- Good value for money
- Excellent cameras
- Nice screen
- Easy to use software
- Slow charging speeds
- Face Unlock is basic
What We Think
Even after a year of improvements, the Pixel 7 doesn’t provide anything really new compared to the Pixel 6, but it’s still a solid phone that offers great value for the money.
Despite the fact that Google sells a fraction as many smartphones as competitors like Samsung, the Pixel series will continue to receive new models, including the Pixel 7 in 2022.
Given that the Pixel Watch is Google’s first smartwatch (outside of Fitbit), and given that phones are currently experiencing something of a “tock” year, as opposed to a “tick” year (to steal Intel’s old clock system and metaphor), where development is incremental rather than a big leap, the Pixel Watch may have received more attention this year.
Even if you already own a Pixel 6, the Pixel 7 is still the best flagship Android phone you can buy, and its starting price of $599/£599/€649 makes it an attractive option for many consumers.
Arrange & Construct
reduced in size
All-around Gorilla Glass Victus construction
The Pixel 7 retains the familiar design language of its predecessor with minor refinements made by Google. It’s like running into an old buddy and trying to tell if they’ve changed their hairstyle.
The primary change from the previous generation to the standard 7 under review here is the phone’s somewhat smaller size. Trimming a few millimetres here and there and ten grammes there. After a year of using the Pixel 6, I can attest that the improvements are apparent and that the phone no longer feels like a top-heavy brick.
The camera bar is still shaped like a chunky monkey, but the controls have been moved to the side of the device to give it a more futuristic appearance.
The most noticeable alteration is the addition of new colour options. This year, we also have a white (Snow) and a bright yellow/green (Lemongrass) choice in addition to the standard black (Obsidian). My personal preference would be for either the Hazel Pixel 7 Pro or the Sage green Pixel 6a.
Coming from the black Pixel 6, I realised right away that the bezel, which is wedged between the display and the light coloured metal, is considerably more obvious whether you go between Snow or Lemongrass.
To that end, the metal body of the Pixel 7 is now manufactured entirely from recyclable materials. The IP68 rating ensures that the phone is completely dustproof and waterproof.
Unlike the Pixel 6, which only featured Gorilla Glass Victus on the front, the Pixel 7 has it on both the front and back.
Although the road is still quite slippery, I was able to test the durability of the Victus glass on my phone after it fell from my car into the asphalt. Corning claims this can withstand a drop from 2 metres, yet in lab tests, it fractured in one corner.
Even so, a case is a good idea so your phone doesn’t get scratched or lost. Official Google ones are $29.99/£24.99 and are comparable to last year’s (albeit apparently hard plastic without the discoloration issue).
Not the greatest fan; I miss the old cloth cases and hope Google will bring them back.
Display & Audio System
High-Definition Plus 90 Hertz
Lock and Key: Your Face
The screen has shrunk by 0.1 inches in size from last year’s Pixel 6 to this year’s, coming in at a diagonal of 6.3 inches. It’s not a huge improvement, but the Pixel 7 does seem more manageable after accounting for the smaller chassis and less weight.
Aside from that, they’re virtually similar, both sporting an OLED display with Full HD+ (1080 by 2400) resolution, which results in a tall aspect ratio of 20:9 and a pixel density of 416 ppi. If you require 120Hz (with LTPO for dynamic refresh rate), you’ll need to go for the more expensive Pixel 7 Pro, which also sports rounded corners rather than the flat Pixel 7.
Google has also improved the brightness to 1000 nits (HDR) and up to 1400 nits in terms of peak level, which is 25% brighter than the Pixel 6. The refresh rate of 90 Hz is also quite excellent. With adaptive brightness off, my SpyderX Pro reading was a more modest 485 nits.
Only in really bright sunlight can you reach that peak performance. If you manually change the slider, Adaptive Brightness will learn your preference for different lighting circumstances.
I think Google has done a good job of striking a balance between size and quality with this device, and while other features like 120Hz would be wonderful, it’s fair that they’ve been saved for the Pro model.
The Pixel 7 lacks a headphone port and doesn’t ship with an adaptor, but it still boasts stereo speakers. If you don’t have a Bluetooth speaker, you won’t have to suffer through music or YouTube videos without a nice audio experience thanks to the speakers.
Once again, Google provides a highly functional fingerprint scanner that is integrated into the screen. However, after what seems like an eternity, Face Unlock is once again a part of standard Android.
This is a breeze to set up the first time you switch on the phone. Then, when you go to unlock the phone, a circle appears around the front camera to indicate it is scanning the area for its owner. Then, if successful, you’ll see an unlocked padlock icon and a message towards the bottom of the screen.
The iPhone technique is what I’m used to today, so it’s not strange that it took me some time to adjust to this system.
Occasionally, the Face Unlock feature on my Android 13 phone will unlock in a flash, but I never found it to be as reliable as the one on my iPhone 12 mini. In low light, or whether you’re wearing a mask or sunglasses, the Pixel 7 has a hard time capturing a clear image.
It’s also worth mentioning that unlike iOS, Face Unlock can’t be used to approve purchases or sign into applications.
