 7a

8GB LPDDR5

Google Pixel 7

8GB LPDDR5

Storage

Google Pixel 7a

128GB
No microSD card support

Google Pixel 7

128GB / 256GB
No microSD card support

Power

Google Pixel 7a

4,385mAh battery
18W wired charging
7.5W wireless charging
Battery Share not supported

Google Pixel 7

4,355mAh battery
20W wired charging
20W wireless charging
Battery Share supported

Cameras

Google Pixel 7a

Rear:
– 64MP wide primary sensor
(0.8μm, ƒ/1.89, 80-degree FoV, 1/1.73-inch image sensor size)

– 13MP ultrawide
(1.12μm, ƒ/2.2, 120-degree FoV)

Front:
– 13MP wide
(1.12μm, ƒ/2.2, 95-degree FoV)

Google Pixel 7

Rear:
– 50MP wide primary sensor
(1.2 μm, ƒ/1.85, 82-degree FoV, 1/1.31-inch sensor, OIS and EIS)

– 12MP ultrawide
(1.25μm, ƒ/2.2, 114-degree FoV)

– Laser AF

Front:
– 10.8MP wide
(1.22 μm, ƒ/2.2, 92.8-degree FoV)

Video

Google Pixel 7a

Main sensor capable of 4K at 60fps
Ultrawide and selfie capable of 4K at 30fps

Google Pixel 7

All sensors capable of 4K at 60fps

Software

Google Pixel 7a

Pixel UI
Android 13
3 Android updates
5 years of security updates

Google Pixel 7

Pixel UI
Android 13
3 Android updates
5 years of security updates

IP rating

Google Pixel 7a

IP67

Google Pixel 7

IP68

Biometrics

Google Pixel 7a

In-display fingerprint scanner
Face unlock

Google Pixel 7

In-display fingerprint scanner
Face unlock

Connectivity

Google Pixel 7a

5G sub6 (all models)
mmWave (Verizon only)
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3

Google Pixel 7

5G sub6 (all models)
mmWave (Verizon only)
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.2

Dimensions

Google Pixel 7a

152.4 x 72.9 x 9.0mm

Google Pixel 7

155.64 x 73.16 x 8.7mm

Weight

Google Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7

197g

Materials

Google Pixel 7a

Plastic back
Gorilla Glass 3 front
Aluminum alloy frame/visor

Google Pixel 7

Aluminum frame
Gorilla Glass Victus front and back

Colors

Google Pixel 7a

Charcoal, Coral, Sea, Snow

Google Pixel 7

Obsidian, Lemongrass, Snow

The improved display is one of the more significant updates we noted in our Google Pixel 7a review. It boasts a smooth 90Hz maximum refresh rate, a notable upgrade over the old 60Hz panel that now matches the capabilities of the silky smooth Pixel 7. The display is a little smaller than the regular 7, but you’ll see the same FHD+ resolution at a 20:9 aspect ratio, and a snappy display-embedded fingerprint scanner too. Other noteworthy improvements include wireless charging support for the first time and improved build materials in the form of an anodized metal frame, which bring the phone even further in line with the Pixel 7.

The Pixel 7a benefits from other line-up familiarities too. Google’s Tensor G2 processor reappears, packed with flagship-level performance, reasonable gaming chops (if you don’t plan to play for too long), and an upgraded Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) that powers the phones’ best-in-class machine learning capabilities, such as Assistant voice typing and photo processing features like Night Sight. In fact, it’s the same processor as you’ll find in the more expensive Pixel 7 Pro; the entire series benefits from Google’s semi-custom processor to enable a very similar feature set across all three. It’s paired with the same 8GB RAM and 128GB base storage configuration, though the Pixel 7’s 256GB option will appeal to the more insatiable media consumer.

The Pixel 7a has been upgraded to include very similar specifications to the Pixel 7.

