Google did not even try to hide the existence of the Pixel 7 this year, showing it off in May at Google I/O, five months before the official release. Now that they have officially released it, with punters able to get their hands on it from today we’re releasing our reviews to let you know our thoughts on Google’s latest flagship smartphones.

The Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro share some similar specs and with just $300 ($999 versus $1,299) difference you would expect there to be not much difference – and you’d be right.

From Dan’s Pixel 7 Pro review: “The two phones share a similar design with 100% recycled Aluminium chassis and that distinctive horizontal camera bar, but specs under the hood differ slightly. The Pixel 7 Pro offers the most with an additional camera sensor including up to 5x optical zoom and access to Macro Focus mode, a larger LTPO display with up to 120Hz refresh rate (as opposed to 90Hz) and 12GB RAM 8GB RAM in Pixel 7).”

Pixel 7Pixel 7 Pro
Display6.3-inch display with FHD+ resolution and up to 90 Hz
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
6.7-inch smooth LTPO QHD+ display, up to 120 Hz
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Rear Camera

LDAF
50-megapixel wide-angle lens autofocus and 4K video recording support
12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens
48-megapixel telephoto lens
5x optical zoom
LDAF
50-megapixel wide-angle lens autofocus and 4K video recording support
12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens
Front Camera10.8-megapixel front camera and 4K video recording support10.8-megapixel front camera and 4K video recording support
Camera Features
High Resolution 30x Zoom
Real Tone
Movie Motion Blur
Macro Focus
High Resolution 30x Zoom
Real Tone
Movie Motion Blur
Memory8 GB of RAM
128/256GB of UFS3.1storage
12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM
128/256/512 GB of UFS3.1storage
ProcessorGoogle Tensor G2Google Tensor G2
Dust & WaterproofIP68IP68
Screen UnlockFace unlock Fingerprint unlockFace unlock Fingerprint unlock
SecurityTitan M2Titan M2
Battery4355 mAh Li-Ion, wireless charging.

up to 72 hours runtime with Extreme Battery Saver

20W Wired
20W Wireless
5000 mAh Li-Ion, wireless charging

up to 72 hours runtime with Extreme Battery Saver.

23W Wired
23W Wireless

Hardware and Design

I’m not going to go over what Dan already has in his Pixel 7 Pro review – if you want to know more about the hardware and design head on over and read his in-depth review.

The Pixel 7, just as for the Pixel 7 Pro, is available in three colours – Obsidian (Black), Snow (White) and Lemon Grass.

The Pixel 7 offers a slightly lesser display than the Pro model with a 6.1-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2400) OLED. IT is capable of 90Hz refresh rate which is about what you’d expect for a $999 phone in 2022. There are some at this pricing that will offer higher refresh rates but there is nothing wrong with the Pixel 7’s display.

I set the refresh rate to 90Hz using what Google call “Smooth display” which “automatically raises the refresh rate from 60Hz to 90Hz for some content” but increases the battery life. They’re not wrong there. The display is super smooth and looks amazing but it seems to kill the battery more than other OLED displays I’ve used with LTPO 2.0. LTPO 2.0 allows a refresh rate of anywhere from 1Hz up to the highest refresh rate (usually 120Hz) based on what is on the display.

The Pixel 7 display is in fact flat unlike the curved Pixel 7 Pro display. I personally prefer a curved display but sometimes the curve is too large – a happy medium would be nice but normally the cheaper models have a flat display.

Google obviously has not included this option because I found that the higher refresh rate destroyed battery life – I was still able to eke out a full day’s use. Being a power-user, that is always my go to battery test – will it last the full day from when I take it off the charger at 530am until I get home after 5pm?

Performance – Tensor G2

Every time I use and review Pixel devices I am amazed with how optimised and smooth the software appears to be. The transitions are smooth beyond belief and the OS just flies from one app to another. The Pixel 7 is no different – the Pixel Experience is real.

Google’s Pixel smartphones are all about the AI, ML and a true “smart” phone. The Tensor G2 chipset allows them to focus their efforts on this not just from the software side of things but also the hardware. The Tensor G2 processor includes an on-board Tensor Processing Unit (the brains behind machine learning) and brings with it improved performance and battery life from the first generation.

Google uses a lot of their new smarts from the Tensor G2 in the photo processing including Cinematic Blur, Macro Focus and SuperRes Zoom. Google has always been top of the ladder when it comes to computational photography and with the Pixel 7 devices they are showing they are not going to be knocked off that perch any time soon.

The Pixel 7 Pro brings both mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G, but the Pixel 7 only includes mmWave 5G. Sub-6GHz is still only available in limited areas, so it’s not an overly bad thing at this stage, but may become more of an issue in the coming years as 5G rollouts continue.

The 5G and 4G speed tests are decent, even with a limited connection – though obviously tests will differ based on your situation and 5G in your area.

Battery and Charging

Google are sticking with their PD charging, along with wireless Qi charging but unfortunately have not increased the charging speed of the Pixel 7 (or Pixel 7 Pro) to anything that even close to rivals some other smartphones.

