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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.
By

Published onMarch 1, 2024

The Pixel 7a became official on May 10, 2023. A year later, its successor has arrived.  While it’s no longer the latest and the greatest, the Pixel 7a is still one of the best mid-rangers you can buy. This model has a similar design to the 6a 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 who 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 7a is the best value: At just $499, you get a balanced phone that offers a similar experience to the Pixel 8a, just with a slightly pared-back camera, an older SoC. 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 (2023) is best for battery/charging: The Motorola Edge (2023) is a decent alternative to the Pixel 7a, even if it's not quite as good in terms of camera and processing power. It does have exceptional battery life, ultra-quick charging at 68W, and a much larger display than the Pixel 7a.
  • The Pixel 7 or Pixel 8 are 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 who 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 7a

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.

In 2023, Google took its budget series to a new level that gets even closer to high-end territory. The Google Pixel 7a starts at $499, which is a significant price increase. Still, it’s the most affordable phone in Google’s current lineup.

For starters, it has a few notable upgrades the community has long been asking for. The display now features a 90Hz refresh rate. While it’s still not quite as good as the 120Hz most flagships offer, it’s a nice improvement over the Pixel 6a. It also features wireless charging, although it’s limited to 7.5W wireless charging speeds. Additionally, the primary camera has been upgraded with a nice 64MP sensor. We found it to perform exceptionally well, thanks to pixel binning and the nice 0.8μm pixel size.

You’ll find this to be a near-premium handset in every other department, too. There is a Google Tensor G2 chipset inside, which we still find to get pretty hot, but it performs beautifully and works miracles with the camera quality. The 6GB of RAM isn’t too high, but it’s more than good enough for most casual users, as we didn’t experience any hiccups during our tests.

The battery is a tiny bit smaller at 4,385mAh (4,410mAh on the Pixel 6a), but we still managed to take the phone through a whole day of normal use, with 20% left over at the end of the night. The 18W charging speeds aren’t amazing, but they are pretty good. The display is pretty nice too, pairing a 6.1-inch OLED panel with a 1,080p resolution. It even has an IP67 rating.

Overall, we believe this is Google’s most polished mid-range phone, at least until the Pixel 8a arrived — check out our Pixel 7a review for more info. And there is now very little to complain about. The only issue we find is that it takes very little money to upgrade to the Pixel 7, which has a better build quality, faster 20W wireless charging, and faster 20W wired charging. The Pixel 8 ($699 at Amazon) offers even more, although the retail price of $699 puts it well out of the cheap phone category.

Another complication is that with the release of the Pixel 7a, the Pixel 6a dropped in price to $349 ($314 at Amazon). That’s a crazy good value, and you can often find it for even less on sale. This is one of the hottest deals in budget smartphones at the moment, so if you can do without the latest and greatest, it’s a fantastic value.

What makes it stand out

  • Great value: The Pixel 7a isn’t the cheapest phone you can buy, but it does offer the most value for the money. It has features and performance that you’ll only find on much more expensive devices.
  • Excellent camera performance: With an easy-to-use camera app and Google’s proprietary smarts, the Pixel 7a is easily among the best camera phones you can get in this price range.
  • Powerful Tensor chip: Previously only found in the Pixel 7 lineup, the Tensor G2 chip gives this budget phone flagship-level performance.
  • Clean software: Coming straight from Android’s source, the Pixel 6a’s software is as clean as it gets. Plus, it will get additional software features for years to come.
  • One-handed use: In an age when most phones are massive, the Pixel 7a keeps it manageable. It’s comfortable to use with one hand, easily pocketable, and highly portable.

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. 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 (2023)

Motorola Edge (2023)Motorola Edge (2023)
Motorola Edge (2023)
Slim, lightweight design • Excellent battery life • Improved IP rating
MSRP: $599.99
The 2023 Motorola Edge looks and feels better than its price tag would suggest.
The 2023 Motorola Edge offers a 6.6-inch curved pOLED 144Hz display, MediaTek Dimensity 7030 SoC, 68W fast charging, and IP68 certification.
See price at Amazon
Motorola Edge | 2023 | Unlocked | Made for US 8/256GB | 50MP Camera | Eclipse Black

Motorola has been on a roll recently, with popular devices like the Motorola Edge Plus (2023) and the Motorola Razr Plus. While both of these phones look great, maybe you’re looking for a cheaper option. The Motorola Edge (2023) is about $100 more than the Pixel 7a, but at least it’s still a pretty affordable device when you consider its specs. It’s also often on sale for the same or less than the Pixel 7a.

Like its predecessor, this isn’t a small phone, thanks to its beefy 6.6-inch pOLED with a refresh rate of 144Hz and peak brightness of up to 1,200 nis. Overall this is a good display and a notable upgrade from last year’s model with much better color accuracy.

Under the hood, you’ll find a Mediatek Dimensity 7030 SoC, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Performance is actually quite good with this chip, making it more than capable of running all your favorite apps and games.  There’s also a 4,400mAh battery that’s more than enough to get through a day and a half on a single charge with moderate usage. Even heavy usage should make it through a day with no trouble at all. Once it does get low, you can quickly charge things back up with impressive 68-watt wired charging speeds that are many times better than the Pixel 7a.

The Motorola Edge (2023) has a 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide camera. While they can take decent enough photos, especially in good lighting, the experience is much less impressive than the Pixel 7a. If you are really into photography, this phone might not be the best fit.

Motorola Edge (2023) vs Pixel 7a: Advantages

  • Extremely affordable thanks to sales pricing
  • Much faster wired charging speeds
  • 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 8

The Pixel 8 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. Best of all, you’ll also get the improved Tensor G3 processor that doesn’t seem to have the same level of overheating issues as the processor found in the 7a and the Pixel 7. Beyond the SoC, you’ll find higher storage options up to 256GB, a nicer 6.2-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and several new AI features. Battery life should also be a bit better with the Pixel 8.

Of course, what really makes the Pixel 8 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.

If you don’t mind spending a few hundred more, the Pixel 8 is a much more powerful phone than the Pixel 7a and its seven year OS update policy will ensure it keeps running smoothly for many years to come.

Google Pixel 8 vs Pixel 7a: Advantages

  • More premium design
  • Better camera experience
  • Better processor

Google Pixel 8 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

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