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It took six years, but Google finally convinced me to get a Pixel
Around the launch of the Pixel 6 series, I wrote a commentary about how those phones represented a new beginning for Google. Now, one year later, you can officially buy a Google Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro — the second release in Pixel’s “second age,” as it were.
We’ve already got plenty of info on the Pixel 7 series, but I’ll spoil it for you if you haven’t been keeping track: The two phones are mostly a minor iteration of the Pixel 6 series. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is entirely subjective, but the facts are right there on the spec sheet. Objectively, these phones simply aren’t the giant step forward we saw with the Pixel 6 phones.
As far as I’m concerned, though, that’s exactly what I wanted. While the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones were terrific — and closer to my vision of what makes an amazing Android phone than any Pixel before them — they still had issues. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro appear to fix almost all of these problems.
That’s why, this year, I’ll finally be taking the plunge: I will buy a Pixel 7. I haven’t made up my mind about which model, which color, or when will be the best time to buy, but for the first time in seven years of Pixel phones, Google has won me over.
Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6: Fixing things up
For my needs, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro had three major problems that prevented me from purchasing: a slow fingerprint scanner, a too-problematic Tensor, and a design that just wasn’t quite there yet. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro solve all these issues, at least on paper.
Of all these problems, the fingerprint scanner was likely the most controversial and publicized. We are no exception since Android Authority bashed it pretty hard when the phones first launched. Software updates, though, have helped the Pixel 6’s hardware work faster over the past year. Then, with the Pixel 6a, the fingerprint scanner hardware changed, producing even better results. Assuming the same (or better) hardware is in the Pixel 7 series, we should see completely adequate speeds and reliability on the Pixel 7. The new addition of Face Unlock can only help this, since it will offer a secondary way to unlock your phone.
Google appears to have fixed (or at least tried to fix) the major problems that held me back from the Pixel 6 last year.
Google addressed the Tensor issues as well. There’s a new modem inside Tensor G2 that should, hopefully, address some of the connectivity issues we saw with the Pixel 6. Google’s various other upgrades including a new TPU and a new GPU should help the processor be more power-efficient, more thermal-efficient, and better able to handle heavier tasks.
We’ll need to put these phones through our usual review processes to come to clear conclusions about their internal hardware. However, I think Google heard our complaints from last year and worked hard to address them.
Related reading: The best thing Google can do for the Pixel line is stay consistent
Finally, the two biggest problems I personally had with the designs of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have been addressed. For the Pixel 6, I thought it was simply too big, but the Pixel 7 is much closer to what I was hoping for from the 2021 model. For the Pixel 6 Pro, I thought the display sides were far too curvy, and the Pixel 7 Pro dials back the curve quite a bit.
The new features are genuinely exciting
Fixing a bunch of previous problems is not enough to warrant releasing a new phone. Google knows this and is also introducing a slew of useful features to the Pixel 7 lineup.
Granted, there’s no one “must have it” feature here. Instead, Google is offering a smattering of small-but-meaningful features that add up to an enticing whole.
Rather than go for one 'must have it' feature, Google is offering a ton of little features.
The selfie camera is a good place to start. Not only is it an upgraded 10.8MP sensor, but it also has a wider field of view (FoV) than the 2021 model. This will make group selfies much better by allowing you to capture more in your frame without needing to extend your arm to painful lengths.
Your best self: The best selfie camera phones you can buy
Photo Unblur is a Tensor G2 exclusive, and it seems like it could be pretty powerful. Some other fun new camera tricks are here, too, including faster Night Sight and Real Tone integration within Night Sight and Portrait.
Speaking of cameras, the Pixel 7 Pro has two upgraded sensors: the ultrawide and telephoto. While neither upgrade will drastically change how your photos come out, together they allow for longer, crisper zoom, a true macro mode, a wider FoV, and more.
There are literally dozens of little features here that aren't super revolutionary alone, but become exciting when you combine them.
Additionally, the displays on both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro get much, much brighter than last year.
There are dozens of little tweaks such as these with the Pixel 7 series. One alone probably won’t impress you, but when you add all of them up — and combine them with the fixes mentioned in the previous section — you have a pretty exciting pair of phones.
The decision to buy a Google Pixel 7
Over the past six years, there’s always been something holding me back from a Pixel. I’ve already mentioned my issues with the Pixel 6 series. The Pixel 5 wasn’t powerful enough and the rear fingerprint scanner was an automatic no-buy for me (I know this is a controversial statement). The Pixel 4 series was so bad that even Google had to admit it. The Pixel 3’s bezels were a huge turn-off, and don’t even get me started on the bathtub notch of the Pixel 3 XL.
Google is finally making phones that us picky consumers actually want to buy, and not the phones that Google thinks we want to buy.
I don’t want it to sound like Google should be making phones only for me. There are millions of people out there who have bought all the Pixels I just mentioned, after all. However, there haven’t been that many of them, at least according to data from IDC. That data shows that no Pixel phone has ever made it past the 10 million sales mark and that the Pixel 5 barely broke two million units sold. It’s clear that Google, for many years, has had problems moving significant numbers of Pixels. It could be that there are millions of buyers out there who are like me and simply kept passing up the Pixel line for the same reasons — or maybe others.
Will you buy a Google Pixel 7 phone?
But here I am, about to buy a Google Pixel 7. Google has finally seen the light and is making the phones that we, the more picky consumers, actually want to buy, and not the phone that Google thinks we want to buy. It probably shouldn’t have taken this long, but better late than never, right?
Are you going to buy a Google Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro? Hit up our poll above to let us know, and then leave a comment saying which one you’re going to get and what made you decide to do it.