Samsung Galaxy A35 vs. Google Pixel 7a

If you’re in the market for a budget phone, whether it’s for yourself, an older parent, a younger child, or even as a secondary device to use alongside a work phone, the Samsung Galaxy A35 vs. Google Pixel 7a is a head-to-head comparison worth examining. Both phones are considered affordable models in the respective line-ups. But they are impressive in many respects.

Samsung Galaxy A35 vs. Google Pixel 7a: Basic features and looks

Samsung Galaxy A35 wet

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy A35, introduced in March 2024 (shown above alongside the similar A55), comes in Iceblue, Lilac, Navy, or, in some countries, just Black. It sports a 6.6-inch FHD+ Infinity-O Super AMOLED display with 2,340 x 1,080 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, impressive given the price. It taps out at 1,000 nits peak brightness, but with Vision Booster, you can still get a pleasurable experience when viewing the screen outdoors in bright sunlight. 

To keep the price down, it has a plastic frame, but this is combined with a glass back featuring the linear camera layout with a flat housing. The screen is Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+, so it’s relatively durable for a phone in this price range. 

Boasting an IP67 water- and dust-resistant rating, the 5,000mAh battery is rated for up to two days of battery life, which is great for power users. It also supports Super Fast Charging, though you’ll need to buy the 25W wall charger separately since this one doesn’t come in the box. Wireless charging is also supported. 

Available with either 128GB or 256GB storage, the good news here is that unlike many of the latest smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy A35 does have a memory card slot. It can accommodate microSD cards up to 1TB in size, so add this to the overall cost, as you’ll probably need one.

Additional features include USB-C, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, 5G, a fingerprint reader, and face unlock. Some users report that the optical fingerprint scanner takes a few seconds to register your print before unlocking the device, which may be frustrating for some. It has stereo speakers as well.

The back of the Charcoal Google Pixel 7a

You can choose from a variety of colors for the Google Pixel 7a: Sea, Charcoal, Snow, and a Google-exclusive Coral finish. It’s a much more compact phone with a 6.1-inch display, which will be important if screen size matters to you, and you want something bigger. 

The screen is an FHD+ OLED with a slightly higher 2,400 x 1,080 pixel resolution. It offers the same 1,000 nits peak brightness with a high brightness mode option similar to Samsung’s Vision Booster. Android Central’s Nicholas Sutrich reviewed the Google Pixel 7a and didn’t have any issues viewing the screen outdoors in direct sunlight. 

Since it’s a smaller phone overall, it’s also lighter in weight. The screen is covered with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which has a fingerprint-resistant coating. This is combined with the 3D thermoformed composite plastic back with a tactile alloy frame and visor. Sutrich observes that the phone looks just as expensive as its higher-end Pixel 7 sibling, though he notes that it can be slippery without a protective case and attract lots of dust and fingerprints. 

You’ll only get an up to 90Hz refresh rate, but in Sutrich’s experience, the phone is “buttery smooth.” With that said, if you plan to do a lot of gaming, you might prefer the Samsung Galaxy A35, which has other features for games that we’ll discuss in the next section. 

The Google Pixel 7a has the same IP67 rating for water and dust resistance and a slightly smaller 4,385mAh battery that can last for a day or more. There is an Extreme Battery Saver mode and support for both fast and wireless charging, so you can keep it going for longer. 

A deciding factor for some may be that the Google Pixel 7a only comes in a single 128GB variant and does not have a memory card slot. While you can leverage Google Cloud storage with the phone, including using the free trial, this limits how much you can store on the phone itself. 

Other features of the 5G phone include USB-C, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, fingerprint reader (which can be finicky at times as well), and face unlock. It has stereo speakers but does not support Spatial Audio like the more premium Pixel phones.

Samsung Galaxy A35 vs. Google Pixel 7a: By the numbers

Before we dive deeper, let’s run down the specifications of these two comparable phones.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy A35Google Pixel 7a
OSAndroid 14, Samsung One UI 6.1Android 13
ColorsIceblue, Lilac, Navy, Black (varies by country)Sea, Charcoal, Snow, Coral (Google exclusive)
Screen Size6.6 inches6.1 inches
Screen Resolution1,080 x 2,3401,080 x 2,400
Screen TypeFHD+ Infinity-O Super AMOLEDFHD+ OLED
Refresh Rate120HzUp to 90Hz
ProcessorExynos 1380 (unconfirmed)Google Tensor G2
RAM6GB (8GB variant in some countries)8GB
Storage128GB, 256GB (expandable up to 1TB)128GB (not expandable)
Cameras50MP wide angle, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP Macro, 13MP selfie64MP Quad PD Quad Bayer wide, 13MP ultra-wide, 13MP selfie
SpeakersStereo SpeakersStereo Speakers
Wireless ChargingYesYes
Bluetooth 5.35.3
Water ResistantIP67IP67
Size6.36 x 3.07 x 0.32 inches6 x 2.8 x 0.4 inches
Weight209 grams192.7 grams

There are some notable differences and similarities between these two smartphones when looking by the numbers alone. But there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes as well.

Samsung Galaxy A35 vs. Google Pixel 7a: Power, processing, and more

Samsung Galaxy A35 gaming

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung hasn’t officially confirmed what processor is in the Galaxy A35, but all evidence points to the Exynos 1380 octa-core processor, which is decent enough for most phones but won’t rival the top-tier ones. It comes standard with 6GB RAM, but some countries may get a variant with 8GB, although this isn’t fully confirmed. If you can get your hands on the 8GB RAM option, this phone will fall in line with the Google Pixel 7a. 

