The Google Pixel 7 is less expensive than the Pro, but unlike Apple, which saves the best internal hardware for its high-end models with the iPhone 14 Pro, Google does not save the best internal hardware for its low-end models. The Pixel 7 receives the same Tensor G2 chipset as the Google Pixel 7 Pro, and while it lacks some of the 7 Pro’s features, this one advantage should give it an advantage.
While Google’s Tensor platform does not always compare favorably in side-by-side benchmarks with comparable flagship chips, this is because it was designed with AI and machine learning in mind. This is still true with the new Tensor G2 inside both new Pixel 7 phones, and it’s expected to improve a variety of aspects of the phones’ user experience, including camera quality, call quality, speech recognition, and more.
Price and Availability
The Google Pixel 7 is now available for pre-order, and it will hit stores on October 13 – in select markets, Google is also including its new Pixel Watch as a pre-order bonus. Google correctly points out that the device starts at $599 / £599 / AU$999, which is $100 less than the new iPhone 14.
The pricing listed above is for the base 128GB storage model, but a larger 256GB variant is available for $699 / £699 / AU$1,129. The phone also has 8GB of RAM, but unlike last year, a 30W USB-C charger is not included in the box, so you’ll have to pay extra (starting at $25 / £25 / AU$45) to get the fastest charging on your Pixel 7.
While the camera band is the first thing that draws your attention to the Pixel 7, the phone’s design is also delightfully rounded. The screen is nicely curved, the camera band rises smoothly from the phone’s frame, and Google has worked hard to create an organic feel that makes the device comfortable to hold.
The Pixel 7 is smaller than the Pixel 7 Pro, which may be a good reason for some to prefer it over the Pro model. As previously stated, the phone has plenty of power and Google-exclusive features, so it could be considered a Pixel mini as well as a base model phone (at least until Google teases a Pixel 7a). On the bottom of the phone, there’s a USB-C port and a pair of large speakers. Unlike the US models of the iPhone 14 series, Google keeps a SIM card tray on its device.
During our hands-on time with the Google Pixel 7 Pro, the 6.3-inch display looked fantastic. The user interface was as smooth and responsive as we had hoped. The screen can run at 1000 nits and can push 1400 nits, which is very bright and only slightly behind the Pixel 7 Pro at peak. Without a doubt, the Pixel 7 Pro screen is superior. It’s sharper, refreshes faster, and has a brighter peak. The screen isn’t too big, and the bezels are thin enough to disappear. Corning Gorilla Glass Victus provides good damage protection, but we’d still get a protector for it. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are both sealed tight for IP68 water resistance.
You might think the Pixel 7 camera is inferior to the Pixel 7 Pro’s, but it has the same 50MP main camera as well as a similar 12MP ultra-wide camera (though unlike the Pro, this sensor lacks autofocus, so there’s no new Macro Focus mode here either). The 48MP telephoto camera with periscopic lens isn’t included, but we’re sure Google will try to pull off some digital Super Zoom with this camera as well as the Tensor G2 processor. We’ll have to wait and see how much magic Google can perform.
Of course, the Pixel 7 comes with Android 13 – the most recent complete release of Google’s mobile operating system. Except for its regular Pixel Feature drops, which occur multiple times per year, Google is unlikely to make significant changes to the interface. The Pixel 7 appears to be very similar to other phones that claim to offer a “bare bones” Android experience.
With its powerful Tensor G2 chipset, which has been optimised for graphics, Android 13 should run very smoothly on this phone. During our hands-on time, it was quick to navigate through interface screens and open multiple apps at once. We had no trouble quickly switching themes to change the appearance of the phone.
The features that rely on Google’s Tensor G2 platform provide the most fun. Google Assistant delegated a significant amount of work to Tensor, and the Pixel 7 received some of the same new software tricks as the Pixel 7 Pro.
Even though Google isn’t skimping on the processor just because this isn’t a Pro-level phone, performance from the Google Pixel 7 should be better than average. Unlike the iPhone 14, which uses last year’s (albeit super-fast) processor, Google uses the same new G2 SoC in both the Pixel 7 Pro and the Pixel 7.
With Tensor G2, Google created its own mobile platform, including the microprocessor, and it took the unusual step of providing information about the cores it’s using. We won’t get too technical, but every processor is made up of similar components known as cores, and Google isn’t using the fastest parts in its engine in the Tensor G2.
The Google Pixel 7’s 4,355mAh battery is large, but we wish it had more power. Google claims it will last longer than 24 hours with normal usage, which is more than we could realistically ask for, but the two-day smartphone is still a long way off.
Or maybe it is? Google claims that the Pixel 7 will last up to 72 hours in Extreme Battery Saver mode. We didn’t get many details about what that means, so we’ll have to wait until we test before passing judgment. Even activating Extreme mode in an emergency would presumably be beneficial. The Pixel 7 can charge at 30W, and Google claims a half charge takes 30 minutes.
The Google Pixel 7 is an interesting device. We’re tempted to focus solely on the Pixel 7 Pro, but the Pixel 7 packs the same punch in the most important ways, and certainly, in the ways that make the phone the most Google phone you can buy. We’ll need to spend more time with the phone to decide whether we prefer a nicer, larger screen, as found on the Pro phone, but we suspect the smaller size and lovely design will win us over if it can pull off all of Google’s claims.