Google Pixel 7 review: onerous to withstand, however a little bit of a danger

Google Pixel 7

MSRP $599.00

“The Google Pixel 7’s excellent camera, lengthy battery life, and nice software program expertise are a successful mixture — and the cheap worth makes it onerous to withstand.”

Execs

  • Very good camera
  • Lengthy battery life
  • Eye-catching design
  • Vibrant display
  • Years of software program updates
  • Unbelievable worth

Cons

  • Gradual charging
  • Software program bugs
  • Poor gaming efficiency

It’s worthwhile to have faith in your smartphone. I’m assured in my Google Pixel 7, because it has finished nearly all the pieces I requested of it and typically even exceeded my expectations. Nonetheless, there’s some proof my confidence shouldn’t be taken as proof that you just’ll be equally as pleased and assured within the Pixel 7 you purchase. There’s a cloud hanging over this in any other case glorious smartphone, however ought to it have an effect on your determination to purchase it?

Google Pixel 7 design and safety

The Pixel 7 isn’t a design revolution in comparison with the Pixel 6, and that’s one of the best factor that would have occurred. It offers Google a cohesive, recognizable, and enticing smartphone platform on which to construct. Reasonably than drastically rework the form, Google has refined it, making the visor-like camera module much more of a standout design factor whereas altering the accessible colours so it doesn’t look precisely the identical as final yr’s telephone.

The back of the Google Pixel 7, held in a man's hand.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

I’ve been utilizing the usual Obsidian black model, and though I usually discover black telephones slightly bland, the shiny end on the glass again appears to be like excellent when paired with the matte grey camera module. Extra colourful Lemongrass and Snow variations are additionally accessible. The camera cutouts are bigger than earlier than, however aren’t an eyesore. I’m not so positive concerning the Pixel 7 Professional’s extra outrageous camera module, however actually the Pixel 7 is a modern-looking, subtly fashionable, and suitably different-looking smartphone I’ve been proud to hold round.

At 8.7mm thick and 197 grams, it’s no skinny supermodel, and it feels very substantial in your hand, just like the marginally shorter however equally weighted iPhone 14 Professional. The graceful aluminum chassis and shiny Gorilla Glass Victus rear panel might look beautiful, however collectively they make the Pixel 7 fairly slippery. It does like to slip round on totally different surfaces, and it wants a agency grip if you wish to use it with one hand.

The side of the Google Pixel 7.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

There’s one construct high quality factor that bothers me. On the backside of the telephone, the glass rear panel meets the chassis easily, with no apparent change whenever you run your finger over the be a part of. Do the identical on the highest and the edges, and there’s a small lip that additionally varies in severity on both aspect of the system. It’s not an enormous drawback, however when you discover it, you at all times discover it.

There’s a fingerprint sensor beneath the show, and similar to with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional, it might’t resolve whether or not it needs to be quick and dependable or sluggish and worsening. It’s shockingly inconsistent, and no higher than the earlier model. Google’s recommendation of urgent the sensor for a beat longer than it’s possible you’ll anticipate does assist it unlock extra commonly, but it surely not at all cures the issues. When it fails (which it can), it’s essential to use the PIN code, however the button structure could be very broadly spaced and nearly not possible to press precisely when holding the telephone with one hand.

The Google logo on the back of the Google Pixel 7.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

A face unlock system has been launched, and it really works extra constantly than the fingerprint sensor. However bear in mind to flick the swap to bypass the lock display when it sees your face. For those who don’t, you must both swipe the display (which doesn’t at all times work) or press the unlock button to enter the telephone — including extra pointless steps to the usually prolonged course of of really beginning to use the Pixel 7.

Google should have heard the complaints concerning the fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 6, and but regardless of having a yr to enhance it with out compromising on safety, it’s nonetheless worse than nearly each different telephone accessible. It’s a disgrace because it’s the very first thing you encounter after selecting up the Pixel 7 and delighting in its glorious general form and design.

