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Google Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 7 review: All about software

Google Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 7 review: All about software

Google Pixel 7

The Google Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 7 are refined, iterative upgrades over their predecessors. A faster, more efficient processor, some design and hardware tweaks, as well as new software features, make the latest Pixels among the best smartphones you can buy now. Especially in terms of value for money with their attractive pricing — unchanged from the Pixel 6 phones. In fact, if you're still mulling over the iPhone 14 because of the lack of upgrades or the relatively high prices, then perhaps it's time to consider getting Google's phone instead.

Quick specs

  • Pixel 7 Pro: 6.7-inch OLED screen (3,120 x 1,440 pixels, 120Hz); Pixel 7: 6.3-inch OLED screen (2,400 x 1,080 pixels, 90Hz)
  • Google Tensor G2 chip with 12GB RAM and 128GB storage (Pixel 7 Pro), 8GB RAM and 128GB storage (Pixel 7)
  • Pixel 7 Pro: 50MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide, 48MP telephoto; Pixel 7: Same cameras but no telephoto
  • Pixel 7 Pro: 5,000mAh battery; Pixel 7: 4,355mAh battery

The Pixel 7 phones have a similar design as their predecessors. Given how distinctive the Camera Bar, which runs across the width of the Pixel phones' glass back, looks, it's no surprise that Google has retained this design. But this camera visor is now made from aluminium instead of glass. I like the change — it looks and feels more seamless now. The Pro gets a polished finish that, together with its slightly curved display, give it a luxurious, premium feel. Meanwhile, the one on the standard Pixel 7 has a matte finish that matches its flat screen. The displays are supposedly 25% brighter than before. I certainly had no issue using them outdoors in the day. Like previously, the Pixel 7 Pro gets a higher-resolution 1,440p display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The Pixel 7 has a 1080p screen with a 90Hz refresh rate.

Google Pixel 7
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

What's new in the Pixel 7 phones is the Google Tensor G2 chip, which is said to be 60% faster for machine learning tasks than before. It's the brain behind the Pixel 7's new software features. For starters, the Pixel 7 phones finally get Face Unlock, albeit a less-secure implementation that won't work for unlocking apps or payments. It also doesn't work in the dark, or with masks on. There's also a cool new camera feature: Photo Unblur. As its name suggests, this feature fixes blurry photos. In practice, it's clever enough to unblur the right places, such as the one blurred face in a group photo. It will also unblur older photos in your Google Photos library, including photos taken in the past by other devices. Photo Unblur is exclusive to the Pixel 7 phones, though I hope it eventually comes to all Google Photos users.

Google Pixel 7
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

The Pixel 7 Pro also gets a macro mode and an improved Super Res Zoom of up to 30x, thanks to its 5x telephoto camera. At maximum zoom, the photos look smeary and noisy, but I can make out the words on a faraway signboard. In comparison, the Pixel 7, which has no telephoto camera, only has a 8x digital zoom. Generally, the Pixel 7 phones take nice vibrant-looking photos. The Night Sight feature now has an option for a shorter exposure, though photos still turn out good. Videography is improved, too. There's a new Cinematic Blur mode for videos. All the cameras now support 4K 60fps videos, as well as 10-bit HDR videos. So far, I found the Pixel 7 phones to be responsive and bug-free. Notably, the fingerprint sensor is faster than before. The phones also only become slightly warm in mobile games.

If I have one complaint, it's that the fast charging on the Pixel 7 phones remain slow (max 23W on the Pro), especially compared to China phones. But to be fair, Apple phones don't charge any faster. The Google Pixel 7 phones will easily last a day on a single charge, and often till the following morning. In our video playback test, the Pixel 7 Pro lasted 13hr 47min, while the Pixel 7 managed 16 hours. More importantly, Google has kept the same competitive pricing as the Pixel 6 models. The Pixel 7 Pro starts from S$1,299, or roughly the same price as the Samsung Galaxy S22+, while the Pixel 7 is S$999. Early buyers (before Oct 16 2359hr) can also get S$250 Google Store credit. That's almost enough for the S$299 Pixel Buds Pro. You can get the Pixel 7 phones from Google, Shopee and Amazon SG.

See Also
JBL Tour One M2

Note: Review unit provided by Google.

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