CrossCheck | Google Pixel 7a leaks vs Samsung Galaxy A54 - Google pitched to demolish Samsung's midrange offering ↺
CrossCheck - when rival devices clash
Expect the Pixel 7a to beat the Galaxy A54 in performance
With so much of it tied to software and optimisation, real-world performance is often not related to the numbers we see in benchmarks. That said, if the Google Pixel 6a is anything to go by, the Google Pixel 7a will launch with Google's Tensor G2 SoC, which is only slightly behind SoCs like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and it is significantly faster than the Exynos 1380 in the Galaxy A54.
Google's tendency to use the same high-end chipset in its a-series and flagship devices is a strong selling point for the a-series. The high-performance SoC not only improves performance across the board but also enables features that aren't normally found on lower-end silicon. Arguably the most important of these features to Pixel fans will be found in the camera app.
It's almost guaranteed that the Pixel 7a will be capable of all the same tricks as the Google Pixel 7 that preceded it, because it will feature the same image signal processor. Samsung must have noticed how well the Pixel sells on photography, though, because it allegedly upgraded the ISP in the Exynos 1380 powering the Galaxy A54 to resemble those found in the flagship processors.
Pixel 7a vs Galaxy A54 hardware is a mixed bag
There are two sides to the hardware discussion — build quality and the actual electronic components — and there are big differences between the Pixel 7a and the Galaxy A54 in both regards. Pixel 7a rumours, for instance, allege that the device will have a plastic back and an aluminium frame, while the Galaxy A54 is constructed with a glass back and plastic rails instead. Which you prefer is up to you, but it should be noted that the same combination of metal and plastic did score brownie points in durability tests of the Pixel 6a.
The Pixel 7a also appears to feature a 90 Hz 6.1-inch OLED display, which is noticeably smaller than the 120 Hz 6.6-inch Super AMOLED unit on the Galaxy A54. Most people might not notice a difference between 120 Hz and 90 Hz, but smaller displays make for much easier reachability, which is sorely lacking in the midrange market at the moment.
On paper, the Galaxy A54 has a better camera system, with three rear-mounted lenses in total — a 50 MP wide angle with OIS, a 12 MP ultrawide, and a 5 MP macro, but we all know by now that macro lenses are a bit of a waste of time. The Pixel 7a, on the other hand, is expected to launch with a dual-camera setup, featuring an updated 64 MP wide angle lens with OIS and the same 12 MP ultrawide found in the Pixel 6a.
With Google's latest improvements to digital processing and Super Res Zoom on the Pixel 7 series, it wouldn't be surprising to find out that the Pixel 7a's camera system is more versatile than the hardware suggests.
The Pixel 7a's strengths and weaknesses will lie in software and optimisations
Camera performance illustrates that the modern smartphone market is, more than ever, becoming a software arms race. While Google famously had a bit of a rough ride when it came to software on the Pixel 6 series, the Pixel 7 saw a much smoother launch period with fewer bugs. If Google can repeat the success of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, it's almost certain that the Pixel 7a will easily beat the Galaxy A54 in just about every metric that matters.
The Galaxy A54 does present strong competition to the Pixel 7a, though, with competitive hardware and a host of impressive software features from Samsung baked in as well. The biggest difference between the two brands' approaches to the midrange market is that Samsung seems to treat its midrange customers as second-rate citizens, often cutting camera features in order to drive sales of higher-end devices.
Google, on the other hand, generally makes far less significant sacrifices when it comes to the midrange. Instead, it often uses hardware that it already optimised for in the previous generation to make its midrange devices a compelling upgrade for anyone on a budget that still wants flagship-level performance.