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Google Pixel 7a vs OnePlus 12R

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AH OnePlus 12R Review (6)

If you’re in the market for a budget smartphone, chances are you’ve been looking into at least one of the two phones we’re here to talk about. We’re here to compare the Google Pixel 7a vs OnePlus 12R. These two phones both fly under the $400 mark, and both are very appealing. They are very different, though, and that doesn’t go just for their designs, even though they do look fairly different too.

Their internals are different too, and even their sizes, very much so. The OnePlus 12R is a considerably larger smartphone, so that will likely play a role in your decision as well. We’ll first compare the specifications of the two phones, and will then move to compare their designs, displays, performance, battery life, cameras, and audio performance. Having said that, let’s get started.

Specs

Google Pixel 7a vs OnePlus 12R, respectively

Screen size:
6.1-inch OLED display (90Hz, HDR, 1,000 nits)
6.78-inch LTPO4 AMOLED display (Curved, 120Hz LTPO, HDR10+, 4,500 nits)
Display resolution:
2400 x 1080
2780 x 1264
SoC:
Google Tensor G2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM:
8GB (LPDDR5)
8GB/16GB (LPDDR5X)
Storage:
128GB (UFS 3.1)
128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1)
Rear cameras:
64MP (wide, f/1.9 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS), 13MP (ultrawide, f/2.2 aperture, 120-degree FoV, 1.12um pixel size)
50MP (f/1.8 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.0um pixel size, OIS, PDAF, Laser AF), 8MP (ultrawide, f/2.2 aperture, 16mm lens, 1.12um pixel size), 2MP (macro, f/2.4 aperture)
Front cameras:
13MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.12um pixel size)
16MP (f/2.4 aperture, 26mm lens, 1.0um pixel size)
Battery:
4,385mAh
5,500mAh
Charging:
18W wired, 7.5W wireless (charger included)
100W wired (charger included)
Dimensions:
152 x 72.9 x 9mm
163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8mm
Weight:
193.5 grams
207 grams
Connectivity:
5G, LTE, NFC, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.3
Security:
Under-display fingerprint scanner (optical)
In-display fingerprint scanner (optical) & facial scanning
OS:
Android 13 (upgradable)
Android 14 with OxygenOS 14
Price:
$499+
$499+
Buy:
Google Pixel 7a (Amazon)
OnePlus 12R (Best Buy)

Google Pixel 7a vs OnePlus 12R: Design

As you can see, the two companies took very different approaches to designs here. Both phones are made out of aluminum and glass but do look fairly different. The Pixel 7a has a flat display and a centered display camera hole. Its bezels are rather thin, but the bottom bezel is visibly thicker than the rest. The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, has a curved display, along with a centered display camera hole up top, while its bezels are even thinner than the Pixel 7a’s.

Both smartphones include their physical buttons on the right-hand side, but with different placement. On the Pixel 7a, the power/lock button sits above the volume up and down buttons. On the OnePlus 12R, things are the other way around, plus the OnePlus 12R has an alert slider on the left. If we flip them around, you will notice a camera visor on the Pixel 7a. That camera visor goes from the left side of the frame to the right, and it’s covered by metal. It hosts two cameras, and it does protrude on the back quite a bit.

The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, has a round camera island on the back. That camera island is placed in the top-left corner, and there are three cameras included in it. It does not protrude as much as the Pixel 7a’s camera visor. The Pixel 7a is considerably shorter, and narrower, while it’s also slightly thicker. That’s not exactly surprising as the Pixel 7a has a much smaller display.

Google’s smartphone is also lighter than the OnePlus 12R, by almost 14 grams. The Pixel 7a offers an IP67 certification for water and dust resistance, while the OnePlus 12R comes with IP64 certification. Both smartphones are immensely slippery, so using a case with both of them is a good idea. They do feel entirely different in the hand, though, mainly due to their size difference.

Google Pixel 7a vs OnePlus 12R: Display

The Google Pixel 7a features a 6.1-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) OLED display. That panel is flat, and it has a centered display camera hole. It has a 90Hz refresh rate and supports HDR content. The display aspect ratio here is 20:9, while the Gorilla Glass 3 protects the Pixel 7a’s display.

AH OnePlus 12R Review (6)
OnePlus 12R

The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, includes a 6.78-inch 2780 x 1264 LTPO4 AMOLED panel. That display is curved, and it has a centered display camera hole. Its refresh rate goes up to 120Hz, but it’s adaptive. This panel can show up to 1 billion colors, and it supports HDR10+ content. Dolby Vision is also supported, while the theoretical max brightness of this display is 4,500 nits. The Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protects this panel.

