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The Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro might just be the best smartphones I’ve ever used. But they kind of have to be up against Apple which is now really tightly building both their hardware and their software together to extract the most out of what they have.
Android has needed a company that can do the same and can show us what a truly built from-the-ground-up optimized Android experience looks like and that’s why it had to add somebody who makes the software to finally show us how.
Now whether you go for the Google Pixel 7 at ₹59,999 or the Google Pixel 7 Pro at ₹84,999 the unboxing experience is about average for 2022. You get the phones on top no charger but hey at least we get a USBC cable and an adapter that’s going to help us with fast setup and then for some reason a 140-page manual in both.
So about a week before I switched over to these phones, I decided to go back to last year’s Pixel 6 Pro to see where Google left off and I was still even in 2022 mostly blown away.
Is this fantastical software experience that just feels alive the phone takes some of the best point-and-click photos I’ve ever seen compared to not just 2022 smartphones but even professional cameras and it’s all packaged in this slick but distinctive futuristic shell that just screams my name.
But three things hold it back the chipset Google self-made tensor is pretty underpowered the battery life is mediocre and while the pixel 6 does take astonishing photos the video quality kind of sucks with graininess in every corner.
Well, I’m happy to report that Google has not just fixed all of these key weaknesses with the Pixel 7s but on top of that created something so unbelievably good that it’s shown me something I didn’t even know I wanted.
So let’s start with the design, I’m going to be honest with you when I first picked up these phones I thought to myself what have you done Google, the two-tone colors that we had before were more interesting than the flat color options now and there was something quite cool and mysterious about how the last phones just had this entire continuous band that was filled with unspecified Google camera magic.
Compared to now where it’s a bit more standard like okay this bit here is a camera lens this bit is well space but since then the Google Pixel 7 has grown on me quite a lot. I’ve started to appreciate the slightly more rounded Corners the clickier power button how the sides now seamlessly connect to the camera visor on the back.
As opposed to it feeling like a separate piece and how the back itself is now made of a more scratch-resistant Glaster last time more than anything I’m just really glad that they’ve kept this visor at all it’s a good design choice it gives your fingers a natural place to rest which isn’t on the cameras even in landscape mode when I’m playing games on this phone I find that I’m using it as an additional way to grip the phone.
And actually, the benefit of it being a matte finish this time makes that action feel a bit less icky not to mention that because the visor is even across the entire back it makes the phone sit flat when resting on a table.
The only thing that I can’t get used to is the fact that the base Google Pixel 7 which has a flat display compared to the curved one on the Google Pixel 7 Pro does feel a little sharp where that screen intersects with the body which is not ideal given how much you’re going to be swiping across it for gesture controls.
The screens themselves are good though you get a full HD panel on the Google Pixel 7 and a larger Quad HD panel on the Google Pixel 7 Pro and I’m not bothered by the resolution 1080p is plenty.
The only thing that I don’t love about the base model is the new simply thicker chin at the bottom it’s not terrible, but having seen phones for less than ₹50,000 that have managed to get even borders all around would have been a nice touch but once you get inside the phones that’s where things start to get juicy.
Remember the Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro are the first phones to be powered by Google’s second-generation Tensor chip that’s a big deal and yet nowhere has anyone mentioned how powerful it is.
Not to worry we’ll do it if we pull up a quick Geekbench on the Pixel 7 you can see that tensor Gen 2 is very much neck and neck with Samsung’s s22 Ultra and CPU performance which is impressive for two reasons:
- Speed was a serious limiting factor last time and they seemed to have fixed it
- You’re getting this top-level performance not just on the ₹84,999 Google Pixel 7 Pro but also on the ₹59,999 Google Pixel 7.
To test the graphics capability I run the Antutu Benchmark which shows us that the GPU within the pixels is about five percent behind Samsung and that if we run the test repeatedly this is the result from my third consecutive run of this Antutu benchmark.
All phones get about as hot as each other and they all lose about the same amount of performance under sustained loads in other words if you’re a serious mobile gamer then you’ll still get better performance on a proper gaming phone but at the same time, it is a massive relief that we finally got enough power that it doesn’t feel compromised.
You can still pull up even the most heavyweight games Android has to offer like Apex Legends, Genji, and impact, and pretty much max out the settings. But this tensor G2 chip is not just about gaming, I don’t think Google mentioned gaming in their entire presentation. The key things that they focused on are how it benefits the day-to-day software experience and how it benefits the camera and these are no joke the two best things about the Google Pixel 7’s.
For one the improved AI Core added to it can make your phone better able to understand your voice. I’ve tested this by the way and compared to the iPhone accuracy is a grade above even nailing the punctuation.
I’ve tried talking quietly, I’ve tried talking loud same result and so that’s already quite a big deal if your phone can understand your voice better then that means you’re going to have better comms with your voice assistant you’re going to be able to send messages faster, you’re going to be able to translate things more accurately.
But there are so many more times while using the software where I’ve just felt to myself, wow Google has put some real care into this.
For example, how you can change wallpapers in one tap from the home screen, how the status bar matches the exact curvature of the phone’s physical borders making it feel like software that was designed around the hardware, how they always on display a clock gently transitions into the lock screen clock, how they’ve sped up the fingerprint scanner and created this subtle blend of soft vibrations and sounds to make it feel like you’re pressing a real button.
