Hello! I am Ihor Tsentylo and this is my first article written specifically for Mezhа. In it, I will talk about my experience using the Google Pixel 7a. I placed an order for the smartphone immediately after watching the online presentation, and since I now live in Britain, I received it on the first day of sales. I should note that I used the trade-in service for my old Pixel 6a, which I also bought on the first day of sales and used for a whole year, accordingly, and I will compare my new smartphone with the previous one.
Important: I am an ordinary, average smartphone user, and everything I describe in this article is my subjective opinion about the Pixel 7a, which in no way is imposed on anyone, you can agree with it, or disagree – that’s your business, I just decided to share my experience of using it in the hope that it will be useful to someone. Therefore, if anyone has additional questions, I will gladly answer them in the comments.
Before buying a smartphone, I had a good understanding of what to expect, because this is not my first, not second, or even third Pixel, and I know how they behave, especially in the first months after purchase. In this case, miracles did not happen either, and small bugs and software errors sometimes appear, which most Android users are already used to and, I think, do not pay much attention to.
However, the Pixel smartphone line, in my personal opinion, is the quintessence of hardware and software from Google, so the software looks exactly as the manufacturer intended, and I perceive all other “add-ons” from other brands as a spoof of something original. I agree that this way of looking at things is not popular enough, but everyone has their fetish, so we have what we have. If I ever need a laptop with a Windows operating system, it is obvious that I will choose a model from Microsoft.
Official Pixel 7a UK price is 449 pounds, and Google Pixel Buds A, which alone cost 99 pounds, were gifted with the order.
This time they came in handy and went to my wife, whereas I sold the previous ones as I already had them and have been using them since I bought the Pixel 5 (really cool earbuds by the way). The old smartphone was valued at 175 pounds, during the inspection the price was not reduced and I received the funds in full, as stated on the website.
First impressions of the Pixel 7a
To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the color options in the new line, so I chose blue (Sea). But when I received and unpacked the Pixel 7a, I was pleasantly surprised, because in real life it looks much better than in the advertising brochures, although it has certain differences from the previous model.
The first thing you pay attention to is the frame around the screen, which, due to the difference in the colors of the bezel and the display frame itself, seems larger, although it is the same. But the rim itself became a little higher, due to which the finger constantly clings to it during swipes, and does not slide like in the previous model.
There is also a significant difference in the appearance of the camera unit of the Pixel 7a, because here it is made in the color of the body and because of this it looks a little strange due to the black holes of the cameras. In the previous model, it was black and glass, so it seemed like a complete element, so to speak.
Key differences and their meaning in real life
The screen size has not changed, but now has a frequency of 90 Hz. Yes, it is a little noticeable, although I personally do not consider this option a critical characteristic, and if it was only 60 Hz, I would still have bought a smartphone.
A strange fact – out of the box this item is disabled and the Pixel 7a works in 60 Hz mode, a higher refresh rate must be turned on separately, for example, I found this item by accident.
Tensor G2 processor. Platform performance was enough for me even in the previous version, but thanks to the update, new functions appeared in Google Photo, which cannot but please. And during the next six months, they promise to add new capabilities based on artificial intelligence, so you need to wait for a little here, although certain updates have already been added.
Camera. Of course, everyone’s favorite camera has become even better. For myself, I noted two important differences. The first is that the main camera has become a little “lighter”, which cannot help but please, because this was lacking. And the second is that the front camera of the Pixel 7a has a wide-angle mode, because the previous model did not have it, and it was problematic to take a selfie with friends because not everyone fits into the frame.
NFC module. Its work has simply become head and shoulders above, compared to the previous model. Now it is enough to simply bring the smartphone to the terminal and the payment is successful. While in the previous model, the top of the smartphone had to be positioned exactly above the contactless payment mark on the terminal. And if it was not possible to do this, then in the best case, the payment simply did not go through, and in the worst case, the terminal displayed an error and the cashier had to resend the transaction from the cash register, which was not very pleasant for both me and the people standing behind me in line.
They also added wireless charging, but, frankly, with such power, I don’t even know who might need it, except to simply maintain the charge in the car.
In everything else, it’s still the same smartphone, so you should upgrade to it only if you really want to change your previous model because the differences are really insignificant.
Battery: With active use, of course, it is not enough for the whole day, but I did not count on this, because few smartphones in this price segment can boast of this. At the same time, I do not play games, I mainly use the browser, messengers, maps, navigation, and YouTube.
The charging speed seems to have increased a little according to the documents, in real life it is not very noticeable, since I mostly put the smartphone to charge when I go to bed, and thanks to the intelligent mode, it slowly charges until the time I set the alarm.
Underscreen scanner: Works long enough and not always from the first time, no miracle happened.
The brightness of the screen is sufficient for almost any usage scenario, although, on a sunny day, it can be difficult to see something.
A little bit about bugs
Since I wrote this text after a month of using the smartphone, I will mention some software bugs. Here and there, various small problems come out, although it gets better every day, it feels like the smartphone caches all the information it needs, learns on its own, and its performance is constantly improving. I think that in a few months, it will work as it should, that is, like my previous smartphone.
Of the usual bugs, I can note:
- Automatic update of applications from Play Market does not work, so you need to update manually;
- Sharing photos/videos from the device gallery to Instagram does not work the first time, you need to close and do it again – only then it works;
- Editing a photo immediately after taking a picture is buggy, the download icon just spins endlessly, and you have to close the application and start editing from the gallery;
- Leaving the house where Wi-Fi was working — very often LTE does not appear automatically, so you need to turn on airplane mode for a second and then everything works. I thought it was a Kyivstar problem, but the same with another mobile operator in another country;
- Display of the charge of the “native” Pixel Buds A, which works two out of three times;
- The update of information in standard widgets does not work, so their use is reduced to zero, but to get the necessary information, you still need to open the application, and then the information will be updated.
This list can be continued, but I don’t want it to look like a negative experience of operation, because perfect devices simply do not exist and everything has its own shortcomings.
But despite all the disadvantages, using the Pixel 7a is quite a pleasure, and frankly speaking, I am shocked by the fact that some reviewers who want to see the functions of the flagships of other brands in the budget segment are criticizing this smartphone. In my opinion, you get even more than you bargained for!
Considering all of the above, I consider the Pixel 7a to be one of the best on the market, certainly in this price segment. Because I deliberately chose it having previous experience with “pixels”. And if Google closed its smartphone division, I would be very disappointed and I can’t even imagine which Android brand I would dare to switch to. Unless it’s a geek smartphone from Sony, but for that budget, it would probably be an Apple smartphone.