Google Pixel 7 Review: Simply a great small phone

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Pixel 7 review
Google Pixel 7 Intro

Back in 2021, Google re-pledged its commitment to the flagship phone space with the release of the Pixel 6-series, a duo of phones that put the focus on software features and overall user experience instead of purely relying on flagship-grade specs and raw power. 

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were generally received well, despite all the quality-control horror stories and the multitude of bugs and issues that acted as the proverbial ointment in the soup, so it befalls upon the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro to showcase Google's commitment to the Tensor-fueled flagship effort. 

But it's not a phone that should be observed in a vacuum alone. The Google Pixel 7 acts as a landmark juxtaposition to the iPhone 14, which also didn't score an exciting amount of improvements and upgrades over the previous iPhone 13 generation. Yet, if Apple can get a pass for that, it only seems fair that Google does as well. On the other hand, there's the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+, which are Samsung's excellent offerings that boast slightly richer feature sets and comparable hardware in the same size segment.

Oh, and there's this new Pixel 7a now, a phone that boasts the best of the Pixel lineup in an affordable and easygoing package. Definitely shortlist it!

The Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro are also now available, better than ever and definitely one-upping the Pixel 7 family.

Just like with any other Pixel, the Pixel 7 has some impressive cameras, and we have put each one through our new in-depth camera testing procedure and given it a score, which you can find in this review's 'Camera' section. If you want to find out more about how we rate each camera check out our PhoneArena Camera Score benchmark page.

What’s new about the device

  • 6.3-inch FHD+ OLED display (vs 6.4-inch on Pixel 6)
  • Tensor G2 chipset (vs Tensor G1 on Pixel 6)
  • Slightly refreshed design
  • New camera features vs Pixel 6
  • Improved selfie camera

Table of Contents:

Pixel 7 is available Best Buy

You can also purchase the Pixel 7 unlocked or on the three major carriers AT&T, Verizon from Best Buy. At present, no discounts are available on this phone.

Save $72 on the Pixel 7 at Amazon

Amazon has the unlocked Pixel 7 at a tempting discount as well. The 5G-enabled phone with 128GB of built-in storage is now $72 cheaper at Amazon.

Google Pixel 7 Unboxing



Inside the Google Pixel 7 box, you'll find the Pixel 7, your usual booklets, a SIM ejector pin, and a USB Type-C cable. You don't get a wall charger, so you will have to supply one yourself if you don't have one already. Google recommends using its 30W fast charger, which starts from $25. 

Google Pixel 7 Specs

Pixel 6, is that you? 

So, how does the Pixel 7 differ from the Pixel 6? Let's check out by comparing the Pixel 7 specs against those of the previous model:


Google Pixel 7 Models 


Aside from the Pixel 7, Google has another Pixel in the lineup, the Pixel 7 Pro, which differentiates itself with an additional camera, larger display and battery, as well as a slew of exclusive software features. Aside from that it's got the same Pixel 7 DNA. Google was also rumored to be teasing a foldable Pixel during the announcement event, but those expectations did not materialize. 

Read more:

Google Pixel 7 Design & Colors

Subtle changes here and there


Building on the design language established by the Pixel 6-series (which we absolutely love), Google addressed the Pixel 7 design in a logical way. 

Gone is the dual-tone design of the Pixel 6-series, which had the bottom and top sections of the rear colored in two slightly different color hues. Instead of that, the new Pixel 7 uses a single color for its glass back, separated by a polished aluminum camera bar in a complementary color. The camera bar is no longer black, but proudly shows off the camera cutouts that Google previously tried to hide away. It's still a pocket lint magnet, though. 

Speaking of colors, the Pixel 7 colors have been revealed to be Black, White, and an interesting new Lemongrass color. All look great

The new camera strip at the back seamlessly connects with the aluminum frame of the phone for one uninterrupted design element that looks—and feels—great to handle and use. The slightly curved frame and glass sloping towards the rear makes the Pixel 7 a very comfortable phone for the palm of your hand, and this makes it feel even more compact than it actually is. As a direct comparison, a device like the iPhone 13 or iPhone 14 has a more prominent edge and isn't as pleasant to use. 

And in direct comparison with the Pixel 6, the Pixel 7 not only is a more compact phone—it certainly feels like one. Handling it is a joy, and—surprise, surprise—you can even use it with a single hand! It's slightly more slippery than what I'd love to see, definitely calling for a protective case to enhance the grip. 

