It’s purely subjective, but I think many would agree that the 2017 Pixel 2 was when Google’s software, hardware (other than the screen on the Pixel 2 XL) and camera game… reached a peak.
If you look back at the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, you can see the exact moment when Google discovered its identity as a phone maker. Sure, the phones were technically made by HTC and LG, but either way, it became clear that Google was firmly on the side of quirky designs, super-smart software, and great camera performance backed by class-leading computer photography. That’s a phone philosophy unique to Google.
With all due respect to whoever designed them, the Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, and 4XL looked like prototype phones from the front, while the Pixel 5 was when Google decided to sell a mid-range device priced as a flagship. A very good phone, but not a flagship. And expensive.
It wasn’t until the Pixel 6 series that we saw a glimpse of Google’s bold (ancient) attitude and return to elegant designs! Two years after Google’s shift to tasteful choices, we got the Pixel 7, and it just so happens that this phone might be that phone again.
It took Google five long years, but in early 2023, the Pixel 7 is the best Android phone for most people; surpasses the Pixel 7 Pro
Pixel 7 is now what Pixel 2 was in 2017!
As mentioned, Google spent a few years making some questionable choices, but finally (almost) redeemed itself with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro…
Unfortunately, while my Sorta Sunny Pixel 6 Pro might be the most beautiful phone I’ve ever laid my hands on, along with its smaller and cheaper partner in crime, the Pixel 6, Google’s 2021 flagships are made for two of the most problematic phones of 2021-2022! I won’t repeat the countless stories I’ve written about the Pixel 6’s bugs, but it was an unreliable phone – even nearly a year into its existence. Bugs aside, the vanilla Pixel 6 (I’ll focus on this one) lacked in areas like power and efficiency – logically thanks to Google’s brand new Tensor chip that felt more like a mid-range performer compared to the likes of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and A15 Bionic.
But the Pixel 7 doesn’t simply come with an upgraded Tensor G2 processor, which is more efficient than the original Tensor (though still well behind the competition) – the Pixel 7 also fixes pretty much all the key issues that made the Pixel 6 super hard to recommend, and goes even further than that…
- Despite having a smaller battery than the Pixel 6, the new Pixel 7 manages to last about as long on a single charge, which is a testament to Google’s work on optimization – yet it takes a lot more to get that Apple – and reach Qualcomm efficiency levels (Google, please!)
- Aside from a weird Wi-Fi issue where my Pixel 7 Pro would disconnect for no apparent reason (I hope this isn’t a widespread problem), Google’s 2022 vanilla flagship is a reliable phone that I can easily recommend to friends and family. family – something I couldn’t say about the Pixel 6 (to this day I regret my cousin ordered a Pixel 6; the phone works fine today)
- Despite only having a slightly smaller screen on paper compared to the Pixel 6 (6.3 versus 6.4 inches), the Pixel 7 feels like a much more compact phone; that’s because it reduces the Pixel 6’s incredibly thick bezels; as a result, the Pixel 7 is narrower, shorter, slimmer and 10g lighter than the Pixel 6, which makes a bigger difference than you’d think – especially if you’re trying to use the two phones with one hand
Pixel 7 offers the best overall value compared to other similar phones; Galaxy S22 comes close after price cuts
Pixel 7 is what the Pixel 6 probably should have been.
Of course, to tell you that the Pixel 7 is “the best Android phone for most,” I need to put things in context by comparing it to other phones vying for that title. Since that’s not really a “versus” story, I’ll try to make it as quick and neat…
- Samsung’s Galaxy S22 is arguably a better phone than the Pixel 7, but it has some drawbacks, such as slightly worse battery life, a noticeably smaller screen (if you care), and OneUI 5, by far Samsung’s best software ever, but still much less “clean” compared to Google’s Android; perhaps more importantly, the Galaxy S22 is still more expensive than the Pixel 7, while the “one year extra software upgrades” wildcard benefit doesn’t apply here, thanks to the fact that it predates the Pixel 7, launched with Android 12 (versus Android 13 on the Pixel)
- Another potential competitor to the Pixel 7 on sale for most people is the OnePlus 10T; while it has a faster processor and lightning-fast charging (a full charge takes about 20 minutes versus 140 minutes on the Pixel), the 10T falls behind in some key areas, such as camera quality and software support, with both falling short when compared to the Pixel 7 ; of course the OnePlus 10T is a noticeably larger phone than the Pixel 7, making it harder to recommend it to the masses
- Another much less obvious alternative to the Pixel 7 is the Nothing Phone 1, which comes with a flashier design (quite literally), longer battery life, and (act surprise!) faster charging than the Pixel 7 ; the Nothing Phone 1 is also about $100 cheaper than the Pixel, which may be why it cuts corners in crucial areas like performance (it comes with a mid-range chip) and camera (performance is less reliable than on the Pixel)
- Another very new Pixel 7 alternative that comes to mind is the Xiaomi 13 – it has yet to launch globally, but even if it does, it certainly won’t be sold in North America, which automatically disqualifies it from being compete with Google in the US; otherwise that’s an excellent entry from Xiaomi, which could give the Pixel 7 a run for its money in Europe, for example (when priced accordingly!)
- Last but not least – the obvious; Pixel 7 Pro has a noticeably better screen, louder speakers, and better zoom quality (more than 5x magnification) compared to the vanilla Pixel 7, but it’s up to you to decide if that’s worth the extra $300 and more importantly, the hassle of carrying a heavier and much larger phone that is almost impossible to use with one hand (especially in a case); as a Pixel 7 Pro user my answer is… no – it’s not an upgrade that 95% of people need
Pixel 7 is currently the easiest Android phone to recommend, but the Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7a could soon change that
Google’s biggest competitor may be… Google.
Honestly, I don’t tend to put a lot of “appreciation posts” on the website (not that I make a point not to), but this time I just had to give Google the flowers it deserves for making a well-balanced Android flagship phone, and more importantly, praise it very appropriately! That’s rare – you don’t see Apple and Samsung being so generous, but Google can afford it and isn’t afraid to literally lose money selling phones to get users hooked on its smart software services! Smart.
The other two larger elephants in this story are called “Galaxy S23” and “Pixel 7a”…
As you may know, it’s about a month away from Samsung’s 2023 flagship phone going official, promising to bring a lot more power than the Pixel 7, a more versatile camera system, and one of the best displays of the year! All of that might be worth the extra $200 Samsung is expected to charge for the S23!
But the real “problem” for Google is called … Pixel 7a! We’ve already seen the phone through a leaked Facebook video, and it promises to be… basically a Pixel 7, but will sell for only around $450, which could potentially make Google’s vanilla flagship obsolete. Find out what the Google sales team has in mind!
The asterisk here is that we have no idea when the Pixel 7a should appear, so if you need a new phone and you like what you see, the Pixel 7 is now up for grabs! Google’s phones are also constantly on sale, selling at absolutely unbelievable prices on places like eBay, so…what are you waiting for?
No seriously! What’s stopping you from picking up a Pixel 7? Let me know below!