An image of the Google Pixel 7A smartphone in four color variants.

Google Pixel 7A Review: Pros and Cons

The Google Pixel 7A is an Android smartphone that was introduced on 10 May 2023 as part of the Pixel line. It is positioned as a mid-range variant of the seventh-generation Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro and a more affordable alternative to the eighth-generation Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro. Nevertheless, similar to its predecessor, the Pixel 6A, this device has toned-down features and capabilities but retains the camera-centric appeal of the Pixel line. This article reviews the advantages and disadvantages or pros and cons of the Google Pixel 7A.

Background: Specifications of Google Pixel 7A

An aluminum frame and a plastic back enclose the entire device. The 6.1-inch 1080p Always On OLED screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The same screen has an adaptive refresh rate of between 60Hz and 90Hz. This device also has an IP67 rating for dust resistance, splash resistance, and water immersion resistance of up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Powering Google Pixel 7A is the Google Tensor G2 system-on-a-chip. This 64-bit chip is based on the 5nm process of Samsung and it is integrated with an 8-core CPU, an integrated GPU based on Mali-G710 MP7, 8GB of RAM, a Samsung Exynos 5300 modem for at least 5G cellular network, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E for triple-band support, and Bluetooth 5.2. This device comes with 128GB storage based on universal flash storage or UFS 3.1

The 4300 mAh lithium-ion battery is rated for over 24 hours of battery life for average use and up to 72 hours when Extreme Battery Saver is enabled. The device supports 18-watt fast charging using the Google 30W USB-C charger and standard wireless charging using the Qi interface standard for wireless power transfer using inductive charging.

Placed on the back of this device is a two-camera system composed of a 64-megapixel wide camera that supports digital Super Res Zoom of up to 8X and a 13-megapixel ultrawide camera with a 12-degree field of view and dual pixel phase detection. The entire system has both optical and electronic image stabilization. Located on the front is a 13-megapixel ultrawide selfie camera system with a 95-degree field of view and fixed focus.

Pros of Google Pixel 7A: Notable Selling Points

1. Impressive Above-Average Camera Performance and Features

Mobile photography and videography are at the core of Google Pixel smartphones. The specific advantage of Google Pixel 7A is the upgraded 64-megapixel wide camera. Take note that the previous Pixel 6A only had a 12.2-megapixel sensor. This means that the main shooter captures more details and sharper images. The rear camera system can record 4K video at 30 FPS and 60 FPS while the front selfie camera can record 4K and 1080p video at 30 FPS.

The range of features on the camera app and the exclusive editing app enhance further the mobile photography and videography capabilities of this device. Portrait Mode and Portrait Light enables user to take studio-quality portraits while Magic Eraser allows a user to remove unwanted elements within an image. There is also the Cinematic Pan feature and support for recording 240FPS slow-motion videos and 4K stabilized timelapse videos.

2. Capable Processing Capabilities From the Google Tensor G2

It is important to highlight the fact that the Tensor G2 chip is also used in the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro devices. This means that it is a flagship-level chip. It might not be as powerful as the Apple A16 Bionic found in iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 or the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chips used in flagship Android smartphones from 2021 and 2022 but it is still capable of handling most apps and running mobile games at medium settings.

3. Inexpensive Feature-Packed Mid-Range Android Smartphone

Another advantage of Google Pixel 7A is its price. It was introduced with a price tag of USD 499.00 in May 2023 but it went down to USD 374.00 following the introduction of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro devices. This makes it one of the most affordable mid-range smartphones in the market. It is more affordable than notable mid-rangers such as the Samsung A54 5G and the Samsung S23 FE. The price is expected to go down further.

This device does not fall short of features. The bright OLED screen with an adaptative refresh rate and peak brightness of 1000 nits is an example. It also has an IP68 rating for both dust and water resistance. The support for fast charging and wireless charging is another example. Adding to these are the generous 8GB of RAM, optical image stabilization, and 5G connectivity. These features are often found in high-end mid-rangers and flagships.

Cons of Google Pixel 7A: Issues and Drawbacks

1. Limited Battery Life Performance and Average Fast Charging

The 4300 mAh lithium-ion battery is slightly larger than the 4080 mAh battery in the previous Pixel 6A. It might be rated for up to 24 hours under average use but real-world usage under mixed use would make the phone last up to 10 hours or 8 hours of continuous video playback. This means that it would not last an entire 24 hours without needing a recharge even for average to above-average users. This battery performance will also degraded over time.

Furthermore, while the device supports fast charging, it is also not as impressive as other smartphones under the mid-range and flagship categories. The 18-watt fast charging support is still considered slow based on current standards. This smartphone would take more than one and a half hours or more to reach full battery charge. Smartphones from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo, and OnePlus have higher fast charging wattage.

2. Above-Average Processing Capabilities and Heating Issues

The Google Tensor G2 might be marketed as a flagship-level hardware but it does not compare with other flagship chips from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Apple. It is still capable but it would struggle to run demanding apps such as triple-A mobile gaming and extensive video editing. There is also some heating issue. The device warms when running tasks. This can result in thermal throttling and run the risk of overheating and hardware damage.

3. Only Three Years of Software Support and Other Drawbacks

Another disadvantage of Google Pixel 7A is software support that is limited to only three years. This device comes with Android 13 out of the box. Google promises that it will provide operating system upgrades and security patches for three years. This might not be enough considering that the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro would receive 7 years of software support from launch and mid-ranger Samsung smartphones have about 4 to 5 years of support.

There are also other drawbacks and issues. The device supports 5G network connectivity. However, depending on the model, it might support both mmWave 5G and sub-6 GHz 5G or only sub-6 GHz 5G. There are notable differences between these two standards. The overall look is good but is quite far from being a premium. Note that the screen has about 81 percent screen-to-body ratio because of the noticeable bezels on the top and bottom.

Verdict: Pros and Cons of the Google Pixel 8 Pro

The aforementioned review of the pros and cons of Google Pixel 7A makes this device a great affordable smartphone. It can be considered one of the best mid-range smartphones in the market for 2023 and even until 2024 because of its camera-centric orientation and a slew of features. Nevertheless, for its affordable price, the aforementioned disadvantages or drawbacks are negligible. This device delivers good value for bucks.