Google is not reinventing the wheel with the shiny new Pixel 7. It’s a polished and refined upgrade to Pixel 6. from last year. The good news is that we already highly recommend the 2021 variant and its cheaper sibling, the Pixel 6aand it stays that way when it comes to the new model.
Here you get the best possible Android experience, Google’s Tensor-driven smarts, a great camera setup and a few minor refinements that improve on the minor drawbacks of the predecessor (yes, the fingerprint sensor is far better).
But (and it’s a crucial but), this one costs £599 while the very similar Pixel 6 costs £499 (or less on offer). Are the iterative upgrades really worth a full £100 more? That’s the big question.
Whichever model you choose, we think the Pixel lineup is the best choice for anyone after an Android upgrade without the annoying bloatware you can find on certain other devices, and the stability and smoothness of Android 13 are enough to keep you going. even the most obsessed iPhone diehard think twice about switching.
While the statistics show that Google’s handsets still make up only a small fraction of all smartphones out there in the wild, that number is growing faster than other brands and we can report that we’ve seen an increasing number of Pixel devices in the hands of our fellow commuters (it helps that the camera bar sets them apart!).
After a little over a week of testing, we think the new Pixel 7 is the best Android smartphone for most people, especially if you don’t need the Pixel 7 Pro’s bigger screen, slightly better battery, and more advanced cameras. have.
However, there’s not a huge difference between this and the Pixel 6, which is much more affordable, so we’d still recommend bargain hunters go for the older model until we see a significant price drop on the 7.
Google Pixel 7 key specs
• Screen size: 6.3 inch
• Solution: 2400 x 1080 pixels
• Processor: Google Tensor G2
• cameras: Two rear cameras (50MP main and 12MP ultra wide angle) and 10.8MP front camera
• RAM: 8GB
• Storage area: 128GB or 256GB
• MicroSD card slot: no
• Weight: 197g
Google Pixel 7 design
From the outside, it may seem like there’s very little difference between the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 7.
Both phones have a clear visual identity with an edge-to-edge “camera bar” on the back. On the new model, this texture has changed, now in matte aluminum. It looks sleek and stylish, although we are aware that this design has its drawbacks and, yes, it won’t sit flat on the desk without a cover.
But to be fair, a case is essential here, given the smoothness of the glass on the back of the phone.
There are some changes that are almost imperceptible unless you keep the 6 and 7 side by side. The new one is a little bit smaller with a 6.3-inch (instead of a 6.4-inch) screen, and it’s also a bit lighter than its predecessor.
We love the color range, especially the fun “Lemongrass” shade of our review unit. Lovers of “Kinda Coral” and “Sorta Seafoam” will be disappointed, however, as the 7 doesn’t come in those colors – the other two shades are white or black (or “Obsidian” and “Snow” if you prefer Google- slang).
Google Pixel 7 camera
If you’re considering buying a Pixel smartphone, you can safely say you probably care a lot about how good it is for photography. We’re always busy with our phones too, and the good news is that this is another brilliant Google camera powered by software.
The iPhone may still be king when it comes to video, but it’s not quite as clear cut when it comes to photos. The Pixel often delivers results that require less editing and attention before posting anything to your Instagram feed.
On the actual hardware itself, the Pixel has the same combination of a 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide angle lens. That main camera is the best option and produces excellent results, while there is a telephoto lens that uses the central part of the large sensor.
During the test, the shots from all the rear cameras were excellent, always detailed, colorful, accurate and high in contrast. The main hardware upgrade is the higher-resolution front camera, which fans of selfies will appreciate.
Google also improved the “Face Unblur” feature it added to the camera last year with an overall “Photo Unblur” to save your ruined photos, no matter what camera they were taken with. You can dig up old snapshots from 2007 at your point-and-shoot and it should be able to resolve the blur.
We’ve tried this out and we’re impressed with how good these results are. This editing wizardry is powered by the new chip in the Pixel 7, so it’s one of those features you can’t enjoy without buying the new phone.
If you have a huge collection of photos that you want to fix, the way the blurry addition can bring memories to life may be worth the price of the upgrade.
Below we’ve included a selection of photos we took with the Pixel 7, including some that use portrait mode and the ultra-wide angle lens – these are all completely unedited and show the colors and clarity you want without any additional fine-tuning:
Google Pixel 7 cinematic video
Like the “Movie Mode” on iPhone 13 and 14 models, the new Pixels come with a mode that adds blurry “bokeh” to the background of your videos. However, this is an addition that isn’t quite finished yet.
We compared the results we got with videos we showed on the iPhone 13 mini, and the dinky iPhone’s look much more natural. The Pixel struggles with subject detection and tracking in this video mode, and the blurry border around the subject looks a bit artificial.
Hopefully this will improve in the future with some software updates.
Battery life and processor of Google Pixel 7
Battery life on the Google Pixel 7 has been improved with the addition of Google’s improved Tensor G2 chip. On paper, stats boffins can look at the processor and see a relatively minor upgrade, but it has machine learning and efficiency benefits.
Google prides itself on faster performance for low-light photos, the “unblur” feature to fix unreliable photos, and better on-device speech recognition (we tried the transcription feature and it’s great too).
Since it is more efficient, there is also an improvement in battery life. We have to say we’ve never had any issues with the Pixel 6, and the solid battery life on the Pixel 7 is impressive. It’s a technically smaller battery, but still has over 24 hours of battery life. As with the old model, this helps us get through a day of normal use without any problems.
There are also two helpful quality of life improvements worth mentioning. The first is that Google fixed the temperamental in-display fingerprint reader that is a little slow on the Pixel 6 and is now perfect on the Pixel 7. We have no complaints.
In addition, you now also have a face unlock function. This isn’t as secure or as advanced as a full 3D system like Apple’s Face ID (which is reflected in how it can open the phone but can’t confirm payments or verify access to banking apps), but it’s still more then good enough for most people and there will be no delays in unlocking your phone.
Google Pixel 7 screen
We like the Pixel 7’s screen for the same reasons as the Pixel 6’s — there’s not much of a difference between them. It’s still a beautiful, bright and vibrant panel.
Most people will enjoy the smoothness and fluidity of the 90Hz refresh rate, and the always-on display implementation is much better here than on the more expensive new Apple iPhone 14 Pro.
Whether you’re gaming, browsing your TikTok FYP, or the latest episodes of The rings of poweryou will have no problems with this screen.
Cons of Google Pixel 7
As mentioned above, the cinematic video is pretty sparse and you’ll probably want to avoid it. And, as with the previous version, there’s no slot for a memory card, so you’ll want to decide whether you need the 128GB or 256GB variant before hitting “add to cart”.
These aren’t major issues, but for us the biggest downside is how much here is comparable to the existing Pixel 6. It’s much more affordable when you compare both side by side. We like the Pixel 7, but if you’re on a budget, the 6 is the way to go.
Google Pixel 7 verdict
It should come as no surprise that the Pixel 7 gets kudos from us – it’s an excellent smartphone and even pretending the Pixel 6 doesn’t exist, it’s still a great value at the starting price of £599.
However, we live in a world where the Pixel 6 is still around, so we’d still go for that if you want the most of the greatness in a Pixel for a lower price (we’re in a crisis, after all).
If you need the latest from Google, you can’t go wrong with the polished Google Pixel 7. Its design is more refined, it has the latest smart features, new photography skills and an improved high-res selfie camera.