Google Pixel 7 review: Let's face it, it's all about the cameras

The Pixel 7 is a fun camera that also happens to have a smartphone attached.

Taking pictures with the Pixel 7
(Image: © Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

The Pixel 7 may not offer any huge upgrades or even a drastically new design, but what Google gives us is a refinement of what it started last year that delivers a bit more bang for our buck. For the same price as last year's Pixel 6, there's plenty to like.

Pros

  • +

    Sleek design

  • +

    Flat, vibrant OLED display

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    Three OS upgrades, five years of updates

  • +

    Cameras are fantastic, with fun new features

  • +

    Face Unlock is fast

  • +

    Full-sounding audio experience

  • +

    Decent battery life

  • +

    Great price

Cons

  • -

    Boring or ugly colorways

  • -

    Fingerprint sensor takes a second

  • -

    Face Unlock isn't secure

  • -

    Slow charging compared to the competition

  • -

    No telephoto lens

  • -

    Some promised features not yet available

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Following the growing success of its Pixel lineup after launching the massively redesigned Pixel 6 series in 2021, Google has returned with its latest flagship smartphones set to take on the best of 2022 and 2023. The Pixel 7 series was fully unveiled on October 6, and from the looks of it, this year is all about refinement.

Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing. Companies like Samsung and OnePlus have been known to borrow last-years designs as they try and perfect their hardware and think up something new and interesting for future generations. We were big fans of the design of the Pixel 6 series, so we're glad Google didn't go through drastic changes with its hardware and software. Plus, given the troubles Google has faced with the Pixel 6 early in its launch, refining the hardware and software is probably what the company should focus on.

With that, the Pixel 7 gets some notable upgrades that we definitely appreciate, a curious downgrade that doesn't turn out as bad as we thought, and the same omissions when compared to the Pixel 7 Pro, although that part we definitely don't care for.

Is this what the Pixel 6 should have been? Does the Pixel 7 have what it takes to take on this and next year's best Android phones? With any luck, my experience can help you decide whether or not the Pixel 7 should be your next smartphone. After a couple of weeks with the phone, these are my thoughts.

Google Pixel 7: Price & Availability

The Pixel 7 lying flat on the edge of a table

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The Pixel 7 was first teased at Google I/O in May 2022, with a full launch occurring on October 6, 2022. Preorders for the phone began the same day, with the phone shipping and reaching store shelves on October 13.

The Pixel 7 retails for $599 in the United States for the 128GB storage variant. In the U.K. and Europe, the phone starts at £599 and €649, respectively. It also goes on sale in India for ₹59,999.

In the United States, the Pixel 7 can be purchased at various retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Google, and more. It can also be found at major carriers such as T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, as well as Google Fi.

There are plenty of Pixel 7 deals that users can take advantage of, so we encourage you to check them out if you plan to make a purchase.

Google Pixel 7: Hardware & Design

The Pixel 7 at a lake

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

I feel like I'm going to say this a lot in this review, but if you're familiar with the Pixel 6 design, then you're already well-acquainted with the Pixel 7. The phone sports a near-identical design, with the rear panel interrupted near the top by a large camera housing. The back panel is made of smooth glass protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. It feels cool to the touch, although it is a bit slippery. Combine this with the soft metal frame, and the phone could easily slip out of your hand. Thus, it's probably best to hit up one of the Pixel 7 cases to ensure you protect your investment.

As for the camera visor, Google switched things up this year by making it aluminum instead of glass. I appreciate this, as it makes me a little less nervous that I could accidentally crack the glass and obscure the lenses. I also like that the smooth, matte aluminum seemingly connects to the frame.

The camera visor and aluminum frame of the Pixel 7

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

One thing I will never get used to is Google switching the placement of the power button and volume rocker. Almost every Android OEM I’ve used places the volume rocker below the power button, but for some reason, Google wanted to be a rebel. But I digress.

I'm also not a fan of Google's choice of colorways for the Pixel 7. You get two rather dull colors, Obsidian (black) and Snow (white), followed by a pretty obnoxious Lemongrass (yellow). While the latter is the most interesting color of the three, it feels like too much, while the others don't feel like enough. I really wish Google would've adopted the Sage (green) from the Pixel 6a or even the Hazel colorway from the Pixel 7 Pro. Basically, Google really needs to step up when it comes to colors.

Spec-wise, there are a few upgrades over its predecessor, which may seem small but make all the difference.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryGoogle Pixel 7
Operating SystemAndroid 13
Display6.3-inches, FHD+ (1080 x 2400), OLED, up to 90Hz
ChipsetTensor G2
RAM8GB
Storage128/256GB
Battery & Charging4355mAh, 21W wired, 21W wireless
Rear Camera 150MP, wide-angle, ƒ/1.85, 1.2μm
Rear Camera 212MP, ultrawide, ƒ/2.2, 1.25μm, 114°
Selfie Camera10.8MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.22μm, 80°
Connectivity5G (sub-6, mmWave), Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6E
ProtectionIP68, Gorilla Glass Victus
Dimensions73.2 x 155.6 x 8.7
Weight197g
ColorsObsidian, Snow, Lemongrass

The Pixel 7 is powered by the new Tensor G2, which handles the phone's cameras and AI features. This chip isn’t much different from the original Tensor, but every bit counts. Next to this is 8GB of RAM, with either 128GB or 256GB of storage. One curious downgrade is the battery. Google went from a 4,614mAh capacity to a 4,355mAh battery, but more on this later.

While much of the camera hardware appear the same on paper, the company does upgrade the selfie camera from an 8MP to a 10.8MP unit. This should provide slightly better selfies, giving Tensor G2 more Pixels to work with.

Overall, the Pixel 7 is a well-designed smartphone with a good set of specs that rival many of the best Android phones in the same range. And boy, are the haptics phenomenal! I can't tell you how much satisfaction I get from swiping an app away or swiping up to access the app drawer. There are subtle little vibrations that vary in intensity based on what you're doing, adding to the feel of using the phone.

Google Pixel 7: Display