Details & Efficiency
Although the Pixel 7 retains its predecessor’s fixed 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, the new Google Tensor G2 chipset is supposedly “designed to improve Pixel’s performance and efficiency for great battery life.”
When compared to the original Tensor in the Pixel 6 line, the main differences are on the machine learning and artificial intelligence fronts. To be technical for a second, the efficiency cores remain Cortex-A55, while the performance cores get a little bump from A76 to A78.
While Qualcomm and MediaTek have moved on to the more modern Armv9 architecture, the Tensor G2 sticks with Armv8.
Even if the Pixel 6’s CPU scores haven’t improved significantly from last year (6.8% in Geekbench 5) and are somewhat behind competitors, this doesn’t (and shouldn’t) matter for the vast majority of users.
There are noticeable improvements in the Pixel 7’s performance over the Pixel 6 in everyday use.
Quicker response times can be seen when using Google Assistant for more involved tasks or when using Night Sight to take pictures (more on cameras below). It also allows for real-time implementations of effects like Cinematic Blur.
To return briefly to benchmarks, the graphics tests show a larger increase (up to 13fps compared to the Pixel 6), which is great news for gamers who want to achieve the greatest framerates possible without spending a fortune on a dedicated gaming phone.
The Titan M2 continues to manage the safety measures in place. An intriguing new feature, Google VPN by Google One, will be available to Pixel 7 owners at no cost later this year, with the caveat that “restrictions apply.”
The Pixel 7, despite its lacklustre performance, is packed with the type of technology you’d expect from a premium Google phone. Wi-Fi 6E, USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS, and 5G (mmWave + Sub 6GHz in some regions) are all included.
The latter is especially helpful if you want to buy Google’s recent Nest Wifi Pro mesh network equipment.
50 Megabits per second main
Ultrawide lens with 12 megapixels
Selfie using a 10.8-megapixel camera
The Pixel 7’s rear cameras are the only ones that haven’t been updated since the Pixel 6. So, you get a 12Mp ultrawide camera in addition to the 50Mp Octa PD Quad Bayer wide sensor.
The Pixel 6 underwent a significant redesign, which is understandable given that it was the forerunner of one of the greatest smartphone cameras available until the release of the Pixel 7. The extra year of use on the same hardware also means that Google can make improvements.
To compete with the iPhone 13 and 14 series’ cinematic mode, the Tensor G2 processor offers several additional capabilities including Cinematic Blur, which is a distinct option named “Cinematic” in the camera app.
Whether or not it works on the Pixel depends on a number of things; for instance, keeping the phone stationary and moving slightly within the picture yielded usable results (although without the sharpest edge surrounding me). However, it was unable to keep up with my dog as it ran around the garden as I after it.
Whether shooting in cinematic video mode or not, OIS ensures that your film will be sharp, vibrant, and very smooth. I recorded in Full HD at 30 frames per second, but you can record in resolutions up to 4K at 60 fps. Moving to 60fps, however, would turn off the new 10-bit HDR option, rendering the improved colours and contrast unavailable.
Now that we’re back on the subject of photography, I have no reason to be astonished by the Pixel 7’s prowess behind the lens. If you’re looking for a simple and fast point-and-shoot camera, this is it. The final product has great detail, colour accuracy, and exposure/dynamic range.
Shooting in RAW is an option, and the Google photographs app has some new capabilities like Photo Unblur that seek to, well, unblur photographs. Previous releases such as Face Unblur and Magic Eraser are still available, with varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the original image. Some are truly miraculous, while others are hopeless.
The Pixel 7 Pro sports a telephoto lens similar to the original Pixel and a new feature called Macro Focus. Super Res Zoom on the Pixel 7 now extends to 8x, up from x7, and Google claims that the quality at 2x is comparable to a specialist telephoto lens.
If you anticipate often using this feature, though, you may want to look at a phone with a telephoto lens instead.
There is new technology on the front of the phone as well, with a camera that has increased in resolution from 8 megapixels to 10.8 megapixels, resulting in a slightly broader field of vision and larger pixels.
It has excellent selfie-taking capabilities, naturally including a portrait mode, and can be utilised for Face Unlock. Guided Frame is a feature developed by Google for people with vision impairments. A mix of audible and haptic feedback (which is, by the way, quite sharp and fluid) assists in aligning the shot appropriately.
How Long Do Batteries Last?
21W power supply
Maximum wireless power output is 20W.
The Pixel 7’s battery is somewhat smaller than the Pixel 6’s was due to the phone’s reduced size, but Google still makes the same ‘over 24 hours’ usage guarantee, and even goes as high as 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver.
My own experience has shown that the phone may live for a few of days, but only with minimal use. Otherwise, I have faith that the Pixel 7 will get most people to night and beyond without needing to be recharged.
Because you don’t get an adapter in the package, charging a Pixel phone is still more trouble than it’s worth. You may only receive up to 21W on the Pixel 7, even though Google sells a 30W USB-C charger for $25/£25.
There are several competitors (many of which are cheaper) that can charge much faster, and I don’t have this charger to test it with. However, with a 65W laptop charger, the phone got to 48% in 30 minutes.
The Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) that enables wireless 20W charging for the Pixel 7 was indeed sent to me by Google. While the Pixel 7 is Qi-certified, it can only supply a maximum of 12W.
The Pixel 7 can be charged from zero to fifty percent with the help of the Pixel Stand 2 ($79/£69).
If it makes a difference to you, know that the Pixel 7 Pro can charge at a little greater 23W wired or wirelessly (again, with the proper charger). Battery Share allows you to charge other compatible devices wirelessly from your Pixel 7 phone.
Applications and Upgrades
13th Robotic Operating System
OS upgrades for three years
Updates for five years’ worth of security
Since this is yet another indicator that 2016 was a banner year, I won’t spend too much time on this subsection. With the exception of a few minor improvements, such as a more adaptable user interface, Android 13 is mostly unchanged from previous versions.
There are a few annoyances that keep me from giving it five stars, however, including the fact that mobile data and Wi-Fi are combined into a single ‘internet’ quick setting and the fact that the data and weather section of the home screen occupies the entire width of the screen even though it is located on the left and cannot be removed.
Still, it’s great to know that when you buy a Pixel, you’re receiving the most pristine Android experience possible, even before you open the box. It’s a tidy, bloatware-free, and trustworthy option.
You can rest easy knowing that your phone will receive at least five years’ worth of security updates after its initial release and three years’ worth of OS upgrades. That should get you up to Android 16, and only Samsung offers longer support than that.
Cost and Availability
The Pixel 7 retains its previous year’s pricing of $599/£599/€649. This will buy you the device with 128GB of storage. The price jumps to $699 (£699, €749) for an additional 256GB of storage space.
You can get a free pair of Pixel Buds Pro (a £179 value) or save £179 on a Pixel Watch when you buy it from the Google Store until October 17th. If you trade in your old phone, you can receive up to £300.
Amazon, Currys, Argos, EE, Vodafone, and many more sell the phone.
This offer is not available in the United States, but you can earn up to $750 in value when you trade in specific phones and $100 off your next Google Store purchase.
It’s not only available on Amazon and Best Buy, though.
The Pixel 7 is a great buy even without the discounts. When compared to the Apple iPhone 14, which has the same 128GB of storage and retails for $799, the Samsung Galaxy S22 costs $799 (or £769).
If you’re looking for further information, see our best phone and best mid-range phone charts.
As expected from Google, the Pixel 7 is a successful flagship Android smartphone, and at the same price as the Pixel 6 from last year, it represents fantastic value for money.
Only people who still have a Pixel 6 from last year will care that little has changed since then, and I highly doubt those people will be eager to upgrade.
However, the Pixel 7 is a reliable and attractive smartphone in the broader market. You receive a more complete and satisfying experience for less money than with many of your main competitors.
You get a terrific collection of specifications and features, including a stunning screen, superb cameras, decent performance, and good software support into the future, and it’s nice that Google has tweaked the design to be less of a brick.
Face Unlock falls short of the iPhone’s standard, while charging times lag below the competition. These issues, while annoying, are minor in comparison to the phone’s many other strengths.
|BODY||Dimensions||155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7 mm (6.13 x 2.88 x 0.34 in)|
|Weight||197 g (6.95 oz)|
|Build||Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), aluminum frame|
|SIM||Nano-SIM and eSIM|
|IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)|
|DISPLAY||Type||AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+, 1000 nits (HBM), 1400 nits (peak)|
|Size||6.3 inches, 96.7 cm2 (~84.9% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~416 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass Victus|
|Chipset||Google Tensor G2 (5 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (2×2.85 GHz Cortex-X1 & 2×2.35 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A55)|
|MAIN CAMERA||Dual||50 MP, f/1.9, 25mm (wide), 1/1.31″, 1.2µm, multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF, OIS|
12 MP, f/2.2, 114˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.9″, 1.25µm
|Features||Dual-LED flash, Pixel Shift, Auto-HDR, panorama|
|Video||4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps; gyro-EIS, OIS, 10-bit HDR|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||10.8 MP, f/2.2, 21mm (ultrawide), 1/3.1″, 1.22µm|
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, tri-band, Wi-Fi Direct|
|Bluetooth||5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD|
|Positioning||GPS (L1+L5), GLONASS (G1), BDS (B1I+B1c+B2a), GALILEO (E1+E5a), QZSS (L1+L5)|
|USB||USB Type-C 3.2|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|BATTERY||Type||Li-Ion 4355 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||20W wired, PD3.0, 50% in 30 min (advertised)|
|MISC||Colors||Obsidian, Lemongrass, Snow|
|Price||₹ 46,850 / $ 490.00 / £ 469.30 / € 545.00|
|TESTS||Performance||AnTuTu: 813114 (v9)|
GeekBench: 3288 (v5.1)
GFXBench: 59fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
|Display||Contrast ratio: Infinite (nominal)|
|Camera||Photo / Video|
|Loudspeaker||-26.2 LUFS (Good)|
|Battery life||Endurance rating 96h|
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