Having reviewed phones as part of my living for the past decade, I've seen more than my fair share of the best phones, including the best affordable phones (and, frankly, some of the worst phones too). The Google Pixel 7a, however, deserves a high position up any Android-interested shopper's list.
Announced at Google I/O 2023 – the search giant's annual developer's conference –I'd been using the phone for a week and still stand by my 7a review assessment that "affordable Android doesn't get better than this". Except, that is, for one major downside that I still can't get over.
I thought sticking with the Pixel 7a would see its clever software smooth out battery life per charge. I'd even been bold enough to turn off some battery-saving features and elect for the 90Hz screen to run as such. But, alas, all of this has just reinforced that, well, the Google Pixel 7a's battery life is barely acceptable.
As I write this I'm actually moving between the Pixel 7a and lesser-known Vivo X90 Pro – yes, partly because it's my job, but partly because the weekend just gone saw the Pixel 7a drop to sub-10% levels of battery hours before I was due to go to bed. A 14 hour battery life just doesn't cut it for me.
I'll be writing a Vivo X90 Pro review in due course – it's said to have killer cameras, as a T3 colleague wrote about – but already that phone's circa-500mAh battery increase (it's 4870mAh versus the 7a's 4385mAh) has seen it lasting far better than the Pixel. It makes me kinda want to cry about Google's somehow lacklustre longevity per charge, especially in the face of slow charging – even if wireless charging is now part of the entry-level Pixel's package.
So should you buy the Google Pixel 7a? While I want to give you wholehearted 'yes!' encouragement – because this phone has so much that's great about it, especially the cameras (which make the iPhone SE look like a relic) – the only reason my review wasn't a 5-star result is because of the battery life. If you're less of a power user than I am then, sure, the 7a is a no-brainer superb purchase. But when it comes to the Pixel 8 series, one of the big things I want to see is battery boosted, that's for sure.