The Pixel 7 has Corning's tough and very scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass Victus both at the front and at the back, which  and is also equipped with fingerprint-resistant coating, which helps it retain its pristine looks no matter how long you toy it around. However, the camera strip of our Pixel 7 Pro unit has already started exhibiting some scuffs and scratches at the rear after just a few days of use, which isn't ideal and doesn't inspire us with confidence that the same faith wouldn't befall the Pixel 7 as well. 

The Pixel 7 also comes with stereo speakers (it would be weird to have things any other way!), and is also equipped with three microphones for exceptional noise suppression, which allows the Google Assistant to hear you much better even in windy conditions, but also works well with regular phone calls as well.  


Another important change relates to the overall size of the Pixel 7, especially in comparison with the older Google Pixel 6. The small phone is just a smidgen narrower, thinner, and shorter than its predecessor. This certainly makes it a more compact handset, and it's safe to say that we are in a dire need of compact phones in the Android space. Yes, these days 6.3 inches almost passes as "compact". In comparison with another rather popular compact phone, the iPhone 13, the Pixel 7 is taller and slightly wider, but also thicker and heavier.

The Pixel 7 is equipped with IP68 water and dust protection, and unsurprisingly, lacks a 3.5mm audio jack or a microSD card slot for some additional storage expansion. There's a single nano SIM card slot, but users can also enroll an eligible eSIM, as the Pixel 7 is a dual-SIM/dual-standby (DSDS) phone. You can even use dual eSIM cards if your carrier allows.


Despite our hopes that Google would go for Qualcomm's ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanners, Google once again relies on an optical under-screen fingerprint scanner, which doesn't feel much faster than the one used on the Pixel 6 last year. Optical fingerprint scanners require your fingertip to rest a smidgen longer on the display than ultrasonic fingerprint scanners. 

You also have to be more accurate with your fingertip placement, as often times a millimeter to the side would cause the phone throw an authentication error and require another attempt. Not such a big of a deal, but at the same time, it is. 

In case you don't want to use the fingerprint scanner (due to one reason or another), there's also Face Unlock on deck, but you should know that it's picture-based, so it's not as secure as Apple's three-dimensional Face ID. 

Google Pixel 7 Display



The 6.3-inch OLED display on the Pixel 7 has a resolution of 1080 by 2400 pixels and comes with the same 60 to 90Hz refresh rate as the Pixel 6. The display is completely flat, which is definitely appreciated and everything appears crisp despite the not-so-impressive resolution. The maximum brightness of nearly a 1,000 nits really stands out as one of the key features of the display, but it has a very low minimum brightness as well, making it a good companion for some light reading before bedtime, if that's up your alley. 

Display Measurements:



Overall, while it's not a head-turner by any means, the Pixel 7 display perfectly suits the needs of the phone. Its color rendition is superb and allows you to fine-tune the color saturation as per your liking, has great viewing angles, and to be perfectly honest, is one of the more impressive displays on a compact phone I've used lately. It's perfectly legible in sunny conditions and has a decent minimum brightness, so using it at the middle of the night isn't a bad experience at all.

All things considered, I don't really miss anything when it comes to the Pixel 7's display, it's definitely one of its stronger suits.

Google Pixel 7 Camera

Dual-camera trooper


Google Pixel 7
PhoneArena Camera Score
BEST 153
138
PhoneArena Photo Score
BEST 160
145
Main (wide)
BEST 85
75
Zoom
BEST 27
19
Ultra-wide
BEST 25
22
Selfie
BEST 30
29
PhoneArena Video Score
BEST 147
131
Main (wide)
BEST 79
72
Zoom
BEST 21
13
Ultra-wide
BEST 23
20
Selfie
BEST 28
26

Similarly to the Pixel 6-series, the Google Pixel 7 relies on a dual-camera setup, consisting of a 50MP 1/1.3-inch wide camera with an f/1.85 aperture (an ever-so-slight update over the Pixel 6's f/1.9) and a ultra-wide 12MP camera that has an f/2.2 aperture, but still a narrower 114-degree field-of-view in comparison with the Pixel 7 Pro and some rivals. At the front, we have an upgraded 10.8MP selfie camera on both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

