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The best Google Pixel 7 alternatives: 6 phones to consider before you buy
Google has finally launched the Pixel 7 series, coming months after the company first teased the devices. The two phones still offer the same attractive price tags as their predecessors, as well as five years of security updates and some smart software features. The phones might not be for everyone, though. Furthermore, many of you might not actually be able to buy them in your market. So, what are your other options? We’ve got you covered with our list of the best Pixel 7 alternatives.
Buying the right Google Pixel 7 alternative
The Google Pixel phones really excel when it comes to camera quality, a clean take on Android, software update commitments, and AI-powered features. But there are some phones that do better in some of these areas, while the Google phones also have a few gaps compared to other handsets.
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 series is arguably the top contender in this regard. It might not have a clean take on Android, but you’re still getting impressive cameras, a superior commitment to updates, and some handy software features. And these phones are available in more markets, to boot. It’s also worth considering the Pixel 6a if you want a cheaper Pixel experience, particularly if the phone is on special.
For a more detailed rundown of our recommendations, see our summary below.
The best Google Pixel 7 alternatives
- Samsung Galaxy S22 series: Samsung’s 2022 flagships offer superior chipsets, 120Hz OLED screens, and versatile cameras across the board. The One UI Android skin also remains one of the most feature-packed skins around, offering features that Google still hasn’t brought to Pixels.
- Google Pixel 6 series: You can do worse than the Pixel 6 phones if you want to stay within the Pixel sphere. A capable Tensor chipset enables features like offline dictation, Magic Eraser functionality, and more. You’re also getting big batteries, plenty of system updates, and top-notch camera quality.
- Apple iPhone 14 series: Apple’s newest iPhones are worth considering if you want access to an even tighter ecosystem of products and services. The standard and Plus iPhones are disappointing upgrades over the iPhones 13 series, while the Pro models get all the key upgrades.
- Google Pixel 6a: Don’t want to spend a lot of money but still want a Pixel? Then the Pixel 6a is worth a look. Google took the Pixel 6 concept and made some wise (and not-so-wise) cutbacks in the name of a lower price tag. But you’ve still got a capable processor and that Pixel software.
- Sony Xperia 1 IV: Sony’s first 2022 flagship brings an innovative variable telephoto camera, allowing you to get native optical zoom in a smartphone. Other selling points include a 4K 120Hz OLED screen, a large battery, and plenty of enthusiast-level camera features.
- OnePlus 10T: The OnePlus 10T doesn’t quite have the Pixel 7 line’s camera quality, slick software, or AI-powered features, but those who want plenty of horsepower should consider it anyway.
Samsung Galaxy S22 series: The best all-round Pixel 7 series alternative
Impressive camera system
Unrivaled software support
Fantastic software support
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 series is unarguably the face of Android as far as high-end sales go, and there’s a good reason for that. These phones are available in a ton of countries around the world compared to Google’s relatively modest footprint.
In any event, all three phones bring powerful processors, high-quality 120Hz OLED screens, feature-packed software, and flexible rear camera setups. The addition of a Google-beating level of software update support is a great cherry on top.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the top-end model of the lot and it’s got a ton going for it. Standout features include an S Pen with an integrated slot, a cutting-edge camera system that includes a 108MP main camera and 10x periscope shooter, and a 120Hz QHD+ screen. Unfortunately, this does come at the expense of a chonky design.
The Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus don’t quite reach these heights, but you’re still getting a high-quality 50MP camera, solid 3x telephoto camera, and ergonomic designs. Samsung has, however, cut back on battery capacity on these two handsets compared to last year.
- Google-beating commitment to updates
- Great performance
- Wide availability
- One UI brings a ton of features
- High-quality, versatile cameras
- S22 Ultra offers fantastic long-range zoom
- Base S22 has ho-hum battery life
- Fast charging isn’t the best
- One UI is a significant departure from pure Android
Google Pixel 6 series: The best Pixel 7 alternative if you still want a Pixel
Those who fancy a Pixel phone but don’t want the Pixel 7 series for some reason should definitely keep the Pixel 6 series in mind. You aren’t getting the latest Tensor processor, but the Pixel 6 series still has a ton of shared DNA with the new phones.
Shared features include the same main camera, similar screen specs, similar battery sizes, the same charging speeds, wireless charging support, and an IP68 rating. Even the Tensor G2 processor isn’t a big upgrade over the original Tensor, featuring the same CPU but an upgraded GPU and improved AI silicon.
The standard Pixel 6 features a 50MP+12MP rear camera setup much like the Pixel 7, while the Pixel 6 Pro features a 50MP+12MP+48MP setup that’s similar at first glance to the Pixel 7 Pro. However, the 48MP periscope camera is a 4x shooter here (with 20x hybrid zoom) compared to the new phone’s 5x/30x capabilities.
It’s also worth noting that the Pixel 6 series suffers from a hot Tensor chipset and unreliable wireless connectivity. The latter doesn’t seem to affect every model but it’s still lamentable. Otherwise, these phones are definitely among the best Pixel 7 alternatives around.
- Pixel-exclusive software features (e.g. offline dictation, Call Screening)
- Good software update pledge
- High-quality cameras with cool modes
- Great software and app support
- Tensor chip runs hot
- Wireless connectivity can be unreliable
- Very slow charging
Apple iPhone 14 series: The best Pixel 7 alternative from Apple
Brilliant build quality
Easier to repair
Long-term software support
Interesting Dynamic Island features
Upgraded main camera
Advanced UI experience
Apple recently launched the iPhone 14 series, and it’s really a tale of two halves as far as these phones are concerned. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus look more like refreshed versions of the iPhone 13. Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max get all the upgrades.
