Google surprised the tech world by announcing the Pixel 7 at Google I/O 2022 in May. It typically announces its new flagship phones just a few weeks before launch, around September or October. This time, it gave us a sneak peek at the phone's design and hinted at a release date, but otherwise didn't give us any other information, saving that for later.
While the Pixel 7 mirrors the Pixel 6 in its design, it also has some subtle differences. And based on leaked rumors about Google's 2022 flagship, it could make some significant strides over last year's model in specs and cameras.
Below, we've collected everything we know or suspect about the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, as well as what we hope Google improves with its newest phones.
Pixel 7 release date and price
We know for a fact that the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel Watch will all ship together sometime "this fall," but don't have an exact release date as of yet. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 5 both shipped on the last Thursday of October, 10/28 and 10/29. It's not a stretch to assume the Pixel 7 would arrive on Thursday, October 27, or some date around that.
One counter to this rumor is a Pixel 7 display leak from DSCC CEO Ross Young that Google will start Pixel 7 production a month earlier than in previous years. In theory, that could signal a late September or early October launch, which would still qualify as "fall."
But this isn't firm evidence. Google could simply be lengthening its production timeline to give itself more flexibility. And an earlier launch date puts pressure on Google to release Android 13 more quickly than it did Android 12, because the Pixel 7 will launch with it.
As for pricing, most rumors we've seen thus far suggest the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will have similar cameras and displays as last year's model. We won't be shocked if the newer models have the same pricing as before: $599 / £599 and $899 / £849, respectively, with a $100 / £100 upcharge for extra storage. But again, Google hasn't given an official number yet, so we can only speculate.
Pixel 7 design
All four Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 models have thick, striking camera bars that have become Google's signature look, given the Pixel 6a will also add one. While we don't have official dimensions, it appears the camera bar protrudes as much as before.
Whether you consider its return a good or bad thing will depend on your perspective. Our Pixel 6 Pro reviewer loved how it keeps the phone balanced and tilted up on a desk, while our Pixel 6 reviewer appreciated its striking look but noted there's "no denying that the bump will catch your fingers, table edges, and pocket hems."
As for what's different, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro all had matte black bars that made the camera sensors blend in seamlessly and gave each phone — except the all-black models — a cool two-tone look. For Google's upcoming Pixels, the bars have an aluminum silver or gold finish that accentuates the sensors, so it's easy to tell apart the dual-camera Pixel 7 and triple-camera Pixel 7 Pro.
In terms of colors, the Pixel 7 ships in black, white, and light green — possibly called Charcoal, Chalk, and Sage, if it shares the same color-naming scheme as the Pixel 6a. The Pixel 7 Pro comes in white, black, and a more muted gray-green.
We don't have official sizing from Google, but the aforementioned DSCC leak claimed the Pixel 7 will shrink 0.1 inch to a 6.3-inch display, while the Pixel 7 Pro allegedly will stick to 6.7 inches. We expect the Pixel 7 to retain its flat display while the Pixel 7 Pro remains curved, though Google only showed off the phones' backs in its official renders.
Pixel 7 specs
With Google teasing the Pixel 7 design but giving us no proper details on the hardware inside it, we'll turn to leakers to give us an idea of how the Pixel 7 will improve — or stay the same as before, as the case may be.
We know that Google will employ a new Google Tensor chipset, known internally as GS201 (the first Tensor was GS101) and possibly codenamed "Cloudripper." Aside from the fact that it'll use a revamped modem that could help solve the Pixel 6's connectivity issues, we don't know how it'll shape up to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus or Apple's A16 Bionic chip.
Google will likely stick to the same base memory configurations as last year, with 8GB/128GB for the Pixel 7 and 12GB/128GB for the Pixel 7 Pro. So it's Cloudripper that'll do the heavy lifting and make the next-gen Pixels stand out. Otherwise, we haven't seen much evidence of drastic changes.
While leaking the Pixel 7 display sizes, Ross Young said the Pixel 7 Pro should have the same 120Hz LTPO panel as last year, but gave no indication whether the Pixel 7 will remain stuck at 90Hz or jump to 120Hz as well.
Both displays will have in-display fingerprint sensors, which we can only hope will avoid the notorious fingerprint sensor problems on the Pixel 6.
For the Pixel 7 cameras, leaker Yogesh Brar says we'll see "the same optics on the Pixel 7/ 7 Pro that Pixel 6/ 6 Pro had," with most changes to photo quality being handled by software.
