Google Pixel 7a vs iPhone 13

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Google Pixel 7a vs iPhone 13

Intro


The Pixel 7a is an impressive phone that brings flagship Android features to a $500 price point, so could it actually be a more reasonable purchase than an iPhone?

We compare the Pixel 7a against the iPhone 13, a device that costs quite a bit more, but actually the Pixel has some features that you won't find on Apple's device like a fast refresh rate and an advanced computational photography camera.

The Pixel 7a is also powered by a flagship-grade Tensor G2 chip, much faster than most other budget Android phones, and the performance is on par with the iPhone.

So what are the differences and should you save some money, or is it better to go with the iPhone after all?

Google Pixel 7a (128GB) at Amazon: save $92

One of the best budget phones is still available for purchase at Amazon. The phone currently sells at $92 cheaper prices. Offer valid only on the model in Charcoal.

Google's Pixel 7a: save $100 with Activation

The 128GB Pixel 7a is also available as a fully unlocked device at Best Buy without any discounts. Alternatively, tie your phone to a carrier with Best Buy's help and save $100 on the Google phone.


Pixel 7a vs iPhone 13 in a nutshell:
  • iPhone is $700, Pixel is $500
  • Pixel has cheaper plastic design
  • Both have 6.1" screens
  • Pixel has 90Hz fast refresh rate
  • Both have very capable cameras
  • iPhone FAR better for video recording
  • iPhone has longer software updates
  • iPhone has faster wireless charging

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

Plastic Pixel meets fancy iPhone


When it comes to design, the Pixel 7a comes with a plastic back and metal rails, which definitely does not feel as fancy as the glass and aluminum construction of the iPhone.

Plastic has one key advantage over glass though: it won't break when the phone lands on its back, and we kind of appreciate this.

You would expect a plastic phone to weigh less too, but that's not really the case.

Google Pixel 7a
Dimensions

6 x 2.87 x 0.35 inches

152.4 x 72.9 x 9 mm

Weight

6.81 oz (193 g)

Apple iPhone 13
Dimensions

5.78 x 2.81 x 0.3 inches

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65 mm

Weight

6.14 oz (174 g)

Google Pixel 7a
Dimensions

6 x 2.87 x 0.35 inches

152.4 x 72.9 x 9 mm

Weight

6.81 oz (193 g)

Apple iPhone 13
Dimensions

5.78 x 2.81 x 0.3 inches

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65 mm

Weight

6.14 oz (174 g)

See the full Google Pixel 7a vs Apple iPhone 13 size comparison or compare them to other phones using our Size Comparison tool.

You can also see above how the Pixel 7a is actually noticeably taller than the iPhone and wider too because of those bigger border around the screen.

Both, however, have water and dust protection, the Pixel 7a is IP67 certified, while the iPhone 13 has an IP68 protection rating (it can theoretically withstand water submersion deeper and for longer).

The Pixel comes in four color options, while the iPhone 13 has all six of them.


When it comes to the screens, both have a 6.1" OLED screen with a slightly different aspect ratio, so the Pixel is narrower and taller at 20 to 9, while the iPhone is a bit wider at 19.5 to 9.

But the real difference is just in the quality of the screen panel, you can definitely see some color shifting at an angle on the Pixel, while the iPhone does not have that issue.

Display Measurements:


 

At the same time, the iPhone only runs at 60Hz, while the Pixel supports 90Hz for smoother scrolling.
 
For biometrics, the Pixel 7a uses an optical type fingerprint scanner embedded in the display, while we have Face ID on the iPhone. You pick your preference.

Performance and Software

Similar performance, but iPhone has longer software support


Usually mid-range Android phones have slower processors, but not the Pixel 7a, which is equipped with the flagship grade Tensor G2.

The iPhone has the Apple A15 Bionic, one of the best processors around, which matches and in some aspects beats the Tensor despite its older age.
 
Google also includes 8GB of RAM in the Pixel, double that of the iPhone. Do keep in mind that iOS has different optimizations, so a direct RAM comparison is not always the most accurate one.
 
Another notable difference between these two is just in the software they run. The Pixel runs on Android 13 vs the iPhone running the latest iOS 16.

These could not be more different, Android being the more open platform with features like multitasking that are still missing on the iPhone, but Apple having that richer ecosystem with support for devices like AirPods, Apple Watch and services like AirDrop and so on.

In terms of daily performance, both seem to work just fine though, you just have to know which platform you like better.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Google Pixel 7a1437
Apple iPhone 132240
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Google Pixel 7a3461
Apple iPhone 135213
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a1631
Apple iPhone 132357
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a1095
Apple iPhone 131712
 

For software updates, the Pixel 7a only gets 3 years of major software updates compared to 5 or even 6 years for iPhones. That is one massive difference you have to keep into account.

And as for connectivity, both phones have 5G with support for all major US carriers. Verizon acting like Verizon will launch a special mmWave version of the Pixel 7a at a higher $550 price.

Camera

Pixel has the upper hand for photos, iPhone wins for video quality


Both the Pixel and the iPhone come with a dual camera system, including a wide and an ultra-wide shooter.

The Pixel 7a makes the jump to a new 64MP Sony IMX787 sensor for the main camera. This sensor is not commonly used on other phones and it is the first time we see it on a Pixel. Like most high-res phones, it uses quad pixel binning, so you get 16MP shots. The iPhone 13 is more traditional with a 12MP main sensor.

Main Camera



Both the Pixel 7a and iPhone 13 take good looking shots with no major issues during the day. However, there are differences between the two: the color of greenery on the Pixel is a colder shade of green that is a bit more realistic, while the iPhone paints the skies in a more saturated blue colors that looks cool, but probably also not super realistic.


