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

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  • 7 min read
Photo: Qagon / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Qagon / Shutterstock.com

The Google Pixel series has always been known for having great cameras, a smooth Android experience, and getting timely software updates. With the release of the Pixel 7 and 7a (photographed above), Google continues to target different segments of the market, offering variations in features and price. Both phones have impressive features, but choosing between them can be difficult.

In this article, we’ll compare the Pixel 7 and 7a to help you decide which suits your needs best.


Price and availability

The Google Pixel 7a hit the market in May 2023 at $499 and is available in charcoal, sea, snow, and coral (exclusive to the Google Store). The Pixel 7 was launched in October 2022 at an initial price of $599 for the 128GB storage variant.

Also read: Pixel 8 and 8 Pro vs Pixel 7 and 7 Pro: Should you upgrade?


Design

At a glance, the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 look remarkably similar. Their size, shape, and overall design closely resemble each other, and both phones have screens interrupted only by the central front camera located in the status bar. The backs of the devices also show subtle differences, featuring Google’s distinctive visor-style camera bar.

The Pixel 7a is smaller and thicker than the Pixel 7, featuring a slightly smaller screen and larger bezels. Because of its small sensors, the camera bar on the Pixel 7a is flatter on its back. The Pixel 7 has a glass back, while the Pixel 7a has a glossy plastic finish.

Photo by Candid.Technology
Pixel 7

Display

The Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 have very similar screens, but the Pixel 7a is slightly smaller by 0.2 inches. The Pixel 7A features a 6.1-inch display, making it a good choice for those who prefer smaller phones. On the other hand, the Pixel 7 comes with a slightly larger 6.3-inch screen, offering more room for reading and watching videos on your phone.

Both phones can boost their screen refresh rate to 90Hz when required, enhancing the smoothness of animations and scrolling. Additionally, they share the same screen resolution of 1,080×2,400 pixels. The Pixel 7a’s default refresh rate is 60Hz, with the option to enable 90Hz in system settings for those desiring a smoother display experience.


Battery

The Pixel 7 houses a 4,355mAh battery, slightly smaller than the Pixel 7a’s 4,385mAh cell. Despite the minimal difference, both phones offer comparable battery life, lasting a full 16-hour day on a full charge. When you need to charge your Pixel 7, it will recharge more quickly. It supports 20W wired and 7.5W wireless charging, while the 7a only supports 18W wired and 7.5W wireless charging.

Photo: Strahlengang / Shutterstock.com
Pixel 7 | Photo: Strahlengang / Shutterstock.com

Software

Both the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 offer virtually identical software experiences. The Pixel 7a even supports features introduced with the Pixel 7 lineup, including secure face unlock and the Unblur option in Google Photos. Both phones provide weather forecasts on home and lock screens, Direct My Call for navigating call centre menus, automatic voice message transcriptions, speaker labels in the Recorder app, Bedtime mode with cough and sore detection, and other Pixel staples.

While both phones will support Android 14, the Pixel 7a’s later launch ensures an extra year of Android OS and security updates. The Pixel 7 and 7A are guaranteed to receive a minimum of three years of updates for the Android version and five years of security updates.

The Pixel 7 is set to receive Android version updates until October 2025, while the Pixel 7A is expected to continue getting Android OS upgrades until May 2026.


Performance

Both phones come equipped with Google’s high-end Tensor G2 processor with a clock speed of 2.82 Ghz, ensuring outstanding performance whether gaming, multitasking, or casually browsing social media. This powerful chip also fuels the devices’ AI capabilities, including the Google Assistant and advanced camera features like Magic Eraser. Additionally, it enhances security with the inclusion of the Titan M2 chip.

Photo: Linaimages / Shutterstock.com
Pixel 7a | Photo: Linaimages / Shutterstock.com

Camera

In the camera department, the Pixel 7a has better cameras than the Pixel 7 in megapixels. With a 64MP main camera and a 13MP ultrawide and 13MP front camera, the Pixel 7a surpasses the Pixel 7’s 50MP wide and 12MP ultrawide and 10.8MP front camera. However, the Pixel 7’s larger sensor theoretically allows for better light capture.


The key differences between 7 and 7a

Below are the key differences between the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 because there aren’t many differences compared to their similarities:

  • Price: Pixel 7a costs $499, while Pixel 7 costs $599.
  • Size and Display: The Pixel 7a is a bit smaller, sporting a 6.1-inch screen, while the Pixel 7 boasts a slightly larger 6.3-inch display.
  • Build Material: The Pixel 7a features a plastic back, whereas the Pixel 7 flaunts a more premium glass back. Additionally, the Pixel 7’s camera bar protrudes more from the back.
  • Main Camera: The Pixel 7a’s main camera is a 64MP shooter with a smaller image sensor (1/1.7-inch), while the Pixel 7 opts for a 50MP, 1/1.3-inch sensor.
  • Ultrawide Camera: Notably, the Pixel 7a’s ultrawide camera has a broader field of view at 120 degrees compared to the Pixel 7’s more constrained 114-degree crop.

These differences sum up the noticeable variations between the two models. While there are few variations in battery size, weight, IP rating (the Pixel 7a can be submerged for up to 30 minutes, whereas the Pixel 7’s exact duration is unspecified), and the megapixel count of the selfie camera, they are so marginal that they likely won’t impact your decision significantly.

Pixel 7a | Photo: Google

Spec-comparison: Pixel 7 vs 7a

Here are the specifications of Google Pixel 7 and 7a:

FeatureGoogle Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7
ProcessorGoogle Tensor G2Google Tensor G2
Display6.1-inch FHD OLED, 60Hz/90Hz refresh rate, HDR support6.3-inch FHD+ OLED, 90Hz
RAM8GB8GB
Storage128GB128GB, 256GB
Battery4,385mAh4,355mAh
PortsUSB-CUSB-C
Operating SystemAndroid 13 (out-of-the-box; upgrades to Android 14)Android 13 (out-of-the-box; upgrades to Android 14)
Front Camera13MP10.8MP
Rear Camera64MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide camera50MP wide camera, 12MP ultrawide camera
Connectivity5G sub6/mmWave, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.35G (sub6/mmWave), Wi-Fi 6E, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2
Dimensions152.4 x 72.9 x 9mm155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm
Weight193g (6.84 oz)197g
IP RatingIP67IP68
Price$499 $599

Which one should you buy?

If you want a phone that charges quickly wirelessly, has more storage than 128GB, is a bit tougher, and has a brighter screen, go for the Pixel 7. For everyone else, the Pixel 7a is a great choice, saving you $100 and offering about 90% of the experience. Sometimes, you can find the Pixel 7 on sale for around $499, making it seem like a better deal than the Pixel 7a. If that happens, definitely go for the Pixel 7.

However, if the Pixel 7a drops below $499, go for the 7a; it would be a great deal. It’s got the perfect size for holding, top-notch performance, awesome cameras, long-lasting battery, and fantastic software.

Also read: Renewed vs Refurbished: Brief Comparison

Akash Singh

Akash Singh

Akash is a law graduate who likes to go for bike rides on the weekends soul-searching for answers to his many existential questions. You can contact him here: singhakash95@pm.me

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