Some Pixel 7 camera features that are common with the Pixel 7 Pro include, but are not limited to:

  • Photo Unblur — Thanks to this feature, the Google Photos app on both new Pixels allows the user to quickly unblur and sharpen an image with just a tap.
  • Magic Eraser — This well-known AI-driven software feature gets rid of distractions and photobombers in your images. You can also change the colors and brightness of a subject.
  • Real Tone — Google 's quest of making its hardware more inclusive has led it to take thousands of pictures of people of color so as to fine-tune the camera and correctly represent non-white skin tones. The new Pixels will recognize a broader set of faces, correctly represent skin color in photos, make skin brightness appear more natural than before, reduce washed-out images, sharpen face even in low light, and provide you with a smarter auto enhance in Google Photos.
  • Cinematic Blur — Similar to the iPhone's Cinematic mode, the new Pixels let you take videos with artificially blurred background while keeping your subjects in focus for that much-coveted dramatic effect.
  • Wider front camera — Both devices now have wider 10.8MP selfie cameras with faster f/2.2 aperture.

The camera app is rather feature-rich, but I wouldn't call it overwhelming. It lays every feature and functionality neatly at your fingertips, and while it takes some snooping around to find all features of the camera app, it's mostly intuitive.

There is some shutter lag, a millisecond delay between pressing the shutter button and actually getting visual confirmation that a shot has been taken. It's slight, but there, and once you notice it, you can't unsee it. Thankfully, Google's Top Shot feature, which is mostly similar to Apple's Live Photos, is here to save the day—it takes a short video alongside with any photo you take, allowing you to reframe your shot afterwards and even export a GIF or a video if you wish so. As someone with a toddler, it's deeply appreciated. 

Another slightly aggravating issue with the camera app is that it takes forever to switch from one sensor to the other and between the various camera modes, despite that we ran the first camera update the second we launched it. If you go through the motions and switch between 0.7X, 1X, and 2X zoom modes, as well as try switching between the video, portrait, camera, Night Sight modes, Pixel 7's camera app exhibits some noticeable delay. Guess what, an iPhone usually does the same, but the Pixel is a tad slower in this regard.

Finally, I'm not impressed by the finicky zoom slider, which is on the smaller side and often hard to interact with, especially if your fingers are on the plumper side of the spectrum. 

Image Quality


As we mentioned before, the ultra-wide camera is still too narrow for our tastes. Offering a 114-degree field-of-view, it's just a smidgen wider than the regular wide camera, but the latter is much more capable in any situation, so if possible, I'd usually recommend just stepping back and taking a shot with the regular 50MP shooter. Here's a quick comparison between the ultra-wide and wide-angle cameras, as well as the default 2X zoom, which crops in from the main camera sensor:

Pixel 7 ultra-wide vs wide-angle camera vs 2X zoom



In broad daylight or when sufficient light is present, the Pixel 7 takes really nice shots, with good detail and great dynamics. The "Pixel look" we've come to love over the years, known for its grittier realistic colors and overall feel mixed up with a slightly enhanced contrast, is certainly present on the Pixel 7. We love that.  Here are some regular camera samples taken out straight from the Pixel 7, which showcase its forte:

Pixel 7 camera samples


  

Night or indoor shots with the main camera turn out pretty sharp, and with balanced exposure. The ultrawide, as can be expected, struggles more in these situations, while the selfies are pretty impressive in all situations. There is some noise in most ultra-wide low-light shots, but overall, nothing too out of the ordinary. 

Pixel 7 low-light camera samples



The front camera, as we said, is improved, and it now takes really good selfies, with lovely colors and a realistic, gritty tones in certain situations. Portrait shots with the front camera turn out okay, despite the algorithms struggling with subject separation from complex background, which is the usual crux of single-camera portrait modes across the industry.

Pixel 7 selfies



Video quality


The video stabilization, sharpness, and amount of detail are very good, with only the continuous autofocus mode taking a split second to react as opposed to the instantaneous refocusing back and forth we are used to from Samsung phones.

Video Thumbnail


Google Pixel 7 Performance & Benchmarks


The Pixel 7 comes with the Google Tensor G2 chipset on deck, its second-gen custom silicon, which forfeits in the raw synthetic benchmark war for a more user-centric take on things, with features and functionalities geared towards achieving a better user experience. The Tensor's machine-learning and artificial intelligence capabilities are the highlight of the new chip. 