The iPhone 14 Pro handsets deliver a powerful A16 Bionic SoC that should blow past the Pixel 7’s Tensor G2 processor, a so-called Dynamic Island (two display cutouts) in lieu of a notch, and a 48MP main camera. Staying with the camera side of things, you’re also getting a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 12MP 3x telephoto shooter. The latter has nothing on the Pixel 7 Pro’s 48MP 5x periscope camera and 30x hybrid zoom, though.
Don’t want to splash out on the Pro models? Then the standard iPhone 14 models are for you. These devices stick with last year’s still beefy A15 Bionic chipset, a 12MP main camera (and 12MP ultrawide camera), and that wide notch.
Apple’s phones also give customers access to a whole new ecosystem of apps, services, and hardware. So if you want to get out of the Google ecosystem pool and dip your toes in the Apple waters, this is the way to go. Toss in best-in-class software support and these devices make for pretty great Pixel 7 alternatives.
- Slick design with Dynamic Island
- Full access to Apple’s ecosystem
- Fast performance
- Unparalleled commitment to updates
- Great cameras with top-class video quality
- iOS isn’t as customizable as Android
- Few upgrades for standard iPhone 14 models
- Battery life varies wildly by model
- Proprietary Lightning port
Google Pixel 6a: The best Pixel 7 alternative on a budget
Google’s mid-range Pixel for 2022 is no slouch, doing a decent job of distilling the modern Pixel experience into a cheaper product. The Pixel 6a brings the same Tensor chipset as last year’s phones, up to five years of security updates (and three OS updates), and most of the same software features. You’re also getting an IP67 rating, a capable 12MP+12MP dual rear camera system, and a 4,410mAh battery. So things look pretty solid on paper.
It’s not all good though, as the Pixel 6a lacks a high refresh rate screen, is limited to a paltry 18W wired charging, and skips out on wireless charging. You also get ageing Gorilla Glass 3 for the front and miss out on the Long Exposure suite of camera features (including Action Pan).
The Pixel 6a is available for $450, which is $150 more than the vanilla Pixel flagship. Does the price tag justify the cutbacks? Well, we didn’t think so in our review, but the phone is definitely worth buying for a little cheaper.
- Capable Tensor processor
- Long-term commitment to updates
- IP67 rating
- Clean take on Android
- Pixel-exclusive software features
- No wireless charging
- Slow wired charging
- No high refresh rate screen
Sony Xperia 1 IV: The best Pixel 7 alternative for photographers
Sony’s Xperia 1 series of flagships have long taken an enthusiast approach to photography and multimedia, and the Xperia 1 IV continues this trend. True to form, you’ll find a 4K/120Hz OLED screen here, some high-quality phone speakers, and some interesting camera tech.
More specifically, the Xperia phone packs a triple rear camera system consisting of a 12MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide shooter, and a 12MP variable telephoto sensor. Yes, Sony managed to squeeze a variable tele camera into a slim smartphone design, with this camera capable of optical zoom between 3.5x and 5.2x. The company also offers perks like 4K/120fps support across all three cameras, and two Pro camera apps (Photo Pro and Video Pro).
Other notable features include a 5,000mAh battery, a 3.5mm port, microSD support, and wireless charging. It’s not all sunshine and roses for the Xperia 1 IV though, as the device has a disappointing update policy (two OS updates, three years of security patches), extremely slow wired charging times, and a steep $1,600 asking price.
- Ultra high resolution display
- Variable telephoto camera for true optical zoom
- Long battery life
- Pro camera apps for enthusiasts
- 3.5mm port
- MicroSD card support
- Very expensive
- Slow charging
- Poor commitment to updates
OnePlus 10T: The best alternative for avid gamers
The OnePlus 10T makes quite a few compromises compared to the standard Pixel 7, such as water resistance, wireless charging, and a good ultrawide camera. So why did it make the list? Well, the OnePlus 10T brings a powerful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor that beats the Tensor G2, for starters.
The OnePlus phone also serves up blazing-fast 150W wired charging speeds, a 4,800mAh battery, and a great 120Hz OLED screen. Needless to say, this all makes for a great Pixel 7 alternative if you value mobile gaming.
In saying so, the OnePlus 10T is $50 more expensive than the vanilla Google phone. But it’s still worth considering if you want a very powerful, fast-charging phone — especially if you can find it at a discounted price.
Our verdict: OnePlus 10T review
- Powerful processor
- Ultra-fast charging
- Great screen
- Good battery life
- Solid update commitment
- Disappointing cameras
- Only splash-resistant
- No wireless charging
- More expensive than Pixel 7
That’s it for our list of the best Google Pixel 7 alternatives but there are plenty of other options out there. Check out a couple of these picks below:
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 ($999): Wish Google had a foldable? Well, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a solid consolation prize. Expect a pocket-friendly clamshell form factor, a 6.7-inch 120Hz folding screen, and a small secondary display for notifications and camera previews. The relatively small battery is one of the few downsides to this device.
- Asus Zenfone 9 ($699): The Zenfone 9 is a decent alternative if you want a more compact flagship phone, also bringing a top-notch processor, IP68 rating, 3.5mm port, and gimbal stabilization tech. It’s $100 more expensive than the Pixel 7 though, while still missing out on wireless charging and long-term software updates.