As sure as night follows day, we can expect to see a Google Pixel 7a to follow in the footsteps of the Pixel 7, offering a budget alternative to Google’s flagship phone.
Google has yet to mention the existence of a next-generation Pixel a-series phone, and the rumors around it are pretty slim as it stands. But we’d place a significant bet that Google will release a Pixel 7a in the first half of next year, given the rave reviews Pixel a-series phones have received with pretty much every iteration.
With that in mind, we expect the Pixel 7a will be much like the Google Pixel 6a, our top pick for the best cheap phone, by taking the flagship Pixel phone recipe and cutting it back a little to make it more affordable but still very capable.
So here’s what we expect from the Google Pixel 7a.
Pixel 7a latest rumors (Updated Nov 30)
- New renders show off what the Pixel 7a could look like, and it's not hugely surprising
- A new report says that the Pixel 7a could get a powerful trio of cameras, including a new telephoto lens.
- The Pixel 7a could be the first phone in Google's lineup to support wireless charging.
Google Pixel 7a release date and price speculation
We’d expect to see the Pixel 7a arrive in the first half of 2023, as that would roughly track with the release windows of previous Pixel a-series phones. For example, the Pixel 6a was launched in May at Google I/O and then released on July 28; we’d expect the Pixel 7a to track with this.
However, the Pixel 7a could arrive even sooner than that, as Amazon was letting customers sign up for updates related to the phone's arrival (opens in new tab) in late October.
As for price, the Pixel 6a came in at $449/£399/AU$749, and given how the Pixel 7 costs the same as the Pixel 6 did, we would then expect the Pixel 7a to follow the pricing of its predecessor. And the price seems to be a relative sweet spot for a phone that offers a lot of smart features, excellent camera performance and a slick design for under $500.
Ideally, we’d like to see Google drop the U.S. price down to $400, which would put it in the same competitive price bracket as the excellent Pixel 4a. But it looks like Google’s hike in pricing, which arrived with the Pixel 5a, looks set to stay. Just bear in mind Pixel phones get regularly discounted a few months after its release, so we’d not be surprised to see the Pixel 7a be available for under $400 at some point.
Google Pixel 7a design and display
Much like the Pixel 6a aped the design of the Pixel 6, with that striking rectangular camera visor, we expect the Pixel 7a to look near-identical to the Pixel 7 at a quick glance.
With the Pixel 7, Google took the camera bar and gave it a single aluminum bar to hold the main and ultrawide angle camera, along with the flash. That’ll likely be the same story for the Pixel 7a.
But if Google wants to save a little on manufacturing costs, and thus keep the Pixel 7a’s price down, the aluminum could be replaced by polycarbonate; something Google does a good job at making it feel solid rather than cheap. And we’d expect the glass back of the Pixel 7 to be replaced by a plastic rear for the a-series model, as that’s what happened with the Pixel 6a.
New renders that have appeared online show off a device that looks very much like the Pixel 6a, which isn't a huge surprise. It's unlikely that Google would make any grand design changes on its cheapest handset, instead holding them for a future flagship.
Smartpix, which published the renders, even claimed that the Pixel 7a would be roughly the same size as its predecessor. 6.0 x 2.87 x 0.35 inches, compared to the Pixel 6a’s 5.99 x 2.82 x 0.35 inches.
Expect an OLED display for the Pixel 7a, likely measuring 6.1 inches and sporting a resolution of 2400 x 1080. Ideally, we’d like to see a higher refresh rate for the display, as that’s been stuck at a now-sluggish-for-2022 60Hz. Given a lot of affordable phones target refresh rates of 90Hz, we’re hoping Google gives the Pixel 7a an upgrade.
Otherwise, the Google did a sterling job with the Pixel 6a’s display. So we can expect the Pixel 7a to track closely with its predecessors panel, though it could get the boost in brightness that the Pixel 7 got.
No word on colors yet, but expect them to be slightly modified takes on the Obsidian, Snow and Lemongrass hues offered by the Pixel 7, perhaps with a muted green or orange added into the mix.
Google Pixel 7a cameras
A report says that the Pixel 7a could get pretty radical camera upgrades (opens in new tab). According to 9to5Google (opens in new tab), the Pixel 7a could pack the same Samsung GN1 50MP sensor that debuted on the Pixel 6, but it would come with two additional sensors: the Sony IMX712 13MP lens for ultrawide and the Sony IMX787 64MP camera for telephoto.
This seems a bit far fetched, but it's certainly possible that Google may choose to revamp the Pixel a camera system.
Depending on the camera hardware the Pixel 7a gets, video could be improved with software and AI smarts rather than upgraded physical stabilization.
Google Pixel 7a specs and performance
The Tensor G2 enables features like Photo Unblur, which can make your blurry images look sharper. See how well this feature works in our Photo Unblur test.
RAM is likely to stick to 6GB, a 2GB drop from the Pixel 7, to cut down on cost; though 6GB is plenty for everyday smartphone use. And storage will probably weigh in at 128GB, much like the Pixel 6a’s storage — we’d expect Google to offer only one storage option to both save on production costs and also encourage buyers to go for the Pixel 7 if they want 256GB of storage.
Google Pixel 7a battery life and charging
Battery size for the Pixel 7a is likely to track closely with the Pixel 6a’s 4,410 mAh cell. That delivered a battery life of 6 hours and 29 minutes on the Tom's Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing.
This result was a far cry from reaching the 11.5 hour threshold to make it onto our best phone battery life list. So we’re hoping Google does some work on the battery optimization front to get more endurance out of the Pixel 7a compared to its predecessor. Hopefully, the Tensor G2’s smarts will help.
According to a developer, the Pixel 7a could be the first Pixel phone to support wireless charging (opens in new tab).
Google Pixel 7a outlook
If the Pixel 7a follows the Pixel 6a’s example then we could be looking at one of the best Android phones of 2023, thanks to a suite of smart features, great photography chops and an affordable price.
We're especially intrigued by the telephoto camera rumor and the possible addition of wireless charging.
But the competition in the sub-$500 phone arena keeps getting tighter, and we’d expect to see a new version of the iPhone SE and next-gen Samsung Galaxy A-series phones to offer compelling smartphones for appealing prices.
Yet, if Google continues to evolve the Pixel a-series recipe, then we can expect the Pixel 7a to have a lot of appeal.