We’ve had the Google Pixel 7 for quite some time now, and it’s proven to be a unique device as far as smartphones go. With that said, we have to ask the question whether or not it’s something you should get, or should you just keep your current smartphone? Let’s take a look.
Pixel 7 Specs:
- Display: 6.3-inch AMOLED, 90Hz refresh rate
- Resolution: 1080×2400 pixels
- Processor: Google Tensor G2
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128/256GB Storage
- Battery: 4,355 mAh with 30W Charging Support
- Cameras: 50MP main sensor, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP front
- Software: Android 13
Design and Display
Now as we discussed in our initial impressions video with the Pixel 7, it does have a design that’s both new and familiar at the same time. The Pixel 7 does retain the general overall look of its predecessor but it does come with some changes, like a refined aluminum frame that goes around the entirety of the phone and melts into the camera window, turning it into more of a “camera bar.”
The back panel now also has Gorilla glass Victus, as opposed to the Gorilla Glass 5 panel last year on the Pixel 6, and it does come with a slightly smaller display at 6.3 inches versus the 6.4 inches found on its predecessor. This results in a lighter build, and I do think that it is a lot more comfortable to use compared to the Pixel 6, which leans on the heavier side of things. Overall, it’s a solid design, and it manages to separate the Pixel phones from more generic-looking smartphone designs out there.
The Pixel 7 also introduces face unlock and a slightly improved fingerprint sensor – we say “slightly improved,” as there are still times when it manages to miss my fingerprint readings , which is kind of a downer given that it was such a big issue on last year’s Pixel 6. With that said, this doesn’t happen often, although admittedly it would have been nice to see an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner on here.
On the other hand, Face unlock works fast and seamless. Of course, significantly darker environments will sometimes be an issue given the lack of facial lighting, but overall it does feel a lot faster than the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 7. Unfortunately though you can’t use it to authorize payments at the moment, but it’s nice to have a second option in case you’re having some trouble with the fingerprint scanning.
Tensor G2, Smart Features
Now in terms of performance, a quick Google search will tell you that the Tensor G2 is not the major groundbreaking successor to the first-generation Tensor, particularly in terms of raw power. With that said, there are still some improvements in terms of performance – I was able to play some graphically-heavy games on the phone, and it does provide particularly-smooth daily usage, but if you’re going to look at the Tensor G2 strictly in terms of benchmark tests, then there’s not much to appeal to most enthusiasts out there who are after high-scoring chipsets.
On the other hand, we do get improvements with the AI capabilities of the Pixel 7. So far it really lives up to the “smart” part when it comes to Android smartphones, and features like Google Assistant have been really great in terms of performance on the Pixel 7. Other factors like voice recognition and speech-to-text are nicely-implemented, and it builds upon what Google was able to establish with the first-generation Tensor.
As I mentioned earlier, I was able to play some graphically demanding games like XCOM 2 and Genshin Impact, although one prevalent issue is that the phone still tends to get warm like its predecessor – not to the point that it gets uncomfortably hot, but enough that you know the limitations of the chipset. This is something that should be taken into consideration, especially if you play a lot on your smartphone.
One major aspect where the Pixel 7 really manages to excel at is camera performance. Every time I pick up a Pixel phone whether it be the 3a, the 4a, the 4a 5G the Pixel 6, or the Pixel 6a, I expect good quality photos – thankfully it’s the same case with the Pixel 7, which manages to bring over the amazing camera performance and the computational photography that we saw on its predecessors, with some improvements to boot.
It’s a great performer, especially as a point-and-shoot device, and you can’t go wrong with this phone if you’re looking for an easily-accessible phone for casual mobile photography. Even the front-facing camera has gotten a boost thanks to an ultra-wide lens, making for more “dynamic” looking portrait photos and videos.
Night sight photos now are now processed faster, a big leap from earlier Pixel phones – for someone who tends to take a considerable amount of low-light shots, this was a much-welcome upgrade.
With that said, it’s not a perfect smartphone, and there are some weaknesses to the camera. I noticed that we still get green tints at the edge of photos, which you can see when taking ultra-wide shots, especially if your image does have darker colors around the edges (see our photo with the river). You can see some green hues on there, which is something that we got with the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 4a 5G, and it’s something that I really hoped would be addressed with this latest generation of Pixels.
Another weakness on the Pixel 7 would be the video quality, especially in low light situations, which yield significant grain in footage. I’m not saying that this is exclusive to the Pixel, as it’s something that plagues a lot of smartphones, but there are moments that clips shot during reasonably bright late-afternoons still tend to look grainy with a lack of detail, especially in foliage.
One new feature this year is cinematic video mode, which is essentially portrait mode for video footage. While I do think that the Pixel 7 manages to pull it off nicely, it’s not perfect of course, and software can only get you so far – edge detection in Cinematic video does struggle at times especially with movement, although I hope that we do get software improvements in future updates, which is something to look forward to.
Battery life has been consistent for me so far – I usually charge around 11 PM and go through the next day using my phone for media consumption, entertainment and such, and it manages to get me through the day until I have the charge again at around 10 or 11 PM.
With that said, I do work from home, it’s going to be a different scenario for everyone. You’ll lose a bit more battery quicker if you use it outdoors with a higher screen brightness, and constant data and GPS usage.
Despite its smaller capacity (compared to that of the Pixel 6), I do think that the Pixel 7’s battery is a solid performer now. We do get 30W fast charging, and I did notice that it charges a bit faster than its predecessor – granted, it’s not the same charging speeds as on phones like Xiaomi or OnePlus, but it’s nice to see the be able to charge a bit quicker this time around.
One thing to note is that the phone won’t get the same amount of software support as its rivals. The Pixel 7 will only get three Android version updates, although we do get five years of security updates, which does add to its longevity. By contrast however, competing flagships from Samsung and Apple offer five years of major OS updates, and it would have been nice to see Google manage to offer the same level and length of software support. If you’re looking for a phone that you can keep for a rather long time, this is definitely something to take into consideration.
On the other hand, Pixels tend to get better over time, especially as they receive software features and performance improvements which add a lot of versatility to their overall usage.
Pricing, Final Thoughts
At a price of 599 bucks (the same price as last year’s Pixel 6), I do think that the Pixel 7 is a great Android phone especially given the relatively low cost, which makes it considerably more affordable than competing flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S22, the iPhone 14, and even the OnePlus 10 Pro. If you are a Pixel fan, then this is the perfect upgrade for you, even more so if you want a slightly more affordable Pixel flagship that comes with the Google-centric features that you’ve come to love through the years.
On the other hand, if your Pixel 6 is still running perfectly and if budget is a concern, then you might want to hold onto that for now and wait for a price drop. With that said though, the Pixel 7 is a solid smartphone, and definitely one worth looking into.
Google Pixel 7 Rating:
- Solid Design and Display
- Improved Biometrics are much welcome
- Camera Remains Consistently Great
- No Price Increase
- Tensor G2 isn’t a massive performance upgrade