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The best Google Pixel 7a alternatives: 5 phones to consider before you buy

Not in love with the Pixel 7a? Here are five other phones that could make a good alternative to the Pixel 7a.
August 7, 2023

After months of rumors and leaks, the Pixel 7a became official on May 10th. The latest mid-range shares a similar design to its predecessor but also introduces some firsts for the Pixel A series, including wireless charging, faster refresh rates, and an improved camera. Not sure if the Pixel 7a is right for you, or simply curious about the best Pixel 7a alternatives? In this guide, we break down all the best options for those that are looking for an affordable yet powerful smartphone. Be sure to also check out our Pixel 7a review for our verdict.

Google Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7a
AA Editors Choice
Google Pixel 7a
The best sub-$500 camera phone • Solid performance and plenty of RAM • Improved 90Hz display
MSRP: $499.00
The essential Pixel experience
The Pixel 7a delivers more premium features than ever for under $500, such as wireless charging support, a 90Hz refresh rate display, and a 64MP camera.

Update (Aug 7, 2023): This post was originally published on May 10th, but has been updated to reflect dropped pricing for the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G and the addition of the Nothing Phone 2.

The best Google Pixel 7a alternatives

Looking to make a quick decision? Here are our top alternatives to the Pixel 7a and a brief breakdown of who we recommend it to:

  • The Pixel 6a is the best value: At just $350, you get a balanced phone that offers a similar experience to the Pixel 7a, just with a slightly pared-back camera, an older SoC, and a slightly less refined design. The latter point is subjective, of course.
  • The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G has the best display: The Galaxy A54 has a weaker SoC than the 7a, but it's still more than capable of a solid Android experience. It also has a big, beautiful display with a high refresh rate. If you can catch it on sale, it also nearly rivals the 6a in value.
  • The iPhone SE (2022) is the best compact phone: If you like small phones, you'll love this one. It's rare to see a phone with a 4.7-inch display, though the downside is the rest of the design also looks like it was ripped out of the 2010s. Thankfully the specs under the hood are essentially flagship quality.
  • The Motorola Edge (2022) is best for deal hunters: The Motorola Edge (2022) isn't a bad phone, but it's not an exciting one either. Design and performance are decent but never stand out in any way. The good news is you can find this phone for pretty cheap, so if you hunt for the right deal and can find it for less than the other options on this list, we'd definitely consider it.
  • The Pixel 7 is for those who want a flagship experience at a value: The Pixel 7a is a good phone and, in many ways, feels like a flagship, but its design and a few other cut corners betray it as a budget device. If you want a more premium experience but don't want to pay Apple or Samsung flagship prices, the Pixel 7 costs around $600 but has been seen on sale for as little as $400. If you have a bit more money to spend you'll get a more powerful camera, a more premium design, and a few other advantages.
  • The Nothing Phone 2 is for those that want something different but familiar: The Nothing pHone 2 is a great option if you want something flashier and unique, but with the same minimalist approach you'd get with a Pixel. With its somewhat gimmicky Glyph lighting, above-average specs, and stock-like Android experience — this is a great alternative to Google as it stays the closest to Google's vision while offering alternative hardware.

Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6aGoogle Pixel 6a
AA Recommended
Google Pixel 6a
Powerful Tensor chip • Excellent cameras • Great software
MSRP: $449.00
The cameras and software make the Pixel 6a stand out
This affordable phone has everything most people need: A great design, fantastic cameras, an outstanding software experience, and a long-term update commitment.

The Pixel 7a may be Google’s latest budget phone, but don’t discount te the Pixel 6a. This phone is one heck of a value. This is especially true now that Google has dropped the price tag down to $350!

The original Tensor G1 processor powers the Pixel 6a, paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. While the G2 obviously brings some new improvements and greater raw speed, the G1 is still extremely powerful — after all, it’s a flagship-class chip, even if it’s now a year old. The display on the Pixel 6a is very similar to the 7a, though slightly smaller and with a lower refresh rate. It’s more than capable of getting the job done,  but the Pixel 7a is a slight upgrade. Battery life isn’t as good as we’d wish, but the 4,410mAh battery is capable of making it through a whole day with a little juice left over. And for what it’s worth, the Pixel 7a doesn’t perform much differently here anyhow.

