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The Pixel 7a is the best $749 you can spend on an Android phone
Google's latest cheap Pixel phone reclaims the crown in the mid-range market.
If you're going to buy any Google phone in 2023, it should probably be the Pixel 7a. It's substantially cheaper than its flagship counterparts and comes with an almost identical set of bells, whistles and AI-enhanced smarts.
The phrase "flagship features at half the price" gets thrown around a lot these days, but last year's Pixel 6a was the closest it felt like Google has gotten to turning it from a slogan into something more substantial.
From as far back as its first iteration, the Google Pixel A series has always been something of an anti-flagship. The Pixel 7a takes that idea even further. If 2022's A-series device posed the question of whether it was still worth it to up-sell yourself to the Pixel 6 at all, this year's follow-up walks in with a more definitive answer.
How much does Google Pixel 7a cost in Australia?
In Australia, the Google Pixel 7a starts at $749 and is available outright on a plan through select mobile carriers. Here's how that pricing compares to past A-series handsets:
- Google Pixel 3a - $649
- Google Pixel 4a -$599
- Google Pixel 6a - $749
The short version is the story here is that the Google Pixel 7a has the exact same launch price as last year's Google Pixel 6a. Price-wise, it sits just above the Galaxy A54 5G and just below the Nokia X30 5G.
If you're looking to pick up the Google Pixel 7a outright, check out the list of retailers below.
The Google Pixel 7a is also available on a plan through Telstra and Optus.
At the time of writing, the cheapest Google Pixel 7a plan in Australia is the $49 Optus Choice Plus Plan. That plan nets you 5G connectivity, unlimited calls and text and 30GB of monthly data. On a 36-month plan, that plan totals $69.80 per month with handset repayments factored in.
To see how this plan compares to the other options available for the Pixel 7a, check out the widget below.
Google Pixel 7a - design and features
The Google Pixel 7a doesn't look like a huge departure from the Pixel 6a. That's partially a function of the similarities between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7. But then again, the A-Series has never been the most experimental branch of Google's foray into the phone market. Why settle for goofy gimmicks or half-measures when you can just have it all?
When it comes to colours, Aussies have three tones to choose between: Sea (Blue), Charcoal (Grey) and Snow (White). The material design and build quality here aren't quite as glamorous as something more high-end, but it's a real standout when it comes to phones around this price point.
The Pixel 7a is a cheap phone that doesn't feel like it. What's more, it's a comparatively small phone to hold and handle. There are many other mid-rangers out there with an OLED display like the one found here, but a scant few of them are 6.1 inches in size. If you're the kind of person who loathes the trend towards larger screens, the Pixel 7a might be the device you've been waiting for.
Despite the nimble and compact size, the Pixel 7a comes loaded with more flagship features than ever before. You've got the usual inclusions like an in-display fingerprint sensor, IP68 water resistance, a 90Hz refresh rate, stereo speakers and (for the first time) wireless charging.
It doesn't have the triple-lens camera, reverse wireless charging, additional RAM or QHD resolution seen in the Pixel 7 Pro, but it's a match for last year's standard model in all the ways that matter. In some cases, the specs of the Pixel 7a are actually better than the Pixel 7. For instance, it's got a slightly larger battery and a camera system with more megapixels.
Speaking of, the rear-facing half of the Pixel 7a features a bar-shaped camera bump analogous to the one found on its 2022 counterpart. The lenses have been shuffled around, but the hardware holds its own.
Held up against last year's Pixel 6a, Google has traded up from 12MP on the main lens to a 64MP sensor. The wide-angle lens that complements the primary one is also getting bumped up to 13MP from 12MP. While those numbers don't tell the whole story, there's a case to be made that this upgrade puts Google's latest A-Series device right behind the Pixel 7 Pro when it comes to the capabilities of its camera.
After about two weeks of messing with it, I came away more than just satisfied with what the Pixel 7a's rear camera could do. As with other Pixel phones, it often feels like Google is casting a spell on the images you capture.
In almost every situation, and especially in those where you'd expect a phone of this price point to struggle, the Pixel 7a delivered results that I actively wanted to share on social media.