In the above shot, the Pixel goes for slightly warmer skin tones, while the iPhone captures an image with colder white balance, and we think the iPhone is the slightly better shot here, with cleaner whites.


You can once again see the big difference in the way these two phones capture greenery, the colder tonality of the Pixel and the warmer shot out of the iPhone.


At night, the Pixel 7a is just so much better than the iPhone 13. It has a far better dynamic range, while the iPhone crushes the shadows, has very inaccurate colors and just lacks the details that the Pixel provides.


And here is just one more shot to illustrate the difference in quality in favor of the Pixel. The iPhone has a darker, contrasty picture with wildly saturated colors, while the Pixel just does a much better job overall.

Zoom Quality



Neither the Pixel, nor the iPhone have a dedicated telephoto camera, but despite that similarity the actual quality of the images is vastly different. The Pixel wins hands down with more detail and a cleaner shot overall.

The Pixel, however, can take photos at up to 8X zoom, while the iPhone only supports 5X zoom photos at most.


At 2X, the image from the Pixel also looks noticeably better with more detail.

Ultra-wide



The ultra wide cameras on both phones do a good job, with the same feats of color processing we saw earlier - bluer skies and warmer greens on the iPhone, and a more realistic picture out of the Pixel.


One more shot that shows how the iPhone allows for darker shadows and a more contrasty look, while the Pixel favors a more balanced picture.


In low light, the ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 7a just smokes the one on the iPhone 13. The dark picture out of the iPhone 13 is barely usable at all, while the Pixel captures a lot more light and has much more detail.

Portrait Mode



Both phones support portrait mode, but you have 1X and 2X modes on the Pixel, while the iPhone can only shoot 1X portraits.

Still, the quality is vastly better on the iPhone: it knows to light up my face and it has more pleasing colors and plentiful detail.

Selfies



Both do an excellent job for selfies. We prefer the look out of the Pixel a bit more for its more realistic colors, while the iPhone has some troubles with burned highlights and is a bit overexposed.


The close-up selfie mode again looks good on both phones, but we prefer the tonalities and realism out of the Pixel.

Video Thumbnail

Video quality is however the one area where Apple still has the upper hand. During the day, you can notice the more accurate white balance and more plentiful detail coming out of the iPhone.

For low light video recording, the Pixel footage picks up a ton of noise and looks darker, while the iPhone looks much cleaner and brighter.

The Pixel also has a few limitations for video recording, the biggest one being that if you choose the 4K60 option, you cannot use the ultra-wide camera.

At the same time, you do have up to 5X zoom in video with the Pixel, more than the iPhone, which can only zoom up to 3X.

Audio Quality and Haptics


Both phones rely on a main bottom firing speaker and a secondary speaker located in the earpiece for audio output.

The loudspeakers on the Pixel 7a have slightly more punch than the iPhone, with cleaner highs, while the iPhone is tuned a bit you do feel it lacks a bit of oomph compared to the Pixel. On bass heavy tracks, however, the Pixel sounds a bit muddy, while the iPhone handles those a bit better. Still, overall, we'd say the Pixel has the upper hand in the audio quality department.

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There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on either one phone.

Battery Life and Charging

iPhone 13 has the longer battery life


The Pixel 7a features a 4,385 mAh battery which sounds like a respectable size compared to the 3,227 mAh size on the iPhone 13, but there is an "if" and that "if" is the difference between Android and iOS.

iOS seems to be doing a far better job at managing that battery and in real life the Pixel 7a does not last nearly as long as the iPhone 13.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a9h 7 min
Apple iPhone 138h 15 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a15h 27 min
Apple iPhone 1313h 43 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a4h 20 min
Apple iPhone 137h 28 min
 

You probably will not have a problem getting through the day with either one, but on an average day with the Pixel we got just slightly more than 4 hours of screen time, while with the iPhone we commonly get more than 5 hours, so the iPhone does have the upper hand.

In our battery tests, the Pixel actually outlasts the iPhone in active usage when browsing and for video playback, but the Apple device lasts way longer for gaming and performs so much better in stand-by.

Full Charge(hours)Lower is better
Google Pixel 7a1h 59 min
Apple iPhone 131h 55 min

Charging speeds via a wire are nearly identical: 20W on the iPhone 13 and 18W on the Pixel 7a.

This means it takes nearly two hours to fully charge these phones, which is definitely one of their weaknesses. That's just too long!

And in terms of wireless charging, the iPhone is twice as fast with the 15W MagSafe technology, compared to a mere 7.5W wireless charging speed on the Pixel 7a.

Specs Comparison


You can see the specs differences between the Pixel 7a and the iPhone 13 below:


Don't forget that we have an in-depth Google Pixel 7a vs iPhone 13 specs comparison with more details about individual features like 5G band support, so check that out too.

Summary



Drawing the proverbial line in the sand, the Pixel 7a is probably the best mid-range phone so far in 2023 and this makes it a great option for people who want a premium phone at a lesser price.

Of course, picking between the Pixel 7a and the iPhone 13 has a lot to do with whether you prefer Android or iOS, but if we take that out of the equation, the Pixel 7a has the advantage of a fast and smooth performance, and an excellent camera for photos.

The iPhone being more expensive is clearly the more advanced phone though, but you can only really tell if you care about things like Face ID, video recording quality (which is just poor on the Pixel), as well as software support and actually fast wireless charging.

If you don't put too much value into those, the Pixel 7a is a great option and if you can find a great Pixel 7a deal, you can save even more.

Which one would you personally go for, the Pixel 7a or the iPhone 13?

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