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Has Google fixed the reception problems for the Pixel 7 series?
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are finally available to buy in 17 markets around the world. That means many of you who had pre-orders locked in from day one will likely have already unboxed your precious new Pixels and admired the polished design, tested their stellar cameras, and breathed a sigh of relief that the in-display fingerprint scanner is totally fine this time.
But the Pixel 6 series’ wonky fingerprint reader wasn’t the only reasonable gripe folks had with the Pixel 7 duo’s predecessors. One particular grumble affected the most fundamental part of any phone — smart or otherwise. That’s right, we’re talking about those pesky reception issues that led to hundreds, if not thousands, of taps on the airplane mode to force a connection in order to make a call or resume a morbid session of doomscrolling. It wasn’t a problem that every Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro owner encountered, but for those that did suffer the connectivity headaches, it was more like a frequent yet familiar migraine.
With the Pixel 7 now out in the wild, some would-be buyers may have understandably held off parting with their cash to find out whether the networking demons have been fully exorcized by the Pixel 7 series’ custom Tensor G2 chipset, complete with its new and improved modem. In the past week, the Android Authority team has had the privilege of testing multiple Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro units across three different continents. Has Google fixed the reception issues for the Pixel 7 series? Let’s ask the experts.
C. Scott Brown (Pixel 7 Pro)
I am using the Pixel 7 Pro on T-Mobile‘s Magenta Max tier. I’ve been bouncing all around New York City and rural Connecticut and haven’t noticed any problems at all. Jumping from mobile to Wi-Fi has been smooth and the times that I’ve lost signal have been expected (such as traveling on the subway). Granted, I haven’t had much experience using the Pixel 6 series as a daily driver phone, so I can’t compare this to the previous line. However, compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which I’ve been using as my daily for over a year, I haven’t noticed any significant difference in connectivity.
Dhruv Bhutani (Pixel 7 Pro)
I haven’t had time to step out of home all that much, but generally the reception on the Pixel 7 Pro I’ve been testing has been fine. I’ve seen between three to four bars of 4G LTE as standard around New Dehli, India, which is on par with the Galaxy S22 Ultra that I usually carry. It dropped down to two bars once, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra does that in the same locations, and more often. I don’t have experience with the Pixel 6 Pro as it never officially launched in India, but I have no complaints about connectivity so far.
Rita El Khoury (Pixel 7 Pro)
I’ve been using the Pixel 7 Pro on Bouygues Telecom’s 5G plan in Paris, and I have also been carrying the Pixel 6 Pro with me all the time on the same operator. So far, the difference between the two has been staggering — at least on my units. I am not seeing any of the symptoms that I discussed at length in my Pixel 6 Pro connectivity deep-dive. Where the 6 Pro remains offline nearly all the time when I’m underground in the Parisian Metro and disconnects every hour or two (sometimes more frequently) when I’m above ground, the Pixel 7 Pro just remains online. It might switch to 4G or H+ in some underground areas, but the dreaded exclamation point on the network signal is a rare, rare occurrence. And the few times it showed up, the phone seemed to bounce off quickly and find a signal. My husband received his 7 Pro yesterday and hasn’t had any issues so far.
The only time I had a connectivity mishap with the 7 Pro, I was roaming on a temporary data-only eSIM in Luxembourg, hiking in the middle of nowhere, and the 7 Pro lost connectivity and didn’t come back online when I got back to civilization. I had to use the good ol’ Airplane Mode toggle trick to get it to scan and find a signal.
I am *cautiously* optimistic about connectivity on the Pixel 7 Pro. At least on my own unit, so far.
Here it is (right) with a 4G signal, underground, having loaded the AA page, while my 6 Pro (left) has that fun connection exclamation mark & can’t load a word to save its life. pic.twitter.com/Tha53YOBMh— Dr. Rita El Khoury (@khouryrt) October 14, 2022
I’m cautiously optimistic that the new modem has solved the major issues I was seeing with the Pixel 6 Pro, but I won’t open the confetti box until I’ve used it for a longer time and made sure it behaved like a proper phone in every situation.
Of course, all of this comes with the caveat that this is anecdotal evidence from one Pixel 7 Pro unit (two if you count my husband’s brief time so far). I know all too well the discrepancies that can exist between units; I have been around several people with Pixel 6 Pros that had a rock-steady 4G or 5G signal while mine was repeatedly stuck on the exclamation point, so I am fully aware that one unit can’t tell the whole story.
Robert Triggs (Pixel 7)
I haven’t had time to really get out and about with the Pixel 7 yet, which is where I had the most problems with the 6 Pro. But I can already say that the connection is more stable around my home in the Bath, UK countryside. I have terrible signal on the O2 network here — just a bar or two of 4G LTE at best — and with thick brick walls, my signal often drops to 3G (HSPA/HSPA+).
The Pixel 7 doesn’t fix that, but it feels like it holds and reconnects to 4G better and faster than the 6 Pro. Being a stickler for data, I ran a 20-minute test around my office with three phones.
In a nutshell, it seems that the Pixel 7 connectivity experience is much better than the Pixel 6 and even the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It simply reconnects back to LTE faster while the Pixel 6 easily becomes stuck with HSPA+ (forcing a manual airplane mode toggle to reset it). Promising signs, but I’ll reserve final judgment until I can spend more time with it.
Ryan Haines (Pixel 7 Pro)
I’m using the Pixel 7 Pro on Verizon‘s 5G Start plan, and I haven’t noticed any connection issues at all during my extensive testing for Android Authority‘s in-depth Pixel 7 Pro review. I’ve been jumping between 4G LTE and 5G signal in rural Pennsylvania with reliable signal the entire time. While I didn’t have major signal issues with the Pixel 6 Pro, I did notice that it took a while to transition from Wi-Fi to cellular data, which isn’t the case with the Pixel 7 Pro. It swaps networks quickly, which is especially noticeable as I get in my car and set up Spotify.
Oliver Cragg (Pixel 7 Pro)
Oh, that’s me. Like Rob, I have the misfortune of living in a house with extremely thick walls situated in an area with atrocious reception (just outside of Bristol in the UK). Likewise, I too am an O2 subscriber (full disclosure: I worked at O2 in various in-store roles in the mid-2010s). Before moving it over to the Pixel 7 Pro, I have had the same O2 SIM locked in the Pixel 6 Pro since it launched in late 2021, with the exception of a few weeks here and there testing other devices for review. I’ve made no secret that the reception problems have kept me from recommending what has otherwise been one of my favorite Pixel phones ever.
Since switching to a Pixel 7 Pro for just a single day, I’ve noticed an immediate improvement in the consistency of the connection. In spots where the Pixel 6 Pro would always drop the network and flash up the dreaded exclamation point in the notification bar, the Pixel 7 Pro has powered through, switching between the scant 4G LTE coverage to 3G with no need for a swift tap of airplane mode.
I’m eager to continue testing it out in the surrounding areas and in larger cities, but it’s pretty clear even in my short testing time that it’s a vast improvement over the previous generation.
Well there you have it — the early signs are pretty positive. Have you been testing the reception with your own Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro? Why not share your experience in the comments and cast a vote in the poll below.