Google extends its shared vision over to software two. The entire Pixel 7 series, including the budget-friendly Pixel 7a, will receive three years of Android OS updates and five years of security patches. The Pixel 7 has already burned through a few months of support, but both handsets will see you comfortably through until 2027/2028, which thankfully feels like a lifetime away.

However, there are some subtle but key differences between the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7. The regular model has a slightly better IP68 rating than the 7a’s IP67. However, the Pixel 7a comes with Bluetooth 5.3, up from 5.2. The Pixel 7a is also slower to charge and the camera setup is slightly different as well. We’ll take a closer look at both in more detail in a moment, though. Finally, the choice of colors is different too. The Pixel 7a comes in Charcoal, Coral, Sea, and Snow, while the Pixel 7 is available in Obsidian, Lemongrass, and Snow.

Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: Size comparison

google pixel 7a pixel 7 4

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The two phones are remarkably similar in weight and size. The Google Pixel 7 is marginally heavier and taller, owing to that larger display. It measures 6.3 inches (155.6 x 73.2mm) across, which is ever so slightly larger than the Pixel 7a’s 6.1-inch panel (152.4 x 72 mm). The side profiles are very similar too, with the newer model coming in slightly thicker at 9.0mm versus the Pixel 7’s 8.7mm, not including the camera bars.

It weighs 197g versus the 193g of the Pixel 7a. They are both a little on the heavier side for handsets of this size (the Samsung Galaxy S23 weighs just 168g, for example) but certainly nowhere near as bulky or unwieldy as the biggest models on the market. Despite the 7a’s plastic body, both phones feel pretty similar in the hand, especially since Google upgraded the Pixel 7a with a new anodized metal frame.

Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: Camera

google pixel 7a camera from behind

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s identical hardware hidden behind the Pixel’s signature camera bar. While both phones support main, ultrawide, and selfie snappers, there are subtle but important differences once you dive into the specifics.

The centerpiece of the Pixel 7’s camera array is a large 50MP 1/1.31-inch sensor, the same one found on the Pro model. The 7a ups the megapixel count to 64MP but it’s a smaller 1/1.73-inch sensor, so it loses out on the large pixel sizes of its more expensive siblings. This makes a difference to the look of low-light images and detail capture. However, the Pixel 7a boasts a 13MP ultrawide with a broader 120-degree field of view than the 12MP, 144-degree camera in the Pixel 7. It’s the same story on the front, with a 13MP sensor, compared to the Pixel 7’s 10.8MP selfie cam. The numbers suggest positive things for the Pixel 7a, but we’ve taken some side-by-side snaps to double check.

Comparing a few pictures, we’ve concluded that the Pixel 7a’s main camera lacks some sharpness and can produce slightly punchier colors. The new ultrawide fits more into the shot and performs better in a broader range of scenarios thanks to autofocus capabilities that the 7 doesn’t have. However, it suffers from noise in lower light, particularly at the frame edges. That said, pictures from the two look pretty much like for like at a glance, with similar color and portrait processing available on both. We’re giving the nod to the more expensive Pixel here for it’s better zoom snaps, but most will still be plenty happy with the pictures taken on that 7a at this price point.

Feature-wise, the Pixel 7a can’t quite match the Pixel 7. 4K60 video recording is reserved for the main camera; the ultrawide and selfie models are capped at 4K30, unlike the flagship model. There’s no audio zoom or 10-bit HDR functionality in the budget model, while Action Pan and Cinematic Blur modes are also absent from the camera app. You still get Photo Unblur and Magic Eraser on both phones, though.

Although Google has done a fine job improving the Pixel 7a’s camera capabilities over the previous generation model, it hasn’t fully closed the gap on the Pixel 7, which retains a few small advantages, mostly in the detail and longer range zoom departments.

Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: Battery and charging

Google Pixel 7a Pixel Stand

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With essentially equivalent battery capacities, 4,385mAh for the Pixel 7a and 4,355mAh for the Pixel 7, an identical Tensor G2 processor, and roughly equivalent displays, we would expect battery life to be the same across both models. The Pixel 7 didn’t offer astounding battery life, but it could take most users through a full day, leaving lighter users with a little left in the tank. We’re looking at the same with the Pixel 7a.

