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Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: Key differences you should know about

The Google Pixel 7a represents Google’s latest budget-friendly smartphone with key upgrades compared to last year’s Pixel 6a, but how does it compare to the more premium Pixel 7?

Upon first glance, the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Both have the same overall design, the same Tensor G2 chipset at their heart and the same 90Hz display.

Look a little deeper though and there are certain aspects that do set the two Google phones apart. If you’re on the fence about which model is best for you, keep on reading for a full breakdown of the differences between the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7a.

The camera systems are both very good – even if they’re different

Pixel phones have, since the very beginning, focussed a lot on cameras – and that’s very much the case with both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7a. Both phones feature two rear cameras compromising of a wide and an ultrawide alongside a single front camera.

Neither phone has a dedicated telephoto lens and you’ll need to upgrade to the Pixel 7 Pro for that.

The Pixel 7 has a main 50MP Octa PD Quad Bayer wide camera with an f/1.85 aperture and a 114-degree 12MP ultrawide camera. You can see a number of sample photos in our Google Pixel 7 review, but it’s safe to say that performance is impressive not only among the price point but the wider smartphone market, only really usurped by the Pixel 7 Pro.

On the other hand, the Pixel 7a has a 64MP main camera and a slightly wider 13MP 120-degree ultrawide. The combination proved successful, with our reviewer noting that not only does the Pixel 7a take brighter, more detailed and colour-accurate photos than the mid-range competition but, in well-lit conditions, shots are indistinguishable from both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

Google Pixel 7a in Snow
Pixel 7a

The Pixel 7a has a higher megapixel count on the front camera – 13MP vs 12MP – though it has a narrower field of view.

The Pixel 7a is slightly smaller and lighter

A-series phones have typically been smaller than their pricier counterparts, and that theme continues here. The Pixel 7a isn’t dramatically smaller than the 7, but there are key differences.

For instance, the Pixel 7 weighs 197g while the 7a tips the scales at 193g. The 7a is smaller too though not thinner, measuring 152.4 x 72.9 x 9mm rather than 155.5 x 73.2 x 8.7mm, though this isn’t that noticeable when comparing the two side-by-side.

This difference in size really comes from the smaller display on the Pixel 7a. Whereas the regular Pixel 6 has a 6.3-inch screen, the 7a is 6.1-inches.

Pixel 7
Pixel 7

Thankfully both phones have the same OLED screen tech, a 90Hz max refresh rate (up form 60Hz on the Pixel 6a) and a FHD+ resolution.

You will get a slightly improved IP rating with the Pixel 7

One of the smaller differences between the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 7 is the IP rating they have. Google has ensured the pricier, higher-end Pixel 7 has a higher IP68 rating, while the Pixel 7a is a lower IP67 rating.

Now, in real-world situations, the difference between the two can be minimal and both will offer some protection from 30 minutes of submersion in fresh water for an hour. For a full breakdown of the differences, check out our IP67 vs IP68 guide.

Google Pixel 7a in Coral
Pixel 7a

There is a larger storage option available with the Pixel 7

In the UK at least, the Pixel 7a will be sold in a single 8GB RAM and 128GB storage option – hardly ideal if you’re keen on storing hours of video, thousands of photos and multiple games for offline use. The lack of any expandable storage doesn’t help the situation either.

With the Pixel 7, there’s a 256GB option (alongside the standard 128GB) for those who need more space.

You will save more money on the Pixel 7a

If we’re looking purely in terms of RRP, the Pixel 7a is the cheaper option. It starts at £449/$499, whereas the Pixel 7 officially costs £499/$599. However, we have seen the Pixel 7 drop quite substantially from certain retailers, bringing the Pixel 7 quite close to the cost of the Pixel 7a.

We’d also expect to see the Pixel 7 continue to drop in price ahead of the Pixel 8’s release later in the year.

They come in various colours

Both the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 come in Charcoal (black) and Snow (white), however there are some version-exclusive hues only for specific models. The Pixel 7a, for instance, comes in Coral and Sea, while the Pixel 7 is in Lemongrass.

Google Pixel 7a in Sea
Pixel 7a in Snow

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