The Tensor G2 uses two performance ARM Cortex-X1 cores, then two mid-range Cortex-A76 cores, and four efficiency Cortex-A55 cores. That said, it's well behind the Qualcomm, Exynos, and Apple Bionic competition in the synthetic benchmark tests we've ran. Despite that, it doesn't feel slow, or sluggish. The only issue here is that the phone, while really capable in terms of gaming and crunching graphics, gets hot during extended gaming sessions, which negatively affects its battery life. More on that later. 

Geekbench 5 SingleHigher is better
Google Pixel 71051
Google Pixel 61027
Samsung Galaxy S22+1156
Apple iPhone 141733
Geekbench 5 MultiHigher is better
Google Pixel 73241
Google Pixel 62706
Samsung Galaxy S22+3292
Apple iPhone 144648
GFXBench Car Chase on-screenHigher is better
Google Pixel 762
Google Pixel 659
Samsung Galaxy S22+47
Apple iPhone 1459
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screenHigher is better
Google Pixel 788
Google Pixel 688
Samsung Galaxy S22+78
Apple iPhone 1459
Jetstream 2Higher is better
Google Pixel 7107.742
Google Pixel 682.601
Samsung Galaxy S22+70.347
Apple iPhone 14248.802
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Google Pixel 71854
Google Pixel 61455
Samsung Galaxy S22+1603
Apple iPhone 143018
3DMark Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Google Pixel 71521
Google Pixel 6945
Samsung Galaxy S22+1106
Apple iPhone 142115

The phone comes with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM, which should be enough for everyone but the most enthusiastic power users out there. Storage-wise, Google will gladly sell you a 128GB version of the Pixel 7 at the introductory price of $599, as well as a 256GB storage variation for $699. 

If you're in dire need of more space, Google Photos is an awesome service that's perfectly integrated within the Pixel's interface and offers premium tiers that give you tons of cloud-based storage. 

Google Pixel 7 OS / Android version / Software



The Pixel 7 comes forth with the latest episode in the Android saga—Android 13, but will be among the first to receive Android 14 this summer. This one comes with visual improvements that enhance the Material You design language, themed icons, multilingual app support, clipboard editor, dynamic spatial audio, more privacy and security options, and more. Although Android 13 lacked any show-stopping features and is generally perceived as a "boring" update, it improves the stock Android, and in extension, the Pixel 7 user experience. 

Some notable Pixel-exclusive Android 13 features include, but are not limited to:
  • Assistant voice typing will suggest relevant emoji
  • Phone can transcribe audio messages in the message app
  • Recorder app getting speaker labels
  • Pixel Call Assist for phone calls
  • Call screen automatically speaks to spammers and filters them out
  • Direct My Call for businesses, list of menu options visible right away
  • Clear Calling - filters out distracting sounds while enhancing friends voices

In terms of software support, Google promises three years of major software updates and some five years of security patches for the Pixel 7. This means that the Pixel 7 will be graced by Android 16 in 2025 and will still be considered a secure phone by 2027. 

This prolonged support really jibes well for regular customers who might be considering the Pixel, but also helps polish Google's image as well. We are still a good way from the coveted policy promising at least five years of major updates, like Apple's, but hopefully, in the near future this could change. 

Bugs? So far, I've encountered only one. Routinely, launching the camera would show a black screen, with the only way to actually get it to work is to flick it away from your Recents and reopen it a few times until it works as intended. However, while you do so, you might have missed the shot of a lifetime, which wouldn't make you love the Pixel more. 

Google Pixel 7 Battery


The Pixel 7 comes with a 4,355mAh battery on deck, notably smaller than the Pixel 6's 4,614mAh unit. On the PhoneArena browsing battery test, which involves automated web surfing and scrolling over a Wi-Fi network at 200 nits of pre-set screen brightness, the Pixel 7 fares comparably to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a, two first-gen Tensor devices, but gets dusted by both the Galaxy S22 and the iPhone 14, two very close competitors.

In our video streaming test, the Pixel 7 fared worse than the Pixel 6, scoring a bit over 9 hours. That's actually better than the Galaxy S22 and iPhone 14, as well as he affordable Pixel 6a by a small margin. This isn't actually proof that the Pixel 7 has bad battery endurance, on the contrary, it is to show that the Pixel 6 had great battery life!

