Google Pixel 7a prototype just leaked — with a 90Hz display

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2023 just started and yet we already have some major phone news to chew on. An alleged prototype for the Google Pixel 7a leaked over on a Vietnamese Facebook group; yeah, we're scratching our heads, too.

It seems a bit early for Google's next budget phone to be leaking in this capacity already, but here we are with a device that looks like an evolution of the excellent Pixel 6a from last year. The camera bar looks just like the Pixel 7's with the more pronounced camera lenses.

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Leakers ShrimpApplePro (opens in new tab) and chunvn8888 (opens in new tab) on Twitter shared the images that appeared in the aforementioned group. While the physical details interest us — the device looks like a Pixel 7 with chunkier bezels — there's one that appears in some of the pictures of the Settings.

We don't speak Vietnamese here at Tom's Guide, nor can we make heads or tails of what's onscreen, but chunvn8888 says they can confirm that the alleged Pixel 7a comes with a 90Hz display. (You can see a mention of 90Hz in one of the photos below.) This could be a big deal, especially if Google keeps the Pixel 6a's $449 price point.

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We expect the Pixel 7a to be a killer budget phone, since we're pretty sure that Google will use the Tensor G2 chipset found in the Pixel 7 series on its next budget handset, just like the Pixel 6a got Tensor G1.

ShrimpApplePro says the device is a DVT, or a Design Validation Test. This step in engineering looks to get the physical details right before the phone goes to production. This is when engineers do things like debug the device and develop the tools needed for QA. 

According to Launchpad (opens in new tab), the DVT phase tests for:

  • Functionality and usability
  • Reliability
  • Mechanical testing
  • Environmental impact
  • Conformance
  • Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) prediction
  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Safety certification

This, of course, means that, if this leaked device is the Pixel 7a's DVT prototype, then the final product could enter mass manufacturing soon. January seems a bit early for the Pixel 7a to be in this phase, unless Google plans to release the device earlier than it has previous Pixel A phones. It makes us wonder if the company will launch the handset at its annual I/O conference, due to take place in May. (The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL launched at Google I/O 2019.)

As always with leaks, take all of this with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, we're excited about the idea of a 90Hz Pixel 7a, but that leaves us concerned that Google might raise to the price this year. As long as the MSRP stays under $500, the Pixel 7a could still be a heavy hitter for 2023.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.