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Everything we know so far (updated Feb 7)

The Google Pixel 6a made its mark as one of the best budget Android phones in 2022, thanks to its powerful hardware, great cameras, and premium construction. Anyone who wants an affordable phone with power that rivals flagships can’t go wrong with Google’s latest offering — especially considering the steep discounts we’ve seen at retailers across the web.

As you might expect, this year’s Pixel 7a will likely pull inspiration from last year’s Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro. Google’s latest flagship devices are its best yet, perfectly setting up the 2023 A-series phone to be a budget homerun. Here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 7a so far.

Google Pixel 7a: Design and specs

While we expect the broad strokes of the Pixel 7a’s design to mimic the Pixel 7 in the same way that the Pixel 6a mimicked the Pixel 6, there are a few surprising rumors about the design floating around.

We’ve heard rumors about an upcoming Google Pixel device codenamed Lynx that, despite early word suggesting a high-end member of the Pixel 7 family, now seems to be the Pixel 7a. Some key premature rumors didn’t help in the confusion, either. As reported by tipster Digital Chat Station, the Google Pixel 7a might have a ceramic body, making it the first Pixel device to do so. That would be a significant upgrade, and not just over previous A-series models that usually relied on plastic bodies. The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro use Gorilla Glass Victus on their displays and backplates, not ceramic. Still, there’s good reason to believe these reports, as Google confirmed its upcoming Google Pixel Tablet will sport a nano-ceramic body back at its Made By Google 2022 event.

Despite the potential change in materials, early renders for the Google Pixel 7a show a phone nearly indistinguishable from the Pixel 7. In its white colorway, the Pixel 7a reuses the same matte silver frame, the same glossy back, and a two camera setup — more on that below — and a flat display upfront. Reportedly, the Google’s upcoming budget phone is nearly the exact same size as the Pixel 6a, measuring .2mm taller, 1.1mm wider, and .1mm thicker.

Yes, this is a Pixel 7a render, not that you’d know it just by looking at it.

As for specs, Digital Chat Station also claimed that Lynx would use the Google Tensor G2 processor, a 50MP camera with a periscope lens, and a hole-punch screen. The inclusion of the Tensor G2 is what we would expect from the Pixel 7a, as the Pixel 6a ships with a first-gen Tensor chipset, which debuted with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Developer Kuba Wojciechowski also unearthed that the Pixel 7a will support wireless charging, a low-power 5W chip suitable for charging earbud cases.

Perhaps the biggest improvement between generations is the addition of a 90Hz display, something confirmed by a leaked pre-production model. Someone managed to get their hands on an early unit, showing it off from every angle and confirming that, yes, the Pixel 7a will have a high-refresh rate display.

If the Pixel 7a is, in fact, this “Lynx” device we’ve heard so much about, it sounds like it’ll use a Qualcomm-branded modem. That’s a big shift away from the controversial Samsung modems of the last two Pixel generations, and along with the ceramic build, it sounds like it might be an even better option than the plain Pixel 7. Meanwhile, the person who managed to get their hands on an early Pixel 7a discovered it’s rocking 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, though that tweet has now been deleted.

Google Pixel 7a: Cameras

9to5Google recently confirmed some of the Pixel 7a rumors we heard last summer regarding the Pixel 7a’s camera. The sensor on the 50MP camera is the same Samsung GN1 found on the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. A Sony IMX787 64MP sensor for telephoto and a Sony IMX712 for ultrawide (duplicated in the front for selfies) round out the Pixel 7a’s camera arrangement. If true, this means the 7a’s cameras could offer nearly identical imaging quality as the Google Pixel 6, which is still exceptionally good.

This would also mark a shift from the Google Pixel 6a, which used hardware dating back to the Pixel 3. It’s common for Google to rely on older sensors, letting that post-processing magic do much of the work, but considering the Pixel 6 represents a step above previous generations in our camera tests, we’re excited to see where this goes.

Google Pixel 7a: Software

At this point, if you’ve used a recent Pixel phone, you likely know what to expect when it comes to hardware. Unlike with its legacy Nexus phones, the Pixel series provides a wholly unique take on Android, one focused on a clean aesthetic and providing you with tons of AI-powered tools and features. The Pixel 7a is unlikely to break that trend; really, the only question surrounding this phone’s software experience is whether it’ll ship with Android 13 or come out of the box with Android 14.

History indicates we’ll likely see the Pixel 7a arrive just weeks before Android 14, which is on track for another August release this year. If Google drops its next mid-range smartphone in July, Android 14 will be one of its first big updates post-launch, making for a welcome surprise for new owners. And hey, we’ve already seen our earliest previews of what this year’s upgrade is shaping up to look like. Make sure to check out everything you need to know about the Android 14 developer previews ahead of this summer’s beta.

Google Pixel 7a: Price and release date

No reliable rumors have surfaced yet, but we can make some educated guesses about the Google Pixel 7a’s pricing and availability. Google decided to ease the stress on our wallets this year by keeping the price of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro the same as their predecessors. If they follow this trend for the Pixel 7a, we can expect a price tag of $449/£399, something backed up by a leaked roadmap containing plans for the next several Pixel generations. Despite the boost in specs, expect Google’s most affordable smartphone to stick at its typical price point.

Google released the Pixel 6a in July 2022 and the Pixel 5a in August 2021. If this pattern continues, we can expect a significant wait until we see the Pixel 7a in stores. However, Google’s penchant for leaking every detail of upcoming devices means we will probably know everything about the Pixel 7a months before this date. Unfortunately, it’s just too early to lock in those details right now, but with a potential reveal at I/O just a short few months away, it won’t take long until we learn all about this phone.

Not ready to upgrade just yet?

If you felt that the Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro were too pricey, the upcoming Pixel 7a might be just what you want. If it manages to retain the affordability of the 6a, it may very well be one of the best Android phones of 2023.

Conclusion on Everything we know so far (updated Feb 7)

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