Google Pixel 7 camera

There are two cameras on the again of the Pixel 7, a 50-megapixel f/1.9 aperture essential camera (the identical one discovered on the Pixel 6) with optical picture stabilization (OIS) and laser autofocus, plus a 12MP f/2.2 wide-angle camera with a modest 114-degree field-of-view. Video reaches 4K decision at as much as 60 frames per second (fps) and it helps 10-bit HDR. On the entrance is a ten.8MP f/2.2 aperture selfie camera.

The Google Pixel 7's camera module.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

The Pixel 7’s essential camera is fantastic, producing sharp, vibrant, balanced, and visually punchy pictures in nearly each state of affairs. Level it in any path, in any lighting state of affairs, and there’s a very excessive chance it can take a photograph you’ll love. I like that I don’t should assume twice about taking an image, or fear that it’s going to be much less spectacular than what I’m seeing with my very own eyes. Within the Pixel 7’s case, the picture can look higher than actual life, as a result of means it usually offers with gentle and shadow.

There’s glorious consistency between the primary and wide-angle cameras too, whereas Evening Sight mode footage deliver out loads of element with out sacrificing ambiance or introducing an excessive amount of smoothing. It might wrestle whenever you attempt to get too near a topic although, usually telling you to maneuver again so it might focus higher, however when it does discover the appropriate distance, the outcomes look glorious. The optical 2x zoom pictures look first rate, however can lack the colour and nice publicity seen with the primary camera.

The most important disappointment is the selfie camera, which I discover doesn’t at all times get pores and skin tone proper (regardless of Google’s efforts on this space) and might lack element too. It’s not horrible, simply inconsistent in comparison with the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s excellent selfie camera and the iPhone 14 Professional’s ever-reliable entrance camera. The Pixel 7 doesn’t have the Pixel 7 Professional’s Tremendous Res Zoom and solely digitally zooms into an 8x stage, the place digital enhancement is clear.

Dig into the enhancing suite, and there are many choices to alter your pictures, with many options counting on Google’s A.I., comparable to the flexibility to alter the tone and look of the sky. The brand new Unblur device typically works rather well, however different occasions both unpleasantly smooths all the pieces out, or appears to rearrange facial options in a somewhat terrifying means. Each the Lengthy Publicity and Motion Pan modes seen on the Pixel 6 collection return too.

It’s one of many highest cameras on a smartphone for the time being, at any worth.

Cinematic mode is the brand new video characteristic that blurs out the background round a topic. It’s solely accessible on the rear camera and though I’ve not had many alternatives to make use of it, the impact is sort of convincing. It’s not as really “cinematic” because the iPhone’s related Cinematic Mode because it doesn’t have the flamboyant refocus characteristic. It does really feel fairly gimmicky and I don’t know once I’d really use it.

The Pixel 7 is probably not fairly so feature-packed because the Pixel 7 Professional, but it surely nonetheless takes implausible pictures, and I’ve discovered it enjoyable to experiment with the totally different enhancing suite options. The primary camera is likely one of the highest cameras on a smartphone for the time being, at any worth, and in contrast to sure different points of the telephone, I’ve true confidence in its means.

Google Pixel 7 display, connectivity, and audio

The 6.3-inch AMOLED display has a 90Hz refresh price and a 2400 x 1080 pixel decision, and is HDR10+ licensed. There are stereo audio system on the physique, and it helps 5G, Wi-Fi 6e, and Bluetooth 5.2 with AptX audio. The display appears to be like nice and whereas the 90Hz refresh price isn’t noticeably smoother than 120Hz screens I’ve used, it’s way more preferable to a 60Hz panel. Audio is simply common, with the tinny audio system getting confused and muddled with complicated music.

The Google Pixel 7's screen, held in a man's hand.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Bluetooth works with no drawback, and music by way of my Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT sounds implausible. Nonetheless, the telephone continually exhibits a “Drawback connecting. Flip system off and again on” message beneath the Bluetooth settings, regardless of all Bluetooth headphones I’ve used functioning appropriately. In true IT Crowd vogue, I did flip all of them on and off once more, however the message persists.