The Magic Eraser built into the Google Photos editor is hardly new at this point, but it should be mentioned in light of the upgraded take on the feature that Google showed off at its most recent I/O conference. It's one thing to have a phone that can take nice photos. It's another to have one that can help you fix bad ones. Scrubbing unwanted details out of an otherwise perfect shot without having to leave your camera is a small change that yields a big difference here.
Features like these are not just helping teach less tech-literate users to do things they would otherwise do in Photoshop in a more intuitive and accessible way. It is fascinating to think about what the long-tail and second-order effects of making that kind of image manipulation more democratised and accessible might look like. Right now though,
In any case and regardless of which lens or camera mode I used, the Pixel 7a proved itself capable of delivering impressive shots and reliable results. Check out the gallery below for a sense of what it can do.
Google Pixel 7a - Performance and battery life
As with the camera, a lot of what's here when it comes to performance is a clear improvement on last year's Google Pixel 6a.
There's only one model of the Pixel 7a available, but it comes with the Google Tensor G2 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. That last one aside, the specs here are a tangible upgrade on those of the previous model.
This spec bump is easy to get excited about, but the results are rarely surprising. The story here is a bit of a rehash of that of the previous A-Series device. The second-generation Tensor processor isn't quite capable of outperforming the likes of Apple's A15 Bionic, but it's miles ahead of anything else you'll find at this price point.
Apps loaded fast, multitasking was a breeze and graphically demanding games like Honkai Star Rail ran well on the Pixel 7a. All told Google's latest budget-friendly handset isn't exactly going to break speed records when it comes to performance, but it's more than fast enough on most fronts. This is not a phone built for edge cases so much as it is for everyday use.
The battery life supports this in strong form. There's a 4388mAh battery inside the Pixel 7a. I found that I'd usually end up getting about two days off a single charge, landing at around 60% battery remaining at the end of the first. Throw in the convenience of both wireless and fast charging, and there's little to complain about here.
It doesn't reach the 3-day highs that some budget and mid-range phones offer, but it's hard to imagine finding anything with better battery performance and as many bells and whistles as the Pixel 7a.
Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7
This year's Google Pixel 7a makes it extremely difficult to recommend last year's Pixel 7. It's got almost all the same features and a much more attractive price point. While the two devices do differ slightly in terms of overall built quality, the only major things you're missing out on if you opt for the cheaper one are a larger screen and reverse wireless charging.
If a 6.1-inch display sounds like it might be a little cramped for your liking, the Pixel 7 is going to be the right way to go. However, for everyone else, the Pixel 7a is likely going to be the better value buy.
For a deeper comparison, check out our guide to the differences between the Google Pixel 7a, Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
Is Google Pixel 7a worth buying?
The Google Pixel 7a is Google's best affordable flagship since its first one. With a cutting-edge processor, capable camera, distinct design and better-than-bearable battery life, it's a phone that ticks all the boxes at an incredibly competitive price.
There are reasons to consider the alternatives, but it's indicative of just how good the Pixel 7a is that it's easier to list the short list of reasons to strike it out than it is to roll out the red carpet for all the reasons that it rules. After the way that past A-Series devices shook up the mid-range market, I can't wait to see what this one does to the flagship end of things.
If you feel like giving in to astonishment, then it's safe to say that the Google Pixel 7a is pretty much the best deal in Android phones right now.
How does the Google Pixel 7a compare?
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|See it at Amazon||Google Tensor G2||6.1-inches|
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|See it at Amazon||Snapdragon 480+ 5G||6.5-inches|
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|See it at Bing Lee||Exynos 1380||6.55-inches|
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|See it at The Good Guys||Snapdragon 888+ 5G||6.55-inches|
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|See it at Kogan||Snapdragon 778+ 5G||6.55-inches|
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|See it at Telstra||Google Tensor||6.1-inches|
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|See it at Amazon||Mediatek Dimensity 900 5G||6.4-inches|
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|See it at Amazon||A15 Bionic||4.7-inches|