The Pixel 6 represented a rebirth for Google. After several generations of trying — and mostly failing — to distinguish itself as a late-comer to the smartphone game, the device finally had a breakout season. Under a new guard, Google’s longstanding attempts to cut corners were out, and the company had finally delivered a premium product at a low price point.
Gone are the days that a company can skate by on name recognition alone. Flagship smartphones are consistently good across the board, and manufacturers that want to drive sales need to keep up with the Samsungs and Apples of the world. That goes double when you’re producing a budget version of the same product.
The Pixel 6 presented a great confluence of software breakthroughs, premium hardware and new first-party development, like the Tensor chip. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, announced at this morning’s Google Hardware event in Brooklyn, continue their predecessor’s breakthroughs. Given how massive a departure the 6 was from the 7, it ought not come as a huge surprise that the new models are a refinement of what worked about last year’s models.
The adjustments here mostly arrive by way of the camera system and the Tensor G2 — an upgrade from last year’s first Tensor chip, which contributes both to some of those imaging advances as well as security upgrades, among others.
Design-wise, the 7 looks a fair bit like the 6, though the handset’s signature camera bar has been refined a bit — polished aluminum on the Pro and matte on the 7. Both of the new models are made of around 19% recycled materials, by weight. They feature glass backs, Gorilla Glass Victus fronts and are rated IP68 dust/waterproof.
The Pixel 7 has a 6.3-inch 1080×2400 OLED display at 416 PPI and a 90Hz refresh rate. Its brightness tops out at 1,400 nits. The 7 Pro is 6.7 inches at 1440×3120, with a 512 PPI pixel density and up to 1,500 nits of brightness. The 7 has a pair of rear-facing cameras: a 50-megapixel wide angle and 12-megapixel ultrawide. The Pro ads a 48-megapxiel telephoto to the mix. Per Google:
The Pixel 7 front camera is now the same as the one in Pixel 7 Pro, for better low-light photography, stunning 4K60 video, and a wide field of view for group selfies. Cinematic Blur makes Hollywood-like videos. With Real Tone, all skin tones are represented beautifully and accurately – now in Night Sight and Po trait mode too. Photo Unblur improves your blurry pictures – new or old. And Guided Frame helps people with low vision take the best selfies through audio and haptics. Photos match your vision with Pixel camera favorites like Magic Eraser, Motion Mode, and Face Unblur.
The new G2 chip is powering some of those key camera upgrades, including the new Super Res Zoom on the Pro, plus improved Night Sight and Face Unblur. Along with the Titan M2 security chip, it also helps bring long-awaited face unlock, in addition to the under-screen fingerprint sensor. While face unlock can be used for a number of different features, Google notes that it restricts use for some highly sensitive features, as it’s not quite as secure as fingerprint biometrics on the device. The handsets will also ship with VPN by Google One built in, for additional security, and the company is promising “at least” five years of security updates for the devices.
Google rates both devices’ batteries at “over 24 hours.” The 7 has a 4355mAh on board, and the 7 Pro has a healthy 5000mAh. They can both get nearly half a full charge in 30 minutes, courtesy of the 30w USB-C fast charging (the charger itself doesn’t come in the box). The new “Extreme Battery Saver” mode, meanwhile, can boost life all the way up to 72 hours, per Google. Both support fast Qi wireless charging and offer Battery Share to charge up other devices.
The Pixel 7 comes with 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage, while the Pro offers 12GB of RAM and 128, 256 or 512GB of storage. The 7 starts at an affordable $599 and the Pro starts at a reasonable (flagship-wise) $899. They’re both up for preorder today and will start shipping later this month.