Whereas calls and community connection have been faultless, the Pixel 7’s Wi-Fi vary appears to be fairly quick, or no less than shorter than the iPhone 14 Professional and Google Pixel 5 which have sat alongside it over the previous week. It has commonly dropped the Wi-Fi connection when the opposite two telephones nonetheless present a number of bars of reception. I’ve additionally seen overlaying the top-left nook of the telephone can have an effect on Wi-Fi connectivity.

Google Pixel 7 battery and charging

Given the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional’s barely common battery life and the information the Pixel 7 solely has a 4355mAh cell inside, many will likely be anticipating the brand new collection to be equally as disappointing. Nonetheless, there’s some excellent news as my Pixel 7 has supplied sturdy battery life even when utilizing it for a very long time. On days once I used the telephone for all the pieces besides gaming — that features GPS use — the Pixel 7 has managed six or seven hours of utilization and lasted from round 7 a.m. to late at night time.

The Google Pixel 7's charging port.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Seeing because it has additionally been linked to my Pixel Watch throughout this era, and sometimes alternated between Wi-Fi, 4G, and 5G, I’ve been pleasantly stunned by the Pixel 7’s longevity. Laborious use isn’t going to see it final previous a day, however with reasonable use, I can see two working days being achievable. Contemplating previous Pixel efficiency and the smallish battery capability, the Pixel 7’s battery life is much better than it has any proper to be. It’s additionally massively extra environment friendly than the Pixel 7 Professional, based mostly on our expertise with that telephone.

That is shocking as there’s not a ton of {hardware} variations between the 2, and the Pixel 7 Professional has a considerably bigger cell inside. By rights, the 7 Professional must be the telephone with nice battery life, and the Pixel 7 must be nothing greater than common. As a substitute, it’s the opposite means round. Is all of it good? No. The Pixel 7 isn’t pleased when enjoying video games, they usually negatively have an effect on battery life extra severely than some other activity. Simply quarter-hour of enjoying a recreation can rob between 5% and 10% of the battery, and my worst days of battery life had been at all times ones with greater than half-hour of gaming. However even my worst days with gaming have been fairly good, with a totally charged battery surviving five-and-a-half hours from early within the morning till midnight.

What about charging? You don’t get a charger within the field, however the telephone helps USB Energy Supply 3.0 and is claimed to cost as much as 50% in half-hour. A full cost takes quite a bit longer than this, and utilizing a appropriate USB Kind-C charger takes almost two hours in case you go from zero %. This isn’t good when many different firms are introducing quick charging, such because the OnePlus 10 Professional and the OnePlus 10T.

Google Pixel 7 software program and efficiency

The Pixel 7 makes use of Google’s new Tensor G2 processor and comes with 8GB of RAM and both 128GB or 256GB of inside cupboard space. The chip is constructed utilizing a 5nm course of, so it’s not as environment friendly or “fashionable” as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 or the MediaTek Dimensity 9000, each of which use a 4nm course of. Put in is Android 13, making it one of many first telephones accessible with the most recent model of Google’s cell working system.

Apps screen on the Google Pixel 7.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Editing a photo on the Google Pixel 7.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Quick Settings on the Google Pixel 7.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Running a search on the Google Pixel 7.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Seeing as Google controls each the processing and the software program, you’d anticipate the Pixel 7 to supply a fluid expertise with each {hardware} and software program working in concord. For essentially the most half, that is what you get with the Pixel 7, no less than in my expertise. Nonetheless, since utilizing the Pixel 7, I’ve in contrast notes with Digital Traits’ Cellular Editor Joe Maring (who has been utilizing the Pixel 7 Professional). His expertise has been very totally different from mine, and that is the place my insecurity in a uniform expertise throughout Pixel 7 units begins to creep in.

For me, the Pixel 7 has been dependable, quick, and nice to make use of. Android 13’s design isn’t that totally different from Android 12, and it actually appears to be like excellent with massive, pleasant, well-designed icons and menus that make sense (plus loads of cleverly applied customization choices). Interacting with notifications within the pull-down shade is straightforward because of the big playing cards and clear buttons, though there’s not a lot you are able to do with them from the lock display. Search is fast, and all my nongaming apps have labored with out subject.

