Google recently released the newest refresh of their flagship Pixel lineup, the Pixel 7. Being a long-time Pixel and Nexus user, I was of course interested in taking a look at, in my opinion, one of the best looking Pixel phones to date. So I reached out to Google to acquire a loaned unit for this review.
In my review of the 6a, I mentioned that there are only a few major differences between the 6a and the 6: the camera megapixels, 60Hz screen and wireless charging. Despite having only 6GB of RAM compared to the Pixel 6's 8GB, you can barely feel the difference in daily use.
So, does the Pixel 7 have any major advancements from these already-excellent phones? Read on to find out.
Weight and design
Upon picking up the Pixel 7 (after using the Pixel 6 for almost a year), I immediately noticed that it is considerably lighter than the Pixel 6 and easier to hold. It is also slightly smaller in dimensions.
It is still by no means a "small" phone, but the size reduction is a welcome change. It makes the Pixel 7 much more ergonomic to hold compared to the Pixel 6 and 6a, while being much lighter.
Like I mentioned earlier, the new design of the Pixel 7 is sublime. It is perhaps the most elegant-looking Pixel phone ever. However, the camera bulge is made of aluminium, and there are reports that it will easily be scratched if you are not careful, even though it did not happen to my review phone. This is a downside, compared to the all-glass bulges of the Pixel 6 and 6a.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 sport the same main 50-megapixel camera at the back of the phone. And on review, there is virtually no difference between the photos taken by them.
This is despite the Pixel 7 having an upgraded chip. In fact, you can hardly tell the difference between the pictures and those taken by the 12-megapixel camera on the Pixel 6a.
The big difference is Pixel 7's front-facing camera. Without getting into much technical details, it has a wider camera lens than the Pixel 6. Because of this, you are able to capture a lot more in a shot (especially when you have to include that one extra person in a group selfie).
This is a feature that is exclusive to the Pixel 7 among the three phones. It is quick and snappy if you have enough light around you, but suffers greatly in low-light environments.
What's more, unlike the Pixel 4, you will not be able to use the face-unlock feature for high-security applications like your bank apps, as Google says that it "isn't secure enough". Instead, you will have to resort to using the fingerprint reader if you don't want to input your PIN number to access these apps.
The face-unlock feature is a nice-to-have when you are on the go though, as the fingerprint reader, while functional, still isn't as instantaneous compared to the likes of Apple's iPhone or the Galaxy series from Samsung.
Google Tensor 2
The second generation Tensor chip is found in the Pixel 7. The Tensor SoC is what powers the Pixel phones (like a CPU and GPU) ever since they moved away from the Snapdragon chip from the Pixel 6 onwards.
I will have to admit that, as a standard user, I don't immediately see any kind of improvement, at least in day to day use, as the chip in the Pixel 6 was already very good to begin with.
However, I did notice a reduction in processing times for low-light and night camera shots for the Pixel 7. I didn't need to keep still as long as I did for the Pixel 6 in order to capture shots in the Night Sight mode.
In day-to-day use, however, all three phones are equally snappy, despite having only 6GB of RAM in the Pixel 6a, compared to the 8GB of RAM in the Pixel 6 and 7.
Gaming is still atrocious on the Tensor chips, compared to an iPhone or a phone with a high-end Snapdragon. If you are looking at a device that can game, the Pixel 7 is still not it. Maybe next gen?
Honestly, the phone's design is the only reason I will "upgrade" to the Pixel 7. It is essentially a more refined Pixel 6.
Battery life between all three devices seems to be the same, with the phones dying within one day of heavy use.
If you have no need for wireless charging and a 90Hz screen, the 6a is the best buy out of this lot. If you want a more premium-feeling phone, the 6 is also a good buy. I can attest to its usefulness because that is my daily driver.
However, if you want the most beautiful out of the three, there is no argument that the Pixel 7 wins in that category.
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Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting bodied in games or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.
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