When it comes to our tasking 3D gaming test, the Pixel 7 failed to impress and scored a much lower score than its predecessor and closest rivals. This goes to show that you probably shouldn't consider this phone if you're heavily into gaming, as it wouldn't provide a very good battery backup. Gaming performance is mostly on point, though.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 79h 13 min
Google Pixel 610h 36 min
Samsung Galaxy S22+8h 18 min
Apple iPhone 148h 35 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 713h 56 min
Google Pixel 613h 45 min
Samsung Galaxy S22+15h 16 min
Apple iPhone 1415h 23 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 74h 43 min
Google Pixel 65h 48 min
Samsung Galaxy S22+5h 40 min
Apple iPhone 146h 44 min

In my personal experience, with some accommodations, the Pixel 7 could last you a full business day, but you might want to look for a charger around 6pm for a quick top-up. If you're a really heavy user, you would have to do that earlier in the day.

Good news is that a quick 30-minute rendezvous with the 30W fast charger that Google would sell you for $25 gives the Pixel 7 around 50% of battery charge. This means that one such quick half charge could easily solve any battery woes that you might have with the compact Android device. Charging-wise, there aren't any big changes—Google advertises 21W fast wired and 21W wireless charging for the Pixel 7, but actually recommends getting the aforementioned 30W fast charger.



But wait, there's more! Thanks to Extreme Battery Saver, Pixel 7 users can enjoy up to 72 hours of battery life on their devices, though the regular functionality of the phone will be severely limited, with only a handful of apps being available in this mode.

Google Pixel 7 Audio Quality and Haptics


With dual stereo speakers on both, the Pixel 7 produces loud and clean but not very "meaty" sound. While that's not inherently bad, the phone certainly lacks some definition in the base and gives off a more trebly sound. In no way is this an issue, make no mistake! 

On the topic of haptics, the Pixel 7 treats us with pleasant haptic feedback that's definitely not on the strong side. Thankfully, it doesn't feel muddy, but is rather exact and defined, just not particularly strong for our tastes. 

Google Pixel 7 Competitors


The Pixel 7 is definitely punching blows with both the Galaxy S22 and iPhone 14, given that the trio is mostly in the same price segment and they now essentially act as their respective companies' compact models. The Galaxy S22 comes with an extra telephoto camera and a completely different take on the Android interface. 

The iPhone 14, on the other hand, is the entry-level device in the iPhone 14-series and comes forth with A15 Bionic, dual-camera, and more. It's the most affordable new iPhone in Apple's device roster, but is largely similar to the iPhone 13 before it, which made the case for upgrading a rather questionable affair, all things considered. 

Read more:

Google Pixel 7 Summary and final verdict


The Pixel 7 is, by all means, an excellent compact Android phone. What it lacks in terms of performance, it makes up in terms of "smarts" and user experience. It's a great compact Android device, a breath of fresh air from your average smartphone that's pushing 6.7 inches and beyond in terms of display size. 

The Pixel 7 is a no-frills device. It's the phone you'd recommend to someone who's not awed by the latest cutting-edge tech and doesn't really know what a synthetic benchmark is , but would rather have a compact device that looks and feels good, and also offers very good user experience. 

Despite a few slight interface issues with the camera and somewhat uninspiring battery life during gaming, the Pixel 7 is a great compact phone that is really enjoyable to use. While the Pixel 7 Pro is definitely a much better phone, with a sharper, larger, and even smoother display, an extra 5X telephoto camera and better battery life, the Pixel 7 is more affordable and basically offers 90% of the same Pixel experience.

With the amount of revisions it exacts on the Pixel 6, the Pixel 7 is a great follow-up to what was already one of the very good phones of 2021. It addresses some key aspects of the Pixel experience and feels like a solid choice that one should definitely shortlist when considering a compact and capable phone in early 2023. And with a starting price of $599 for the entry-level version, it's an excellent, no-brainer kind of deal. 

Pros

  • Compact and friendly design
  • Bright display
  • Excellent $599 starting price
  • Overall good image quality with the signature Pixel look
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Ultra-wide camera is still not wide enough
  • Some camera quirks and shutter lag
  • Not very inspiring performance-wise

PhoneArena Rating:

6.0

User Rating:

9.0
1 Reviews

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