The new Pixel 7a comes in four colors.

The Google Pixel 7a is the latest entry-level Android smartphone from Google. Announced at this year’s I/O conference (and available immediately) the 7a boasts an impressive amount of tech and features for the money. Specifically, it gains Google’s latest processor and security features, as well as wireless charging, an improved display, and a seriously upgraded main camera, all for $499. Let’s take a closer look.

Camera improvements

The main rear camera has been significantly overhauled compared to the Pixel 6a. Resolution jumps from 12MP to 64MP, making the 7a the highest-resolution Pixel phone on the market, besting even the 50MP main cameras found on the Pixel 7 and 7 pro.

The new sensor is 72% larger, which Google says should translate into 44% more light-gathering capability

But resolution isn’t everything. The new sensor is 72% larger in size compared to that of its predecessor, which Google says should translate into 44% more light-gathering capability. We’d expect this will lead to some serious improvements when it comes to lowlight photography.

Speaking of which, Night Site now works twice as fast compared to the 6a. In this mode, the camera shoots and combines multiple shots, using AI, to output an image that truly captures the ambiance of a scene. This is a great alternative to using your flash. And the faster the smartphone can work its Night Site magic, the less still your subjects need to stay.

The Pixel 7a gains Long Exposure mode, which allows users to blur areas of an image with movement.

The 7a also gains Google’s Long Exposure mode, which similarly combines multiple exposures, allowing users to blur portions of the images with motion in post. Other new editing tools include Google’s Photo Unblur function, as well as a new AI-powered Magic Eraser tool.

Both the rear ultra-wide and front-facing cameras have also been upgraded and each sports a 13MP chip. Additionally, all three cameras are 4K/60p capable, though you surely get the best video quality from the main one. Finally, there’s no zoom or telephoto lens, but Super Res Zoom mode lets you lean into the high-res nature of the main camera sensor to crop in digitally up to 8x.

Display upgrades

This is the first Pixel ‘a’ phone with a 90Hz screen refresh rate.

The Pixel 7a uses the same 6.1-inch OLED display as its predecessor but now with a 90Hz refresh rate, compared to 60Hz on the 6a, which should result in a smoother, more visually-appealing user experience. However, it’s worth noting that 90Hz mode is not on by default, so be sure to manually turn it on if you do pick up a 7a.

Performance, storage & battery

It sports Google’s latest Tensor G2 chipset, borrowed from the other Pixel 7 phones, and boasts an impressive 8GB of RAM. Internally storage is locked at 128GB with no options for expansion.

The device is powered by a 4,385 mAh capacity battery, which is just a bit smaller in capacity than its predecessor. Wireless (7.5W) and wired (18W) charging are both supported—the former is a first for the ‘a’ series. Under the best conditions, Google says the Pixel 7a should provide up to 72 hours of battery life but we’re assuming that’s with the display set to 60Hz rather than 90Hz. So your mileage will surely vary.

Design & build

Keeping with the same basic design principles as other recent Pixel phones, the 7a is comprised of aluminum (100% recycled ) and thermoformed plastic. And its IP67 dust and water-resistant rating is the same as the Pixel 6a but not quite as comprehensive as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro (IP68).

Price & availability

The Google Pixel 7a is available now for $499 in four colors including Charcoal, Snow, Sea (light blue), and Bright Orange. That last one is available only from Google directly.

Finally, the Pixel 6a will remain on the market for a super-tempting price of just $349.

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