OnePlus 7 vs Pixel 3a; the OnePlus 7 Series launch event in London, CEO Pete Lau and his deputies spent 99.9 per cent of the time talking about the high-end, Samsung bothering OnePlus 7 Pro. But the £499 starting price of the OnePlus 7 vs Pixel 3a head to head comparison to know which one you will buy.
OnePlus 7 vs Pixel 3a, is no longer alone in this category of brilliant £400 or £500 phones. Just as OnePlus is moving up a class with its socially mobile 7 Pro, everyone else – perhaps in desperation at recent smartphone sales – is moving down: Samsung’s Galaxy A80, Huawei (via Honor) and most recently Google with the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Meanwhile OnePlus has managed to retain its lead when it comes to sheer value – for this phone season at least. The OnePlus 7 vs Pixel 3a head-to-head comparison is between the £499 OnePlus 7 and the £469 Google Pixel 3a XL – that’s only £30 difference but you get a lot more for your money.
If you’re specifically looking for a more compact phone, or £400 is your hard limit, the 5.6-inch Google Pixel 3a will make sense. Otherwise, here’s why the OnePlus 7 comes out on top.
OnePlus 7 vs Pixel 3a Specification Review
While the Pixel 3a phones share the same camera as the flagship Pixel 3, but downgrade the internals, OnePlus flipped it and went the other way. So you don’t get the triple camera with 3x zoom and a wide-angle lens on the regular OnePlus 7 – instead, there’s the same main 48MP sensor as the 7 Pro and a 5MP depth sensor for portrait mode. What’s inside, though, is very much a flagship phone.
It’s the same Snapdragon 855 chip running the OnePlus 7 as the Pro, which is both faster and consumes 20 per cent less power than the 845. That’s backed up by Adreno 240 graphics and either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. Google had to do a lot of work to get its software running on the Pixel 3a and 3a XL’s mid-range components, specifically a Snapdragon 670 SoC with an Adreno 615 GPU and 4GB of RAM. For day-to-day gamers or mobile photo and video editors, the OnePlus 7 simply offers more grunt.
It’s made of glass, not plastic
The plastic Pixel 3a’s look fresh and fun with their lime green pops of colour and no-nonsense design. But up close the OnePlus 7 just looks and feels more like a fancy, expensive smartphone. It has a small teardrop notch in the middle of the display and has Gorilla Glass front and back. While that means it’s heavier at 182g (to the Pixel 3a’s 147g), it’s also just as slim.
OnePlus has managed to fit a larger 6.2-inch display into a slightly smaller body by a couple of millimeters in each direction, whereas the Pixel 3a XL’s 6-inch screen is surrounded on all sides by retro-looking bezels.
The OnePlus 7 doesn’t have the 90Hz display of the Pro, but at 402ppi, it’s as sharp as the Pixel 3a XL. (As is the case with smaller phones, the 3a’s 441 ppi is actually highest here.)
It has double the storage
We might be tilting towards cloud storage and 5G game streaming, but chances are that WhatsApp videos, Netflix downloads and Play Store titles are seriously eating into your available gigabytes.
If you tend to max out your phone’s internal storage, it’s worth noting that the £499 OnePlus 7 comes with 128GB and the £550 model comes with 256GB. That’s compared to the 64GB, with no microSD slot, on the Pixel 3a series.
This one’s important for brand OnePlus. The OnePlus 7, which will be released in “early June” starts at £499, like last year’s OnePlus 6T, for the 6GB RAM model rising to £550 for 8GB.
In some cases the decisions OnePlus and Google made to bring costs down mirror each other. Both phones have 3,700mAh batteries, but with no wireless charging, and there’s no official water resistance rating for either phone, though OnePlus says the 7 can handle splashes.
OnePlus execs say that its bloat-free OxygenOS 9.5 comes with two years of software updates and three years of security patches, a pledge similar to Google’s and it’s second only to Google’s frequency of updates.
To tempt existing OnePlus owners, it’s including upgrades from the Pro here including dual stereo speakers, with Dolby Atmos, a quicker in display fingerprint sensor, its Screen Recorder feature and fast UFS 3.0 flash storage.
For this round then, OnePlus still offers the most value for a flagship-type phone at more affordable prices. But the likes of Google have nothing to lose when it comes to slashing prices. Even the mere fact that there’s so much to compare when it comes to a family of devices like the Pixel 3a shows that very soon, OnePlus could find itself outplayed at its own game.