Google Pixel 7 long term review – a premium camera centric device with some caveats
- The Google Pixel 7 is the go to smartphone for many in the new Pixel line-up.
- The device is priced at ₹59,999 and launched in a single variant.
- Here’s my review of the Pixel 7 that will help you decide whether to buy the device.
AdvertisementGoogle launched the Pixel 7 series of smartphones in India in October last year, featuring the best that the company has to offer, both in terms of hardware and software. For Google fans, the Pixel 7 series marked a return to the upper mid-range and high-end powered by Google’s chipset Tensor.
To be clear, the Pixel 7 is not a high-end phone – there’s the ‘Pro’ model for those who want premium hardware. However, it’s powered by the same chipset as its ‘Pro’ sibling, but sports a Full HD+ display instead of Quad HD+, with the refresh rate capped at 90Hz. It also misses out on an additional camera on the back – the Pixel 7 has a dual camera setup, while the Pixel 7 Pro has a triple camera setup.
I have been using the Pixel 7 for a few weeks now, and here’s my detailed review of the latest smartphone from Google.
Pixel 7 price and availability
The Pixel 7 has been priced at ₹59,999 for the lone 8GB RAM + 128GB storage version. It comes in Obsidian, Lemongrass, and Snow color options and is available on Flipkart.
Pixel 7 specifications
|Display||6.32-inch Full HD+ AMOLED|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass Victus|
|Chipset||Google Tensor G2|
|Variants||6GB + 128GB|
|Rear camera||50MP + 12MP|
|Charging||20W wired and wireless|
Pixel 7 pros and cons
- Clean and smooth user interface
- Accurate color reproduction
- Compact and premium design
- Excellent camera quality
- 90Hz refresh rate display
- 128GB storage
- Slow charging
Design and display
The Pixel 7 features the same design language that Google has been using since the Pixel 6, with few changes here and there. The most noticeable change is in the camera bump, which is now made of metal instead of glass.
AdvertisementThe camera module and the ‘G’ logo on the back give the phone a distinct look, especially with the rest of the phone’s design being very minimalistic.
The phone is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on both the front as well as the back, with IP68 certification for water and dust protection.
Despite its relatively smaller display at 6.3-inch, the Pixel 7 is slightly on the heavier side at 197 grams. It is also slippery, so using it without a case can be a little difficult at times. Google does not bundle a case or cover with the phone, so you might want to buy one immediately.
The 6.3-inch display features Full HD+ resolution and HDR 10+ certification, and has a refresh rate of 90Hz. The display is colour accurate and is bright enough in most conditions – however, under direct sunlight, the colours looked slightly washed out. For example, while clicking photos during the peak afternoon, I had to guess picture framing despite the display being at 100% brightness. At other times, however, the brightness was adequate.
What left me slightly baffled was the 90Hz refresh rate – phones that cost less than the Pixel 7 offer 120Hz displays and that shows in day-to-day if you use it for long.
Camera is the strongest selling point of Pixel smartphones, and unsurprisingly, the Pixel 7 excels in this regard.
The Pixel 7 sports a dual camera setup – again, it falls short on paper in terms of hardware when compared to phones in its price range. It has a 50MP primary camera, optical image stabilization, and a 12MP ultrawide angle snapper. It has a 10.8MP camera for selfies and video calling on the front.
The superior camera experience, when compared to other Android smartphones, starts with the camera app, which offers a snappy experience, right from launching the app to clicking photos. The Pixel 7 supports zero shutter lag, which means it captures photos at the same moment you tap on the shutter button. This is very handy when trying to capture moving subjects, especially kids and pets.
While other smartphone makers offer a wide range of options like filters, ‘beautification’, and other features, Google has continued to stick with the most important aspects of a camera – color accuracy, details, and well-focused subjects.
AdvertisementThe layout is extremely simple, and you don’t have to fool around with the settings to get things right, making it easy even for a normal user to get them right.
The camera app also detects when the lighting is too low, and automatically turns on the ‘Night Sight’ mode. From left to right, the app has night Night Sight, Motion, Portrait, Camera, Video, Cinematic, and ‘Modes’, which include panorama, photosphere, and Google lens.
In my experience, the Pixel 7’s daylight camera performance was excellent, with accurate color reproduction, dynamic range, and well-defined details.
Despite missing out on a dedicated telephoto camera, the Pixel 7’s 2x digital zoom delivers very good results thanks to Google’s Super Res algorithm. I barely noticed any artifacts when clicking a photo in highly challenging lighting conditions.
AdvertisementPortrait mode is excellent in both daylight and indoor conditions.
The Pixel 7 also excels in low-light and night conditions, producing well-detailed, color-accurate photos despite the challenging lighting. The images turned out to be sharp and clear, with adequate details that you would expect from a flagship smartphone.
As an added bonus, Pixel users also access features like photo to unblur, magic eraser, and more in the Google Photos app. Google One subscribers also get access to other editing options in the app, which can be extremely useful if you like tweaking your photos after capturing them.
Overall, the Pixel 7 delivers a delightful experience on the camera front.
Software and performance
The Pixel 7 runs on Android 13 out of the box, and Google has promised to deliver three years of OS updates and five years of monthly security updates. Essentially, the Pixel 7 will get updated through Android 16 and then continue to receive security updates for two more years.
Regarding user experience, the Pixel 7 is clean, fast, and smooth. There are no annoying nags or bloatware you must make an effort to disable – the out-of-the-box experience is an absolute delight. The phone gets out of your way and lets you use it, unlike most other custom skins out there in the market.
Like all its predecessors in the Nexus and Pixel lineup, the Pixel 7 offers an Android experience as imagined by Google, the operating system maker.
Google introduced some customization options with Android 12, and it has extended the experience with Android 13 with more options, with the primary focus is improving usability. This is visible from the design of the volume rocker, the brightness slider, and the quick settings toggles, to name a few.
From expanded theming and colors to a new framework for icons, a beautiful new music player design, and more, Android 13 is Google’s best user interface design so far.
Being a Pixel smartphone has advantages, too – Google has thrown in several smart features that other smartphones don’t have out of the box. This includes a new-generation assistant that is smarter than the one on non-Pixel smartphones – for instance, you can dictate, and Google Assistant will start typing it out for you.
Another interesting feature that other non-Pixel smartphones miss out on is transcription – the built-in Recorder app automatically transcribes audio on the fly so you don’t have to rely on a third-party app or service. It is also very accurate across different accents, but I have tested it with English only.
Google has also included some interesting calling features like call screening, hold for me, call screening and more, but some of these features are region-specific, so I’ve left them out for this review.
That being said, the Pixel 7 misses out on some extras which other smartphone makers offer. This includes things like auto call recording, deeper customization options for things like icons in the status bar, quick settings toggles and more.
Google has always used the Nexus and Pixel series of smartphones to deliver what it thinks is the best version of Android. This is true with the Pixel 7 as well, and it’s also Google’s best attempt so far. It is compact, powerful, packs a punch, clicks great photos and is slightly smarter than most other Andriod smartphones out there.
There are a few issues, for sure – like the 90Hz refresh rate is my biggest issue, and Google could have easily used a 120Hz display with LTPO technology given what other smartphones in its price range offer. It’s also surprising how it comes only in a 128GB option, which gets filled up pretty quickly these days. Also the limitations in performance given its price.
But that aside, given everything that the Pixel 7 offers, especially in terms of camera features, the Pixel 7 is a great option.
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