Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7: Which is the best value?

Google Pixel 7a review
(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

The Google Pixel 7a is now here and with a price bump to $499, the waters between it and the flagship Google Pixel 7 for $599 are muddier than ever. Google's A series has always been a step behind the flagship Pixel phones, representing outstanding value, but still clearly not a match for their slightly pricier siblings.

This year Google appears to have thrown that model out the window, with the Google Pixel 7a virtually indistinguishable from the Google Pixel 7 by just looking at the specs. Now that we've reviewed both phones including running them through our extensive lab testing, it's clear which is the better buy. Here's a closer look at how the Google Pixel 7a stacks up against the Google Pixel 7.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7
Row 0 - Cell 0 Google Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7
Price$499$599
Display6.1-inch (2,400 x 1080) 90Hz Adaptive OLED6.3-inch (2,400 x 1080) 90Hz Adaptive OLED
Storage128GB128GB or 256GB
CPUGoogle Tensor G2Google Tensor G2
RAM8GB of RAM8GB of RAM
Rear cameras64MP, f/1.89, 0.8 μm; 13MP f/2.2 1.25µm50MP, f/1.85, 1.2µm; 12MP f/2.2 1.25µm
Front camera13MP, f/2.2, 1.22μm10.8MP, f/2.2, 1.22µm
Dimensions6 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches6.1 x 2.9 x 0.34 inches
Weight6.8 oz6.95 oz

Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7 price

Google has painted itself into an interesting corner with the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 pricing. I called the Pixel 7 the best phone under $500 back in April because it has been available at $449 or $499 for the majority of the year. Lo and behold with a couple of weeks until Google I/O the price was back up to $599 at most retailers.

That certainly set the stage for the rumors that the Pixel 7a would launch for $499, and so it has. But where do we go from here? The reality is that both phones remain a solid value, but there's no question that the Pixel 7a is the better choice at their current prices. As you'll see as we go on, I think there's an argument to be made that the Pixel 7a is the better choice even if they are the same price, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Winner: Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7 design

Cue up the Spider-Man pointing at himself meme, at first (or even second) glance, you would have a hard time telling these phones apart. The Pixel 7 is slightly larger and heavier, but thinner than the Pixel 7a. The Pixel 7a has a slightly thinner camera bar, but truly we are splitting hairs here.

Unless you are right on the razer's edge of fitting the Pixel 7 in your pants pocket and roughly 0.1 inches is going to make a difference, you shouldn't be swayed by the visual appeal or dimensions of these phones.

Google Pixel 7a review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

So what is different about them? The Google Pixel 7 uses more premium materials with Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back of the phone. The Pixel 7a uses Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and the back is made of a 3D thermoformed composite (in other words plastic). 

The Google Pixel 7 also boasts a superior IP68 certification over IP67 for the Pixel 7a. This means that the Pixel 7a will only survive in 1 meter (3 feet) of water for 30 minutes instead of 1.5 meters (~5 feet) of water for 30 minutes.  That could certainly make a difference in the right situation, but it's pretty unlikely.

I'm giving this category to the Pixel 7, but it's by the narrowest of margins.

Google Pixel 7

(Image credit: Future)

Winner: Google Pixel 7

Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7 display

Google Pixel 7a review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

This is one of the more intriguing sections of the face-off as other than the Pixel 7 featuring a 6.3-inch display compared to 6.1 inches for the Pixel 7a, the specs look roughly identical. Both have a 90Hz adaptive refresh rate, a 2,400 x 1,080-pixel resolution, HDR support, and a million-to-one contrast ratio.

However, after spending time with both and running them through our lab tests, the reality is a little different.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Display benchmarkGoogle Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7
Brightness (with adaptive brightness on)1,024 nits979 nits
DCI-P3 color gamut92% (Adaptive color)77% (Adaptive color)
Delta-E color accuracy0.050.24

As you can see above, the Google Pixel 7a beats the Pixel 7 in every metric that we test displays on. It's notably more vibrant and color accurate, while the brightness advantage is more minimal.

Google Pixel 7

(Image credit: Future)

While the Pixel 7 display isn't bad by any means, it's impossible to ignore side-by-side, the Pixel 7a is the superior panel.

Winner: Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7 performance

These phone sport identical internals including the Tensor G2 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage. We've benchmarked them both and while there are slight discrepancies, they fall into what I would consider to be the margin of error for those benchmarks. 

Google Tensor G2

Tensor G2 chip (Image credit: Google)

Both phones will be able to handle any typical smartphone tasks without a problem including copious multitasking. If you play the highest-end smartphone games you may run into the occasional hiccup, but even games like Call of Duty: Mobile will play smoothly, so for most people, it's not a concern.

Winner: Draw

Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7 cameras

Google Pixel 7a review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

Finally some differences again! The Google Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 both feature wide-angle and ultra-wide cameras on the back and a single front-facing camera, but none of them are the same. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7 camera specs
Row 0 - Cell 0 Google Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7
Main camera64MP (f/1.89 aperture, 0.8 µm)50MP (f/1.85 aperture, 1.2 µm)
Ultrawide13 MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.25 µm, 121-degree field of view)12 MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.25 µm, 123-degree field of view)
Front facing13MP (f/3.05 aperture, 1.22 µm, 5x optical zoom)10.8MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.22 µm, 3x optical zoom)

The Google Pixel 7 offers a superior primary camera on paper due to its slightly better aperture and larger sensor size. The ultra-wide and front-facing cameras are virtually identical between the two. 

As you'll see in any of our Google Pixel reviews, the real key to the Pixel is the camera software though, so little surprise that we find the Google Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 produce virtually indistinguishable photos. 

Winner: Draw

Google Pixel 7a vs. Google Pixel 7 battery life

Google Pixel 7a review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

Battery life is another surprising fight between the Google Pixel 7 and 7a, as the phones have identical Google Tensor G2 chipsets and nearly identical batteries. The Google Pixel 7a has a 4,385mAh battery, only 30mAh larger than the Pixel 7.

Despite those similarities, the Pixel 7a vastly outperformed the Pixel 7 in our Laptop Mag battery test, which runs down phones at 150 nits of brightness on 5G.

In our tests the Pixel 7a held on for 10 hours and 5 minutes, while the Pixel 7 winked out at 7 hours and 31 minutes. Easy win for the Google Pixel 7a.

Winner: Google Pixel 7a

Overall winner

Despite many categories coming in as a draw, the Google Pixel 7a is the clear winner. Starting at a cheaper $499, offering hours of additional battery life in our testing, and featuring a much more vibrant and color-accurate display.

The Google Pixel 7 has more premium components and slightly superior durability, but it's otherwise overshadowed by the Pixel 7a. 

Unless the Google Pixel 7 drops below the price of the Pixel 7a again, there is simply no reason to choose the Pixel 7 over its new affordable sibling.

Category
Arrow
Arrow
Back to MacBook Air
Brand
Arrow
Processor
Arrow
RAM
Arrow
Storage Size
Arrow
Screen Size
Arrow
Colour
Arrow
Storage Type
Arrow
Condition
Arrow
Price
Arrow
Any Price
Showing 10 of 279 deals
Filters
Arrow
Load more deals
Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.