Wednesday, May 31
Google Pixel family with the Pixel 5, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 7 Pro next to each other

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Google’s Pixel A-series smartphones have always been a great value recommendation. They make sense for the average user who just wants a good phone with a good display and a good camera. While there are undoubtedly better options in the mid-range Android phone segment, devices like the Google Pixel 5a and the Pixel 6a have maintained their spots with their no-nonsense approach to the smartphone experience. However, we’re months deep into the year, and if you’re looking to buy a budget Android device, you may have a pertinent question: should you buy the Pixel 6a? Or should you wait for the Pixel 7a to launch? We hope to answer these questions for you in this article.

Editor’s note: Google has yet to announce the Pixel 7a, and any information about it is based on rumors or speculation. Keep that in mind as we move forward with this article.

Will the Pixel 7a be as big as the Pixel 6a?

Google Pixel 6a in Sage color in hand, seen from the back

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

All users who are considering the Pixel 6a will be doing so keeping in mind its relatively smaller dimensions. With a screen size of 6.1-inch diagonally and dimensions of 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9mm, the Pixel 6a stands out in the sea of big-body smartphones. It’s not a tiny smartphone per se like how the ZenFone 8 is, but it’s smaller than its other current Pixel brethren and a lot of other Pro and Ultra smartphones. It’s bigger than the iPhone 14 Pro, though.

Still, if you want a smartphone that balances out a big display with its pocketability and ergonomics (ergo, a medium-sized smartphone, if you will), the Pixel 6a is a great bet.

Google Pixel family with the Pixel 5, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 7 Pro next to each other

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

At 178g of weight, the Pixel 6a is also a light phone. A fair share of credit for the low weight goes to Google’s decision to stick with a plastic back instead of a glass back. The edges on the back are also gently curved. All of this adds up to the Pixel 6a being a very pleasant phone to hold for long periods of time. It may not appear as premium as a glass-back smartphone, but it maintains its own character and image quite well as it uses a high gloss plastic back instead of a matte finish.

Google Pixel 7a render

Google is yet to make the Pixel 7a official. But we’ve seen leaks of the device appear online. Leaked CAD renders indicate that the Pixel 7a has dimensions of 152.4 x 72.9 x 9.0mm. This makes the Pixel 7a just 0.2mm taller, 1.1mm wider, and 0.1mm thicker than the Pixel 6a. These are tiny margins and entirely ignorable. So if the Pixel 7a does turn out to be in accordance with these renders, then you’d be happy to know that it’ll retain its characteristics of being a medium-sized smartphone. The weight of the device should also be one-hand friendly.

Pixel 7a leak

We’ve also not heard of any leaks or rumors pointing to the existence of a Pixel 7a XL. It is safe to presume that the Pixel 7a will come on in only one size unless Google has a big last-minute surprise for us.

Display, design, and build quality

The Pixel 6a has a 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED display. The Achilles’ Heel of this display is the 60Hz refresh rate. It’s lagging behind pretty much the entire industry at this point, which has moved on to 90Hz and 120Hz refresh rates. However, the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus also continue to sport 60Hz refresh rates. While most consumers do not immediately notice anything amiss with a 60Hz refresh rate, the jump from 60Hz to 90Hz is fairly noticeable and perceived as “smoothness” by all.

Google Pixel 6a, display on with the homescreen showing, next to Pixel Buds Pro, on a turquoise background

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

When it comes to design, the Pixel 6a differs a lot from its predecessor Pixel 5a and Pixel 5a 5G. However, the Pixel 6a does share a lot of design traits with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. We see the signature wide camera visor on the back of the phone, which gives the Pixel 6a a recognizable yet iconic look. The two-toned finish also elevates the looks of the device, as it is not a boring and drab boxy square anymore.

For its build, the Pixel 6a has an aluminum mid-frame. The back, as we mention, is glossy polycarbonate. The camera bar on the Pixel 6a is also polycarbonate, but Google has done a good job emulating the appearance of the Pixel 6 series.

Pixel 7a leak

We don’t have confirmed information about the Pixel 7a’s display. However, leaks suggest that an upgrade is on the cards. The size, resolution, and display tech are expected to remain the same as before, which is good as these were good specifications. But the refresh rate could see an upgrade from 60Hz to hopefully 90Hz. This would significantly improve the user experience on the Pixel 7a, and definitely that users should look forward to.

We hope to see the Pixel 7a jump from 60Hz to 90Hz refresh rate for the display.

As for the design, the Pixel 7a will maintain the A-series trajectory as set by the Pixel 6a. It won’t get the same design as the Pixel 6a, but it will share the larger design language that we see on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. So you can expect the camera visor to reach its Pixel 7 evolution. Note that the criss-cross design pattern seen on the back of the device in leaked hands-on images is probably only on the prototype device, and unlikely to carry over to the final release product.