The side of the Google Pixel 7.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

That is fairly totally different from how Android 13 carried out on Joe’s Pixel 7 Professional, and this will imply your personal expertise will differ as nicely — and this doesn’t encourage confidence. It hasn’t been excellent on my telephone both, however the annoyances are minor. Scrolling by way of Google Uncover and Twitter could be fairly “muddy” and never as easy as utilizing highly effective telephones just like the Galaxy Z Flip 4 or the iPhone 14 Professional. And the YouTube app does have some occasional audio issues. Nonetheless, video games appear to flummox the Pixel 7 excess of anything.

I’m not a giant video games participant, however crashes are common in Asphalt 9: Legends, and it has had points connecting to the server and a few odd auto-pauses too, which I’ve by no means seen earlier than. Whereas the telephone by no means will get scorching for me, it’s fairly heat to the contact across the camera sensor after enjoying video games for half-hour. Judging by the heat and the quantity of battery energy the telephone pulls when enjoying video games, it appears some optimization is required on the gaming entrance. I can take care of these issues as a result of I don’t play video games that always, but when gaming is a serious a part of your telephone use, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Professional is probably not the only option.

Google Photos displayed on the Google Pixel 7.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Software program help from Google is superb, and the Pixel 7 will obtain the most recent model of Android for a number of years, and in addition get safety updates for 5 years. Mix this with the sturdiness supplied by an IP68 water- and dust-resistance ranking, and the Pixel 7 ought to supply loads of longevity.

Google Pixel 7 worth and availability

The Google Pixel 7 prices $599 for the 128GB mannequin or $699 for the 256GB model. There isn’t a MicroSD card slot, so select the quantity of inside storage properly. Within the U.Okay. the Pixel 7 prices 599 British kilos and 699 kilos, respectively.

Across the identical worth are the Samsung Galaxy A53 and the iPhone 14, and each are glorious selections. Barely extra left subject is the Motorola Edge (2022), which galvanized us lately. What’s extra attention-grabbing is you can too purchase some glorious telephones for lower than the Pixel 7. The Google Pixel 6a is a superb instance of a telephone that gives quite a lot of what makes the Pixel 7 fascinating, only for much less cash. Within the U.Okay., the Nothing Cellphone 1 can be worthy of consideration with its clear software program and distinctive design.

Within the Google Pixel 7, confidence is all the pieces

I’m very pleased to suggest my Pixel 7 to anybody wanting a fairly priced smartphone with an incredible camera, glorious software program, and for essentially the most half, lengthy battery life. Discover I mentioned “my” Pixel 7? It’s as a result of I’m not completely positive everybody can have the identical expertise with the Pixel that arrives on their doorstep. Joe’s expertise with the Pixel 7 Professional could be very totally different from mine with the Pixel 7, and different reviews on-line additionally spotlight points I’ve not confronted in any respect.

I don’t lack confidence in MY Pixel 7, however I do lack confidence within the Pixel 7 as an entire — it’s uncommon to see and listen to differing opinions and experiences a few new system, and that sounds alarm bells. The identical inconsistency occurred with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional, making it doubly irritating. I need to inform you to purchase this telephone with confidence, however I can solely accomplish that with that slight caveat for now.

The Pixel 7 has a number of issues, most notably the troubling gaming efficiency and sluggish charging, however neither of those blight the telephone horribly. It’s an incredible smartphone, and though not an enormous improve over the Pixel 6, the value makes it extremely fascinating, contemplating the camera’s means and the standard software program put in. It’s simply that I’m not completely satisfied the Pixel 7 you’ll get will likely be similar to mine. Is it well worth the danger? Positive, simply make an observation of Google’s 15-day return pointers in case it’s a lemon.

(To seek out our ideas on the bigger and costlier Pixel 7 mannequin, see our Google Pixel 7 Professional review.)

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