I was a massive fan of the Google Pixel 6 Pro last year, and after a week with both the Google Pixel 7 Pro and Google Pixel 7, it’s very clear that Google hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, but instead make a number of iterative improvements that come together to make already fantastic phones that little bit better.
The one thing that was up for contention last year was the two tone design of both phones, which I actually loved from an aesthetics point of view, but can totally see how it wasn’t for everyone. Whilst the camera bar/bump is definitely still there on the 7 and 7 Pro, it’s much more sophisticated this time around.
Whilst I really like the fact that the phone is now the same colour above and below the camera bump, I actually think I preferred the design of the old bump, which was glass before, but is now a metallic polished aluminium on the 7 Pro and a silky matte finish on the 7. I don’t think it looks bad (and definitely prefer the 7’s matte finish over the glossy aluminium), but I just think there was a certain futuristic look of the glass design, which I assume it was changed due to scratching or lens flare complaints which aren’t existent with the new design. I did notice a definitive smudginess on the camera bump that was I don’t recall facing last year.
From the front, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the 7/7 Pro and last year’s models, except for the fact that Google has gone with a much more muted colour palette this year in Obsidian and Snow (White/Black) as well as Lemongrass and Hazel shades that are exclusively to the 7 and 7 Pro respectively.
As far as displays go, the Pixel 7 sports a 6.3″ Full HD+ 90Hz display that is capable of 1,400 nits of peak brightness whilst the Pixel 7 Pro has a 6.7″ Quad HD+ LTPO OLED 120hz display with a higher peak brightness of 1,500 hits. I didn’t notice the 6 Pro being not bright enough last year, but that extra 25% of brightness definitely comes in handy when out in the sun, even more so for the Pixel 7 Pro. The 7 Pro still has it’s slightly curved screen that is a little less pronounced this year, but it’s definitely more than noticeable when compared to the flat screen of the 7.
The front also features the same hole punch camera design, which to a lot of people’s happiness also adds Face Unlock in addition to the same under-screen fingerprint sensor that we saw in last year’s models. It’s really easy to setup, and I found that it works most of the time, but you’ll definitely want both forms of unlocking setup, as there were times in darker environments or when I was laying on a bad angle, that the face unlock didn’t work first time around, but I very quickly got in the habit of still picking my phone up with the thumb over the fingerprint sensor.
Just like last year, the camera systems in these two phones are where there really starts to be a great deal of difference, so if you’re somebody who likes to take a lot of photos, you should definitely be looking at the 7 Pro. Whilst we applauded the Pixel 6 Pro last year for its fantastic photo taking abilities coupled with great features such as Face Unblur, Magic Eraser and Night Sight (which now works a lot better and faster with the Tensor G2 chip), the whole system has been taken even further with the 7 Pro.
There’s still three lenses, a 50 MP main lens, a 48 MP telephoto lens as well as a 12 MP ultrawide lens. Whilst on paper, it sounds like a familiar story, there have been improvements made under the hood, which just make this phone an absolute joy to take photos on.
You’re now getting 5x optical zoom (4x on the 6 Pro) and a 30x high resolution zoom (20x on the 6 Pro). There’s also a new 2x optical zoom which cleverly crops 5x zoomed in image back to 2x (similar to what we’ve seen on this year’s iPhones).
Also exclusive to the 7 Pro camera system is a new Macro Focus mode which automatically turns on when you get close enough to the subject. It’s probably not something you’ll be using every day, but it’s great to have and means that with the 7 Pro you can feel confident in going anywhere from an insane ultrawide photo where you need to fit in as much as possible into the shot and then get as close as possible to another subject (such as a plant or animal), and have the confidence to both of these things and everything in between.
When looking at the Pixel 7’s camera system, there’s not a whole lot different to the Pixel 6. Just like last year, you’re missing out on the must-have 48 MP telephoto lens which means no optical 5x zoom or 30x super zoom, and you’re not getting Macro photography either.
You’re still getting a 50 MP main lens as well as a 12 MP ultrawide lens, and technically, photos should look better with the Tensor G2 chip. You’re also getting the aforementioned new Photo Unblur feature, and existing features such as Magic Eraser and Night Sight. The fact of the matter is, the camera system in the Pixel 7 is still fantastic if you’re upgrading from a 5 and below or other Android phones, but don’t expect to be blown away if you’re upgrading from a Pixel 6.
Whilst the front camera hasn’t seen a huge improvement on the Pixel 7 Pro, this is one area that has been improved on the Pixel 7. It’s now jumped from 8 MP to 10.8 MP which is a decent jump and will no doubt make these photos look even sharper.
Another big area of improvement on both the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro is its video taking capability. Both are now compatible of shooting in 10-Bit HDR and both have a new feature called Cinematic Blur, which is very similar to that of the iPhone 13/14. Basically, it will dynamically focus as you shoot content in order to blur the background of what’s not in focus, meaning you can from say, shooting your dog, to your partner and it will auto adjust the focus the entire way to give it a more cinematic feel. It’s just another feather in Google’s photography cap.
Traditionally, I’m not an Android user in my day-to-day life, but the Pixel 6 Pro did a lot to change that way of thinking and the Pixel 7/7 Pro really did even more to change that. The Google Tensor G2 chip made everything juts that little bit more snappier and the improved battery life of the Pixel 7 Pro in particular really impressed me, lasting an entire day without any issues.
I knew it was going to a big ask for Google to blow me away with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro like they did last year with the Pixel 6 Pro, but that speaks more to just how good last year’s phones were, more-so than what’s on offer this year. This year’s lineup when paired with the Google Pixel Watch feels like it further cements Google’s second wind in this space, and the future is incredibly bright for Google’s entire ecosystem of products.
The Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro are out today and start at $999 and $1,299 respectively. You can grab them HERE.
The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro bring a lot of smaller improvements to the table that combine to provide an even better experience than last year's models. If you own a 6 Pro, then there's not a huge reason to upgrade immediately, but you will be absolutely delighted with either of these phones, even if you're coming from another device.
It's Great To Have Face Unlock Back
The 7 Pro Camera System Is Even Better
Battery Life Is Hugely Improved
The Screen Is Fantastic
Certain camera/display features are still locked behind the Pro model
Not one huge singular killer feature to give people a reason to upgrade