Pixel 7a leak

All in all, the Pixel 7a looks set to be the younger sibling of the Pixel 7 series, and that’s a good thing. A lot of people really liked what the Pixel 6a did for its design and builds, and Google appears to be merely refreshing them for a new year. There’s no attempt at fixing what isn’t broken, and we can definitely live with that.


The Google Pixel 6a comes with the first generation of Google’s Tensor SoC, which was the company’s flagship chip of 2021 and was seen on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro as well. This means you get flagship-grade performance on a device of this budget! This has been one of the more impressive aspects of the Pixel 6a.

google pixel 6a home screen

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

While Tensor does lag behind Snapdragon 8-series offerings in GPU and sustained performance, it is a great chip to use in a budget device. You do have to stay conscious of heat accumulation during sustained tasks as the phone has a tendency to get hot, but at least you have the performance for when you need it.

The Pixel 6a is accompanied by 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage and 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM. This is once again a solid combination. There’s no microSD card slot on the Pixel 6a, which should come as no surprise to anyone following Google’s smartphone decisions.

The Tensor is a good chip for average users, but it can run hot when pushed.

Overall, the performance of the Pixel 6a was great, with the caveat of heat accumulation. Most users, with their daily average tasks like browsing social media and clicking the occasional snap, would not have issues with the device. This is part of why the Pixel 6a was well received. It did what a phone needs to do for most people, and nothing more.

Google has not confirmed what SoC the Pixel 7a will come with. However, based on leaks and Google’s roadmap for Tensor, it would be fair to expect the Pixel 7a to come with the new Tensor G2 that we see on the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.

Google Tensor G2 logo Pixel 7

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

On these devices, the Tensor G2 is a minor performance upgrade, so it still lags behind the 8-series Snapdragons. The Tensor G2-equipped Pixel 7 series devices are also more thermally efficient than their respective predecessors. However, that also has to do with the cooling systems within the phone as much as it does with the SoC. We’re hoping the Pixel 7a runs cooler than the Pixel 6a.

We don’t have information on the RAM and storage numbers and tech for the Pixel 7a, but we can expect the baseline set by the Pixel 6a to be maintained at least.

If you’re a gamer and value sustained gaming performance, the Pixel 6a is not your first choice, and we don’t expect the situation to change with the Pixel 7a either. Gaming isn’t particularly a focus for Google on its own smartphones, and even less so on the A-series. You’d be better off purchasing a Snapdragon 7-series or Snapdragon 8-series smartphone if you count gaming as one of the weekly activities on your phone.

google pixel 6a call screen

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

What Google does focus on is AI performance. The Pixel 6a with Tensor excelled at it. We expect the streak to continue with the Pixel 7a with the presumed Tensor G2. Since the launch of the Pixel 7a will presumably coincide with Google I/O, we’re also hoping to see Google bring in some more AI-driven experiences to the Pixel lineup. The Pixel 7a (and the rest of the Pixel 7 series with the Tensor G2) will become the perfect vehicle for these experiences.

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 7a: What about the cameras?

google pixel 6a using camera

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Pixel 6a has an unimpressive camera setup on paper, but is rather phenomenal in real-life experience. It continues to use the dated 12.2MP Sony IMX363 with f/1.7 aperture as its primary camera. This sensor is the same one that we’ve seen on several Pixels starting from the Pixel 3! But don’t let the age of the sensor or the rest of the spec sheet fool you: the Pixel 6a remains a formidable camera smartphone. This is all thanks to Google’s computational photography magic, which lets the Pixel 6a extract the best out of this dated hardware. You can see some samples in the gallery below.

The second camera on the Pixel 6a is a 12MP Sony IMX386 sensor with f/2.2 aperture and a 114° FoV, which you also see on the rest of the Pixel 6 series. The selfie camera is an 8MP Sony IMX355 with an f/2.0 aperture. Both perform well for their specs, and it does get difficult trying to figure out just how much of their success can be attributed to the sensor and how much of it is thanks to computational photography.

google pixel 6a in hand landscape

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Overall, the Pixel 6a remains the smartphone to beat for cameras in the mid-range. Other smartphones just haven’t been able to come close to the camera performance that the Pixel 6a offers. If you want phones that can compete with the Pixel 6a’s camera, you have to practically double your budget.

The Pixel 7a could get some meaningful camera upgrades with a new 64MP primary sensor and a new 12MP ultrawide sensor.

