The Google Pixel 7 smartphone feels like the ideal mix of price and performance, offering up a device that delivers where it counts. Every year, a new series of smartphones are offered to the public, bringing some of the latest technology and features to entice everyone, giving a reason to toss older devices and invest in something new. Normally, these include a top-end device that features the best and most exciting tech, with the lesser options feeling limited in many ways. With the Google Pixel 7 smartphone, they bucked this trend and delivered a smartphone that feels almost comparable to their top-end device, save for a few bells and whistles.
Unlike Apple and many other makers, you don’t need to dive into the top-end of the Pixel 7 range to enjoy some new upgrades. Both the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro feature the same Tensor G2 chip bringing with it all the AI features and improvements the chip affords. Google has also managed to keep many of the main features of the phones consistent across both models, including the main 50MP camera, 10.8MP selfie camera, and 30W fast charging.
The unboxing experience will feel very similar to last year’s Pixel 6, boasting a simple experience that includes the phone, a charging cable, an adapter to convert USB-C to USB-A, and a sim eject tool. Sadly, much like most recent smartphones—beyond those of Xiaomi and OnePlus—you won’t find a charger in the box and will need to resort to finding your own adapter to get things powered up.
The Google Pixel 7 smartphone looks similar to last year’s Pixel 6 range, featuring an aluminum band where the camera is located, a two-tone look that comes in three colours—Obsidian, Snow, and Lemongrass—and looks fantastic in the hand. While the design does feel very similar to last year’s phone, there are enough subtle changes to make it feel premium and ready to take on the competition. The smooth glass back looks great, with the construction of the overall phone looking fantastic and well in line with what the rest of the smartphone world is putting out.
“The Google Pixel 7 smartphone feels like the ideal mix of price and performance, offering up a device that delivers where it counts.”
The Pixel 7 feels modern in look, giving the design we saw last year a more refined feel. The brushed metal look of the sides and buttons feels great, with it offering a great size to use one-handed, even while on the go. The phone features a USB-C port on the bottom in-between a set of large speakers, with a sim tray accessible on the left-hand side of the phone.
On the front, you will find the screen, along with an unobtrusive 10.8MP (f/2.2) camera for selfies, and new to this year’s model, the camera can now handle full facial recognition duties for face unlock. The phone also has a fingerprint sensor under the display for easy unlock should you wish to go the biometrics route.
Google is pricing the Pixel 7 range aggressively, at $599 (£599 / AU$999) for the Pixel 7 and $899 (£849 / AU$1,299) for the Pixel 7 Pro, and for that price, they are delivering a lot while ready to show off the latest and greatest Android has to offer. Both phones start with 128 GB of storage, with the Pixel maxing out at 256 GB. The Pixel 7 also features 8 GB RAM compared to the 7 Pro, which features 12 GB. The screen is also different, with the 7 boasting a 6.3-inch OLED (2400 x 1080) 90Hz display and the Pixel 7 Pro featuring a 6.7 inches OLED (3120 x 1440) 120Hz.
There is a lot to like about how the Google Pixel 7 smartphone looks; part of that is with the display. The 6.3-inch OLED screen is stunning to look at and brings all the latest features you hope to see in a smartphone released in 2022. Boasting Gorilla Glass Victus, and offering up HDR10+ along with a pixel density of 416 PPI and 1400 nits of peak brightness, the screen is fantastic for both games and media. I am a bit sad to see it limited to 90Hz, but for most people, this will not be a dealbreaker. The phone still feels incredibly smooth while scrolling through menus, using all types of apps, and playing a range of games.
Looking past the phone’s aesthetics, the real story with the Google Pixel 7 is the new Tensor G2 chip powering the phone. This new chip is looking to improve on what the Pixel 6 range brought to the table and make for a much more competitive and fluid Android 13 experience. Now featuring the Mali-G710 MC10 for gaming and an overall more refined SoC at the core of the phone, the Pixel 7, while not the fastest smartphone on the market, finally feels more ready to take on the competition.
Since we are CGMagazine, we wanted to dive into what the Pixel 7 gaming on Android had to offer, and it finally feels that Google is not excluding gamers from all the fun. Running through our gamut of tests, the Pixel 7 comes out below many of the top gaming phones and the iPhone 14 but well above the Pixel 6.
Games run very smoothly on the Pixel 7 hardware, with Fortnite, Genshin Impact, and League of Legends Wild Rift all looking good and feeling great to play. I will say that the OnePlus 10T and ASUS ROG Phone 6 handily delivered a much better gaming experience, bringing better visuals and a smoother overall play session, but the Pixel 7 held its own and was more than capable of playing the latest titles.
Much like last year, the Google Pixel 7 smartphone offloads many tasks onto the Tensor G2 chip, meaning things like Google Assistant and voice transcriptions feel more responsive and generally run better. There are new features like clearer voice calls thanks to the chip, although these are not planned to hit the Pixel 7 range until sometime later in 2022 or early 2023, so we sadly could not try these in time for the review.
