Google recently released their latest flagship phone, the Pixel 7 Pro. On offer this year is a new updated design, better performance, and naturally better cameras. The better stills and video arrive partly thanks to updated hardware, but equally due to continued efforts on the AI side.
In 2022, I don’t get the feeling many people are switching platforms, so this is really a pitch to Android users who may consider switching from the likes of Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, but mostly the Pixel 7 Pro goes head to head with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Those tempted by the Pixel 7 Pro are likely to be swayed a lot by the price point, at just A$1,299 for the 128GB model, it’s substantially less than the S22 Ultra 128GB which starts at a crazy A$1,849. Sure, there’s no stylus on the Pixel, but what you do get is the best version of Android possible, straight from Google developers, as it was intended.
Android 13 on the Pixel 7 Pro really is a great place to live, with everything feeling well polished and consistent, something that can’t always be said for phones from other OEMs who regularly replace apps, change things, and don’t necessarily make things better.
What I love about having a Pixel, is that you are ready to test the next Android version, with Pixel devices always first to receive support for what’s next. This won’t be a selling point for some, but for others who are keen to be on the leading edge, then it’s definitely a plus.
Having used the Pixel 6 Pro since it was released in 2021, the external differences feel very minor, with small changes to the button positions, but effectively the same size and style of the device.
Where the design does change substantially is on the rear, with that camera strip looking very different in 2022, adapted to house the new triple-camera system.
While all brands have their way of positioning camera arrays on their phones, I do really appreciate the simplicity of a single row, rather than a grid of lenses. The other advantage of what Google does on the rear camera system is that your phone lays flat on the desk, as you set it down, a subtle, but important detail.
The phone is available in 3 colours, Obsidian black, Snow white, and Hazel. Our review unit was the black version which is probably what I would have chosen for use with a clear case, although that white does look stunning. As per Google’s design language, there’s a two-tone black, silver combo.
Something worth noting on the construction side, Google is using 100% recycled aluminum for their polished enclosure and it comes in one of those skinny boxes without a charger, just a USB cable.
The Pixel 7 Pro offers a range of great features and if you’re living with a phone that’s a couple of years old, these will be a significant improvement to the ownership experience.
There is no doubt that this is a gorgeous display, videos, websites and games all look amazing on this bright display with amazing colours and crispness. The generous 6.7″ display offers QHD+ resolution, also known as 1440p, although this can be reduced to 1080p to save on battery life.
The display has a variable refresh rate that can scale from as low as 10Hz, right up to 120hz. This adapts automatically to the task and requirements you throw at the Pixel 7 Pro. If you’re browsing the web, things will be smooth, but run a lower refresh rate, compared to playing a game that will maximise the speed for the best performance.
When it comes to battery life, Google does a great job managing the 5000 mAh battery and I found the phone easily got me through even the longest day. Google claims it can last over 24 hours which I’m not sure is particularly useful, given we charge nightly.
If you do find yourself without the ability to charge, Google offers an Extreme Battery Saver mode that can stretch as much as 72 hours, but you would need to skip on the TikTok.
The phone features rapid charging, with the ability to recover up to 50% charge in about 30 minutes. If you prefer wireless charging (I do), then drop the phone on a Qi-certified fast wireless charger.
The Pixel 7 Pro ships with the latest Android 13 Operating System and one thing I love is the Bedtime Mode which turns the screen black and white on schedule. This, combined with the night light can really help ease eye strain in low light conditions (like when you wake in the middle of the night).
Something I love in a smartphone is dual-sim support. The Pixel 7 Pro offers 1x physical sim slot as well as support for 1x e-SIM.
While many phones support 5G in 2022, the Pixel 7 supports one of the longest list of bands that I’ve seen. This means you’re going to be able to access faster speeds in more locations.
- GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1,2,4,5,6,8,19
- LTE: Bands B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/38/39/40/41/42/46/48/66/71
- 5G Sub-620: Bands n1/2/3/5/7/8/12/14/20/25/28/30/38/40/41/48/66/71/77/78
- 5G mmWave20: Bands n257/n258/n260/n261
The wireless tech doesn’t stop there, with support for Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth, NFC and more.
- Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) with 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz + 6 GHz, HE160, MIMO
- Bluetooth® v5.2 with dual antennas for enhanced quality and connection
- Google Cast
Easily the biggest feature of this phone is the new camera array.
Naturally, the camera performance in this phone is the real feature and that 5x optical zoom is one of this year’s biggest upgrades. The rear camera array is made up of a 50MP wide camera, 12MP ultrawide camera with autofocus and 48MP telephoto camera.
On the front, you’ll get a respectable 10.8 MP and the content that you can capture using these cameras looks amazing. The initial photos and videos look great, but half a second later, you can see Google’s AI magic at work.
Something I love is the cinematic video mode that allows you to capture video with a depth-of-field effect that works amazingly well. There’s no option to modify the focus point in post-production as there is in Apple’s implementation, but the results of how the camera focuses and blurs the background or foreground objects are seriously impressive.
A really pleasant surprise with the Pixel 7 Pro is the volume of the speakers. On a fairly regular basis, I found myself finding the top of the volume range on the Pixel 6 Pro and left wanting more. With the Pixel 7 Pro, it’s much louder, which is great when you’re working in the kitchen and want to skip on headphones.
Google’s own silicon, the Google Tensor G2 is something they’re very proud of and rightly so, it’s a seriously impressive upgrade to a year ago. This phone comes with a mega 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and one of my favourite ways to test this, is to launch Pokemon Go, a game that is renowned for long load times.
Pokemon Go launch speed test
- Pixel 6 Pro – 20 seconds
- Pixel 7 Pro – 16 seconds
Google’s flagship phone this year is really hard to fault. It performs well, has great cameras, great battery life and display.
My only real complaint is that despite the physical size remaining almost identical to last year’s model, the volume and power buttons moved just enough from last year to mean you’ll need a new case.
Personally, I went with a case from Amazon, and for $35 and a week’s wait, the new case was here.
Price & Availability
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is available now directly from the Google Store, or your favourite retailer or network provider.
If you want to buy the Google Pixel 7 Pro, you’ll need to find A$1,299 for the 128GB model, a really affordable price tag for what you get. If you select black, from the 3 colour choices, you’ll get the choice to increase the storage to 256 GB for A$1,449 or 512GB for A$1,599.
Many are likely to consider the phone on a 2-year plan, and with Telstra or Optus, you can expect to pay around $54 per month. If you add Telstra’s basic plan for $58 per month, you’re out the door for A$112.12 per month. For what’s on offer her for $25.87 per week, it’s a stunning deal compared to the other flagships.
The combination of upgrades Google has assembled with the Pixel 7 Pro makes for a really compelling offering for those in the market for a new phone.
As mentioned above, the changes will be fairly incremental for those who own last year’s model, but if your pocket holds a flagship from 2020 or earlier, this is definitely worth adding to your very short list.
While I don’t think Google will draw many users from Apple devices, I think many should consider for a moment, just what they do with their phones and how much they are spending to stay with that choice they made years ago.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is a great phone, one I’ve been happy to live with over the past week and change. The camera ugprades are the real gem here. From the cinematic 4K videos to the 5x optical zoom, or the black is actually black photos you take at night, Google engineers and their AI have worked overtime on this one.
Look out for a Google Pixel Watch Review and Pixel 7 review soon on techAU.