Like the new iPhones, Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro prove to be very good further developments in the practical test, without shining with spectacular innovations. Compared to the Apple competition, however, they boast a strong price-performance ratio – especially for pre-orders.
After Google brought a breath of fresh air into the Android monotony a year ago with a completely new design and its first smartphone chip, a similarly spectacular autumn show was not necessarily to be expected this year. In fact, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are very similar to their predecessors and the real innovations are limited.
However, Google has turned the right screws and implemented improvements that are really useful. In addition, the company has refrained from raising prices despite the weak euro, which makes its new flagships almost seem like bargains compared to Apple’s iPhone 14 devices.
Pixel 7 slightly smaller
The standard model is still not really a compact smartphone with a 6.3-inch display. Compared to its predecessor, which has a 6.4-inch screen, it is still a bit handier. This is also due to the pleasantly matt aluminum of its frame, which also surrounds the camera unit on the back. The Pro variant is made of smooth metal, which is a little slippery and a little more prone to fine scratches. Both devices are dust and waterproof according to IP68.
The Pixel 6’s panel still has a Full HD+ resolution, which is enough for a sharp 416 pixels per inch (ppi). Colors and contrasts are great and, according to Google, the OLED display can be up to 25 percent brighter than the predecessor. It’s hard to say whether the difference is that big, but in any case it’s easy to read even in sunlight. The maximum refresh rate is unchanged at 90 Hertz (Hz), which is completely sufficient for most applications. In normal operation, the device operates at 60 Hz.
As usual, the Pixel 7 Pro has a powerful 6.7-inch display, which is even sharper than the standard panel at 512 ppi and achieves a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The screen can also reduce to 10 Hz in static displays to save power, which the standard model can’t do. The display of the Pixel 7 Pro can also shine brighter than before.
If you put both Google smartphones next to each other, their screens are not necessarily the same brightness, despite the same settings. This is because the devices remember when users manually readjust the automatic adjustment in certain situations. This is useful and actually works well.
New “AI Tricks”
The fact that this is the case is due to Google’s new Tensor 2 chip. The Pixel 7 has 8 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, and the Pro has 12 GB on the side. It can implement machine learning even faster than its predecessor, which is more important than pure computing power, which the processor also delivers. It is also valuable that the chip is economical with resources; both devices easily get through the day with 4355 and 5000 milliampere hours (mAh).
Among the Pixel 7 duo’s “AI tricks” is an offline transcription of the recorder app from speech to text, which is also offered with audio messages in Google Messages. The smartphones also translate pure text amazingly well in Whatsapp and other messengers without an internet connection. The interpreter feature of the translator app is also strong, allowing you to converse in two languages in near real-time.
If you dictate text, emojis should now be automatically suggested by the speech recognition or inserted in the description (“laughing emoji”). However, this function was not yet available in the test.
The Tensor chip can also let off steam in the photos app. Since the Pixel 6, there has been a “magic eraser” that automatically removes disturbing objects from images. Motion mode sharpens or blurs a moving object or its background.
There is (almost) no more shaking
What is new is that the chip can no longer only correct camera shake in new photos, it can now also do this in older photos. The effect is surprisingly good, especially on faces. The Tensor 2 also gets down to business faster when shooting at night and when zooming, the AI helps to compensate for a lack of optical magnification. In videos, the AI produces artificial blurring in cinema mode and stabilizes recordings with fast movements or strong vibrations.
The Pixel 7 has an optically and electronically stabilized 50-megapixel (MP) f/1.85 main camera and a 12 MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera. The Pro model also has a 48 MP telephoto camera that achieves 5x optical magnification and, like the main camera, is optically and electronically stabilized.
Very good main camera
There are also differences in the ultra-wide-angle camera: at 125.8 degrees, the field of view has a larger angle than the standard model (114 degrees). In addition, only the Pixel 7 Pro has a macro function that allows photos from up to three centimeters away.
In the test, the main camera of both devices was able to convince with many details, crisp contrasts and strong, but still natural colors. Even in poor lighting or difficult lighting conditions, it does a very good job. The night shots are much faster thanks to the new tensor, otherwise there are hardly any advantages over the Pixel 6.
The same applies in principle to the ultra-wide-angle camera, which achieves a level similar to that of the previous model. However, the new macro function of the Pro model is so good that it is missing on the Pixel 6. If there is enough light, you can achieve spectacular results from up to 3 centimeters with appropriate motifs.
Impressive telephoto camera
The telephoto camera of the Pixel 6 Pro also left a very strong impression in the test. Your images not only have a lot of detail up to five times the optical magnification, but far beyond that. The Pixel 7 Plus achieves this by including information from the main camera in the chip.
Even the maximum 30x magnification still delivers more than acceptable photos. Extremely effective stabilization and a small preview with the corresponding image detail help to focus on an object calmly.
The electronic stabilization also shows what it can do with videos. It balances movements and vibrations so well that you can even film while jogging. Overall, the video performance is significantly improved compared to the Pixel 6. The quite successful cinema mode with a fairly natural depth of field is just the icing on the cake.
10-bit HDR makes videos crisper
The more important difference is 10-bit HDR. The camera not only copes much better with backlighting and other difficult lighting, it also produces much crisper colors. However, you then have to do without 60 frames per second (fps), the mode only works at 30 fps.
Both Pixel 7 devices are strong smartphones that can certainly compete with the new iPhones, since Apple has not reinvented its devices either, only further developed them. Even with the cameras, Google is close or even ahead. The standard model has also received a new chip and a strong 50 MP camera, while the iPhone 14 has remained almost unchanged. The Pixel 7 Pro is outperforming the iPhone 14 Pro with its zoom, and Apple’s video lead seems to have shrunk.
Nevertheless, the Pixel 7 duo is significantly cheaper than the iPhones. The standard model is available from just under 650 euros, the Pro version from 900 euros. Even the cheapest iPhone 14 costs around 1000 euros, the cheapest iPhone 14 Pro even 1300 euros. Those who pre-order the Pixel 7 by October 17 will receive Google’s new earbuds Pixel Buds Pro (220 euros) for free, with the Pixel 7 Pro there’s even a brand new Pixel Watch (380 euros) as an extra.
Tag: iphone design, iphone 14, apple iphone, iphone release