Two weeks ago, it was stated that the rumoured Pixel 7 Ultra might be a significant upgrade over the Pixel 7a. It was a difficult circle to square: how could the entry-level device possibly outperform the Pixel 7 Pro?
Things make a lot more sense now, thanks to developer and persistent thorn in Google’s side Kuba Wojciechowski(opens in new tab). What’s the long and short of it? The Pixel 7a will receive a number of significant updates, but not the Pixel 7 Pro-eclipsing camera enhancements that the initial code dive predicted.
While appearing to validate the previous report’s findings that the codename Lynx referred to the Pixel 7a and not an Ultra or Mini model, Wojciechowski then disappointed those anticipating that the new ‘a’ model would outperform the Pro in terms of photography.
“I already leaked the Lynx camera setup: GN1+IMX787+IMX712 on the back,” he wrote on Twitter. “Google appears to have changed that now, deleting the GN1 lens.”
That means the Pixel 7a will very certainly include a wide lens (IMX787) and an ultrawide lens (IMX712), but no separate telephoto lens, which makes a lot more sense.
To be clear, this will still be a significant camera upgrade between Pixel ‘a’ generations. “IMX787 is a significant upgrade over the old IMX363 and should make the 7a an even better pick for mid-range camera quality,” Wojciechowski tweeted (opens in new tab).
Wojciechowski has confirmed another component of the original report: wireless charging. Only 5W wireless charging, which means it will take a while, especially when compared to the premium Pixel 7s’ 20W. But it’s better than nothing, which is exactly what previous Pixel ‘a’ generations delivered.
Furthermore, Wojciechowski has made a significant revelation: the Pixel 7a will reportedly include a 90Hz Samsung panel. While he does not share his source, the jump from 60Hz puts the Pixel 7a on par with the improved refresh rate on the basic Pixel 7, if not quite matching the 120Hz featured in the Pixel 7 Pro.
“If Google can keep the $449 MSRP,” Wojciechowski adds, “the 7a will most likely be a killer deal.” “With a new display with a high refresh rate, wireless charging, a brand new camera sensor, and Google’s customary software magic, few handsets could compete, particularly in the United States.”
The main question is where this leaves the normal Pixel 7, which would appear to be an increasingly bad bargain with a $150 higher MSRP. But, as anyone who chose a Pixel 4a 5G over a Pixel 5 will recall, this isn’t the first time a Pixel ‘a’ gadget has provided considerably superior value to the more expensive variants.
A lot also hinges on when the Pixel 7a will be released. If, as appears likely, it is unveiled at next year’s Google I/O event, the Pixel 7 will have been on the market for at least eight months. Google may have no problem cannibalising its main phone with an exciting low-cost alternative this far into its life.