The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have just been official as Google’s latest flagship phones, but at a glance, there’s not much new. So what has really changed? Here’s everything we could find.
Two-tone colors are gone 😔
The unique design language of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro really stood out, but this time one of the core elements of that design is missing. Regardless of which color you choose, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will be a consistent color from top to bottom, minus the camera bar, as you can see above.
Google made both devices a little easier to hold
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were great phones, something that was surely the best. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have the same screen sizes, but they’re slightly less cumbersome to use.
Google’s latest two phones trim down their bezels and overall hardware a bit, and the end result is a device that’s easier to hold. If you thought last year’s phones were too big, these changes probably won’t change your mind entirely, but overall it’s a good change. My only gripe is that it means the cases for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro won’t fit this year’s generation.
Google moved the buttons of the Pixel 7 Pro
They are a little lower, curiously
We’re not sure why, but the Pixel 7 Pro’s buttons are mounted a bit lower than the Pixel 6 Pro’s.
Also, the mmWave window is now much less obvious and more in line with the likes of Samsung and Apple.
The Pixel 7 Pro screen is much less curved
Evil is (partially) defeated!
I hate curved screens.
The Pixel 6 Pro essentially had a “waterfall” screen that curved dramatically on each side, but the new model has a much smoother curve on each side. It probably won’t make it much easier to use a screen saver with this device, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Google. Flat screen next year! Please! The Pixel 7’s screen is much better.
only time will tell
Under the hood of the Pixel 7 series is the Tensor G2 processor, which gives Google the opportunity to work on performance, heat, and efficiency issues with the previous model. This has the potential to be by far the biggest update on Google’s new phones, but only time will tell if it actually works.
‘Cinematic Blur’ and ‘Macro Focus’
The new functions of the Google camera have a clear inspiration
Two of the main new features in the Pixel 7 series come from the camera, with “Cinematic Blur” available on both phones as a video recording feature. We were able to test it briefly and it works reasonably well on my non-human subject of choice, a pair of Pixel Buds.
The other new feature is Macro Focus, which works brightly with the Pixel 7 Pro’s ultra-wide camera. The level of detail is excellent, and I was surprised at how close it could get. I have a feeling this will be the main reason to get the Pixel 7 Pro instead of the smaller, cheaper model.
Pixel 7 Pro has a zoom of up to 30x
you can see so much more now
We were also able to briefly test the 30x zoom on the Pixel 7 Pro and, yes, it works very well. Details remain sharp even at maximum zoom, and the stabilization that Google touted during the launch event works very well. It feels very similar to what Samsung does with “Space Zoom”, only much less dramatic in branding.
Bringing back the best feature of the Pixel 4
The Pixel 7 and Pro bring back face unlock, a feature missing from Pixel phones since the brief introduction in 2019’s Pixel 4 series. That’s the good news. The bad news is that unfortunately we haven’t been able to test it because Google’s practical opportunity was a bit limited in what we could do. However, we will be happy to test it in our next reviews.
Pixel 7 has a smaller battery
Google seems to be pushing a lightweight device with a long battery life
Another thing that will require testing to see if it’s an issue is battery life on the smaller Pixel 7, as it loses around 300mAh from the previous generation. Hopefully that won’t have an impact, as battery life was one of our favorite things about the smaller phone last year. But on the plus side, this year’s $599 model feels noticeably lighter.
Ready for summer 2023
One of the things I immediately noticed when picking up the Pixel 7 and Pro was the new screen. Both phones have much brighter panels and what I found to be much sharper. Of course, they’re still the same size and resolution as last year, but the boost to 1400 nits of maximum brightness should be an upgrade ready for next summer.
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro go a long way towards showing that Google is going through a “tick-tock” release cycle. As we said before, that’s definitely the best!
Still, these are fairly minor changes overall. My gut feeling is that if you have a Pixel 6 or 6 Pro today, it’s probably It’s not worth even considering upgrading at this point, especially as Google’s trade-in values remain somewhat underwhelming. But that could change over time. A lot of what Google has changed in the Pixel 7 series will take time to decide if it really makes an impact.
Stay tuned for our full Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel Watch review, and let’s talk in the comments! What do you want to know about these devices?
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