That’s good because you’ll have to bring your own USB Power Delivery compatible plug if you want to charge these phones up. Google doesn’t include a charger with either model. Unlike the Pixel 7, you don’t need a USB PD PPS charger for the Pixel 7a. The Pixel 7a supports USB Power Delivery, which is capped at a rather low 18W of power. By comparison, the Pixel 7 charges at 20W with PPS or just 18W with regular USB PD, so essential Google has removed the fancier specification to keep costs down.

The Pixel 7 hits full in one hour and 41 minutes, while we tested the Pixel 7a at one hour and 46 minutes. Neither is particularly fast, but we have noted that the 7a can take even longer to charge when the phone is warm. We clocked it taking over two hours to full on at least one occasion.

Wireless charging, while a welcome addition to the Pixel 7a, is considerably slower still. Capped at just 7.5W, the phone takes an agonizing three hours or so to go from empty to full. Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 can pull 21W from the Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen), enabling wireless charging that is only a fraction slower than its wired charge times. If you thought the Pixel 7 was already a bit of a charging sloth, the 7a is really behind the fast charging curve.

Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: Price

google pixel 7a vs pixel 7 8

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Google Pixel 7a: Starts at $499

Google Pixel 7: Starts at $599

Given the similarities we’ve come across while comparing the Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7, it’s no surprise that there isn’t much between their price tags either. Just $100 separates the model’s launch prices, but that does net you faster charging, superior build materials, and a marginally better camera setup with the Pixel 7. If you’re looking to save some cash by ditching the Pixel 7’s few extravagances, the Pixel 7a certainly succeeds at distilling Google’s smartphone formula down to just the essentials.

However, the Google Pixel 7 can often be bought for much less than its retail price. We’ve clocked it as low as $450 recently, and it regularly retails around the $500-550 mark from third-party retailers, making it equivalent to or cheaper than the Pixel 7a. With those discounts hanging around, it’s a no-brainer to grab the slightly better Pixel 7 over the 7a.

The Google Pixel 7a went on sale on May 10, 2023 at the Google Store, seven months after the Pixel 7. The company is throwing in 3 months free of YouTube Premium and Google One when you pick up the Pixel 7a.

Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: Which should you buy?

google pixel 7a vs pixel 7 1

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The theme of this versus has been more similarities than differences, so Google has put us in a bit of a pickle when deciding which to buy.

That’s because the Pixel 7a is the best A series model Google has ever produced. The improved 90Hz display, Tensor G2 processor, solid build quality, and introduction of wireless charging have closed the gap on the brand’s flagship line. The Pixel 7a now goes toe to toe with the regular 7 model across virtually all of the key areas, which, given its cheaper launch price, would suggest a slam dunk for the new phone.

With regular discounts, picking up the Pixel 7 is often the better deal.

However, the standard Pixel 7 still has advantages in the camera department, with a better main image sensor and software features, such as Cinematic Blur, that remain exclusive to the flagship tier. The phone is also faster to charge, particularly wirelessly, which is a bigger deal than usual as the Tensor G2 can give the most demanding users a little battery anxiety. It also offers a better IP68 rating and Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the front and back, giving the phone the edge in durability as well.

The big issue, though, is that of price. Through Google’s channel, $100 is not a huge difference and is probably worth it for those aforementioned Pixel 7 extras. That said, it’s also not an insignificant amount for the budget conscious, and saving $100 is an equally good choice in that regard, given that the Pixel 7a offers essentially the same core Pixel experience for less. However, with third-party sellers currently offering the Pixel 7 for the same price as the 7a, and sometimes even cheaper, your best bet is to keep an eye out for those Pixel 7 deals and snag one on the cheap.

$499.00 at Amazon

Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a

The best sub-$500 camera phone
Solid performance and plenty of RAM
Improved 90Hz display

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