As part of its I/O developer conference 2023, Google not only made its debut on the market for foldable smartphones and presented a tablet again after a long time. The Google Pixel 7a also saw the light of day at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. The mid-range cell phone brings with it a whole range of improvements: in addition to an improved display, a lot has happened, especially with the camera and the equipment – but that has its price. For the first time, the cheapest version of the new a series breaks the 500 euro mark. Concrete cost: 509 euros. It is therefore around 50 euros more expensive than the previous model at the start. In a detailed test, IMTEST determined how the Google Pixel 7a performs against its sibling models and where the strengths and weaknesses lie. The results in order.
Google Pixel 7a: key data at a glance
The Google Pixel 7a completes the seventh generation of Pixel smartphones. The following list shows the most important technical data:
Simple design with high-quality glass back
6.1-inch diagonal screen, OLED technology, resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels, refresh rate of up to 90 Hertz
Processor: Google Tensor G2
Memory: 8 gigabytes
Storage: 128 gigabytes
Main camera: 64 megapixels
Front camera: 13 megapixels
Price: 500 dollars estimate
Design: Compact pixel offspring
The search engine giant also remains true to its design language with the Google Pixel 7a. That means: As with the other models of the Pixel 7 generation, the technology is enclosed in a high-quality housing made of glass and aluminum, which not only looks chic but is also robust. This is ensured by the scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3, with which the mobile phone is certified according to the IP67 standard. Because of this, the smartphone is well protected against dust and water.
Overall, the Pixel 7a is slightly heavier than its predecessor. The weight has increased from 178 grams (g) to 193 g. The now-iconic camera bar on the back, on the other hand, has shrunk compared to the Pixel 7 and its Pro counterpart. It doesn’t protrude that far out of the case here. Google didn’t put a hand on the display size: It still measures 6.1 inches or 15.5 centimeters diagonally – which means that the Pixel 7a belongs to the category of compact cell phones. So it disappears without any problems even in tight trouser pockets and can be operated wonderfully with one hand. Only a few models are currently even more compact, such as the 5.9-inch Asus Zenfone 9.
Display: Smoother and brighter
The size remains the same, but a lot has changed with the screen. But first to the similarities: The Full HD Plus resolution – with 2,400 x 1,080 pixels – remains the same. This results in a high image sharpness, because around 429 pixels are crowded into one inch. In this way, displayed content always remains sharp. The color fidelity and the contrast ratio are also on a similarly high level as in the predecessor. Thanks to the OLED technology, the black display is perfect, but colors are displayed naturally, even the intense and bright ones of the extended DCI-P3 color space. They now also come into their own in glaring sunlight, because the test laboratory measured a peak value of 1,175 candelas per square meter (cd/sqm). For comparison: The much more expensive iPhone 14 (999 euros RRP) achieved 773 cd/sqm under the same conditions.
However, the biggest advantage of the new display is the increased refresh rate. Because the screen is able to display 90 frames per second (Hertz) – the Pixel 6a only managed 60. Only the Google Pixel 7 Pro is higher at 120 Hertz. The positive effect: swiping and typing feels even smoother and certain video content runs more smoothly across the screen. Optionally, the frequency can also be adjusted to conserve battery power.
Performance: Tensor G2 chip on board
Although the Pixel generation differs slightly on the outside, they are all the same under the hood. Because the search engine giant also uses its own Tensor G2 chip in the Google Pixel 7a, which is also used in the Google Pixel Tablet and the Google Pixel Fold. Rightly so, because the performance of the Google processor was convincing in the test. In the Geekbench 5 performance measurement program, the cell phone secured 2,905 points – a “good” result. This puts the phone almost on par with the Pixel 7, which scored 3,211 points in the same test. As with the more expensive brother, eight gigabytes (GB) of RAM are also used in the Pixel 7a. It is therefore also possible to run more complex apps smoothly – but the mobile phone quickly reaches its limits when it comes to performance-hungry image and video editing. There is 128 gigabytes of storage available for files, images and apps – a bit small by today’s standards. Especially when you realize that the capacity cannot be expanded later via a MicroSD ca
Battery: Number one
But the greatest strength of the Tensor G2 chip is not its power, but its efficiency. This was shown in the test with permanent video playback and constant brightness. The lights of the Google Pixel 7a only went out after 13 hours and 51 minutes. In a direct comparison, the mid-range cell phone is even ahead of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro. The latter cracked the ten-hour mark. But when it comes to charging, the trio is on par. From 0 to 100 they all had to hang on the cable for just over two hours. Alternatively, the Pixel 7a also supports wireless charging.
Camera: Strong duo on the back
As already mentioned, Google has also drilled the camera of the Pixel 7a properly. On the one hand, the number of megapixels in the main lens has increased. It now shoots images with 64 megapixels. On the other hand, the resolution of videos has increased. Every camera is capable of recording 4K video – even the front camera. With the main camera, this even works at 60 frames per second, so that moving images look even smoother.
IMTEST works closely with FOTOTEST to assess the recording quality: This involved both the professional test laboratory and the outside world in practice. By the way: On the new Instagram channel of FOTOTEST there are regular photos and news about cameras, lenses and smartphones.
For a mid-range smartphone, the Google Pixel 7a’s recordings are amazing. The measurements for the main camera resulted in a very detailed image with an extremely high image sharpness, natural color reproduction and almost no image noise. The image dynamics, i.e. the ratio of very bright and very dark image areas, is also excellent.