This has been a big year for Google smartphone fans in India – the tech giant first released the very capable Pixel 6a (review) in July and barely three months later released its next-gen flagship phones – the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro — powered by Google’s second-generation G2 Tensor chips.
The phones launched in India on October 6 – the Pixel 7 starts at Rs 59,999 and the Pixel 7 Pro is priced at Rs 84,999.
Google Pixel 7
- Advertisement: 6.3 inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 90 Hz
- Camera setup: 50MP wide angle lens, 12MP ultra wide angle lens
- Battery: 4335mAh with 20W fast charging, 20W wireless fast charging and reverse wireless charging
- R.A.M: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Rated IP68 for water and dust resistance
Google Pixel 7 Pro
- Advertisement: 6.7-inch LTPO Quad HD+ AMOLED display with a variable refresh rate of up to 120 Hz
- Camera setup: 50 MP wide-angle lens, 12 MP ultra-wide angle lens, 48 MP telephoto lens
- Battery: 5000mAh with 23W fast charging, 23W wireless fast charging and reverse wireless charging
- R.A.M: 12GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Rated IP68 for water and dust resistance
We’ve had both phones for just under two weeks and here are our thoughts.
It’s very clear right from the start how similar the 7 and 7 Pro are to their predecessors – apart from a few physical changes, like the camera body, which is metal instead of glass this time. The Pixel 7 is slightly smaller than the 6 and features a 6.3-inch screen, while the Pixel 7 Pro has similar dimensions to the Pixel 6 Pro, but instead of last year’s flagship’s sharply curved screen, the curvature is less pronounced this time .
We can’t help feeling that that’s exactly what Google intended for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro – the new phones are more of a refinement of last year’s lineup than a radical new upgrade. However, it’s odd that Google is offering both phones in just one storage variant – 128GB – leaving potential buyers who need more storage little choice but to look at other brands.
We got the Obsidian variant of the 7, which is essentially black, and the Hazel variant of the 7 Pro, which is olive drab with gold accents. While it’s a fingerprint magnet, we absolutely loved the 7’s stealth black finish, which comes with matte black unibody aluminum sides and a camera body, as well as a glass back.
But the Hazel 7 Pro is even more beautiful – the olive green of the back is brilliantly complemented by the polished gold aluminum frame and looks every inch a flagship.
Now that looks are out of the way, how do the phones work?
As with any smartphone, we tested five aspects – screen, camera, battery life, user experience and software, the last two of which have significant overlap.
The Pixel 7 has a 6.3-inch Full HD flat screen that’s absolutely stunning to look at, although one could argue that a sharper resolution couldn’t hurt. Colors are accurate on-screen, videos play well, and we were able to view on-screen content in bright daylight without too much trouble.
The Pixel 7 Pro predictably takes things up a notch. The 6.7-inch display is a stunner and sails through all lighting conditions with maximum brightness. Overall, it’s a superior display over its smaller sibling.
This was the most impressive part of these two phones. Both handsets easily lasted a day of moderate to heavy use, with the 7 Pro surpassing the 40 hour mark before dying on me. The Pixel 7 only managed 27 hours before needing a charge – I’m impressed.
Your mileage will vary, of course, but not by much. Google blew it out of the park this year with the battery life of its phones – even the Pixel 6a held up quite well in testing.
Both phones support wireless charging and reverse charging. So imagine the kick we got from wireless charging the Pixel 7 with the 7 Pro’s battery sharing feature, effectively turning the Rs 85,000 flagship into a wireless charger.
Now we come to the heart of this review. Cameras have always been the standout feature of Pixel devices and the 7 and 7 Pro don’t disappoint. While we spent most of our time testing the 7 Pro’s beefier camera setup, we can confirm that the 7 is no slouch. In fact, the 7 is a better package overall for reasons we’ll list later in the review.
How did the 7 Pro fare? The phone comes with a three-lens camera array. Of course we played with the setup quite a bit. More than the physical specs, it was always Google’s processing power that stood out. And even on a cloudy morning, the camera took impressive photos. Colors are saturated just right, with all three lenses – primary, ultra-wide and telephoto – maintaining color consistency and capturing the same subject.
The camera has other fun features, such as 360-degree photos (which would be impossible to reproduce here), fisheye mode, wide-angle, vertical and horizontal “photo sphere” modes.
The cinematic video mode also makes its debut this year, but the 7 Pro is a bit too aggressive when it comes to the blur effect, making the final video feel a little artificial. Apple also fell short of the target in its first attempt at cinematic video capture with the 13 Series last year, but refined it with the 14 Series. Expect Google to do the same in the 2023 lineup.
Overall, the camera app is a lot of fun to use with all the different modes, and the results are reliable, making for a smooth photo experience.
User Experience and Software
This is where Google absolutely crushes it. Google is the most natural bet to take on Apple as it makes the operating system (Android) and hardware (Pixel phones). However, the company’s strategy has faltered in recent years with some really puzzling decisions, like not bringing any flagship phones to India for a couple of years.
But with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, the company is slowly catching up with the iPhone manufacturer. For the first time in many years, the hardware and software designs are absolutely in sync, and that makes it a delightful experience.
That doesn’t mean everything is going smoothly – there are a few rough edges. The weird bug pops up to spoil the experience a bit, but overall it’s slick, well-packaged, and more importantly, smooth as butter.
Android 13 runs like clockwork on these devices, and Google’s special features like live captioning and live transcription have made our lives as journalists a lot easier. I’ll admit – the Pixel experience is very convenient for our money and extremely useful.
The Pixel 7 is the better value of the two devices thanks to its compact size, matte aluminum side rails, and lower price point, but the 7 Pro definitely stands out more. If you can spare the extra Rs 25,000 and absolutely need the larger screen size and that extra camera, go for the Pixel 7 Pro.
But if you want a budget-friendly, basic Pixel experience in a delightful little package, buy the Pixel 7. Either way, at least in our experience, you can’t go wrong.
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