As a person living in Europe, I declared war on expensive flagship Android phones a while back. Ironically, I guaranteed not to buy another brand new flagship after shelling out $900 for a Pixel 6 Pro, which despite being (arguably) my favorite phone design ever, was a bad device for the first time. year of its existence. The way I choose to buy a new phone now is to buy a used/refurbished one (like my $450 brand new, two month old iPhone 13 mini), or just choose the phone that offers me/my family best value for money/my friends.
Once again, irony or not, it’s Google that will soon offer the solution to a problem that the Pixel 6 Pro created for me, and it’s called the Pixel 7a. This is also ironic because Google is a company known for Google (the search engine) and not so much for manufacturing phones. But here we are in 2023, when the best value smartphone would not be made by Samsung, Xiaomi or Apple (due to Google’s willingness to sell at lower prices since the company’s main sources of revenue do not come from sales of phones).
Pixel 7a will be $50 more expensive than Pixel 6a, but for all the best reasons: midrange phones aren’t as full of compromises as they were 2-3 years ago
It is true! According to a couple of reputable sources like Jon Prosser and Max Weinbach, the Pixel 7a will now start at $499 instead of the $459 for a Pixel 6a (which has turned out to be a big hit by Google’s standards). -sweet turn of events, as the Pixel 7a will now be known as a $500 phone, but fair enough considering three factors:
- Google phones are often on sale and lose their value quickly which is brilliant news if you’re buying your phone to keep it
- I won’t be true to my cheap self if I don’t tell you that brand new Google Pixel phones often come with even more compellingly lower prices if you shop on places like eBay and Swappa.
- For the batch of updates coming to the Pixel 7a, a $40 price hike is more than fair and certainly far from shocking
$499 Pixel 7a: Big upgrade over the $460 Pixel 6a: Wireless charging, smoother display, faster chip, an all-new 64MP camera and more coming to Google’s flagship
- The Pixel 7a is reportedly getting a new 6.1-inch, 90Hz OLED display, which should make a big difference in how smooth the phone is (versus the Pixel 6a at 60Hz).
- Wireless charging is another long-awaited addition to Google’s lineup of mid-range phones; in fact, so far, Apple is the only company that offers wireless charging with its mid-range phones (iPhone SE); Pixel 7a promises to change that
- The Pixel 7a is also getting Google’s latest chip: the Tensor G2, which is the same SoC that powers the $900 Pixel 7 Pro and (presumably) $1,800 Pixel Fold, a high-end chip for a mid-range price
- The Pixel 7a is also expected to get a brand new 64MP main camera, which will likely be able to take 2x zoom photos with optical quality, effectively giving the Pixel 7a three cameras rather than just the two you see on the back; we don’t know if the ultra-wide shooter will get an update, but the update to the main sensor seems pretty significant in itself, given that the 12MP main shooter on the Pixel 6a uses the same sensor as the (wait for) Pixel 2
- A new 11MP selfie camera, which should be capable of 4K selfie video recording – if true, this would be a big upgrade over the Pixel 6a’s 1080p selfie shooter and put the Pixel 7a on par with the pricier Pixel 7 Pro
- We’re also expecting a slightly larger 4,500mAh battery compared to the Pixel 6a’s 4,410mAh cell; Faster charging would also be greatly appreciated, as the 18W-capable Pixel 6a takes forever to charge; right now, we don’t know if the faster charging will come to the Pixel 7a
- For what it’s worth, the Pixel 7a should also offer two new color options: Sea (light blue) and Coral. it could basically be a light orange
As you can see, what on the surface looks like a 90Hz display and wireless charging upgrade, the Pixel 7a is shaping up to be a pretty decent upgrade over last years Pixel 6a, well worth the extra $40. I can think of a couple of phone makers that would charge $100 for an upgrade of this magnitude, and they may or may not be Samsung and Apple.
Google Pixel 7a brings Android the cheapest offer, prompting Samsung and Apple to do their best: Galaxy A54 and iPhone SE will not be able to compete
Ultimately, as Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, and Oppo compete to make the best (and most expensive) flagship phone on the market, Google has a unique opportunity. The company doesn’t rely on phone sales to make money, which allows it to charge as little as possible for current and future Pixel phones, and the Pixel 7a is another example. Despite the $40 price increase.
Anyway, here’s my latest challenge for the likes of Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo Create a flagship phone that’s truly worth the kind of prices you’re currently charging for your premium devices ($1,000-1,300) or Create a great mid-range device that I would feel comfortable recommending to most people?
Because I don’t see how the iPhone 14 Pro Max, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Xiaomi 13 Pro or Honor Magic 5 Pro change the way I use my phone compared to a Pixel 6a or the upcoming Pixel 7a, which will cost a fraction of the price of the big ones.