Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Google Pixel 7a: Which Budget Phone Is the Best?

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Google Pixel 7a: Which Budget Phone Is the Best?

The Samsung Galaxy A55, Samsung’s new budget-oriented smartphone has become a quick favourite of ours in the sub-$1,000 category. But for us to be completely fair on the device, we’d need to compare it to what we consider the best option at that price point, the Google Pixel 7a, the latest budget-oriented smartphone from the search engine giant.

We wrote a similar piece to this last year, although at the time we had the iPhone SE, Apple’s budget handset, on hand. That phone is quite old now, and even last year, it struggled to compete with its contemporaries, so even if we still had the device in the office, it would be difficult to include it fairly. That is unless Apple actually follows through with a refresh.

This year, however, we’re putting the Pixel 7a and Galaxy A55 head-to-head. Which budget Android device will reign supreme?

Best price: Samsung Galaxy A55 or Google Pixel 7a

Both the Samsung Galaxy A55 and the Google Pixel 7a are offered at a single price point, without the option to upgrade storage options (the Galaxy A55 does have an SD card slot for expandable memory, however).

This point seems simple, we could just look at the price and be done with it, however, it’s important to consider that the Pixel 7a was released last May (with a refresh on the way), while the Galaxy A55 will be released this coming Monday. With that in mind, the Pixel 7a is currently discounted down to $549 from its $750 original RRP. The Galaxy A55, however, starts at $699.

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The Google Pixel 7a (left) and the Samsung Galaxy A55 (right). Image: Gizmodo Australia

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Google Pixel 7a: There’s a few different takes you could have on this. You could buy the Pixel 7a because it is currently the cheapest device in the equation (though it is the oldest), you could buy the Galaxy A55 because it’s currently the newest device in the equation, or you could hold off for the Pixel 8a, and hope that it’s not too much more expensive. It’s all a matter of perspective, frankly.

Best look and feel: Samsung Galaxy A55 or Google Pixel 7a

As someone who has spent quite a bit of time with both phones, I’m happy to report that the look and feel of both devices is very, very premium. Both devices follow the same style as their more premium versions (for the A55, the ‘S’ range, and the Pixel 7a, the non ‘A’ models), though the 7a has a flat display as opposed to the standard 7/7 Pro waterfall screens, and the Galaxy A55 has a polished chassis that feels and looks quite unique.

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The Samsung Galaxy A55. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

But obviously, this section is fairly subjective. I very much prefer the aesthetic of Google’s phones over many of Samsung’s in recent years, with the addition of the camera bar since the sixth generation, and its more user-friendly operating system based around the Google suite (because of this, Google’s phones don’t have a lot of shovelware). Samsung’s operating system, OneUI, is nice, but it’s not as simple, and there’s a lot of Samsung stuff built on top of Android that may leave users confused.

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The Google Pixel 7a (right), beside its predecessor, the Pixel 6a (left). Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

As far as size goes, the Pixel 7a is slightly smaller, at 152 x 72.9 x 9 mm, while the A55 has 161.1 x 77.4 x 8.2 mm dimensions. The Pixel 7a weighs 193g, while the A55 weighs 213g. The screen on the A55 is capable of a greater refresh rate, up to 120hz, but this didn’t matter during my time with the phone often.

Also, I do prefer the three colours the 7a comes in (white, black, and a lovely blue), versus the navy and lilac the A55 comes in.

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Google Pixel 7a: The Google Pixel 7a looks nicer and has a less overwhelming operating system, but you might enjoy the Galaxy A55 S series-like chassis.

Best specs: Samsung Galaxy A55 or Google Pixel 7a

Down to the specs, the Samsung Galaxy A55 and Google Pixel 7a aren’t too far apart. Both phones are eSIM capable, IP67 rated, and pack 128GB storage/256GB RAM (the A55 has space for a Micro SD card, while the Pixel 7a does not). They each have a fairly similar OLED display, but are both powered by different CPUs. The Pixel 7a includes the Tensor G2 chip, the same chip found in the standard Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, while the A55 packs the Exynos 1480 chip – a chip reserved for budget smartphones.

In my experience, I found the Pixel 7a to be a little more impressive during daily use and didn’t experience the same slowness when loading apps as the A55. I also found the Pixel 7a to be a bit smoother, which detracts from the fact that the A55 has a 120hz display, which should alleviate a less smooth feel.

The A55 does have a bigger battery, though, at 5,000mAh, versus the Pixel 7a’s 4,385 battery.

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Google Pixel 7a: Both phones perform so similarly that it feels difficult to compare, but in my opinion, the Pixel 7a wins out.

Best camera: Samsung Galaxy A55 or Google Pixel 7a

Cameras are one of the more important points when buying a smartphone, and the Pixel 7a and Galaxy A55 don’t disappoint. Let’s put them head to head.

Before we get started, here are the camera specs we’re dealing with:

  • Google Pixel 7a: 64MP main, 13mp ultrawide, 13mp selfie
  • Samsung Galaxy A55: 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 32MP selfie

While the Pixel 7a doesn’t have a macro camera, I didn’t find this to be a problem. You’ll find in the photos below that Samsung’s photos are a bit brighter, while Google’s photos are a bit more true-to-life.

Let’s start with a main camera shot.

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Left: Samsung Galaxy A55. Right: Google Pixel 7a. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Now a closer shot.

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Left: Samsung Galaxy A55. Right: Google Pixel 7a. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Now a macro shot. Take note of the greater detail produced by the Galaxy A55’s macro camera.

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Left: Samsung Galaxy A55. Right: Google Pixel 7a. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

And a shot with more colour.

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Left: Samsung Galaxy A55. Right: Google Pixel 7a. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Maximum zoom out. Here’s the Galaxy A55.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Now the Pixel 7a.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

And now maximum zoom on both phones.

Left: Samsung Galaxy A55. Right: Google Pixel 7a. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Some selfies in sunlight and undercover, starting with the A55.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

And now with the 7a. Notice how much redness was removed from the A55’s shots (though the A55 did capture my freckles and eyes better).

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

And just for the sake of it, a cat doing a silly one.

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Left: Samsung Galaxy A55. Right: Google Pixel 7a. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Google Pixel 7: I prefer the photos generated by the Pixel 7a in most cases, but there’s no denying that the A55 is better at picking up on more of the little details, particularly in close-ups.

The verdict: Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy A55 or the Google Pixel 7a?

These phones have pros and cons that may sway a purchase, but if I were to go and buy one tomorrow, I’d probably pick up the Google Pixel 7a. That being said, the macro detail offered by the A55’s cameras, the larger battery, and the ability to upgrade internal storage all make for important and potentially swaying points, along with its price point at $699, $50 less than the RRP of the Pixel 7a, and potentially the upcoming Pixel 8a.

Check out our review of the Samsung Galaxy A55 here and our review of the Google Pixel 7a here.


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