Google Pixel 7 Pro review: A refined Pixel filled with innovation
Long battery life and more magic camera tools in what might very well be the best Android phone around
Last year's Pixel 6 was something of a game-changer for Google. With its innovative CPU, magic camera technology and complete design overhaul, it was a landmark device that elevated the Pixel range from an off-beat alternative to a genuinely market-leading brand.
As such, there is a bit more riding on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro as the expectation has been raised. With a new Tensor G2 chip and a tweaked design, the question is, can Google make an even bigger statement with the Pixel 7 Pro?
Google Pixel 7 Pro review: Design
It's fair to say that the design of the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro wasn't for everybody. That ridiculously large camera bar, for instance, was hard to love. But the Pixel 7 Pro has taken that basic shape and refined it with a more streamlined design. The camera bar hardly protrudes at all and blends into the rest of the handset so that it now sits flush on a surface – it won't annoyingly rock as you press the display when it's on a table.
The tweaked design has made it bigger; the 7 Pro is 0.6mm wider than the 6 Pro at 76.7mm and 2g heavier at 212g. That is still less than the 228g of the S22 Ultra, but it's a chunky device in its own right and it makes the iPhone 14 Pro sound quite trim at just 206kg. The extra bulk matters as it can be unwieldy to use single-handedly and you will find you need both hands just to take photos. We nearly dropped it on a few occasions as we tried taking landscape shots, for instance.
Thankfully, the handset is a little tougher this year as it is encased in Gorilla Glass Victus and the metal chassis certainly feels a bit more solid. The only negative aspect of the design is a more traditional range of available colours. The 7 Pro comes in 'Obsidian' (black), 'Snow' (white) and 'Hazel', which is basically green, but not the fun 'Sort of Seafoam' green from last year – the peachy 'Kinda coral' is also sadly missing.
Google Pixel 7 Pro review: Display
There's little change with the display, which isn't necessarily a bad thing; The Pixel 7 Pro has a 6.7in AMOLED display with a 1440 x 3120 resolution and HDR10+ capabilities – practically the same as last year's Pixel 6 Pro. For the refresh rate, there is also LTPO technology which helps the display switch from as low as 1Hz to 120Hz depending on the content. This helps conserve battery life, while also giving you a super smooth scroll on social media.
Colour accuracy is a little down on last year's Pixel 6 Pro but not noticeable so. The 7 Pro scored 96.4% for sRGB gamut coverage compared to the Pixel 6 Pro's 99.1%. This is also a little lower than the iPhone 13 and the Samsung S22 Ultra, but, again, not enough to really suggest a massive difference in quality.
We found the Pixel to be a vibrant and luminous display with a good depiction of colour across all types of content. And it also managed a peak brightness of 608cd/m2, which is a significant improvement on the 6 Pro.
Google Pixel 7 Pro review: Specs and performance
With the Pixel 7 models, we also have a new Tensor processor. This time it's a 5nm G2 chip, developed in partnership with Samsung, that's matched with 8GB of RAM. As with the original Tensor in the Pixel 6, it doesn't produce particularly impressive benchmark scores. But the idea behind the Tensor is to take processing power and tailor it to specific tasks, such as machine learning workloads and image editing.
In Geekbench 5 the Pixel 7 Pro notched single-core scores of 1,030 and multi-core scores of 3,166. These are a decent improvement to last year's 1,034 and 2,767 on the Pixel 6 Pro. Unfortunately, they look pitiful compared to the iPhone, the S22 and Huawei's P50 Pro, but it's also true that a benchmark score doesn't really explain what the phone can do. There is nothing about the phone that would suggest it is more sluggish than the iPhone 13; it runs applications quickly, can handle multiple tabs, split screen mode, rapid image editing and much, much more.
Google Pixel 7 Pro review: Battery
Under our looped video test, the 7 Pro's 5000mAh battery lasted 18hrs 53mins, which is a good, if not fantastic, score. There are devices, such as the OnePlus 10 Pro and the S22 Ultra that are getting that little bit closer to 20hrs, but the Pixel 7 Pro has improved on the 6 Pro's 17hrs and 5mins.
It also does well in real terms, generally lasting a full day. Heavy use of the higher refresh rate (social media) and excessive gaming will deplete the battery super quick, but otherwise, it has staying power. When it comes time to charge, the Pro supports both 23W charging and the same calibre of wireless charging.
Google Pixel 7 Pro review: Features
Unsurprisingly, the Pixel 7 Pro comes with Android 13 and the upgraded 'Material You' interface. This is far and away the most customisable and recognisable version of Android with its changeable themes and simplistic navigation controls.
The 7 Pro also features an IP68 dust and water resistance rating, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6, a 30W USB type-C port and biometric security. We have to point out here that the fingerprint sensor is a big improvement on the 6, which suffered from an annoying glitch. However, over two weeks of use, we are yet to have any issues.
One of the more overlooked features of the Pixel 6 is back as the 7 Pro can automatically translate your voice recordings into a Google Doc. We used this a number of times and, while it is depending on the quality of the recording, it does transcribe as well as Otter.
Google Pixel 7 Pro review: Cameras
When it comes to camera specs, the 7 Pro has the same number and resolution of lenses as the 6 Pro. That is a 50MP f/1.9 wide lens, a 48MP f/3.5 telephoto one, and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens. There is a change to the front camera which has a 10.8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens instead of the 11.1MP one in the 6 Pro.
The main 50MP lens does a lot of the heavy lifting with this triple lens setup, though the 48MP wide lens is great for capturing details at super wide angles. Picture quality is crisp with each of the lenses, no matter the lighting conditions. The telephoto lens is a little lacking, certainly compared to the Huawei P50 Pro and the S22 which both make better use of AI to focus subjects captured from long distances.
It is slightly odd that this phone doesn't quite get the best long-range shots because it is full of clever machine-learning capabilities. The Magic Eraser tool is back, the night photography features are as good as ever, and the whole point-and-shoot capabilities are on par, if not ahead, of almost everything else on the market. However, our favourite new feature is the unblur tool, which even seems to work with old photos – ones not even taken on the Pixel.
Unblurring is also used with video; one of the newer features is the 'Cinematic Blur' – Google's version of Apple's 'Cinematic Mode – which essentially adds a bokeh effect (background blur) to your video. There's also an 'Active Stabilisation' function that steadies video shots. Both features are impressive and further indication of the capabilities of the Tensor G2 CPU.
Google Pixel 7 Pro review: Verdict
With the Pixel 7 Pro, Google took all the problems with the 6 and 6 Pro and fixed them. Well, almost. There are still some software glitches; they're very subtle, but we noticed the navigation controls can occasionally get stuck when closing apps.
Beyond that, however, the 7 Pro is a massive improvement on the 6 with its longer battery life, Tensor-powered camera software, and streamlined design. The only issue here is how does Google top it next year. The Pixel 7 Pro is pound for pound, the best Android phone around.
Google Pixel 7 Pro Specifications
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