Jumping over to the battery, Google has blessed the Pixel 6 with a very capable 4,355mAh battery. While this is large in itself, Google has managed to push the Pixel 7 to an almost 24-hour battery through the power of software. In our testing, it manages strong results, with it only sitting at around 40 percent on the second day at noon, with it lasting well into the night of the second day before needing a charge. We have seen more capable batteries recently, but I was impressed with what Google managed on the Pixel 7.
“…the polished overall package makes the Google Pixel 7 smartphone an easy device to recommend.”
The Pixel 7, as mentioned above, does also feature 30W fast charging, provided you have a capable charger. This will give your phone half a full charge in only 30 minutes. Using a charger in the CGMagazine offices, the phone managed to top up very quickly, with it being a trivial task to charge when in an emergency. With Phones like the Xiaomi 12T Pro offering up to 120W charging, Google feels a bit antiquated in comparison, but considering how well the software manages the battery, this is a minor gripe on an otherwise good battery experience.
While helping out with many of the AI features on the Pixel 7, the Tensor G2 also helps with photography, bringing some unique Pixel features that set the phone apart from other Android offerings. The main camera is the same as is seen in the Pixel 7 Pro, a 50 MP, f/1.9, 25 mm camera that features Laser AF and optical image stabilization. It is very similar to what we saw in last year’s Pixel 6 range. Beyond that, the Pixel 6 also features a 12 MP, f/2.2, 114˚ (ultrawide) and a 10.8 MP, f/2.2, 21 mm (ultrawide) front-facing camera for all your selfie needs.
There is a lot going on under the hood, but what it all leads to is the Pixel 7 delivers great images to everyone. There has been a lot of attention to bringing a more inclusive photography experience to the Pixel phones, and the Pixel 7 is a showcase of this. Real Tone is a feature that is made to ensure everyone, no matter colour, will have their skin represented properly in photos. I am incredibly excited to see this and hope more Android phone makers look to implement it in their cameras.
I loved the shots the Google Pixel 7 smartphone allowed. They feel very true to life, delivering rich detail and great colours. The overall fidelity of the photos was well above the average smartphone camera and made for some amazing shots that I could not have captured otherwise. I would have loved to see these capabilities paired with a much more powerful sensor, it would have allowed for better shots overall, and while I love AI and software to make up the difference, there is something to be said for hardware that software still can’t match.
Google also brings some interesting new features to the video capabilities of the Pixel 7. Cinematic Blur and Active Stabilization are two features that can help improve the look of your videos. Cinematic Blur adds a shallow depth of field effect to your videos, making for some artistic blur at 24 fps. Active Stabilization is just like Apple’s Action mode, meaning it offers gimbal-like stabilization to videos.
The Pixel 7 also now features 10-bit HDR video. While not enabled by default, the new features bring enhanced brightness and deeper colours to video recorded with the Pixel 7. While this is a feature many casual people looking just to take some videos of their kids may never use, it is a great step to bring the Pixel 7 into a more pro recording space, especially for content creation.
The night processing has also been improved this outing, making night photos much faster and allowing for some truly amazing shots even in incredibly low light. I have been a fan of many Android phones’ night capabilities as of late, but the Pixel delivers some of the best I have seen to date. Again I would have liked to see these features on a slightly more capable sensor, but hopefully, that will come next year.
But this brings us to the exciting new image post-processing features that set the Pixel 7 apart from other Android phones. This is the ability for Photo Unblur and the Magic Eraser. The Magic Eraser is something we saw last year with the Pixel 6 and does what you would expect.
If you have a photo where someone happens to walk through your frame, or there is an unsightly area on the wall you want to clear up, you simply go into the photo app, and the Pixel 7 can clean these up with relative ease. Much like Photoshop, there are limitations to what the app can do, and if you have an area with a complex pattern, the fix may not be as magical as you may like, but for most people, it should be more than serviceable.
The Face Unblur, on the other hand, is incredibly useful. I don’t know how many times I have taken a photo only to have a slight blur over a face or an aspect of the photo I did not intend. This tool makes that something you can reverse, and thanks to the power of Google and image AI, it looks incredibly well done. On a photo that was, for the most part, blurry, the Face Unblur managed to clean it up and clear away many of the artifacts that were present in the photo. This is a feature I can imagine families, especially ones with small kids, will thank the Google gods for since it can be a lifesaver.
I walked into the reviewing the Google Pixel 7 smartphone with a lot of excitement for the future of Android, and I walked away even more excited about what can be achieved with additional time and effort. The Google Tensor G2 feels like a needed improvement on every front, and the features, while relatively iterative from last year’s Pixel 6, feel like a major step in the right direction. There is a lot of attention paid to making a phone that can be used by everyone, and the result is one of the best all-around devices you can buy.
The Pixel 7 boasts an impressive price point and some features that finally make the Pixel range feel like a great option against the world’s Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhones. There is a lot to like, from the gaming to camera performance, but the polished overall package makes the Google Pixel 7 smartphone an easy device to recommend. I am excited to see how the phone improves over time, but what you can get now for the relatively affordable price of entry is a smartphone that can deliver where it counts most.