Even more crucially, the Pixel 6a has a great camera. Although the Pixel 7a introduced a 64MP main camera and other photography improvements, Google’s real magic has always been its camera software, processing, and AI enhancements. The 12.2MP shooter is more than capable of making the most of Google’s advanced camera features, including the impressive Magic Eraser. It’s also worth noting the selfie camera on the 6a is actually the same as the 7a, so don’t expect much difference there.

While the Pixel 7a is arguably a better-looking phone thanks to the new metallic camera bar and other refinements, the Pixel 6a is still an attractive handset. Some may even prefer the design if you weren’t impressed by the changes introduced to Google’s design language with the Pixel 7.

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 7a: Advantages

  • The Pixel 6a is a much better value at $350

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 7a: Disadvantages

  • The Pixel 7a has a stronger camera
  • The Pixel 7a has a next-gen processor and 2GB more RAM
  • The Pixel 7a has wireless charging

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

Samsung Galaxy A54 5GSamsung Galaxy A54 5G
AA Recommended
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
Galaxy S23-inspired design • Color-rich, fluid display • Excellent update commitment
MSRP: $449.99
The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G packs a Galaxy S23-like experience into an affordable shell
The Galaxy A54 5G bridges the gap between Samsung's mid-range phones to its flagships. It rocks a premium design with a flexible camera setup and one of the best software commitments in the Android game, all while hanging onto its affordable $449 price tag for yet another generation.

The Galaxy A54 5G is one of the most obvious rivals to the Pixel family. Essentially a Galaxy S23 FE by another name, the Galaxy A54 5G packs a design almost as premium as a true Galaxy S flagship. Previously it was on sale for as little as $350, but right now it’s back up to $449. While this isn’t quite as good, it’s still a decent price for what you get.

The Galaxy A54 5G is powered by an in-house Exynos 1380 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. While this chip isn’t as powerful as the Tensor G2, we found it performed at near flagship levels in most basic tasks, and even with gaming and other productivity, it managed to handle quite well. One nice extra you won’t find with a Pixel is microSD expansion. On the flip side, the Galaxy A54 5G has an amazing display. The 6.4-inch panel gets sufficiently bright and has a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. While it’s not quite as good as a flagship panel, it comes very close.

Google and Samsung are both leaders in mobile photography, and while the Pixel 7a looks great, the Galaxy A54 5G doesn’t disappoint either. Samsung’s kitchen-sink approach to features is well alive in the camera app. The photos were solid, too, with decent color accuracy and detail. Until we spend more time with the two phones side-by-side, it’s hard to say which has the better camera, but both phones offer some of the best photography you’ll find in the mid-range.

It’s a known fact that Pixel phones aren’t great when it comes to battery life, but that’s not an issue for the A54 5G, thanks to its hefty 5,000mAh battery. During our tests, we found it could easily make it through an entire day’s use with change to spare. In our review, we’d typically go to bed with at least 35% battery.

Galaxy A54 5G vs Pixel 7a: Advantages

  • The Galaxy A54 5G is currently much cheaper
  • The Galaxy A54 5G has a better display than the A54
  • The Galaxy A54 5G has microSD for expansion

Galaxy A54 5G vs Pixel 7a: Disadvantages

  • The Pixel 7a has a stronger camera
  • The Pixel 7a has a next-gen processor and 2GB more RAM
  • The Pixel 7a has wireless charging

iPhone SE (2022)

Apple iPhone SE (2022)Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Guaranteed long-term software updates • Improved battery life • Powerful A15 Bionic chipset
MSRP: $429.00
One of the most affordable iPhones you can get
The latest iPhone SE has the same body as its predecessor but sports a faster chipset, more RAM, and a bigger battery.