The Pixel 7 can be charged at 20W speeds using the 30W Pixel Charger – not included in the box. I’m still not convinced that the decision to not include a charger is truly altruistic on their (and others’) part. Is the device $50 cheaper? If it was then I may well believe it.

The Pixel 7 can be charged at just 20W wirelessly which is decent but a long way away from some other phones. My usual daily driver smartphone will charge at 80W wired and 50W wireless – the Pixel 7 is not even close. The annoying thing is we know it can be closer, as PD can charge a hell of a lot faster than 30W. Maybe next year?

This whole charging solution from Google is a bit of a mess. Don’t sell me a 30W charger if the device will only charge at 20W. Last year we gave them a pass because maybe it was future proofing the charger but 12 months on and the charging speeds are still woeful. This is wired charging and 20W just doesn’t cut it for what is meant to be a flagship phone from Google – even the ultra-premium Pixel 7 Pro will only charge at 23W.

As mentioned above though, the 4355mAh battery in the Pixel 7 was able to last me a day – but only just. I am a power user and really push my phones daily so unless you are the same as me you will not have any issues with it lasting a full day.

Camera

The rear camera set up is where the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro really differ – and let’s face it the camera is possibly the biggest selling point for a phone in 2022. The Pixel 7 sports just 2 cameras on the rear of the device, a 50MP wide camera and a 12MP ultrawide camera. This doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade from last year – because on paper it isn’t. There is once again no telephoto sensor on the lesser Pixel 7 but this will only affect you if you are doing a lot of zooming on photos.

The main camera is definitely an upgrade but the secondary ultrawide camera is pretty much the same.

As I have only had the phone for under a week I have not been able to get a heap of photos with it but I was able to use it in all lighting conditions and once again the Pixel 7 excels with night photography – and it switches to night mode automatically unlike some smartphones.

I will be publishing a camera shootout between all the Pixels of this year and last year alongside a couple of other flagships in a few weeks so keep an eye out for that one.

Camera Software

In the end, as with Google’s phones for a long time, it is all about the software. The software is virtually the same from the Pixel 7 Pro to the Pixel 7 and as such the images from the Pixel 7 are certainly comparable to those from the Pixel 7 Pro. The Pixel 7 does lack the new Macro Focus – likely because it lacks a telephoto lens in its camera setup.

Along with the previous Magic Erase, Real Tone and Face Unblur Google has included some new features that are powered by their new Tensor chipset. These new features include Photo Unblur, Macro Focus, Guided Frame and Super Res Zoom, although we have seen Super Res Zoom before and Macro Focus is not available for the Pixel 7.

The main new feature is Photo Unblur which works similarly to Face Unblur. Photo Unblur can only be performed on a Pixel 7 device but it can be used to unblur ANY image taken from ANY phone. Dan and I both found this feature incredibly subtle so any big blurring won’t be fixed much at all but it does seem to make the photo less-blurry.

Google’s software is the best

As mentioned above the Pixel Experience is real. Just standard navigating through the operating system is an extremely pleasant experience and truly needs to be experienced to be believed.

The new theming of Material You adapts the system on the fly based on your wallpaper – I love this and it makes the whole OS just flow seamlessly in design.

Other Googley goodness included in the phone’s software is their Recorder app which uses Google’s machine learning to perform real time recording and transcription – once again you may think ho hum but it is so much better than other manufacturers due to Google’s ML and their Tensor chipset.

Google has also included a new feature called Audio Message Transcription which will transcribe an audio snippet message you have received – apparently the young folks do this a lot – I know my daughter does so I’m sure that’ll be extremely useful if you are under 20yo.

My favourite software feature though, out of everything, is the Assistant Voice Typing. Assistant Voice Typing allows you to activate it by telling Google to type (or by tapping on the mic button on the GBoard keyboard. It then uses ML, AI and all of the Googley goodness of Assistant to transcribe your voice as accurately as you’d have ever seen on a smartphone. The typing also recognises punctuation and sending of the message as well – every time.

Assistant Voice Typing includes emoji suggestions and search as well this year although the emoji suggestion function may need some learning – I don’t know what they are all called but once you learn them they’ll work great:

Face Unlock has finally arrived on a Pixel device and I love it. You will still have to swipe up on the display but it will be unlocked just by looking at the phone. It works nearly every time for me although it fails with a mask on. Face Unlock can only be used for device unlock though, not for signing into apps or payment systems such as Google Wallet.

My final word

Each year Dan and I look forward to the release of the Pixel smartphones and each year we are not disappointed. Sure, Google could actually improve it a lot by including some form of decent charging technology and speeds but what they have done is enough.

A big bump in the capabilities of their chipset with the new Tensor G2 chip along with some new software features that make the device. The software features, including the phenomenal computation photography is why you buy a Pixel. The Pixel Experience is second to none and while their imaging is near the best available on the market it is difficult to recommend a device at this end of the market to the average Joe or Jill.

The Pixel 7 is a nice upgrade from the Pixel 6 with a new chipset and improved camera hardware. The software experience seems to get better every year. If you are looking for a smartphone around the $1,000 mark you simply cannot go past the Pixel 7. The quality of the camera and software experience sell the hell out of this phone.