How simple the whole thing is? how they give you everything you need to transfer your stuff quickly from your old phone how it comes with just the bare minimum apps installed with new bloatware and how it shows you demo videos of any feature that might be a little bit confusing.
Stuff like this makes it so much easier to recommend to the less techy people that I know how accessible the phone is how it caters to the hard of hearing with a live caption of literally anything that you can see on your phone and how it caters for the blind with guided access that makes sure that they can still take well-framed selfies.
How the phone can predict what apps you’re going to use next and display them on your icon doc which by the way so far has been spot on for me although I’m not hard to predict and it all just happens quickly.
The Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro both feel like well-oiled machines, you glide between apps each opens and closes gracefully and you’re never really waiting for anything.
I’m still slightly salty, that this same smoothness still doesn’t apply to switching between the various camera lenses and I’m not super convinced by the stability of the software.
I mean the Pixel 6 developed a bit of a reputation for being buggy then even here I’ve had two separate occasions where my phone seems to have forgotten what it was for a good five minutes.
But I’m hopeful both Pixel 7s do get three years of major OS updates which while not the best any more thanks to Samsung sweeping in and now offering 4 is still pretty good and Google does tend to eventually figure out and Patch the main bugs that any pixel releases with.
Also, the battery life is good. Considering that the last phones had mediocre batteries and that the battery capacities have not gone up here I was surprised by how much life I was getting out of them.
Genuinely the smaller Pixel 7 has got the battery life of most larger Pro phones and then the seven Pros right there with the iPhone 14 pro-Max is not quite the very best but in the highest tier and I’d be willing to bet that the new tensor chip has something to do with that.
Let’s talk about these cameras so the base Pixel 7 has two cameras a 50-megapixel main one and a 12-megapixel Ultroid and I think you could make a pretty strong argument that there is no better camera system available for less than ₹50,000 and step one of that is the photo processing.
When you take a photo on the Google Pixel 7 and open it up you’ll always notice that it spends a second or two processing that image. Every phone does this to some extent but no phone improves the result as much as this can.
Like it’s not just that it adds a bit of sharpness this thing applies noise reduction it stitches together photos from both your main Cam and your ultrawide to improve sharpness. It uses AI to realistically reproduce your natural skin color on any one of the cameras and is not just limited to the default camera app.
It even optimizes the shape of your face removing lens distortion and it combs through after you’ve taken to unblur features if you shook the camera too much. You can also use this unblur feature on any photo even not taken on this phone and it’s kind of nutty not gonna lie I purposefully took a blurry selfie on my Samsung Galaxy s22 Ultra and yet this pixel is better able to unblur it than the phone that took it.
It’s got to the stage now where the processing is so good that I’ve just come to trust the Google Pixel 7. I trust that even though things may not necessarily look the best in the camera preview that when I click that shutter button the phone will figure it out and it’s almost an exciting process waiting to see what it’s going to do with your shots and the fact that this phone has no zoom camera and yet can still take photos sharp at 8 times magnification.
Thanks to the same AI is frankly absurd, not to mention that in low light while this isn’t a giant leap over last year’s pixel the fact that it captures those night shots in less time leads to less blurry photos combined with better dynamic range than the iPhone 14 pro that controls the bright spots keeps it very much on par with the best phones out there.
Caveats are a slightly exaggerated color palette which I don’t hate to be honest and a slightly weaker Ultra-wide camera which becomes apparent when you look at the sky shot.
Google has significantly improved the video it’s not as good as the photos but they have taken it from one of the weakest Android flagships for the video to one of the strongest.
It’s still not quite at the iPhone’s level of clarity, especially on that selfie camera, my picture has become a little fainter and a little fuzzier since I switched from the 14 pros but this is still not to be laughed at.
It picks up voices, thanks to something Google called Speech enhancement which gets rid of background noise.
The autofocus is now surprisingly precise it can pick out really fine objects and still nail the focus and then if you want to focus on something moving you have the best tracked focus available on a smartphone.
The new cinematic mode also benefits from this impeccable focus tracking but the fact that it’s capped at 1080p versus the iPhone which can now do 4K makes me not want to use it.
Google Pixel 7 Pro
And then you’ve got the Google Pixel 7 Pro which has the same core but on top of that, it has a 5 times zoom camera paired with all the fancy optimizations the Google Pixel 7s are doing to zoom shots.
Anyways means that actually you can take a zoom photo up to about 12 times and not even tell that it’s not optical zoom way better than the iPhone 14 pro Zoom but still not at the level of Samsung’s and it also has a wider ultrawide camera than the base 7 which includes autofocus meaning that you can now get close to things and take macro shots.
Which are not quite as close as the iPhone but as good as the iPhone’s macros thanks to Google’s processing again.
The Google Pixels this year are brilliant they are fast, they are sturdy they are helpful and they capture your memories reliably I know that not everyone’s going to Echo this sentiment but I also think they’re both priced really well for what they are.
I think they’ve picked all the right things to trim down leaving you with fewer luxuries but more importantly functionally the same phone where nothing feels missing and then for the pro they’ve made sure they give you enough luxuries a more fluid body, a better screen, bigger battery, more advanced camera, more RAM so that if you are willing to spend ₹24,000 more you’re still definitely getting your money’s worth.