If you’re exclusively an Android user, the iPhone SE (2022) probably isn’t for you, and you might be better off with another option on the list. For those that are open to another platform, the iPhone SE (2022) packs a ton of features and performance into a surprisingly well-priced iPhone.

The iPhone SE (2022) is an odd device, shoving modern-day specs into a basically decade-old design. Unless you love small phones, you’re not buying this one for the looks or its tiny 4.7-inch display. What you do get is a powerful Apple A15 Bionic processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. While the storage space is paltry, don’t let 4GB of RAM fool you. Apple’s optimizations mean you need a lot less RAM than you do with an Android device. As for the actual SoC? The A15 Bionic easily keeps up with the Tensor G2 and offers a similar flagship-quality experience at a mid-range price.

Just like Samsung and Google, Apple is known for its photography chops. Unfortunately, Apple’s mid-ranger just doesn’t hold up to this promise. Its single 12MP shooter is fine for basic images with decent enough detail — in good lighting. It’s not that the iPhone SE (2022) has a bad camera for a mid-range phone; it’s just that all the options that came before it on the list manage to give us a better photography experience.

Just like the Pixel 7a, the iPhone SE (2022) isn’t a battery champion, but it can make it through a whole day with at least a few percent to spare. On the bright side, it’s one of the only mid-range phones outside the Pixel 7a to have wireless charging. Like the former device, it’s only 7.5W Qi charging, but still it’s a nice extra few phones offer at this price.

iPhone SE (2022) 5G vs Pixel 7a: Advantages

  • Powerful processor that screams flagship
  • Affordable, especially compared to other iPhones

iPhone SE (2022) vs Pixel 7a: Disadvantages

  • The Pixel 7a has a more modern design
  • The Pixel 7a has a better camera
  • The Pixel 7a has a better display

Motorola Edge (2022)

Motorola Edge (2022)Motorola Edge (2022)
Motorola Edge (2022)
Excellent 144Hz display • Impressive battery life • Clean software experience
MSRP: $499.99
A value-packed Motorola phone
There's plenty to like about the Motorola Edge (2022). It offers great value for money and has more than enough power for most people. The handset also has a stock-like software experience, great speakers, and a lot more.

Motorola isn’t a name we hear about nearly as much as we used to, but the Motorola Edge (2022) is a reasonably decent option if you’re looking for a good value. On paper, the Motorola Edge (2022) gets a lot right. The reality is a bit more complicated.

Let’s start with the obvious: this is a big phone. It has a large 6.6-inch OLED display with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Despite the high refresh rate, the panel itself isn’t necessarily the brightest or best, but it’s certainly not below average either. If you want a big screen and a high refresh rate, you’ll like this one. Just don’t expect the same panel quality you’d get with the Galaxy A54 5G or even the Pixel 7a.

Under the hood, you’ll get a MediaTek Dimensity 1050. This is a decent enough mid-range chip, but it’s not nearly as capable as the other options on this list. Expect some minor lag and stutters. Thankfully Motorola makes up for this a little by packing in 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The Motorola Edge has a 50MP wide main camera, backed up by a 13MP ultrawide and 2MP depth cam. If camera quality matters to you more than value or size, the Motorola Edge (2022) might not be the right fit for you. From our research, we’ve found most reports suggest it takes average photos in decent lighting conditions, but not nearly as impressive as you might believe when looking at the spec sheet.

Battery life is one of Motorola Edge’s stronger points. You’ll easily get 7 hours or more screen time in a single day thanks to its beefy 5,000mAh battery. You also get really fast charging compared to most other mid-rangers. Wired charging speeds are at 30W, while wireless is 15W. The Pixel 7a and iPhone SE both have 7.5W wireless charging, so this is basically double the speed.

If you care about updates, be aware Motorola has a less-than-spotless history of keeping its promises and so even though the company claims you’ll get three major OS upgrades and four security patches, we wouldn’t hold them to it. If you care about software updates and security patches, you’re going to get much better support from Google, Samsung, and Apple.

