The Pixel A series by Google has recently got a new addition, Pixel 7a, which, fortunately, is also available in India. We have been using this smartphone for quite some time and now is the time to determine if the Google Pixel 7a is indeed worth its cost of Rs 43,999 in India.
Pixel 7a: Design & Display
The Pixel 7a takes design cues from its elder siblings, the Pixel 7 series. The same great design we appreciated on the Pixel 7 Pro has also made its way to the Pixel 7a. Google has finally found its design and is now refining it at this point.
The Pixel 7a boasts a sleek glass sandwich design, complete with a sturdy metal frame. Its compact form factor makes it feel premium in the hand, while still allowing for easy one-handed use and access to all corners. The device’s camera bar features two cameras in a pill-shaped module, along with an LED flash, giving it a familiar look to the Pixel 7.
The button placement is well done, and the buttons themselves have a tactile feel to them. There are two speaker grilles at the bottom out of which only one is functional and the other speaker is at the top which also doubles as an earpiece.
The speaker’s performance is decent but has room for improvement. It can reach high volume levels, but its focus on treble is excessive. Nonetheless, it offers a more balanced audio experience than the Pixel 7 Pro, with both speakers contributing to the sound instead of just one handling the lyrics and the other the bass.
Apart from that, the Pixel 7a also has amazing Haptics which are actually identical to that of the Pixel 7 Pro. They are precise, strong and can easily notify you when it’s in your pocket. Overall, the Pixel 7a picks up most of the impressive design elements from other Google devices in the Pixel series and combines them, resulting in a classy in-hand feel.
Coming to the front of the smartphone, the Pixel 7a sports a 6.1-inch FHD+ display with a 90 Hz Refresh Rate and an in-display fingerprint scanner. The display is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The display on the Pixel 7a isn’t one of its strongest points but is not its weakest either. The bezels on the front are quite thick but that’s manageable once you get used to it.
The colours of the display are slightly muted to my liking but they aren’t too faded. The 90 hz refresh rate is actually off by default and you will have to turn it on from the display settings once you set up the device.
The viewing angles are average with a rainbow effect easily noticeable with the slightest tilt. The panel does get bright enough indoors but you can have difficulty reading outdoors under bright sunlight.
Pixel 7a: Software & Performance
The Pixel 7a is powered by Google’s in-house Tensor G2 processor, paired with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. It has been reported before that Google has used an inferior version of the Tensor G2 Processor in the 7a compared to what the company has used in Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.
However, that doesn’t seem like an issue for the handset in day to day usage as it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The overall experience is as smooth as what I experienced with the Pixel 7 Pro last year. The animations are all smooth while RAM management is handled fine.
Everyone knows that Pixels are known for their software experience and the Pixel 7a stands up to the reputation. You can expect the stock experience with all the bells and whistles Google has to offer, such as clear calling, lock screen customisation, gestures, face unlock support and much more. The 7a, just like other Pixels, also gets support for 3 years of major Android OS upgrades and 5 years of security patches.
While the competition certainly does better in terms of software support, the smoothness and overall experience Pixels offer is as impressive as other flagships and phones in this price range.
However, what the Pixel 7a failed to achieve is efficient heat management. While the Pixel 7 Pro also heated at times, the Pixel 7a’s heating is more frequent. The upper part of the frame does heat up during charging and while doing tasks such as graphic intensive gaming.
The heat does result in stutterd at times and can hamper the experience, so don’t expect it to perform top-notch when it comes to gaming. For that, you’ll be better off buying an iQOO or a OnePlus device in this range.
We also tested Android 14 Beta 3 on the Pixel 7a and while the smoothness was mostly the same, there are bugs that need to be solved, such as slow fingerprint recognition, which isn’t an issue at all in Android 13 that comes out of the box on the 7a. There are some apps that also abruptly crash, such as while attaching a file in Gmail. So we would recommend not using it on your main device.
Pixel 7a: Battery backup
The Google Pixel 7a packs a 4,385mAh battery with 18W Fast charging support. Google also isn’t including a charger in the box and that’s a disappointment, like most other flagships.
As for the battery backup, it’s quite average. With over 24 hours of use, I could get 3.5 to 4 hours of screen-on time with moderate use. I feel it could have done better but those who are buying the Pixel 7a should know that battery, also, isn’t its strongest point either.
The Pixel 7a takes more than 1.5 hours to charge from 0 to 100 and for the first time, a Pixel A series handset has gotten support for wireless charging. However, I feel it’s there only for the sake of including wireless charging and not for the convenience.
With only 7.5W of wireless charging speed, it could easily take around 3 hours for the device to charge from 0 to 100 so short top-ups are your best bet if you have a wireless charger lying around.
Pixel 7a: Cameras
For optics, the Google handset gets a 64-megapixel main sensor, and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide unit at the rear. At the front, the phone employs an 8-megapixel sensor for selfies and video calls.
The Google camera App is the familiar one found on other Google smartphones also. It gets a decent set of features such as long exposure mode, panorama, Google Lens, Photo Sphere and the other regular modes. The shutter lag is also well contained, however, the photo takes a second or two to process after it has been shot which is something new, considering I didn’t notice this with the Pixel 7 Pro. The camera app also enables you to change the hue as well as the exposure of the photo in real-time if you tap on the viewfinder.
As for the shots from the main 64MP camera, they offer considerably high detailing and a natural colour tone, similar to other Pixels. The dynamic range is decent while the exposure is handled well while textures are also picked up accurately.
The performance of the ultra-wide angle sensor is impressive too. There’s actually no colour shift compared to photos from the main sensor, at least it’s not visible to the eye and that’s something very appreciable. The distortion at the edges is well contained while the colours are once again natural and the photo doesn’t lose out on details at all. The overall clarity of the photo is also maintained.
Coming to portraits, the Pixel 7a once again hits a homerun. The EDGE detection around the subject is super accurate while the details and colours of the photo do not disappoint either. You’ll definitely love shooting portraits with the 7a if that’s what you are into, as it’s a really enjoyable experience.
Shots under artificial lighting and low lighting looked alike in terms of detail, clarity and sharpness. I was surprised as well as impressed at the same time after seeing how easily the device handles the natural colour toning in even artificial lighting as that’s where most smartphones I have seen show vibrant and far from natural colours. Shots under low lighting do show very little amount of noise but do not struggle with colours or the overall sharpness of the picture.
While selfies are good to look at, the post processing increases the contrast of the photo a bit much. While sharpness and detailing are on point, the skin tones could have been handled better as they look over processed. The selfies could have definitely been handled better.
Turning on night sight doesn’t help with colours or sharpness in night shots because they are already satisfactory, but it does drastically reduce the noise and graininess in the photo.