Google has not confirmed anything about the Pixel 7a’s camera, so whatever we’re about to say is on the basis of leaked information. Leakers have found references to a new camera setup, headlined by the 64MP Sony IMX787 for the primary camera and the 12MP Sony IMX712 for the ultrawide camera. If this turns out to be the case indeed, then we are in for a big hardware upgrade. We presume further that Google’s computational photography game remains on point, which will truly elevate the Pixel 7a’s position as a camera champion in the mid-range.

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Software and updates

google pixel 6a customization

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Pixel 6a runs Google’s Pixel UI on top of Android. The experience that you get is a step above from the no-frills experience of stock AOSP, but without getting too overwhelming. So you get meaningful changes and features that add to your overall user experience.

The Pixel 6a launched with Android 12 but has been upgraded to Android 13. Google promises up to three Android platform updates and up to five years of security patch updates. So the Pixel 6a will receive two more platform updates and will be upgraded with security patches up to 2027. That’s fairly impressive for what ultimately is a mid-range smartphone. And since this is a Pixel, all of these updates arrive on Day 1, usually.

google pixel 6a security checkup

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

With the Pixel 7a, we have the same expectations. We expect to see more of the same Pixel UI on the device. Google gatekeeps only a handful of features to its latest device for a few months and usually brings as much feature parity as possible with hardware to older device owners. So if there are any new features launching on the Pixel 7a, they will stay exclusive only for a bit before even Pixel 6a users will be able to enjoy them.

As for updates, the Pixel 7a will launch with Android 13 in 2023. So expect up to Android 16 and security patches up to 2028. This is in line with the newer launch of the device.

Pixel 6a vs Pixel 7a: Battery life and charging

google pixel 6a battery preferences

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 6a has a 4,410mAh battery, which may sound adequate for a full day, considering the relatively modest hardware. However, in our experience, the Pixel 6a just about makes it through a full day of use.

If you use the phone adventurously and push the Tensor SoC by any means, then you need to be prepared to take a hit on battery life. It’s difficult to obtain screen time information thanks to changes on Android done by Google. But know that with regular usage, you’re unlikely to complete a 24hr uptime cycle with confidence in this battery setup.

google pixel 6a ports

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The situation is similar for charging as well. The Pixel 6a maxes out at 18W USB PD wired charging. You’ll be taking about an hour and 45 minutes to fill the battery from zero to full. There’s no wireless charging on board the Pixel 6a, so this is the best and only option that you get. Needless to say, the Pixel 6a does not win any awards in the battery life and charging section.

With the Pixel 7a, we haven’t heard anything from Google yet. And leaks, by and large, indicate that the battery and charging situation is not likely to see any meaningful hardware upgrades. So expect a similar-sized battery and up to 18W USB PD charging.

Pixel 7a leak

However, in some bit of good news, certain leaks indicate that the Pixel 7a may get wireless charging support. The catch is that these leaks suggest this will be up to 5W only, which is excruciatingly slow for a phone in 2023. It will make sense for overnight long charges, but will not really move the needle when you are in a hurry.

We appreciate the thought behind adding wireless charging support, but come on, it’s 2023, and consumers deserve better. 10W charging should have been the bare minimum for adding this feature.

How long do I have to wait for the Google Pixel 7a?

The Google Pixel A-series has had its timelines affected in recent years due to external factors. With the supply chain now largely returning to normalcy, we’re expecting the Pixel 7a to launch at Google I/O 2023, which is scheduled for May 10, 2023. Presuming everything goes according to plan, the device should go on sale shortly afterward. This means the Pixel 7a is just a few months away.

The Pixel 7a is expected to launch in May 2023 at Google I/O.

However, it is best to keep your hopes tempered. The Pixel 6a was announced in May 2022, but it was only made available for purchase two months later. Google has not commented publicly on the reason for this delay. So we do not know if this was according to their plan and timelines. We hope the Pixel 7a sees swift availability post-announcement.

What will the price be for the Pixel 7a?

The Google Pixel 6a starts at $449 in the US. However, within a few months after its launch, the phone has routinely seen massive discounts. You can purchase the phone right now for just $299, and even bring this price down to $249 if you activate it on your carrier immediately when purchasing from BestBuy.

Pixel 7a leak

For the Pixel 7a, we’re expecting a bunch of upgrades, like the 90Hz refresh rate display and new camera sensors. So it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if Google went with a higher price at launch. Leaks say that you can cross your fingers to see a $449 price tag on launch, though we wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the price tag was $499 either. With some patience, you should be able to get the phone for cheaper later on.

If you’re in regions outside of the US, there’s a chance that the Pixel 7a may see a price increase for you due to currency fluctuations and other inflationary reasons.

Will the Pixel 7a be waterproof?

