Google Pixel 7a Review: One Month Later

The Google Pixel 7a is a mid-range smartphone that offers a great balance of performance, and features, Priced at $467. And provides amazing specifications and a smooth stock Android experience.

Design, Durability and Software

Google Pixel 7a Design

The Pixel 7a has a sleek and premium compact design. While the chunky bezels around the screen may not appeal to everyone, the plastic finish on the back exudes style and solidity. The inclusion of a metal frame enhances durability and the minimalist camera bump ensures the phone sits flat on surfaces. it’s available in standard white and black colors, but the subtle blue and vibrant coral options stand out. The compact size makes easy to handle and Gorilla Glass 3 protection ensures durability against scratches and accidental bumps. Furthermore, the Pixel 7a is IP67 water and dust resistant, providing an additional layer of protection.

Software and UI

Running on Google’s smooth stock Android 13 UI, the Pixel 7a delivers a seamless and intuitive user experience. The spam caller feature seamlessly identifies calls empowering you to screen them before answering. Privacy is ensured through the built-in VPN, and unwanted calls are effectively filtered with the Call Screen feature.

And also boasts audio tools including live translation and transcription. While customization options may not match some other Android launchers, the overall software experience is top-notch. Google’s commitment to security is evident with at least five years of security patching, and the Titan M2 Chip guarantees the protection of your data.

Display, Audio and Performance

Display Quality

The Google Pixel 7a features a 90Hz OLED display boasting full HD Plus resolution, delivering sharp and vibrant visuals. The inclusion of HDR 10 support enhances contrast and colors contributing to an enjoyable viewing experience. However, it’s worth noting that the display brightness on sunny days may be a concern, making it challenging to view content even at maximum brightness levels. The dual-speaker setup offers decent audio quality though it could benefit from being louder. Despite this, Bluetooth streaming works flawlessly, and the strong codec support ensures high-quality audio.

Google Pixel 7a Performance and Gaming

The Pixel 7a’s performance matches that of the Pixel 7, thanks to the potent Google Sim Tensor G2 chipset manufactured in collaboration with Samsung. the Pixel 7a can get a bit warm, particularly when used outdoors in direct sunlight. It appears that the Google’s Pixel 7a, much like myself a bold northerner with less melanin than a deep-sea squid is not a big fan of sunshine. Despite occasional heating, I haven’t encountered any performance issues or slowdowns on the Pixel 7a. Unlike previous Google flagship phones, I haven’t had to resort to hard resets.

Interestingly, during the winter season might even serve as a pleasant hand warmer for those who enjoy gaming in their spare time. Overall, the gaming performance is commendable. Enhancing visuals still provides a reasonably stable frame rate, though the phone might struggle a bit with multiple enemies on the screen simultaneously. The screen remains responsive and Google’s gaming mode offers useful tools like notifications blocking. Moreover, the Pixel 7a supports Wi-Fi 6E and sub-6 5G, ensuring strong connectivity in most areas, even in Blighty. I found that my internet connection remained robust except when I wandered into unusual dark spots.

Battery Life

In the first week of using the Pixel 7a, I encountered an issue with its battery life. The compact 4385 milliamp-hour battery rarely lasted a full day of use. However, after a few days, the situation improved significantly, and now the Pixel 7a usually provides a full day’s usage on a single charge without any worries. Nevertheless, there have been instances where I came uncomfortably close to draining the battery completely, especially when catching the last train home or leaving the phone idle for an extended period.

On average, expect around five to six hours of screen-on time from a full charge, depending on the amount of music streaming, podcast listening, or other background activities. The battery tends to drain rapidly during power-intensive tasks such as Skype or Zoom, particularly when the cameras are in use. Additionally, while the 18-watt wired charging on the Pixel 7a may seem slow compared to some Chinese rivals, it’s worth mentioning that the phone does support wireless charging, which is still relatively rare to find at this price point.

Camera Test

The Pixel 7a features a cutting-edge 64-megapixel Sony IMX 787 sensor, paired with a standard ultra-wide-angle shooter. This hardware, coupled with Google’s advanced image processing algorithms, delivers a consistently solid camera performance across various scenarios. During testing, I found satisfaction with the majority of my photos, as the lens reliably focused on subjects, even in challenging or cluttered scenes. The images captured by the Pixel 7a appear impressively lifelike, avoiding excessive manipulation for an artificial look.

However, caution is needed on sunny days to avoid lens flare. Despite this, the Pixel 7a adeptly handles harsh backlighting, capturing blue skies competently. Portrait shots from this phone are quite decent, handling subjects with windswept hair or furry textures. In some instances, ambient photos may appear slightly softer, and some textures and facial features may be overly smooth. Nevertheless, the colors are generally accurate, and with minimal movement, sharp results can be expected.

Indoor photography with the Pixel 7a captures ample fine details. Manual controls are limited to EV and contrast adjustments, but the on-screen sliders work exceptionally well, rescuing shots that might otherwise appear murky. This proves useful in low-light situations, where the Pixel 7a continues to perform admirably. While strong lighting conditions may pose challenges in nighttime scenarios, the camera produces images with minimal noise and a reasonable amount of detail.

Moving to the ultra-wide-angle shooter, featuring a 13-megapixel Sony IMX sensor, the photo quality remains consistent with the primary shooter, delivering natural tones with slightly less fine detail. Similar to the regular Pixel 7 and other devices in this price range, the Pixel 7a lacks a telephoto shooter, limiting it to a mere eight times digital zoom. On the positive side, the Pixel 7a can record videos in up to 4K resolution, offering sharp visuals and well-defined details in adequate lighting conditions. Even in low-light environments, the camera produces usable results, although focusing can be challenging at times. Video stabilization is decent, providing smooth footage with minimal movement, and audio capture at the ultra-HD level is satisfactory unless the environment is too noisy or windy.

Finally, the 13-megapixel front-facing camera, or selfie snapper, on the Pixel 7a is decent but falls within the standard performance range. It produces relatively soft and bland selfies, with outcomes highly dependent on lighting conditions. If sharing selfies is a priority, alternatives like the Galaxy A54 might be more appealing.

Final Thought

The Google Pixel 7a provides outstanding value for money offering an combination of specifications, a clean stock Android experience and a competitive price point. While it does have a couple of minor drawbacks like average battery life and limited camera zoom. If you’re in search of a mid-range smartphone that doesn’t compromise on performance and features the Pixel 7a stands out as a solid choice.

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