Google Pixel 7a was introduced at the I/O 2023 earlier this month, making it the fourth-gen Pixel a-series phone in the market. The new Pixel 7a looks to build on Google’s focus on bringing an affordable Pixel for people who don’t want to buy the flagship Pixel. Having said that, Google has narrowed the gap between the features you get the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7a this year.
The company has switched to its custom Tensor G-series chip since the Pixel 6 series came out. And this year, you have the Tensor G2 spearheading the flagship and mid-range duties for Google. But for Rs 43,999 Pixel 7a isn’t exactly affordable by any means that too in a market like India where buyers are spoilt for choices. So, what could be the main things that makes the Pixel 7a a worthy buy in the range? We give you the answer in this review.
Google Pixel 7a Review: What’s Cool?
The first thing you notice with the Pixel 7a is its compact design. With a 6.1-inch display, you have a petite form factor, which has become a rarity in most segments. But when you hold the Pixel 7a you realise that a small phone is still very appealing.
There have been some design changes, notably the use of a plastic body panel at the back but the frame is made of aluminium which makes the phone easy to hold and grip tightly. The camera module at the back also sees some cutbacks but overall you will find the Pixel 7a design identical to that of the premium Pixel 7.
The 6.1-inch display gets an OLED panel and this year you have a 90Hz refresh rate screen, which is an upgrade on the 60Hz screen you had with the Pixel 6a. The colours on the panel are vibrant and you have different settings to suit your preference. Having a high refresh rate screen is a definite plus as it makes scrolling fluid and the overall experience is pretty good.
Now we will talk about the cameras on the Pixel 7a which also has been upgraded with a new 64MP primary sensor along with a 13MP ultrawide sensor. These cameras paired with Google’s computational photography give you natural tones and excellent detailing in the images. Even in low light, the quality of the photos will leave you impressed. Fair to say that the Pixel 7a cameras are a match for the best in the segment and see major improvements compared to its predecessor thanks to the overall package.
Pixel phones give you the best software experience thanks to the stock UI and with Android 13 onboard, the Pixel 7a gives you the premium features on a budget. In addition to this, Google will offer three OS updates for the Pixel 7a which means you get up to Android 16 for the device, and another two years of security updates are also available. You get the Pixel 7a with IP67 rating, wireless charging support is also there and a selfie camera.
The performance of the Pixel 7a is a mixed-bag but we will talk about the good parts first. The Tensor G2 is a capable chip but not equivalent to a flagship hardware. Make no mistake, you can still enjoy web browsing, catch up with social media, and play games as well. Most of these are the prime reasons why you buy a phone and the Pixel 7a easily delivers on that front.
Google Pixel 7a Review: What’s Not So Cool?
Pixel 7a has a lot going in its favour but even then you have to talk about the drawbacks since it costs over Rs 40,000. Firstly, the Tensor G2 chip has the same thermal management issues that we have noticed on the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. Pixel 7a has a smaller battery than the Pixel 6a but even then the battery life should be well compensated by the hardware, which is not the case here. Like we said, the Tensor G2 is good with performance but when you are competing with phones that have the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, the stakes are much higher.
Once again, Google is limiting the availability of the Pixel 7a to a single 128GB storage variant. Yes, we get that you have Google Drive storage but most people would still like a 256GB variant, especially at a time when most phones come without a microSD card slot.
Which brings us to the next concern with the Pixel 7a, its battery life. The average screen-on-time we got during our tests is around 4.5 hours which is not what we expected from a 6.1-inch compact phone.
The charging support is limited to 18W and the wireless charging unit only gives you 5W speed, which is not very fast. It also doesn’t have a headphone jack, and no charger in the box either.
Google Pixel 7a Review: Should You Buy It?
Pixel 7a has shown signs of growing up. It has picked up a lot of features from the premium Pixel 7 but to keep the cost down, some cutbacks have been made which aren’t exactly a deal breaker. The cameras have been upgraded, the display quality is better now and the overall experience of the phone will keep most of you satisfied.
However, the Tensor G2 is the elephant in the room and Google needs to find a solution to fix the issues with the Tensor chip, mostly concerned with the thermal management which has a direct impact on the phone’s battery life. If you want a premium-like Pixel experience, the Pixel 7a offers you the chance to experience the Pixel camera, stock Android and a compact design in the so-called premium affordable market. If heavy performance is not your cup of tea then the Pixel 7a is worth giving a shot.