In theory, that would mean the return of the 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, and 8MP front sensors on the Pixel 7, while the Pixel 7 Pro would have an identical 48MP telephoto lens with 4X optical zoom and a slightly upgraded 11.1MP selfie cam. The Pixel 6 was the first Google flagship in years to upgrade its sensors, so it makes sense the Pixel 7 would stick with the same hardware.
We don't have any leaked information on whether the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will enlarge the batteries or offer faster wired or wireless charging, both of which would offer welcome improvements over last year's models.
The Pixel 6 series dealt with a laundry list of frustrating bugs since launch, possibly due to Tensor being Google's first stab at its own SoC. We're hoping that the Pixel 7, armed with Tensor 2.0 and using much of the same hardware as its predecessor, will have a cleaner launch.
Just as the Pixel 6 launched with Android 12, the Pixel 7 will sport Android 13 at launch. Google will, at the very least, offer three OS updates to Android 16 and five years of security updates through late 2027. Given Samsung now offers four OS updates for its flagship phones, we hope Google will do the same with the Pixel 7, but we have no evidence of this yet.
Once we know more about Android 13 and any new Pixel-exclusive features, we'll provide more details here.
Everything we want from the Pixel 7
Without a doubt, the Pixel 6 family is the most premium line of phones Google has ever created. Featuring a unique design — a feat that’s becoming more and more difficult to pull off these days — a blazing-fast in-house-developed processor, incredible cameras with meaningful new features, and a sorely-needed visual overhaul to Android, the Pixel 6 was almost everything we ever wanted from a Google-branded phone.
But it wasn’t perfect, especially if you’re one of the many customers who have been plagued by the constant barrage of bugs that seem to pop up at every turn. That’s no doubt the Pixel 6’s biggest flaw, but there are a few other things we can think of that would improve a Pixel 7 when it eventually debuts. Here’s what we think the Pixel 7 will need to reclaim the top spot in the list of best Android phones.
Stable as a rock
Right now, the Pixel 6 family feels a bit like it had its foundation built upon sand. The launch looked very strong and former AC writer Ara Wagoner and I gave it high marks, calling them the best flagship phones of the year. But the foundation washed away pretty quickly, and, by December, the inadequacies of Google’s own Pixel software began eroding away at the goodwill that was made at launch.
Since then, we’ve seen a significant number of bugs and problems plaguing users. Some users have been able to look past these issues because the camera is just so darn good, but we’d be remiss not to mention the bugs as the number one issue Google needs to fix in the Pixel 6, much less a proper successor the company expects consumers to spend money on later this year.
To say the least, the number of Pixel 6 bugs is higher than any flagship in recent memory. While most of these bugs are just irritating, some, like the recent bug that rejects some calls without ever notifying the Pixel owner, are huge problems. Previously, we saw issues where folks couldn’t connect to their home’s Wi-Fi network and, worse yet, some folks that couldn’t achieve connectivity to cell towers.
Needless to say, Google is going to need to do better next time around unless it enjoys the ire of users it’s trying to keep on its platform.
Better fingerprint sensor
Initially, one of the only issues I had with the Pixel 6 hardware was the fingerprint sensor. Alone, it was a nuisance and only worked for me half of the time. When compared to almost any other smartphone with the same fingerprint sensor method, the Pixel 6 felt generations behind. That’s something that absolutely needs to be fixed with the Pixel 7.
Now, to be fair, Google has improved the fingerprint sensor quite a bit since launch via software updates. Whether this is because they made it less secure in order to make it quicker or if they actually fixed something is anyone’s best guess, but the end result is a daily experience that’s much more tolerable.
Recently, we saw the reappearance of face unlock in the Pixel 6’s settings which could help alleviate some of the frustration of the fingerprint sensor for folks who don’t mind a less secure biometric authentication method. For anyone looking to buy a Pixel 7 when it eventually debuts, however, Google should just use a better fingerprint sensor like the one found in the Galaxy S21 or S22 series, or any of the sensors OnePlus has used in its phones for years.
With the Pixel 6, it was clear Google had finally come up with a design language that it could really get behind. For the first time since Android introduced Material Design nearly a decade ago, Android had a clear and unique design that felt fresh and modern. In many ways, it felt like Android had finally gotten its soul back after years of acting like iOS UX design was the only way to go.
Not everybody liked it but there’s no denying it’s stylish and unique looking — again, like the phone’s hardware design, this is difficult to do these days without feeling unintuitive. With the Pixel 7, I’d love to see Google embrace its unique design further by offering even more customization to users. Folks who want more than four quick toggles should be able to cram a few more in there. Likewise, I’d love to see Google offer more quality of life features like those that can be found in Samsung’s One UI.
