Google's Pixel 7a Might Punch Above Its Mid-Range Weight With These Big Upgrades

Pixel 6a back
Google's budget-conscious A-series Pixels have been a solid purchase since their debut with the Pixel 3a. A new report suggests that Google's new budget Pixel 7a is going to represent a major upgrade over the already very good 6a (above). In fact, it may even beat the flagship Pixel 7 in some ways.

Because Android is open source, we often get a peek behind the scenes while devices are still in development. Recent code releases list several Pixel models by codename, including Panther and Cheetah, which are the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. There's also Tangor, the upcoming Pixel Tablet, and Felix, which is believed to be the delayed Pixel foldable. Finally, there's Lynx, which may be the next budget Pixel phone, and the code points to several important updates.

Not surprisingly, the alleged Pixel 7a will have the latest Tensor G2 chip. The Pixel 6a has the first-gen Tensor when it launched earlier this year, so that tracks. Inside, the device is believed to have a P9222 chip for controlling wireless charging. This part is supposedly only capable of 5W speeds, but that's still better than the zero watts that past A-series Pixels have offered. Wireless charging is one of the primary selling points for the flagship Pixels versus the budget option.

pixel 6 and 6 pro
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro introduced the 50MP camera sensor that may find its way into the Pixel 7a.

The camera setup is where things get really interesting. According to 9to5Google, the Pixel 7a is going to have three cameras on the back, including the Samsung GN1 50MP sensor that debuted in the Pixel 6. There will also be a Sony IMX712 13MP for ultrawide shots, and a Sony IMX787 64MP for telephoto. Google's budget Pixels have never had telephoto sensors before—even the Pixel 7 doesn't have an optical zoom lens.

Some reports have also claimed that the Lynx phone will have a ceramic body, but that would be a strange upgrade for Google's budget phones. Ceramic is usually a more expensive material, and even the flagship Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are backed with aluminum and glass. It's possible, as 9to5 points out, that these reports were mistakenly relaying information about the upcoming Pixel Tablet, which will have a ceramic coating on the aluminum body. Regardless, if the rest of these tidbits turn out to be true, the Pixel 7a could be so good it will cannibalize sales of the Pixel 7.