The Motorola Edge isn’t a bad phone and a decent alternative if you aren’t impressed by Google, Samsung, or Apple’s offerings. But it could be better. The problem is Motorola seems to think bigger is better, checking off boxes while doing little to offer a phone that truly stands out. The biggest redeemer is you can currently find the phone for just $350.

Motorola Edge (2022) vs Pixel 7a: Advantages

  • Extremely affordable thanks to sales pricing
  • Fast 15W wireless charging is a nice extra
  • The Edge is a better choice if you want a big display with a high refresh rate

Motorola Edge (2022) vs Pixel 7a: Disadvantages

  • The Pixel 7a has a better processor
  • The Pixel 7a has a better camera

Google Pixel 7

Google Pixel 7Google Pixel 7
AA Editors Choice
Google Pixel 7
Tensor G2 processor • Upgraded camera • Low price
MSRP: $599.00
Value for money like no other
The Pixel 7 is a flagship Pixel for everyone. It offers the next-gen Google processor, some terrific specs, and a reasonable price. You can upgrade to the Pixel 7 Pro if you want a larger display and even better cameras.

The Pixel 7 could be the perfect Pixel 7a alternative if you like what Google is offering but want fewer compromises than you’ll get with the Pixel A series. Just like the Pixel 7a, you’ll get a Tensor G2 processor with 8GB of RAM, though there are also storage options up to 256GB. Right now you can get the base model on sale via Amazon for just $600, which is only $150 more than the 7a.

While the under-the-hood performance will be similar to the Pixel 7a, the Pixel 7 has a few advantages. First, it has a slightly larger 6.32-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. This is higher than the 90Hz refresh rate on the Pixel 7a. You’ll also get a slightly bigger battery at 4,355mAh, though, as we noticed in our Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7 comparison, battery life is actually not too much different.

Of course, what really makes the Pixel 7 stand apart from the Pixel 7a is a more premium glass and metal design, as well as a more powerful camera package. You’ll find a few other differences, like faster wireless charging and IP68 water and dust resistance versus IP67 on the Pixel 7a.

Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 7a: Advantages

  • More premium design
  • Better camera experience

Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 7a: Disadvantages

  • More expensive

Nothing Phone 2

Nothing Phone 2Nothing Phone 2
AA Recommended
Nothing Phone 2
Expertly crafted, effortlessly cool design • Flagship-tier performance • Excellent value
MSRP: $599.00
The Nothing Phone gets a power boost.
Building on the success of Nothing's debut Android handset, the Nothing Phone 2 features the same unique transparent look and Glyph lighting but adds more processing power, a larger screen and battery, and makes some subtle design tweaks. You can also buy this one in the US!

The Nothing Phone 2 is a bit more expensive at $599, making it priced more similarly to the Pixel 7 and is $150 more than the Pixel 7a. Still, if you can spend a bit extra, this is a pretty decent Pixel 7a alternative. Depending on your variant, you’ll get either 8 or 12GB of RAM and storage options as high as 512GB. There’s a much faster processor here than you’d get with the Pixel 7a, as the Nothing Phone 2 comes equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1.

The camera on the Nothing Phone 2 isn’t bad per say, but it’s nowhere near what you’d get with the Pixel 7a. On the bright side, you get a bigger display at 6.7 inches, and it has other advantages, including a 120Hz variable refresh rate and 1,600 nits peak brightness. The battery on the Nothing Phone 2 is also vastly superior, at 4,700mAh. This is a phone capable of making it through a day and a half, while the Pixel 7a struggles to make it through a full day.

The Glyph is another reason to consider the Nothing Phone 2. The somewhat gimmicky set of lights on the back makes the phone stand out in a crowd, even more so than the Pixel 7a’s unique design. They also have legit uses for setting timers, making custom flash patterns for contacts, and more.

Nothing Phone 2 vs Pixel 7a: Advantages

  • Arguably cooler design
  • Much more powerful processor

Nothing Phone 2 vs Pixel 7a: Disadvantages

  • More expensive