Google Pixel 7a review: Stellar smartphone but Google has a problem

Google Pixel 7a review (Image: GOOGLE)

This device features some seriously impressive technology and it’s even powered by Google’s G2 processor

What we love

  • Big features small price
  • Great camera
  • Tensor G2 processor
  • Wireless charging

What we don’t

  • It does feel a bit cheap
  • Pixel 7 deals are a thorn in its side
  • Battery could be better

Google is back with yet another smartphone that packs a pretty mighty punch without an eye-watering price tag. The Pixel 7a can be yours for just £449 and don’t think for one minute that means you’re going to be faced with a bunch of budget specs.

This device features some seriously impressive technology, including wireless charging, and it’s even powered by Google’s G2 processor – that’s the very same brain tucked under the hood of the £849 Pixel 7 Pro!

Along with oodles of oomph, you’ll also find a decent dual-lens camera on the rear case which, like almost all Pixel devices, snaps family album-worthy photos with very little fuss. Photography features such as the clever Magic Eraser – which removes unwanted photobombers with just a tap – are also included.

The glossy design looks nice, the 6.1-inch screen is good enough for a nightly boxset binge and because it’s a Google-powered handset you are guaranteed to get the latest Android updates first.

So that’s all the good stuff but are there any gripes?

To be fair to Google there isn’t much to moan about. If we had to start picking fault with the 7a we’d like the battery to last longer and charge a little faster.

The device does feel a tad chunky, it’s ludicrously slippy to hold and it’s not as tough as its other Pixel 7 siblings which get an IP68 rating (iP67 Pixel 7a) and improved Gorilla Glass Victus.

The Pixel 7a is a stellar smartphone, that we can highly recommend but Google does have a problem. Right now, despite some great there are also ludicrously good offers on the more feature-packed Pixel 7 – which is overall a better device. Shop around you can get this £599 for almost the same price as the 7a – Amazon is currently selling it for just £479. That’s a mighty deal that definitely takes some of the shine off Google’s latest low-cost call maker.

Google Pixel 7a review

If you want a new smartphone but don’t fancy paying premium prices then Google’s A-series of phones have long been a great option. These low-cost devices come packed with superior specs but land in pockets for half the price of their flagship rivals.

Now the US technology giant has added another new Pixel to the ranks and it’s definitely a headline grabber with the 7a getting a speedy Tensor G2 processor, wireless charging and fully rebooted design.

So, is this £449 Android phone worth your money or are you better off looking elsewhere?

Here’s our full Pixel 7a review.

Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a gets a 6.1-inch OLED screen (Image: GOOGLE)

Design and display

On first impressions, the new Pixel 7a looks like a premium device. Its glossy rear case and touches of colour-matched metal could have you thinking you’ve splashed out on an expensive flagship.

However, start using it and things certainly don’t appear quite so deluxe. The Pixel’s casing is made from plastic (or as Google calls it…a 3D thermoformed composite back) and that’s exactly how it feels when you get it in your hands. It’s also ludicrously slippy so a case is highly recommended if you want to keep the 7a looking box fresh and free from damage.

Google has covered its 7a in Gorilla Glass 3 (a first for the a-series) and it will survive a cuppa being spilt on it thanks to an IP67 rating. It is worth noting the more premium Pixel 7 gets a tougher Gorilla Glass Victus finish and improved IP68 rating so this might be a better option if you are prone to accidents.

One thing we do like about the Pixel 7a’s design is how comfortable it is to use and hold. Its size feels perfect for one-handed usage whilst offering a big enough screen for a boxset binge.

Talking of the screen, the 7a comes with a 6.1-inch OLED panel which is perfect for most people’s needs and also now features a faster 90Hz refresh. Weirdly, this isn’t switched on as default and it’s definitely worth digging into the settings as it makes a world of difference when whizzing through websites.

This is a good screen that packs a decent punch. The only thing that does slightly spoil things is the larger bezel that runs around the edges of the phone. It’s no deal breaker but it’s definitely noticeable when placing the 7a alongside the Pixel 7.

Pixel 7a review

Google Pixel 7a review (Image: GOOGLE)

Tensor G2 processor

Google made a massive change in 2021 and ditched the usual Qualcomm brains in favour of its own Tensor chip. Overall impressions of that first-gen processor were good and things were improved further late last year thanks to the launch of the Tensor G2.

It’s a powerful brain that features in Google’s Pixel 7 and premium 7 Pro – the good news is it’s also tucked under the shell of the 7a.

That means users can expect some serious performance and there’s little this device can’t cope with. Google’s brain also brings other features to its budget phone including advanced machine learning and speech recognition. There’s also some clever AI for improved audio on phone calls and it offers a boost to the camera. More on that later.