After all, if Google is going to advertise its phones as being as unique as its users, doesn’t it make sense to give them more choices beyond changing the color palette? Google made huge strides with customization in Android 12 and, even if it’s a stretch, I’d love to see the Pixel 7’s debut of Android 13 as a wholly customizable affair.
Wider wireless charging compatibility
Just about anyone who owns a Pixel 6 that has tried to use the wireless charging feature has probably realized just how finicky the phone is about wireless charging. You can put the Pixel 6 on any wireless charger and usually watch it register the charger’s presence but, more often than not, the phone will reject the charger and simply refuse to juice up at all.
I’ve got several different brands of wireless chargers at home, all of which have wide compatibility with most modern smartphones. That, of course, excludes the Pixel 6, which will only charge on one or two types of wireless chargers that I have. It’s annoying and I know I’m not alone in this request since I’ve seen it crop up regularly since the phone’s release. The Pixel 7 needs to work with more wireless chargers, just as Google’s competitors do.
Ditch the curved screen
This one might be more of a preference thing, but I’m still going to make the request. While the Pixel 6 shipped with an entirely flat display, the Pixel 6 Pro stuck with the waterfall display that marked the look of a premium Android phone for so many years. Yes, a display with curved edges looks nice but, in reality, it’s a pain in the butt to deal with.
First off, finding a decent tempered glass screen protector is more difficult than it should be. While a 3-pack of them costs roughly $10 for the flat Pixel 6, a similar quality curved glass protector for the Pixel 6 Pro is at least three times the price and you’ll get one less protector in the box. If you don’t want to shell out $50 for something like a White Dome screen protector, you’ll likely be stuck with an inferior quality product that’ll make those curves ugly instead of beautiful.
I know the curved edges look nice and are a boon for gesture control but, unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that curved displays make phone care more difficult. It’s time to flatten that curve all the way across the line for any Pixel 7 model that makes a debut this year.
Less grain in the frame
The Pixel 6’s camera quality is nearly unmatched — especially if you're a parent — but its low light video quality can sometimes leave a bit to be desired. Namely, very low light video captured from the Pixel 6 tends to be quite grainy looking when compared to the competition. In some cases, this creates a more detailed video but, otherwise, the Pixel 6’s low light video doesn’t look as good as what you can get from a Samsung phone like the Galaxy S22.
Likewise, zooming in and out while taking video isn’t as smooth as you’ll find on a Samsung phone or an iPhone. More specifically, when you cross over the threshold where the Pixel 6 changes between the camera lenses on back — that’s below 1x on either model or above 4x on the Pixel 6 Pro — there’s a very noticeable stutter that occurs.
Some of this stutter is at least partly unavoidable since each camera lens is in a different physical position and each has a different focal length, but software magic can go a long way to creating a more cohesive experience. If Samsung can do it then the master of amazing AI processing — that’s Google, if you were wondering — can certainly achieve similar results.
The Pixel 6 Pro delivered the first periscope lens on a Pixel phone and I’d love to see this concept taken even further on the Pixel 7. While the Galaxy S22 Ultra can zoom in up to 100x away with its camera, the Pixel 6 Pro stops at 20x. You can certainly digitally crop the photo to help “enlarge” the subject in the image but it’s just not the same as capturing it right from the viewfinder.
Outside of being simpler for the user, zooming in through the camera’s viewfinder yields superior quality results because of a combination of hardware and software tricks. Google will use the results of handshake to capture slight variations in detail in distant objects and combine those images into one, creating a more detailed end result.
Google came up with this concept way back in the Pixel 3 days and it helped the phone meet — or even surpass — the quality of photos taken from other phones at the time, even though those phones had an optical zoom lens. Google already does this with the Pixel 6 Pro’s periscope 4x lens and I can’t imagine how good the detail could be with a lens that sees even further.
A better Google
The Pixel 7 has every chance to be named the best value flagship phone of 2022. So far, everything is telling us that the Pixel 7 will simply be a refined version of the Pixel 6 instead of a revolutionary design change like we saw last year. That’s great since Google already made all the most important changes and just needs to smooth out some bumps in the experience.
It also means you can probably buy a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro now, if you're in the market for a phone. The Pixel 7 will make some useful tweaks and a performance boost, but not enough drastic changes that you should deprive yourself of a new phone for months.
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