When it comes to displays, the OnePlus 12R is a clear winner. That display not only looks more vivid, but it’s also sharper, and it has a higher refresh rate. On top of that, its refresh rate is adaptive, which is good for battery life, and the OnePlus 12R’s panel also gets noticeably brighter than the Pixel 7a. Google didn’t use a particularly great panel in the Pixel 7a, and even though it’s not bad, it cannot compete with the OnePlus 12R’s display.

Google Pixel 7a vs OnePlus 12R: Performance

The Google Tensor G2 fuels the Google Pixel 7a handset. That phone also packs in 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 flash storage. The OnePlus 12R, on the flip side, is fueled by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor from Qualcomm. It is also equipped with up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM, and UFS 3.1 flash storage. In terms of sheer power, the OnePlus 12R is the winner here

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a considerably more powerful processor, while OnePlus also used faster RAM inside the phone. Still, the Tensor G2 works really well with the Pixel 7a. Both smartphones do a great job in day-to-day performance, though it’s worth saying that the OnePlus 12R is a bit snappier. You’ll especially notice that with heavy multitasking, app launches, and various more intensive tasks.

When it comes to gaming, for example, the OnePlus 12R is a much better choice. Not only does it have better performance-related hardware, but OnePlus also includes a proper vapor chamber inside the phone. It does not heat up as much as the Pixel 7a when you run graphically-intensive games, and it also offers better performance. The Tensor G2 is not exactly a gaming chip. Still, the vast majority of games will work just fine on the Pixel 7a too. Also, if you’re looking into either one of these phones, chances are you’re not planning to use them as gaming devices.

Google Pixel 7a vs OnePlus 12R: Battery

Google’s mid-ranger has a 4,385mAh battery on the inside, while the OnePlus 12R packs in a 5,500mAh unit. The OnePlus 12R does have a truly large battery, even for its size. The difference is this big, however, because the Pixel 7a has a much smaller display. Both of these phones offer good battery life, to be quite honest. We did expect the OnePlus 12R to do even better in tests, considering the size of this pack, but it did good enough.

Both of these phones were able to go up to 7 hours of screen-on-time for us, though depending on what we were doing, of course. The OnePlus 12R was consistent in that regard, while the Pixel 7a often flew below that 7-hour screen-on-time mark. Do note that gaming was not a part of our usage on those days, but everything else was, pretty much. Including plenty of picture-taking, multimedia consumption, emails, messaging, and so on. We did use both devices on Wi-Fi most of the time, though, so take that into account. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

Now, in terms of charging. The Google Pixel 7a supports 18W wired, and 7.5W wireless charging. The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, supports 100W (80W in the US) wired charging. The OnePlus 12R can be charged fully in less than half an hour, while it takes the Pixel 7a a lot longer to get a full charge. Another thing to note is that the OnePlus 12R does come with a charger in the box, unlike the Pixel 7a.

Google Pixel 7a vs OnePlus 12R: Cameras

The Google Pixel 7a includes a 64-megapixel main camera, and a 13-megapixel ultrawide unit (120-degree FoV). The OnePlus 12R, on the other hand, has a 50-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide unit, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Let’s get that macro camera out of the way first. Chances are you won’t be using it at all. If the conditions are perfect, you can get a usable picture. In the vast majority of cases, however, it’s simply to small of a sensor and you won’t find that camera useful at all.

Google Pixel 7a Review AM AH 17Google Pixel 7a Review AM AH 17
Google Pixel 7a

That leaves us with main and ultrawide cameras on both smartphones. Both of these phones offer good camera performance, just to be clear. For the vast majority of people, both will be more than good enough. The pictures are different, though. The Pixel 7a has that contrasty look that people who have used a Pixel are used to. It’s not trying to be particularly color-accurate, but to simply provide the best-looking photo possible. It does a great job in HDR conditions, does good in low light, and its ultrawide camera follows the color profile of the main camera really well. Google’s image processing is very good in combination with this hardware.

The OnePlus 12R does a good job too, in general. The images end up looking less processed than the ones from the Pixel 7a, but still very good. The colors are usually spot on, even though the camera is not as reliable across various different scenarios as the Pixel 7a. The ultrawide shooter is also not up to par when compared to the Pixel 7a’s. Still, the OnePlus 12R can often click a better photo than the Pixel 7a, depending on the scene. It’s not an easy choice between the two, to be quite honest.

Audio

You will find a set of stereo speakers on both of these smartphones. Those speakers do sound good on both sides, but the ones on the OnePlus 12R are a bit louder. Both sets of speakers are well-balanced, though.

Neither of these two smartphones has an audio jack, though. They do have Type-C ports, so you can use them to connect your headphones via a wire. If you prefer wireless connections, both phones offer Bluetooth 5.3.

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