Google recently launched the Pixel 7a, a budget phone that has left consumers perplexed with its pricing. Pricier than its predecessor, yet cheaper than the Pixel 7, the Pixel 7a sacrifices a few features to achieve its price point. With Google’s inclination towards all-plastic builds for the a-series, one might assume that the Pixel 7a lacks the sturdiness of the flagship Pixel 7 Pro. However, popular YouTuber Zack Nelson, known for his durability tests on the JerryRigEverything channel, has reached a surprising conclusion. Despite the extensive use of plastic in its construction, the $500 Pixel 7a appears to be a remarkably sturdy phone. To maintain the device’s IP67 water resistance, it features metal side rails, detachable metal buttons, and a metal SIM tray.
During the durability test, the Pixel 7a’s display withstands direct exposure to a lighter’s flame for 25 seconds, with the OLED panel making a full recovery. The camera visor, still made of metal, is susceptible to scratches. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, making it resistant to scratches from keys and coins in your pocket, but harder substances like sand can leave marks.
The plastic back panel is prone to scratches from a razor blade. Therefore, it is advisable to invest in a protective case for your Pixel 7a, although not for the same reasons as the 7 Pro. Nelson suggests avoiding the association of plastic with low-cost or cheap items, highlighting that durable products such as toys and tools also utilize plastic. While Google’s use of plastic helps reduce costs, there is an argument that the display remains glass regardless.
Nevertheless, the Pixel 7a proves to be more resilient than the 7 Pro, as demonstrated in the final bend test. Google’s design decision to separate the metal camera visor from the metallic frame of the budget phone, though seemingly a structural weak point, withstands Nelson’s powerful bend tests without any permanent deformation. Thus, a slim case might suffice, as Google’s design ensures structural rigidity.
It is evident that Google has learned valuable lessons from the design of the Pixel 7 Pro, significantly improving the rigidity of the Pixel 7a while maintaining just over half of the Pro model’s price. The Pixel 7a offers excellent value for money and has the potential to become one of the best budget phones available.