Google Pixel 7a: what to expect and what we want to see

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With the launches of the Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro now long behind us, attention turns to the company’s affordable powerhouse – the Google Pixel 7a.

Nothing has officially been confirmed about this handset just yet, but it’s likely coming soon and we have some idea of what to expect. That’s based on a growing number of leaks, coupled with what we know about the Pixel 7 and past models such as the Pixel 6a.

You’ll find all the leaks and our educated guesses below, and then, under that, we’ve included a wish list of the things we want from the Google Pixel 7a. We’ll be updating this article whenever we hear anything new – so check back soon.

Cut to the chase

What is it? An affordable alternative to the Pixel 7When is it out? Possibly May 10How much will it cost? Likely upwards of $449 / £399 / AU$749

Google Pixel 7a release date and price predictions

Google hasn’t been entirely consistent with its A-model launches, as while the Pixel 6a was announced in May 2022 and shipped in July, the previous two models launched in August of their respective release years. It’s worth noting that the Pixel 4a was expected to launch in May 2020 if not for a certain global incident, and the Pixel 5a was canceled outside of the U.S. and Japan, due to second-order effects from said incident. 

With that in mind, we’d think therefore that May 2023 is probably the earliest we’ll see the Pixel 7a, and that it might well ship later, even if it’s announced then. With that in mind, a certain Pixel 7a rumor suggests it could go on sale sooner than expected, with a reveal at Google IO 2023 followed by availability soon after.

Multiple sources have also now specifically said it will be announced at Google IO on May 10, and will immediately be put on sale (though you won’t be able to have one in your hands until May 11).

Further weight for that theory comes from a mention of the Google Pixel 7a on Amazon. There isn’t much to go off, but it’s another indication that the mid-ranger is indeed on the way in 2023, and could mean it will land in the next few weeks.

Want more? Well, an unnamed Google phone has also been listed on the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) database. That usually happens within months of a phone launching, and while the listing is light on details, it does include a serial number that is similar to one we’ve seen attached to the Pixel 7a elsewhere.

As for the price, one price leak points to it costing $499. For reference, the Pixel 6a cost $449 / £399 / AU$749 at launch, so this would make for a $50 increase, with similar rises likely in other regions.

Then again, the Pixel 7 costs the same amount as the Pixel 6, so Google may well stick to that structure for the Pixel 7a, keeping the price the same as the Pixel 6a.

It might cost the same as the Google Pixel 6a (Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)

Google Pixel 7a news and leaks

As the presumed launch creeps closer and closer, more and more leaks have come out such that a pixel-perfect picture has been painted for the curious. 

Some of these – which come from leaker @OnLeaks and SmartPrix – can be seen below, and they show a phone that unsurprisingly looks a lot like the Pixel 7, and indeed the preceding Pixel 6a.

The dimensions are apparently 152.4 x 72.9 x 9mm (rising to 10.1mm at the camera bump), and there’s no sign of a 3.5mm headphone port. The only other detail supplied alongside the renders is that the Pixel 7a will apparently come in white and dark grey shades. A late report adds that the Pixel 7a will be coming in blue too. Google has yet to sell a blue Pixel, since the Pixel 4a, instead preferring shades of green and orange. 

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(Image credit: @OnLeaks / SmartPrix)

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(Image credit: @OnLeaks / SmartPrix)

Since then, a couple of hands-on videos have leaked, which largely match the design above, and additionally point to the Pixel 7a having a 90Hz screen, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage; specs which match the standard Pixel 7.

More recently, real-world photos of the Pixel 7a have emerged, matching the renders shown above. You can see them in the tweet embedded below. The specs attached with them can be partially dismissed as far as cameras go, however. 

Pixel 7A • 6.1″ FHD+ 90Hz OLED• Tensor G2 , LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.1• 64MP Sony IMX787 + 12MP UW• 5W wireless charging• Android 13 9, 2023

See more

When it comes to the cameras, we currently expect the Pixel 7a to have a pair of 12MP cameras, as the live images referenced above already show. Wireless charging (though slow 5W), and the same Tensor G2 as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro wrap up the rest of the rumored specs. 

What we want to see

There are five key things Google can do that would make the Pixel 7a significantly better than the Pixel 6a. Here are our must-haves if Google wants to ensure 7a success:

1. Give it a 90Hz refresh rate

The Google Pixel 6a is stuck with a 60Hz refresh rate (Image credit: Future)

The Pixel 6a is stuck with a 60Hz refresh rate, which even for an affordable phone feels rather dated these days. We don’t expect 120Hz from the Google Pixel 7a, but a boost to 90Hz would be much appreciated.

That said, that would bring it in line with the standard Pixel 7, in terms of refresh rate, so Google might be disinclined to do this, so that the phones are better differentiated.

2. Upgrade to a 50MP camera

The last few Pixel A-line generations all have the same 12.2MP main camera (also used by the numbered Pixels preceding the Pixel 6), and while it’s a reasonable snapper, it’s overdue an upgrade.

Google is using a much more versatile 50MP camera on the more recent flagship Pixel phones, so an upgrade to that here would be nice to see. Though, as with an increased refresh rate, that could again bring the Pixel 7a too close to the Pixel 7 for Google’s liking, so don’t count on it.

There are a vast array of other sensors out there to consider, however, and a lot of range between 12.2MP and 50MP for Google to consider that would better set the 7a apart from its predecessor, in the camera department.

3. Better battery life

The Google Pixel 6a doesn’t last long between charges (Image credit: Future)

In our Google Pixel 6a review, we found that the phone struggled to last through a full day of use, which is the minimum we expect from our smartphones. So, for the Pixel 7a we really want to see an improvement.

The good news is that an improvement is likely, as the phone will probably use the Tensor G2 chipset, which is more efficient than the original Tensor in the Pixel 6a.

4. Faster charging

At just 18W, the Pixel 6a certainly doesn’t charge fast. Even the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro aren’t among the speediest chargers, but they’re at least closer to the status quo (21W for the Pixel 7 and 23W on the Pixel 7 Pro), and that’s an upgrade we’d like to see offered on the Pixel 7a as well.

We’d say there’s a middling chance that will happen. It’s not a big enough feature for Google to necessarily want to keep it for the flagships, but it could also push the price up, which the company will likely be trying to avoid.

5. A lower price

Speaking of the price, for the specs on offer, the Pixel 6a was a bit too expensive, especially as it landed so long after the Pixel 6 that price drops meant you could sometimes get that phone for a similar price.

As such, we’d like to see either a lower price for the Pixel 7a, or enough of a spec-boost to justify its price tag. Or failing either of those things, the company could do with launching the 7a earlier in its release year than the Pixel 6a did – that way it has a shot at ranking higher amongst the best Pixel phones, although the clock is running down on this one.

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