The Pixel 6a is IP67 rated. This means it is not waterproof, but it is water-resistant up to 1 meter of immersion for 30 minutes.

Will the Pixel 7a have a headphone jack?

One thing to note though: the Pixel 6a removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from the Pixel A-series. On the leaked renders we have seen so far, the bad news continues, as the 3.5mm headphone jack remains missing. We’ll wait for final confirmation, but safe to say, it’s likely not coming back on the Pixel 7a, either.

Will the Pixel 7a support 5G?

Before we answer this for the Pixel 7a, we need to take a look at the Pixel 6a’s 5G support situation.

The Pixel 6a supports 5G, but there’s some nuance at play here. All models of the Pixel 6a do not support all the 5G networks. The unlocked variants of the Pixel 6a work only with sub-6GHz 5G networks, and not mmWave. Even the carrier variants from T-Mobile and AT&T only support sub-6GHz 5G and not mmWave.

If you need mmWave 5G support on your Pixel 6a, you need to purchase it from Verizon, and the price for the same is increased by $50 over the other model to account for the necessary hardware changes for mmWave support.

Pixel 7a leak

For the Pixel 7a, leaks indicate that the situation will remain similar to that of the Pixel 6a. This means that you can see sub-6GHz 5G support on the Pixel 7a ordinarily. If you need mmWave support, you will have to purchase the device from Verizon, and it is likely to cost slightly more than the regular Pixel 6a.

Should I buy the Pixel 6a or wait for the Pixel 7a?

google pixel 6a display - Best budget camera phones

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

With all of this being said for the Pixel 7a, does it warrant waiting for a few months? The answer to this rests on how urgently you need a phone, and what your ideal sweet spot is for pricing.

The Pixel 6a makes sense if you need a budget phone urgently. Otherwise, go for the higher-budget Pixel 7, or wait for the Pixel 7a.

If you are in immediate need of a phone, and you’d like to buy a phone for $300, then you can’t go wrong with the Pixel 6a. The phone has some drawbacks, yes, but it also gets a lot of things right. Spec sheet enthusiasts criticize the modesty of the phone, but many average users are rather satisfied with the real-world experience. Google has always been able to deliver an experience stronger than the spec sheet suggests, and they continue to do so on the Pixel 6a as well. With the $300 pricing, the Pixel 6a also manages to keep enough of a gap between itself and the Pixel 7 ($450 when on sale) to stay on as a recommendation.

If you need a phone immediately and do not mind spending around $450-$500, then we’d recommend upgrading to the Pixel 7 instead. There are a lot of changes between the Pixel 7 vs the Pixel 6a, and you’d appreciate the added features for the modest $150 price increase. The Pixel 7 is also fresher in its release cycle, as the Pixel 8 is about half a year away. So you can expect slightly longer post-sales support on the Pixel 7 as compared to the Pixel 6a.

If you do not need a phone immediately and are choosing strictly between the Pixel 6a and the Pixel 7a, we recommend waiting for a few months for the Pixel 7a. The Pixel 7a will hopefully bring in some meaningful upgrades to the display and camera, and to us, they look good enough to wait. Even just some newer camera hardware will give Google immense headroom for the future, and we know Google likes to continuously update the software to squeeze the most out of the hardware. And that display definitely needs a higher refresh rate.

We have some high hopes for the Pixel 7a for being another practical smartphone. And with the launch being just a few months away, we don’t have to wait for long to find out if our expectations are met.


Yes, the Google Pixel 6a has NFC. Leaks do not mention anything about NFC support on the Pixel 7a, so we presume it will retain NFC functions.

Yes, the Google Pixel 6a supports dual SIM functions through the use of one physical nano SIM and one eSIM. We’ve not heard of any changes to this configuration in Pixel 7a leaks. So we presume that the Google Pixel 7a will also support dual SIM through one nano SIM and one eSIM.

Yes, the Pixel 7a is expected to be the same size as the Pixel 6a, as per leaks.

The Google Pixel 6a was released on May 11, 2022, and the phone went on sale on July 21, 2022.

Google has not released any official teasers or date. But looking at historical data, we expect the Pixel 7a series to launch in May 2023.

We do not know what price the Pixel 7a will launch at. The Pixel 6a launched at $449. So you can generally expect the Pixel 7a to hover around similar levels.

No, the Pixel 6a and the Pixel 7a will get updates at the same time. The Pixel 7a will get one further year of support over the Pixel 6a as it launches a year later.


Robert is an expert in Android mobile phones. He has been using Android phones since they first came out, and he has been following the development of the platform closely. He has written many articles and tutorials on Android phones, and he is always up-to-date on the latest news and developments in the world of Android.