Google Pixel 7a Review: Flat, Solid, And Smart

  • Affordable price
  • Great camera performance
  • Solid battery life
  • Native 90Hz display
  • Wireless charging
  • Slippery without case

Google's lines between its low-end and high-end Pixel smartphones grow ever fuzzier. Where there were a few relatively obvious differences between the Google Pixel 6a and 6/6 Pro, it's not so apparent when it comes to Google's Pixel 7a, 7, and 7 Pro. Fresh for 2023, this 7a model has wireless charging capabilities now, as well as a set of cameras that can scarcely take a terrible photo despite their ever-so-slight differences in features from the more expensive Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.

The Google Pixel 7a is still in a war with Apple's iPhone SE family and the Samsung Galaxy A line of smartphones. But, with each generation, it appears that Google isn't just the company that makes Android, it's also the company that makes one of the most competitive smartphones on the market. With the Google Pixel 7a, 7, and 7 Pro, the company has an array of devices with the same heart and an aim to be a fine, simple, beautiful line of products, if only they could get regular consumers to take a chance.


The Google Pixel 7a has a 6.1-inch display, effectively the same as the Google Pixel 6a — with one important difference. The Google Pixel 6a could activate a sort-of-real 90Hz refresh rate if owners were willing to go through with a bit of hacking — with a special flashing of a beta of Android 13, and so forth. The Google Pixel 7a ignores the workarounds and offers a 90Hz refresh rate officially — start in Settings, go to Display, and fine Smooth Display — just as easy as it is with any higher-end Pixel.

The display on this Pixel 7a is perfectly generous for a smartphone released in 2023 — even if we're not just considering the price of the device. If you're absolutely dedicated to having a display that's higher definition than FHD+, you'll want to look to the Pixel 7 or 7 Pro, but the brightness, color, and size of the 7a's display should do the trick for most modern smartphone users.

The front and back of the device are protected by Gorilla Glass 3, while the sides, the buttons, and the camera array bridge at the back are all aluminum. The device is lovely to hold and behold, both with and without one of Google's own fitted Pixel cases.


The Pixel 7a has a camera array that might look confusingly upgraded compared to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. While the megapixel count on the Pixel 7a (64MP) is higher than it is with the standard 7 or 7 Pro (50MP), it's not rolling with the full set of highest-end camera hardware. There's no spectral and flicker sensor hardware in the Pixel 7a, for example, like you'll get on the Pixel 7 Pro.

You're also getting a slightly narrower field of view (80 instead of 82 degrees) and 0.8 μm pixel width instead of the 1.2 μm pixel width you get with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. There are a few other details that are ever-so-slightly different in the 7a vs the 7 or 7 Pro, but in the end, it's difficult to tell which camera took which photo — they all benefit from Google's smart image processing.

Much like pretty much every Google Pixel smartphone released so far, it's difficult to take a truly terrible photo, and easier than you might expect to capture something decent.

Above you'll see a few examples of photos captured with the Google Pixel 7a. Each of the photos shown in this camera section of this review was captured with the back-facing cameras of the Pixel 7a.


This is the first "a" series Pixel to have wireless charging support. Its absence had been one of the defining differences between the regular and "a" Pixel devices in the past — the lines between tiers continue to blur. The Pixel 7a has a 4,385 mAh battery inside: that's a slightly smaller capacity than what was squeezed into the Pixel 6a, but both devices have shown just as impressive daily battery life with regular usage. 

The Pixel 7a has "Fast Charging" like its predecessors, charging "up to 18 watts" with a charging rate claim based on use with an official Google 30W Charger. So, it has a very similarly-sized battery inside, the same wired charging speeds, and a newly-added ability to charge wirelessly with Qi wireless charging pads. 

One way or the other, regardless of how you're charging, this device is bound to be capable of running a full workday without needing a recharge.

Different Versions

There are at least three different versions of the Google Pixel 7a that buyers in the U.S. might want to be aware of. First off, there are models GWKK3 and GHL1X, both of which include 5G sub-6 compatibility — that's what most of the 5G you'll ever use in the U.S. will be connected with. Then there's a model G0DZQ which includes both 5G sub-6 and mmWave compatibility. Not all carriers work with 5G mmWave: this Pixel 7a has access to mmWave bands n260 and n261, both of which are used by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA.

As is always the case when purchasing a smartphone that's been released with different models and configurations, you should take care to confirm that you've purchased the model that'll work with your carrier of choice. There's a model G82U8 that's made for Japan only — if you somehow get that one and live in the U.S., you made a wrong turn.

All versions of the Google Pixel 7a work with the same features aside from their carrier bands. There are options for colors, too — there's Charcoal, Sea, Snow, and Coral. The Coral version is a Google Store exclusive.

Google Pixel 7a Verdict

The Google Pixel 7a is a solid piece of work. Google's created a smartphone that is as on-point as any Pixel they've made before. The value of this smartphone is at least as much as its retail price — pretty much what Google's "a" line of Pixel devices should aspire to be — when it comes down to it.

If you're looking for the Google Pixel 7a to purchase, you'll find it online through the official Google Store for a price of $499 starting today. That includes "5 years of Pixel updates" — which is Google's way of saying it'll definitely have 5 years of security updates and "may also include feature drops and other software updates," too. In the past we've seen everything from fresh digital key functionality to improved voice-to-text arrive in these periodic updates.

The Pixel 7a will also be offered at Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile USA — at this point, Google's ready to roll with all the big players in the U.S., right alongside their biggest competitors in Apple's iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy lineup. Now, all Google needs to do is reposition Pixel as your primary choice, rather than an also-ran alternative to the other two big brands.