Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: what are you compromising with the cheaper 7a?

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Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7


The Pixel 7a or the Pixel 7, which one is the better choice?

Google launched the Pixel 7a in May 2023, more than half a year after the Pixel 7, but these two phones are so incredibly similar that it feels like Google just wanted to gives us a slightly smaller phone at a more affordable price.

Price is literally the main reason to consider the Pixel 7a. At its $500 starting price, it is $100 cheaper than the Pixel 7 while offering the same powerful Tensor G2 chip, same software features and experience, roughly the same cameras, and the same battery life.

However, there are some slight differences between the two that you might want to know more about, so read on.

Google Pixel 7a (128GB) at Amazon

One of the best budget phones is still available for purchase at Amazon. You can now get the Pixel 7a at its standard price. The Google phone is available in limited quantities at Amazon.

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 Pixel 7 differences in a nutshell:
  • Pixel 7a is $500, Pixel 7 is $600
  • Pixel 7 has larger screen (6.3" vs 6.1")
  • Physically, nearly same size because of 7a bezels
  • Same Tensor G2 on both, same 8GB RAM
  • Pixel 7 throttles less for gaming
  • Roughly same battery size
  • IP67 on Pixel 7a, IP68 on Pixel 7
  • Pixel 7 has faster charging
  • Pixel 7a wireless charging is depressingly slow
  • Pixel 7 has much better video quality

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

The Pixel 7a features a plastic back, while the Pixel 7 is made of glass

Both the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 7 are NOT gigantic, but if you want the more compact out of the two, that would be the Pixel 7a with its 6.1-inch screen compared to the slightly larger 6.3-inch Pixel 7.

Despite that smaller size, the difference in weight between the two is tiny and they are actually both heavier than you would expect for this size:
  • Pixel 7a weight — 193 grams
  • Pixel 7 weight — 198 grams

While other recent affordable phones like the Galaxy A54 5G have transitioned to a glass back, the Pixel 7a sticks to a plastic body, while the pricier Pixel 7 goes with glass. A plastic phone might not feel as premium, but plastic will not shatter when you drop the phone, so it makes it much easier to use your phone without a protective case. It's not all bad news.

When it comes to water and dust resistance, both are certified, but the Pixel 7a gets an IP67 rating vs an IP68 rating on the Pixel 7 (meaning it could theoretically withstand a longer and deeper submersion in water).

The Pixel 7a comes in four color choices, while Pixel 7 arrives in three hues:

Pixel 7a colors:
  • Charcoal
  • Snow
  • Sea
  • Coral (Google Store exclusive)

Pixel 7 colors:
  • Lemongrass
  • Snow
  • Obsidian

The biggest upgrade the Pixel 7a brings is in the display department.

The size is the same 6.1-inch as in the last year's Pixel 6a, but what's different is that it now - finally! - supports a fast, 90Hz refresh rate, same as the Pixel 7. Previously, Pixel A series phones were stuck with a 60Hz screen so the phones felt choppy, but no more.

Display Measurements:


In terms of biometrics, both phones rely on optical in-screen fingerprint scanners. Pixels have been criticized to have a slightly more sluggish fingerprint reader than other popular phones, and while it's not a dealbreaker, it is something to keep in mind.

Performance and Software

Tensor G2 in the 7A model is good news

When it comes to phones roughly in the $500 price range, the Tensor G2 is an absolute beast of a chip.

Both the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 7 are powered by this very same processor. Considering that Google also uses it on the $1,800 Pixel Fold, that's quite the premium experience you are getting.

With this upgrade, the Pixel 7a remains the fastest Android phone in this price range by far. Compared to the Pixel 7 running the same chip, well... as you'd expect, their speed is the same! Both also come with 8GB of RAM too.

Performance Benchmarks:

Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Google Pixel 7a1437
Google Pixel 71452
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Google Pixel 7a3461
Google Pixel 73318
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a1631
Google Pixel 71854
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a1095
Google Pixel 71521

Interestingly, for gaming, the Pixel 7a actually performs noticeably worse than its Pixel 7 sibling. On the 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme stress test, after 20 minutes of runtime, the Pixel 7 had 50% better performance!

In terms of software, these are nearly identical, save for support for Spatial Audio being only available on the Pixel 7.

Both phones come with Android 13 in the form that Google itself envisioned it.

The best thing about Pixel phones is that they get software updates immediately after Google releases them, while Android phones from other brands have to wait for months to get those updates. Both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7a get three major Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates.


Pixel 7a camera is mostly as good, but the Pixel 7 pulls ahead with video quality and in low light

Google Pixel phones mostly rely on software for their image processing, but recently the flagship series have also switched to a higher resolution camera sensor. And now, the Pixel 7a  finally follows suit, however, it uses a totally different 64MP sensor.

So both phones use quad pixel binning, meaning that the actual photos you get are a quarter of the full resolution of the sensor, so that means 12.5MP photos on the Pixel 7 and 16MP photos from the Pixel 7a.

