CNBC-TV1831 Oct 2022 17:43:47 IST
This was a big year for Google smartphone fans in India – the tech giant first released the highly capable Pixel 6a (review) in July and just three months later released its next-generation flagship phones – the Pixel 7 and the 7. Pro — powered by Google’s second-generation internal G2 Tensor chips.
The phones launched in India on October 6 – the Pixel 7 starts at Rs 59,999 and the Pixel 7 Pro costs Rs 84,999.
Google Pixel 7
- Display: 6.3-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate
- Camera setting: 50MP wide-angle lens, 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens
- Battery: 4335 mAh with 20W fast charging, 20W wireless fast charging and reverse wireless charging
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Rated IP68 for water and dust resistance
Google Pixel 7 Pro
- Display: 6.7-inch LTPO Quad HD+ AMOLED display with variable refresh rate up to 120Hz
- Camera setting: 50MP wide-angle lens, 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, 48MP telephoto lens
- Battery: 5000 mAh with 23W fast charging, 23W wireless fast charging and reverse wireless charging
- RAM: 12GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Rated IP68 for water and dust resistance
We’ve had both smartphones for just under two weeks, and here are our thoughts.
It’s very clear from the start how similar the 7 and 7 Pro are to their predecessors – save for a few physical changes, such as the camera body, which this time is made of metal instead of glass. The Pixel 7 is slightly smaller than the 6 and has a 6.3-inch screen, while the Pixel 7 Pro has similar dimensions to the Pixel 6 Pro, but instead of the sharply curved screen of last year’s flagship, the curve less pronounced this time.
We can’t help but feel that this is what Google envisioned for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro: the new smartphones are more of a refinement of last year’s lineup than a radical new upgrade. That said, it’s odd that Google offers both phones in just one storage variant – 128GB – leaving potential buyers who need more storage space with no choice but to look to other brands.
We received the Obsidian variant of the 7, which is essentially black, and the Hazel variant of the 7 Pro, which is olive green with gold accents. Despite being a fingerprint magnet, we absolutely loved the stealth black of the 7, which features matte black unibody aluminum sides and camera body and a glass back.
But even more beautiful is the Hazel 7 Pro – the olive green back is beautifully complemented by the polished gold aluminum frame and looks like a flagship every inch.
How do the phones perform now that the looks are out of the way?
As with any smartphone, we tested five aspects: screen, camera, battery life, user experience and software, the last two of which overlap significantly.
The Pixel 7 has a 6.3-inch full HD flat screen which is absolutely beautiful to look at, although you could argue that a sharper resolution wouldn’t have hurt. The colors are accurately reproduced on the screen, videos are rendered well and we were able to view the contents of the screen in bright daylight without too much trouble.
The Pixel 7 Pro predictably kicks things up a notch. The 6.7-inch display is a stunner and sails absolutely through all lighting conditions at maximum brightness. Overall, it’s a superior screen to its smaller sibling.
This was the most impressive thing about both phones. Both handsets easily lasted a day of moderate to heavy use, with the 7 Pro going over 40 hours before dying on me. The Pixel 7 just made it to 27 hours before it needed a charge – I was impressed.
Your mileage will of course vary, but not too much. Google has knocked it out of the park with battery life on its phones this year – the Pixel 6a held up pretty well in testing, too.
Both phones support wireless charging and reverse charging, so imagine the thrill we got from wirelessly charging the Pixel 7 using the battery sharing feature on the 7 Pro, turning the Rs 85,000 flagship phone into a wireless charger. changed.
Now we come to the meat of this review. The cameras have always been the standout feature of Pixel devices, and the 7 and 7 Pro don’t disappoint. While we spent most of our time testing the more powerful camera setups on the 7 Pro, we can confirm that the 7 is no slouch. For reasons we’ll mention later in the review, the 7 is a better package overall.
So, how did the 7 Pro do? The phone comes with a triple-lens camera array. Of course we played with the setup quite a bit. More than the physical specs, it’s always Google’s computing power that stood out. And even on a cloudy morning, the camera took impressive photos. The colors are saturated just right, with all three lenses – primary, ultra-wide and telephoto – maintaining color consistency while capturing the same subject.
The camera has other nice features, such as 360-degree photos (which are impossible to reproduce here), fisheye mode, wide-angle, vertical and horizontal ‘Photo Sphere’ modes.
Cinematic video mode will also debut this year, but the 7 Pro is a bit too aggressive for the blur effect, making the final video feel a bit artificial. Apple also failed to hit the mark on its first attempt at cinematic video capture on the 13-series last year, but refined it on the 14-series. Expect Google to do no different in its 2023 lineup.
Overall, using the camera app is super fun with all the different modes, and the results are reliable, making for a smooth photography experience.
User experience and software
This is where Google absolutely crushes it. Google is the most natural bet to take on Apple because it makes the operating system (Android) and the hardware (Pixel phones). However, the company’s strategy has been shaky in recent years with some really puzzling decisions like not bringing flagship phones to India for a few years.
But with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, the company is slowly catching up with the iPhone maker. For the first time in many years, the hardware and software designs are absolutely in sync, making for a delightful experience.
That’s not to say it’s all smooth sailing – there are some rough edges. The odd bug pops up to spoil the experience a bit, but overall it’s refined, well packaged, and more importantly, smooth as butter.
Android 13 runs like clockwork on these devices and Google’s special touches like live captioning and live transcription have made our lives as journalists much easier. I admit it – the Pixel experience is, for our money, one that is very practical and extremely useful.
The Pixel 7 is the better value of these two devices thanks to its compact size, matte aluminum side rails and lower asking price, but the 7 Pro is definitely more eye-catching. If you can afford the extra Rs 25,000 and absolutely need the bigger screen size and that extra camera, go for the Pixel 7 Pro.
But if you want a value-for-money, quintessential Pixel experience in a delightfully small package, get the Pixel 7. Anyway, at least from our experience, you can’t go wrong.