The newest mid-range phone from Google offers premium features at a competitive price, including the best processor and camera in its class. In fact, it resembles the 7 practically exactly, except that it is a tiny bit smaller. The 6.1-inch OLED screen is lovely and bright, and the improved 90Hz refresh rate keeps scrolling fluid. The phone is a reasonable size, fits easily in a pocket, and has a large enough screen for watching videos while travelling.
The phone's face unlock feature and a fingerprint scanner are new for this year. Combining the ease of facial recognition to unlock the phone in bright conditions with the security of fingerprint authentication for banking apps and other applications is a nice idea.
Google has continued to use the same formula that helped the Pixel 6a succeed last year. The new phone includes the same amount of RAM and storage as the Pixel 7 and the company's top Tensor G2 CPU. As a result, the 7a is comparable to high-end phones in terms of speed and power to its midrange rivals.
The battery lasts around 34 hours before needing to be recharged, which is usually plenty for the busiest of days. It will require overnight charging, much as its predecessor and the Pixel 7.
Similar to the Pixel 7 Pro and other Google smartphones, the Pixel 7a runs the same version of Android (version 13). It is quick, well-optimized, and attractive. It also comes with free access to Google's VPN, which is useful for protecting your data when using public wifi networks.
The Pixel 6a's already excellent rear cameras have been upgraded to a 64 megapixel primary camera and a 13 megapixel ultrawide camera, bringing the phone up to par with the more costly Pixel 7.
One of the better alternatives is the ultrawide camera, which, although having somewhat less detail and clarity than the primary camera, does a good job of handling high contrast and challenging subjects. The 7a does not have a telephoto camera; instead, it relies on digital zoom, which is acceptable up to a point about 3 or 4x but begins to noticeably decline after that.
The 13MP selfie camera performs similarly well, and the video from all three cameras offers decent value. This year's additions include a fun long-exposure option for adding some motion to photographs and a noticeably quicker low-light mode that can make almost complete darkness appear to be daytime.