Running on the newest Android 14 OS with the Samsung One UI 6.1 overlay, you get both the familiar Android experience with some Samsung personality added for good measure and customization of the look. The phone is supported by four generations of OS updates and five years of security, so if you decide you want something more premium a few years from now, you can hand this phone over to someone else, sell it, or trade it in and it will still have years of value left. 

Along with security through Samsung Knox Vault, which can protect sensitive information like your PIN, password, and pattern, it can also encrypt your data. This is actually a pretty big deal as it’s the first time Samsung has introduced the technology to its mid-range line. A large vapor chamber cooling system will prevent the phone from overheating, even during demanding tasks like gaming. 

The phone also works with Smart Switch for easily transferring content and apps from another device as well as Quick Share for easily wirelessly sharing content, like photos and videos, with other users. You won’t find, however, the same Samsung DeX support you’d find in higher end Galaxy devices.

The new Google Home app 2023 redesign in dark mode on a Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What about the Google Pixel 7a? It is powered by the Google Tensor G2 processor, a step down from the new G3 but still a pretty powerful processor, all things said and done. In his tests, Sutrich plated various mobile games and had no issues with performance. This is also thanks to the standard 8GB RAM. 

Since the Google Pixel 7a was introduced in 2023, it ran the older Android 13 OS out of the box, but it is updateable to the latest OS. Google supports up to three OS updates and five years of security. Since Android 14 is the first, you only get two more OS updates. But Google also releases Feature Drops all the time. 

Among the latest feature drops for the Google Pixel 7a include cool options like call assist, clear calling, real-time language translations, and more. Some of the latest AI features, like Google’s Circle to Search, should be coming to the Pixel 7a soon as well, so the phone is consistently kept fresh and new. But you won’t get all the AI features Google has to offer since many require the G3 processor.

Google has built-in security, too, for the Pixel 7a, including VPN by Google One, Tensor security, and the Titan M2 security chip. There's also end-to-end encryption, anti-phishing and anti-malware protection, and automatic security checks. So you'll get a secure experience with this phone, too.

Samsung Galaxy A35 vs. Google Pixel 7a: The cameras

The Google Pixel 7a's metal camera bar up close

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

When it comes to camera performance, the Samsung Galaxy A35 provides decent cameras, but these won’t rival more premium phones, which is reflected in the price. The main camera has a 50MP sensor and it’s a wide angle one, along with the secondary back camera that is just 8MP ultra-wide, so don’t expect to get printable photos. There’s also a 5MP Macro camera you might have fun playing around with along with a 13MP front “selfie” camera. 

Samsung promises improved Nightography performance with this phone’s cameras, offering clear photos with detail in low light. We haven’t played around with one yet, but you can expect typical Samsung performance in this respect. 

There are also some cool photo editing features, including background blur, photo remaster, and the ability to erase shadows. You don’t get the more powerful AI photo editing options found in the more advanced Samsung Galaxy phones. If you just want to be able to take decent snapshots to share on social media, however, the cameras in this phone will suffice. 

The Google Pixel 7a has wonderful cameras, including a 64MP Quad PD Quad Bayer wide camera, 13MP ultra-wide camera, and 13MP front camera. Google, too, offers useful photo editing features like Photo Unblur, Night Sight, portrait mode, Super Res Zoom, Frequent Faces, Magic Eraser, and Face Unblur. All of these practical fixes can turn otherwise throwaway pics into ones worth keeping. You won’t, however, see all the cool new photo editing features powered by AI that are available in the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, like Best Take and Magic Editor.   

Nonetheless, in his review, Sutrich was impressed with the Google Pixel 7a cameras, saying they surpassed his expectations.

Samsung Galaxy A35 vs. Google Pixel 7a: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy A35 and A55

(Image credit: Samsung)

It’s time to decide between the Samsung Galaxy A35 and Google Pixel 7a. The Samsung Galaxy A35 is the newer of the two devices, and it will be supported for longer. It has a much larger screen and can support an optional memory card of up to 1TB, making it ideal for tasks like gaming and watching videos. If you prefer a larger phone size and plan to download tons of apps and take lots of photos and videos, the screen size and storage alone make the Samsung Galaxy A35 the better choice. 

Google, however, excels in the camera department with the Pixel 7a. You’re limited in terms of storage, and it’s a much smaller phone. If you want something bigger with more storage, your best bet is to spend a bit more for the Google Pixel 8 instead. You also get more standard RAM with this phone, and while the battery is slightly smaller, you may find that it’s negligible with the fast charging options. The processor is also more powerful. 

The price is right with both these phones, and they each have their pluses and minuses. If you want to explore other options, check out the best budget Android phones to get an idea of what else is out there.

Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.

    If it ends up having a Snapdragon, Samsung hands down.
    If not, you need to weigh if a bigger battery and expandable storage are enough to outweigh that.

    Otherwise the Pixel (I only honestly find the 'a' lineup impressive, not so much the flagships) is a solid choice. Don't be deceived though by the articles very brief overview. Pixels do and always have heavily relied on image processing to make up for what are mediocre camera modules to make good, but not natural, looking pictures.