First impressions of the Pixel 7 Pro


Close-up view of turning on battery share function on Google Pixel 7 Pro
Image: ymgerman/Adobe Stock

The Pixel 6 Pro was a brilliant phone. From Android OS to the sleek hardware, it was very hard to find anything to fault. So when Google announced the Pixel 7, my first thought was: “How will they improve on the 6?”

The answer? In subtle but important ways.

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Now, I’m going to go off on specs and offer the usual review of a phone, as you can find those anywhere. What I want to talk about is the everyday use of the device.

The biggest improvements over the Pixel 6 Pro

Biometrics

The first big improvement I noticed with the Pixel 7 Pro was that the fingerprint scanner finally works as expected. Huzzah, Google! No more dealing with the inaccuracies and stumbling to unlock my phone. The Pixel 7 Pro fingerprint scanner is immediate and accurate. In fact, there have been instances where I questioned if the device was actually locked — that’s how fast the fingerprint scanner works.

Also, there’s finally facial recognition to unlock, and it’s just as fast as the fingerprint scanner. Google seriously nailed these two features in such a way as to completely forgive the company for the fiasco that was the Pixel 6 Pro biometric problems.

The next big improvement is the camera. I did a quick test of the cinematic blur with video recording, and it’s astonishing. Tap on a subject to rack focus between people or objects and the focus is fast, accurate and smooth. I’ve worked with legit DSLR cameras with autofocus and cinematic blur that can’t compare to what the Pixel 7 Pro has to offer: It really is that impressive. In fact, if you fancy yourself someone who takes a lot of photos and videos with your phone, the Pixel 7 Pro cameras will blow you away.

The macro mode, which is automatic, is also impressive. However, it does take some time to learn. You need to have a seriously steady hand to get good results. But once you’re able to lock down your movement, you’re good to go. Just take a look at the photo of the nickel I took with macro mode (Figure A).

Figure A

This photo took me a few quick seconds to snap.

The camera also includes a motion option that has a beta version of Long Exposure for adding a creative blur to moving subjects, as well as an Action Pan to focus on a moving subject and add creative blur to the background. Both of these modes are pretty tricky to use. Effectively, if you want to focus on an object in the foreground, use Action Pan, and if you want to focus on an object in the background, use the Long Exposure mode.

Phone calls

Given the number of horrible experiences I’ve had with Pixel Phones and voice calls, I don’t want to jinx myself by saying Google finally got it right. Not only do calls sound considerably better on the Pixel 7 Pro, but I’ve yet to experience that dreadful muted microphone issue I’ve had with so many Pixel phones. That problem had become so bad with earlier devices, that I’d almost considered leaving the Pixel line and going elsewhere for my mobile phone needs.

I’m glad I stuck it out. Hopefully, the muted mic issue won’t return and I’ll experience nothing but voice call bliss on the Pixel 7 Pro.

Android 13

This is where the improvements become much less subtle. My Pixel 6 Pro ran Android 13 as well, so I was already accustomed to what the OS had in store, but moving from the 6 to the 7 wasn’t much of a change.

The biggest difference, which was still quite subtle, was the smoothness of all animations. The Pixel 6 Pro and Android 13 combination was already quite smooth, but with the addition of the Tensor G2 chip, everything is absolute butter. I would go so far as to say I’ve never experienced an Android phone that performed on this level.

Applications open instantly, switching between them is effortless, and the phone has yet to show the first sign of caving to the stress of too many apps or too much data. Of all the flagship phones Google has produced, this is the most worthy of the title.

Android 13 just sings on this device. It’s almost magical how well it performs.

User interface

The difference between the Pixel 6 Pro and 7 Pro is pretty minimal. At first blush, both devices appear to be made of the same materials. The biggest difference is the chrome accent on the camera bar and the addition of the more refined camera holes (Figure B).

Figure B

The Pixel 7 Pro is in the background.

Usually, I wrap my phones in a case, but the design of the Pixel 7 is so clean and sleek, I much prefer keeping it free of a cover. Of course, the first time the phone slips out of my hand, that’ll change and tuck it within a protective cover. Until then, I’ll proudly show off the clean lines and glass-like surface.

Is the Pixel 7 Pro better than older models?

Simply put, the Pixel 7 Pro is, hands down, the best phone Google has ever produced. With the improved performance found the new Tensor chip, the amazing camera, and Android 13, this the flagship phone to beat.

If you’re even remotely hesitant about upgrading to the latest Pixel phone, just hand your money over to Google and grab this remarkable new device now. It’s well worth the $899.00 price tag. And, if you have another Pixel Phone to trade in, you’ll get a pretty good deal. I traded in a Pixel 5 and was given a $400.00 trade-in value. On top of that, I was given $200.00 credit for the Google Play Store. You can’t beat those savings.

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