Google recently introduced the Pixel 7a – an budget phone that’s a little more expensive than its predecessor, but cheaper than the Pixel 7, trading in a few features to achieve said price. With Google’s tendency to favor an all-plastic build over the A series, one would assume that there’s no way the Pixel 7a is going to be more powerful than the flagship Pixel 7 Pro. However, YouTuber Zack Nelson’s classic durability test has a surprising result.
JerryRigEverything’s channel has made a name for itself in the YouTube tech community for its videos pushing devices as far as their endurance can go. With the $500 Pixel 7a, Google seems to have made a very solid phone, despite the liberal use of plastic in the construction. The phone has metal side rails, detachable metal buttons, and a metal SIM tray, all with proper closures to maintain the device’s IP67 water resistance.
The Pixel 7a’s screen holds up to 25 seconds directly under a lighter flame, and the OLED panel recovers completely. Its camera visor is still made of metal and scratches easily. The screen has Corning Gorilla Glass protection, so it’s okay to share a pocket with keys and coins, but sand and other harder materials can leave a mark. The plastic back panel also causes razor blade scratches. Therefore, you would be better off buying a protective case for the Pixel 7a, but not for the same reasons as the 7 Pro.
Nelson suggests that we avoid associating plastic with low-cost or cheap things, noting that toys and gadgets built to last also use plastic. While we understand that Google’s use of plastic on the Pixel 7a helps keep the cost down, there’s a counterargument to the fact that the screen is glass whether you like it or not. However, the latest Pixel isn’t as weak as the 7 Pro, as we can see in a recent bend test.
Google also made an interesting design decision to separate the metal camera visor from the metal frame of the new budget phone. Although it appears as a structural weakness, the phone withstands Nelson’s vigorous bending tests impressively well, showing no signs of permanent deformation. So maybe a slim case will suffice, because Google’s design doesn’t need help with structural rigidity here.
Google clearly learned valuable lessons from the Pixel 7 Pro’s design, and made the Pixel 7a nearly twice as rugged for just over half the price of the Pro model. You get your money’s worth here, and the Pixel 7a is well on its way to becoming one of the best budget phones out there.
Google Pixel 7a
The Pixel 7a doesn’t quite fit into any one box. On the one hand, it’s Google’s cheapest phone — but on the other hand, it matches the flagship Pixel 7 with features like a 90Hz screen and wireless charging. So it’s not a budget phone, and it’s not a mid-range phone in the true sense of the word, but it does pack some serious value for its price.
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