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Main Camera

I dare you to find any meaningful differences in the above photos!

Okay, there are some like the cooler greens and the overall slightly colder white balance on the Pixel 7, which is closer to reality, but not much more.

They really look practically identical, maybe you can pixel peep and find some tiniest of details, but let's just agree that for what it's worth, daytime photos out of the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 7 are roughly identical.

At night, in challenging conditions, both phones take roughly the same time to capture a picture, so the Pixel 7a is definitely not slower. Colors of the images from both phones are nearly identical too, however, the Pixel 7a has less detail when you look up close and you can also see the noise in the skies on the 7a.

You need to look up close to notice the difference in the detail quality in favor of the Pixel 7.

Zoom Quality

Neither of these phones has a dedicated telephoto camera, so they are not the best phones for zooming, but if you look closer, you do notice how the processing and detail on the Pixel 7 model are a bit better, but it's not a huge difference at all.


Photos with the ultra-wide camera during the day are also incredibly similar, save for that weird bug on the second picture out of the Pixel 7.

At night, however, you do notice the difference in image quality. The Pixel 7a has the slightly wider camera, but it captures images with more noise compared to its pricier sibling.

Portrait Mode

Both phones come with a 1X and 2X portrait modes, but they use a digital crop and the quality is really quite bad. There is a slight difference in the field of view between the two, but the quality is comparable.


The selfies look really good on both these phones and we appreciate having an extra wide mode to capture a group of friends, as well as a close-up mode for individual selfies.

There are practically no differences in quality between the two, both are great!

Video Thumbnail

For video recording, however, the Pixel 7a seems to have slightly worse video stabilization resulting in a bit jerkier video footage but nothing quite major.

The bigger difference, however, is when recording video in low light when footage from the Pixel 7a appears very noisy, while the Pixel 7 has very clean detail. If you care about video quality, the Pixel 7 seems like the slightly better choice with more plentiful detail.

The Pixel 7a does have some limitations, though. For example, in 4K60 video you cannot use the ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 7a, while you can do that with the Pixel 7.

Also, the Pixel 7 has longer zoom range for video going to 7X max zoom compared to 5X on the Pixel 7a.

Audio Quality and Haptics

Neither of these phones is quite the top performer when it comes to loudspeaker quality on a smartphone, but both of them do a similarly good job.

The Pixel 7a actually gets a bit boomier than the Pixel 7, but at the loudest settings you get a lot of distortion and it's not a pleasing experience, so we recommend listening one or two steps below that. Both phones lack the lower frequencies for a rich sound stage, so they do sound a bit "thin".

In terms of haptics, many budget phones make the compromise with a haptic motor that does not provide tight vibrations, which can definitely be annoying. But not the Pixel 7a which almost matches the 7 with great haptic quality as vibration feedback feels nice and tight.

Battery Life and Charging

Similar battery life, Pixel 7 has faster wireless charging

With nearly identical battery sizes (4385mAh on Pixel 7a vs 4355 on Pixel 7) and the same chip, you only expect these phones to last the same amount of time.

In real use, we get slightly more than 4 hours of screen time on the Pixel 7a and roughly the same on the Pixel 7, and both of those are roughly enough to last you a full day, but not much more.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a9h 7 min
Google Pixel 79h 13 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a15h 27 min
Google Pixel 713h 56 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 7a4h 20 min
Google Pixel 74h 43 min

Our battery scores, show the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 score about the same for YouTube playback, while for web browsing the Pixel 7a lasts just a bit more.

For 3D gaming, however, battery life is abysmal on both at less than 5 hours.

Full Charge(hours)Lower is better
Google Pixel 7a1h 59 min
Google Pixel 71h 36 min

When it comes to charging speeds, the Pixel 7a maxes out at 18W, while the Pixel 7 supports 20W charging. These are slower charging phones than most other phones, but the Pixel 7 still is a bit faster in that regard. A full charge on the Pixel 7 takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes compared to nearly 2 hours on the Pixel 7a.

What is new on the Pixel 7a is wireless charging, a feature previously not available on the A series. However, Google only brings 7.5W wireless charging, which is very slow. In comparison, the Pixel 7 supports 20W wireless charging.

Specs Comparison

And here is a quick overview of the most important specs on each of these phones.

Don't forget that you can also find a detailed Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7 specs comparison.

Summary and Final Verdict

So... which one should you go for?

First, let's say that the Pixel 7a is probably the best mid-range Android phone on the market at its $500 price, it's really good. However, the Pixel 7 is not much more expensive at $600.

You should go for the Pixel 7 if you want the larger screen, faster wireless charging, more premium design with glass construction, but for most else the Pixel 7a matches the Pixel 7.

One tip here is to just wait a bit for the discounts that are inevitably coming. We saw the Pixel 7 get discounted heavily, and chances are the same will happen to the Pixel 7a. And do check out our best Pixel 7a deals round-up for the best price.

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