Pixel 7 Pro Reviews: An Upgrade to Google’s Best Flagship Phone

The $899 Pixel 7 Pro feels like the 6 Pro, but it’s great.

Pixel 7 Pro has few updates from last year’s Pixel 6 Pro because a significant makeover wasn’t needed. The Pixel 6 Pro got my 2021 CNET Editors’ Choice award for its stunning design, Tensor-powered performance, and excellent cameras.

Instead of completely remaking the 6 Pro, Google made incremental improvements to the 7 Pro.

It has better cameras, additional tricks, and a more beautiful design. Google’s Tensor G2 chip is included. The $599 Pixel 7 emphasizes development over revolution. It’s a slight step, so Pixel 6 Pro owners shouldn’t upgrade.

If you have a Pixel phone from before 2020, you’ll love the Pixel 7 Pro. It’s powerful enough for intense gaming, and the Android 13 software is smooth and delightful.

And it undercuts Apple and Samsung on pricing, especially the $999 iPhone 14 Pro and $1,199 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Pixel Pro isn’t cheap, but it’s a great alternative if you want cutting-edge mobile technology.

Subtle Tweaks Make For A Beautiful Pixel 7 Pro Design

The 6 Pro’s design has been refined. Google preserved the phone’s signature camera strip. Now it’s a recycled aluminum strip that mixes with the phone’s metal, giving it a more luxurious aesthetic.

The back is glass, and the front is still curved. But if I’m nitpicking, the curved display and metal surround don’t merge seamlessly. It’s noticeable when held, but does that matter? No.

Pixel 7 & 7 pro
Pixel 7 & 7 pro

It’s water- and dust-resistant, so spilled drinks are fine. In the short time I’ve used it. Several little hairline scratches are apparent on its surface, which could worsen over time. Is it a problem? It may develop a patina that improves its appearance like old brass tools.

The 6.7-inch display has the exact resolution as the 6 Pro. It’s sharp, bright enough to see outside, and has vivid, punchy colors that work well for YouTube videos without oversaturated or unnatural. You can use “Natural” to tone it down.

It’s a giant phone, perfect for big-screen gaming or watching films on the go. Smaller-handed folks or those who prefer smaller phones may find it burdensome, especially one-handed. The Pixel 7 has a 6.3-inch display but no telescopic camera. Also…

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Pixel 7 Pro: Superb Cameras, With Welcome Upgrades

I’m glad that Google hasn’t lost its touch with smartphone cameras with the Pixel 6 Pro. The Pixel 7 Pro’s 50-megapixel primary camera captures great shots with vibrant colors. It’s paired with a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera and a 48-megapixel telephoto lens.

It captured vivid blue skies and plenty of detail during my test photo walks in October Leith, Scotland.

The optical telephoto zoom is now 5x. It may not seem like much, but the increased magnification helps you crop tighter and find more fascinating compositions than your iPhone 14 Pro-using peers.

The telephoto zoom lens has the same dynamic range and color shift as the primary lens. The 48-megapixel resolution produces clear photographs and allows digital zooming. I enjoy the telephoto zoom since it’s a good compromise between the iPhone’s 3x zoom and the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x zoom.

Switching to the ultrawide lens allows you to pack more into your image. I’m amazed that there’s almost no discernible color shift across lenses, with the sky’s deep blues and Leith’s warm tones looking almost comparable.

The telephoto zoom lens has the same dynamic range and color shift as the primary lens. The 48-megapixel resolution produces clear photographs and allows digital zooming. I enjoy the telephoto zoom since it’s a good compromise between the iPhone’s 3x zoom and the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x zoom.

Switching to the ultrawide lens allows you to pack more into your image. I’m amazed that there’s almost no discernible color shift across lenses, with the sky’s deep blues and Leith’s warm tones looking almost comparable.

New autofocus on the ultrawide lens enables macro photography. You can focus within a couple of inches, allowing you to get close to bugs or flowers. When it detects a compact object, it switches to macro mode and focuses rapidly.

It gives the same quality as a standard wide-angle lens. It’s not a must-have function for most people, but it’s great when a cool bug wanders by, and you want a close-up image for Instagram.

The Night Sight setting may take 6-second exposures to capture lots of light at night. Night photographs are bright and sharp, but street lamps can cause flare and ruin the appearance. Pixel 7 Pro night images are more brilliant and crisper than Samsung’s S22 Ultra, but iPhone 14 Pro’s are brighter.

Google has also updated its Real Tone algorithm for improved capturing of darker skin tones. My colleague Lisa Eadicicco tested that in CNET’s Pixel 7 review by snapping images with the Pixel 7, the iPhone 14, and the Galaxy S22, then having the people in the photos pick their favorites.

Audio signals let blind and visually impaired people snap selfies with Guided Frame. The Photo Unblur tool sharpens blurry or out-of-focus photographs.

I tried it on a few older photos from my library, and the change is evident, with several shots having improved definitions. It didn’t appear to make that much difference to others, however. No amount of software tweaking will save a blurry image.

The Pixel 7 Pro’s camera is excellent for both serious and casual photographers. The 7 Pro’s zoom is one of the most significant advancements over the standard Pixel 7, along with the macro feature. For me, that’s enough reason to spend the extra, but you’ll have to work out how big of a priority zoom is in your photography.

Pixel 7 Pro Has Solid Performance And Slick Software

Google’s Tensor G2 processor powers the phone. Google’s decision to design its processor from scratch was daring, but it makes little difference in day-to-day use. The Pixel 7 Pro is an Android phone with plenty of power.

Fast, lag-free UI navigation. High-resolution videos stream without trouble. Switching between open apps is instantaneous and demanding games like Asphalt 9: Legends and Genshin Impact play at high settings without any visible issues. Google says the new processor boosts the phone’s behind-the-scenes performance.

Google says the processor is better at AI functions, including speech recognition, face unlocks, object detection in imaging, and call background noise reduction.

It runs Android 13, which I like for its clean interface. No bloatware or preinstalled apps make it feel streamlined. As with Android 12, you may modify all system typefaces to match your home screen image. Material You from Google lets you personalize your phone.

What’s wrong with this phone? Poor battery life. The 7 Pro’s battery fell to 95% after an hour of Wi-Fi YouTube streaming at peak brightness. Pixel 7 dropped to 97%, while Pixel 6 Pro and 6A dropped to 98%. The 7 Pro plummeted to 87% after an hour and 80% after 3 hours, below the Pixel 7’s 83%.

Bad battery? Nope. It’s fine. It’s subpar. It can handle a mixed-use day. Like most phones, it needs a full charge before bed. If maximizing battery life is vital, consider the phone’s battery life.

Pixel 7 Pro: Bottom line

The Pixel 7 Pro might not have the same pizazz the Pixel 6 Pro did last year, but it still provides plenty of advances to produce a terrific phone. The $300 premium the Pro carries over the $599 Pixel 7 is well-reflected with the phone’s 48-megapixel telephoto camera and the same larger screen brought over from the 6 Pro.

There’s little else I don’t like about this phone, but it’s worth noting that several Tensor-specific features are shared with the cheaper phone. The 7 Pro’s hardware exclusives make it a worthy “flagship” alongside Apple and Samsung.

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