Google’s recent I/O 2023 showcase saw the announcement of two brand-new smartphone models: the Pixel 7a and the pocket-sized Pixel Fold.
The new Pixel 7a comes fitted with the Google Tensor G2 chip for speedy performance, as well a 6.1-inch display equipped with up to a 90Hz refresh rate that promises a super responsive experience, while 8GB of RAM should provide plenty of storage space.
Google promises that the Pixel 7a will be its most durable A-series phone yet thanks to its metal frame, impressive IP67 rating and scratch-resistant display fortified by Corning Gorilla Glass.
Inside, the Tensor G2 chip provides next-gen processing that has been custom-made for the Pixel line. The same chip used in the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 pro, Tensor G2 powers Google's advanced machine learning, speech recognition and AI for better phone-call audio, battery life and even photo quality.
Speaking of photos, the Pixel 7a’s Tensor-powered dual rear camera system has been upgraded, with Night Sight promising to deliver high-quality images in low light. Out-of-focus photos can even be fixed in Google Photos, courtesy of Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur. The 7a also includes Super Res Zoom which Google promises provides “clear close-up portraits from far away”, whereas Long Exposure looks to bring “motion, texture and energy to your photos”.
The 7a’s battery can last over 24 hours, whereas Extreme Battery Saver can push that number up to around 72. Security is handled by Face Unlock and Fingerprint Unlock, and Google One’s VPN (available via subscription) protects you online if you’re willing to pay £1.59 after an initial three-month free period. The 7a also comes with a minimum of five years of security updates to ensure your phone gets more secure over time.
As an added incentive, the new model includes three free months of YouTube Premium, as well as three months of the Google One Basic 100 GB plan for storing your photos safely.
The 7a wasn’t the only major smartphone to be revealed at Google I/O. The Pixel Fold which, as its name suggests, is Google’s first folding phone, can collapse away into a pocket-sized unit or else unfold to become a large, immersive 7.6-inch landscape display. The screen is set up for portable entertainment, and you can even set the Fold to Tabletop Mode and watch content hands-free, even if we remain unconvinced about watching movies on a folding display.
The new Fold model, like the Pixel 7a, also utilises Google Tensor G2 for fast performance, multitasking and entertainment delivery, helping to power the foldable camera as well as exclusive features such as Live Translate interpreter mode. That camera, by the way, boasts an ultrawide lens, 5x optical zoom and up to 20x Super Res Zoom, with Tabletop Mode likewise supported.
Battery life mimics the Pixel 7a, offering over 24 hours on a standard charge and up to 72 hours using Extreme Battery Saver. A handy split-screen mode, meanwhile, lets you open two apps together side by side, and you can even drag and drop files from one app to another for speedier delivery. All of this on what Google promises to be the thinnest foldable on the market.
Both the Pixel 7a and the Pixel Fold see Google seeking to challenge Apple and Samsung’s current domination of the smartphone market, so we’re keen to see if two brand-new models will be enough to muscle in on what often feels like a two-horse race.
The Pixel 7a starts at £449 / $499 / AU$ 749 and is available in Charcoal, Sea, Snow and Coral (exclusive to the Google Store). The Pixel Fold, meanwhile, will be available for £1749 / $1799 in two colours, Porcelain and Obsidian, and comes with a free Google Pixel Watch when pre-ordered in the US.
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