Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro Review

Following last year’s complete redesign of the Google Pixel 6, this year’s Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are all about refinement. Google’s latest flagship phones continue to build on the slick new design introduced in previous-generation models, while also introducing more advanced cameras and an upgraded Google Tensor G2 processor that promises faster speeds and smart improvements to everything from making phone calls to cleaning up blurry images.

Google Pixel 7
pic: Google / Google Pixel 7

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro appear to be solid upgrades to two of the best phones available, but will they be able to compete with heavyweights like the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S22? Let’s take a look at both new devices before they go on sale next week.

Where can I get the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro?

Google Pixel 7
pic: Mike Andronico/CNN Google Pixel 7

The $599 Google Pixel 7 and $899 Pixel 7 Pro are now available for preorder from the Google Store and major retailers, with both devices expected to ship next week. The Pixel 7 is available in Snow, Obsidian, and Lemongrass finishes, while the Pixel 7 Pro is available in Snow, Obsidian, and Hazel.

• Google Pixel 7 (starting at $599 from Best Buy and Amazon)

• Google Pixel 7 Pro (starting at $899 from Best Buy and Amazon)

A Refined Elegance

While the Google Pixel 7 builds on the colorful, rectangular design of last year’s models, it still stands out as its entity. This is due in large part to the new aluminum camera bar in the back, which houses the rear lenses (two for the Pixel 7, three for the Pixel 7 Pro) and looks a lot sleeker than the Pixel 6 series’ all-black bars.

Google Pixel 7
pic: Mike Andronico/CNN

Both models are available in Snow and Obsidian (aka white and black), with each phone receiving its own shade of green (a bright lemongrass on the Google Pixel 7 and a foresty Hazel on the Pixel 7 Pro). They all appear to be appealing, though more colour options would be welcome, especially since the Pixel 6 came in some interesting yellow and red hues. Both phones looked great up close and felt lightweight and comfortable to hold, but their glossy backsides easily picked up fingerprints, just like the new iPhone 14 series.

The displays are similar to the Google Pixel 6 series, with the Pixel 7 boasting a 6.3-inch 1080p screen with 25% more brightness and a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling. The Pixel 7 Pro has a larger 6.7-inch display with a sharp 3120 x 1440 resolution and a smoother 120Hz refresh rate. In my limited hands-on time, these displays were impressive — YouTube videos looked bright and colourful, and the Pixel 7 Pro’s extra-fluid screen felt great to use when swiping my way around webpages.

Google Pixel 7
pic:Mike Andronico/CNN

The new phones are powered by Google’s new Tensor G2 processor, the company’s second chip. It promises faster speeds, of course (the previous Tensor chip performed well against rival phones, despite falling behind in some tests), but it’s ability to deliver an even more advanced camera experience is just as important.

Cameras are becoming smarter — and more accessible.

The Google Pixel series has long provided one of the best camera experiences on any phone we’ve tested, and the Pixel 7 family appears to be no exception. The Pixel 7 standard model promises improved Real Tone technology (designed to capture more accurate skin tones, especially for those with darker skin) and a new Cinematic Blur video feature that will allow you to create dramatic, movie-like focus effects, similar to the Cinematic mode on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. The Pixel 7’s front camera, which is now on par with the Pro model, can capture 4K video at 60 frames per second and has a wider field of view for those large group selfies.

Google Pixel 7
pic:Mike Andronico/CNN

The Google Pixel 7 Pro model, like previous iterations, appears to be the one to get if you’re more serious about your photography. Google’s higher-end phone features a triple-camera system with a 5x telephoto lens and 30x Super Res Zoom — all of which should translate to really crisp zoomed-in shots, even from very long distances. There’s also a new ultrawide lens with Macro Focus, which is designed to capture the smallest details (think flower petals or dog nose ridges) — and sounds a lot like the iPhone 14 Pro’s Macro mode.

Of course, hardware is only one component of a Pixel camera, and these phones continue to stand out by providing useful software features for magically improving your photos. This includes Photo Unblur for sharpening blurry images and a Guided Frame feature that uses audio and vibrations to allow people with low vision to take clear selfies. These features will be added to the Pixel’s existing camera features, such as Magic Eraser (for removing unwanted people and objects in the background) and Motion Mode (for keeping video smooth during high-action scenes).

Google Pixel 7
pic: Mike Andronico

While playing with the 7 Pro, I was impressed by the quick shots I was able to capture of all of Google’s new devices on display, but we’ll need to spend more time with both phones to see how their cameras truly hold up.

Better call quality and usability on a daily basis

Google Pixel 7
pic: Mike Andronico/CNN

In terms of battery life, the new phones promise to last more than 24 hours in normal use and up to 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver enabled. We’ve found Google phones to have excellent battery life in the past, so we’re interested to see how the new models fare in everyday use

How do the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro stack up?

Google Pixel 7
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Display6.3-inch 1080 x 2400 OLED display, 90Hz6.7-inch 1440 x 3120 OLED display, 120Hz
ProcessorGoogle Tensor G2Google Tensor G2
Storage128GB / 256GB128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Rear cameras50-megapixel wide camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide camera50-megapixel wide camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, 48-megapixel telephoto camera
Front camera10.8-megapixel10.8-megapixel
Dimensions6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches, 6.9 ounces6.4 x 3 x 0.3 inches, 7.5 ounces
Battery life24 hours, 72 with Extreme Battery Saver24 hours, 72 with Extreme Battery Saver
ColorsObsidian, Snow, LemongrassObsidian, Snow, Lemongrass

The main point

The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro appear to be promising updates to two of the best Android phones available. The designs improve on last year’s attractive redesign, and the new camera features — including vastly improved zoom, some nice accessibility additions, and a few borrowed iPhone tricks — could make these some of the best camera phones around. The prices are also very appealing: the $599 Pixel 7 and $899 Pixel 7 Pro are significantly less expensive than their respective iPhone counterparts, making them a good fit for anyone looking for a flagship-quality handset at a reasonable price.

Those who own last year’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro can probably wait for now, but anyone with a Pixel 5 or older will almost certainly benefit from a significant upgrade in every aspect, from design to camera capabilities. Stay tuned for our full reviews as we put the new Pixel phones through their paces to see how they compare to the competition.

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