By packing this chip inside the 7a, Google has future-proofed this device and made sure it can keep pace with upcoming updates and new features.

Pixel 7a review

A dual-lens camera can be found on the rear case (Image: GOOGLE )


Thanks to its mix of good hardware and clever software, Pixel phones are some of the best devices for snapping photos without any fuss.

The 7a continues that tradition with the device shooting Instagram-worthy shots without needing a degree in photography.

Tucked on the rear case is a dual-lens camera that includes a 64-megapixel main camera and 13-megapixel ultrawide lens. This is backed up by that Tensor G2’s advanced image processing which helps boost what’s been taken.

Google makes everything super simple to use and the results are impressive with images snapped on the 7a looking packed with detail and full of vibrant colours

This device also comes with a bunch of bonus extras including the Magic Eraser tool which removes people who may have photobombed you and Photo Unblur which magically sharpens images after they have been taken. These are definitely things you’ll end up using and it’s great they feature on this cheaper phone.

When the sun goes down there’s a dedicated Night Mode which brightens things up without the need for a flash. We’re still fully testing the Night Mode but on first impressions, it’s not as good as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro although we’ll update this review soon with our final verdict on shooting in the evening.

Optical and electronic image stabilisation helps to avoid camera shake and there is a zoom option as well although this won’t get you as close to the action as some other phones.

Check out our test images below.

Pixel 7a camera test

Pixel 7a camera test (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Pixel 7a camera test

Pixel 7a camera test (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Pixel 7a camera test

Pixel 7a camera test (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Pixel 7a camera test

Pixel 7a camera test (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Pixel 7a camera test

Pixel 7a camera test (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

If it’s video you need then the 6a is also very capable with the rear camera able to shoot in stunning 4K at 60fps. There are also slow-motion and time-lapse modes.

Battery life and charging

Battery life on the Pixel 7a is fine but this device isn’t a market leader when it comes to usage. Most users will easily get a day out of the power pack but we definitely wouldn’t want to head away for a weekend without the charger.

Luckily, when things do run dry there’s the addition of wireless charging which is pretty unusual for a device of this price.

Refilling the 7a without a cable isn’t the fastest but it does end the faff of plugging things in and also means you can get a quick boost at coffee shops or airports that offer this technology.

Along with wireless charging, there’s also the option to boost things using 18W speeds although there’s no plug in the box so you will need to splash out on an adaptor to take advantage.

Google Pixel 7a review

Google Pixel 7a comes with a new design (Image: GOOGLE)

Bonus features

Because this is a Google-made phone the biggest advantage of owning it is that you’ll get access to Android updates first. It’s a massive bonus to buying a Pixel and definitely worth considering if you want bragging rights over your mates with Samsung phones.

Other great extras on the 7a include the brilliant transcript option which turns spoken words into fully editable text.

The Google Assistant will answer queries in a flash and this device also gets the firm’s clear calling upgrade for improved voice chats.

The wireless charging is a great addition and there’s an embedded fingerprint scanner under the screen which is OK but not as fast as those found on more expensive flagships. 5G and face unlock are also included but it does miss out on a few things found on the Pixel 7.

There’s no Battery Share, which lets you charge other devices wirelessly and you don’t get access to stunning spatial audio. The screen is also not as bright as the Pixel 7 with that phone getting up to 1000 nits (HDR) and up to 1400 nits (peak brightness)

Pixel 7a Price

The Pixel 7a costs just £449 which sounds like a massive bargain – especially when you consider what is included. There’s no doubt this is a good phone for the money but, before you splash the cash, beware. Throughout this review, we’ve mentioned the more premium Pixel 7 which may sound like an unfair comparison. That would be true if it wasn’t for the fact that Google’s £599 flagship is now discounted on a number of stores including Amazon.

Right now you can grab this device for around £500 or less. Considering it gets a better camera, more premium design and bigger screen it’s well worth a look.

Final verdict

The Google Pixel 7a is a top-notch device that comes highly recommended. It has a great display, powerful processor, solid camera and even the inclusion of wireless charging.

Owners are also guaranteed to get Android updates first and you get all the Google’s greatness baked in which makes the 7a a seriously smart phone.

£449 is also a bit of a bargain price considering what’s packed inside its shell.

There are a few niggles such as its plastic build, larger bezels around the screen and slow charging speeds but these aren’t reasons not to buy this phone.

The biggest problem for the 7a is simply its Pixel 7 sibling. That device has better features and can be picked up for just a few pounds more.

Google’s new 7a is fabulous, just do some shopping before you invest as you might find you can get something even better for just a little extra cash.

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