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Should you buy the Pixel 7a or wait for the Pixel 8?

The Pixel 7a looks great, but should you wait for the Pixel 8?
May 30, 2023

The Google Pixel 7a arrived earlier this month, and there’s a lot to like about it, but you should still weigh your options before buying it. We recently explored the best current Pixel 7a alternatives, but plenty of other decently priced phones are coming out later this year, including the Pixel 8. Should you wait for the Pixel 8 to see what’s new or to benefit from inevitable discounts to the older Pixel family? Let’s jump in and discuss.

Update (5/30/23): This article was originally published in early May. It has since been updated to add a few more rumors, such as the rumored SoC configuration details.

Pixel 7a vs Pixel 8: Expected differences

google pixel 7a hero empty background
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

We honestly haven’t seen a ton of solid Pixel 8 rumors just yet, but there are a few things you can expect that suggest you might want to wait and see what Google’s next flagship has in store instead of buying its mid-range Pixel 7a right now:

The Pixel 8 family will introduce the Tensor G3 and an improved GPU

There is some early evidence to suggest the Tensor G3 might see a bigger performance jump than its predecessor.

The first developer preview of Android 14 references something called “Advanced Memory Protection.” This prevents errors when handling memory in native programming languages. The Pixel 7 family can’t handle this feature. It’s very likely Google will jump to at least an ARMV8.5 CPU core in order to offer Advanced Memory Protection on its Android 14 flagship.

At least according to Phone Arena, the Tensor G3 will feature a 1+4+4 configuration. Supposedly it has a Cortex-X3 high-performance core running at 3.09GHz, four Arm Cortex-A715 performance cores running at 2.65GHz, and four ARM Cortex-A510 efficiency cores running at 2.10GHz. It’s also getting an upgraded Arm Mali-G715 GPU in an eight-core configuration. This CPU will offer a 15% ISO-process performance gain and a 2x machine learning improvement.

Now it is still likely the Tensor G3 won’t be designed to compete directly with high-end ARM-based SoCs, but it’s possible the gulf will at least be a little smaller. We can also expect Google to continue to bring its A-game when it comes to machine learning and AI technologies with the G3.

The Pixel 8 may see a big upgrade to its camera package

Google’s flagship camera experience hasn’t changed much in the last two generations, but 2023 may finally see Google make a big change. According to well-known tipster Kuba Wojciechowski, the Pixel 8 series could support staggered HDR technology. The Pixel 6 and 7’s GN1 camera doesn’t support this tech, but a newer Isocell GN2 sensor does. Of course, we can’t say for sure that’s the sensor Google would choose, but it seems pretty likely Google will have to give us a newer sensor if Wojciechowski’s tip proves accurate.

What is staggered HDR? Basically, it is a more modern take on HDR photography that takes three separate exposures in quick succession, merging them for a final, higher-quality photo. The end result is richer detail and more vibrant colors than older HDR+ methods like the ones used in the Pixel 7 family.

We can’t say what other changes might be coming to the Pixel 8 camera, but it looks pretty safe to say the photography experience will be a solid upgrade from older Pixels, and especially its most recent Pixel A series phone that was already a step behind the vanilla Pixel 7.

The Pixel 8 may have some minor design changes in store

Google’s Pixel family has been through a few different design languages over the years, but its look has stayed pretty uniform since the introduction of the Pixel 6 series. The Pixel 7 was all about refinement both inside and out. It looks like the Pixel 8 family will follow the same direction. In fact, rumors suggest the standard Pixel 8 might have a nearly identical design to the Pixel 7.

If the rumors are accurate, the only major difference will be the size. The Pixel 8 will allegedly have dimensions of 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm, a notable drop from the Pixel 7 at 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm.

It looks like Google may be saving its bigger design improvements for the Pixel 8 Pro. New renders show the Pixel 8 will have a flat display, unlike the Pixel 7 Pro. There are also some subtle changes to the camera bar on the rear and an additional (currently unknown) sensor under the camera flash.

The Pixel 8 will likely continue Google’s strategy of iteration over revolution

We don’t know too much more about the Pixel 8 and how they compare to the Pixel 7a specs just yet. But here are a few other quick highlights:

  • Rumors claim the Pixel 8 will have 8GB of RAM, while the Pixel 8 Pro has 12GB.
  • WinFuture also claims that the Pixel 8 will have a 2,268 x 1,080 display while the Pixel 8 Pro will pack a 2,822 x 1,344 screen.
  • An APK teardown suggests the Pixel 8 family will have a new video unblur tool, similar to the photo unblur tool in the Pixel 7 series.

Anything else would be speculation, but it seems pretty likely the Pixel 8 will continue Google’s existing strategy: improve the camera, refine the design, and keep pushing machine learning and AI to the next level.

Reasons to consider waiting for the Pixel 8

The Pixel 7a is a mid-ranger, and you can buy it right now for $499, so why would you wait for a flagship phone that’s likely to be at least $100 to $150 more expensive? There are a few reasons, actually.

  • The first reason to wait is the potential for discounts. If you don’t absolutely need a new phone now, you’ll be more likely to see discounts on older Pixel phones once the Pixel 8 is official. About a month ago, the Pixel 7 went on sale for an amazingly low $400, only for the price to return to normal less than a week before the Pixel 7a’s debut. We could see a similar price cut (or better?!) on the Pixel 7 shortly before or after the Pixel 8 arrives. The Pixel 7a could also see price cuts around that timeframe.
  • The Pixel 8 might be a big upgrade for just $100-$150 more. The Pixel 7a saw a price increase over its predecessor, so it’s possible that we could see the Pixel 8 for as much as $700 to make the gap larger. That said, we don’t know this for certain. The Pixel 8 seems to be a more compact phone than the Pixel 7 and so it could be aiming for a more price-friendly position between the Pixel 7a and Pixel 8 Pro. If the Pixel 8 really is only $100 or so more, you could be looking at a better camera, better SoC, and a few other small improvements without paying much extra.
  • The Pixel 8 comes with Android 14 out of the box. The Pixel 7a debuts with Android 13 despite arriving less than a half year before the next Android OS. If you want to experience Android 14 from day one, the Pixel 8 might be worth the wait. It’s also likely to have support for certain flagship Android 14 features that the Pixel 7a won’t be able to take advantage of due to hardware limitations.

Should I get a Pixel 7a or wait for the Pixel 8?

1552 votes

Reasons to buy the Pixel 7a now

google pixel 7a box contents flatlay
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Pixel 7a is a good-looking mid-ranger. It is also very reasonably priced when you consider it has jumped up a bit from its predecessor with small but meaningful additions like wireless charging and a display with a 90Hz refresh rate.

Here are just a few reasons why you should buy the Pixel 7a right now:

  • You need a phone now. If you really need a phone now, we absolutely recommend the Pixel 7a as one of the best affordable phones of 2023. And the arrival of the Pixel 8 won’t change that. Waiting six months or so might give you the option of picking up the Pixel 7 or 7a on the cheap, but odds are the Pixel 7a will still be the best mid-range option available.
  • You aren’t interested in spending more than $500 on a flagship. The Pixel 8 will be a jump forward, but if $600+ is out of your price range, there’s really no point waiting unless you are hoping for another Pixel 7 sale.
Google Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7a
AA Editors Choice
Google Pixel 7a
The best sub-$500 camera phone • Solid performance and plenty of RAM • Improved 90Hz display
The essential Pixel experience
The Pixel 7a delivers more premium features than ever for under $500, such as wireless charging support, a 90Hz refresh rate display, and a 64MP camera.