The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are set to become the latest and greatest smartphones from the house of Google, and even though there’s still a few months between now and the eventual release of the two phones, there’s already plenty of information available. In fact, Google can be thanked for many of the details, as the company has continually released Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro teasers over the past weeks and months.
The Pixel series of smartphones still have some way to go before they fully take on the likes of the latest iPhone or Galaxy S-series phone, but Google has been making some major strides in developing the lineup. Currently in its sixth-generation, the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro were widely received as solid upgrades over the Pixel 5 series. Not only did the two Pixel 6 phones come with a new look, but they were also the first Pixel phones to arrive powered by Google’s own in-house Tensor chip.
The Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro are expected to make their official debut in October 2022. Google has yet to officially confirm the launch date for the Pixel 7-series, but based on previous launch events, Google tends to favor October, and typically the first half of the month. However, last year’s event was slightly later than usual with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro unveiled during a dedicated presentation on October 19th, 2021. Either way, October is likely to be when the Pixel 7 series is fully unleashed and it probably won’t be alone either. For one thing, the Pixel Watch is also expected to make its market debut around the same time.
Pixel 7 & Pixel 7 Pro Design: A New Look?
As mentioned, Google has already been hard at work teasing the new Pixel phones and confirmed there are some design changes on the horizon. One of the most notable is the camera bar on the rear of the phones. The use of a camera bar was first introduced with the Pixel 6 series and Google has now refined the look so that it more neatly integrates and fuses with the frame of the phones. The bar also now includes camera-specific cutouts which differ depending on the device. For example, while the standard Pixel 7 includes a single cutout housing both sensors, the Pixel 7 Pro includes two separate cutouts to collectively form an ‘i’ shape on the back of the phone. The camera bar is also now made from recycled aluminum and not glass, and Google has confirmed that the Pixel 7 will be available to buy in Obsidian, Snow and Lemongrass colors. For those planning on picking up the Pixel 7 Pro, the color choices come down to Obsidian, Snow and Hazel.
Elsewhere, it remains unclear just how much will be changing in terms of the new look and feel of the Pixel phones. Previously, there had been some suggestions that more macro changes were coming, like the possibility of an under-display selfie camera, but that seems unlikely this time around. Images purported to be of a Pixel 7 prototype surfaced online recently and seem to suggest a familiar overall design. Of course, these are only images of a prototype, so it is still possible that the end result could look very different. Not to mention, the images were of a Pixel 7, and the Pixel 7 Pro could come with some additional design changes to further help differentiate it from the standard model.
There is always the caveat that a new, and wild-looking, Pixel phone could be secretly in development. One of the worst-kept Pixel secrets is the Pixel Fold and it is possible that this device could make an appearance at the event, boasting a radically different design philosophy. However, this seems somewhat unlikely. Google has confirmed that it will release two new Pixel phones in the fall and that a new Pixel tablet will arrive in 2023. In reality, it is probably far more likely that the Pixel Fold could make its appearance debut during next year’s Google I/O event with a view to be released in late 2023.
Pixel 7 & 7 Pro Cameras: Don’t Expect Much Change
As highlighted in the previous section, the new Pixel Phones do come with some aesthetic changes in the camera department. Most notably, a camera bar that is more seamlessly fused with the rest of the device. Pixel cameras have always been excellent and Google is likely keen to make sure that doesn’t change with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. At the same time, that doesn’t automatically mean major changes are coming this year.
Google has never really been one to hastily replace the camera hardware on its phones. Much of the Pixel photography strength comes from artificial intelligence and machine learning, and that’s almost certainly not going to change in the near future. Considering the Pixel 6 lineup was the last time Google upgraded the camera hardware, it shouldn’t be expected that the Pixel 7 series will see any meaningful hardware changes in the camera department. Instead, Google will further look to improve the machine learning element, likely with the help of the new Tensor chip, to offer an even better photography experience.
As is often the case with Pixel phones, Google typically uses these devices to showcase its latest photography software developments and there’s no reason to suggest that will be any different this year. One of the best examples of Google’s software tweaks was the introduction of Magic Eraser, allowing users to remove unwanted elements from photos after the fact. Then there’s Google’s Real Tone, which looks to more accurately represent the skin tone of the subject. While it is to be expected that Google will make improvements to many of its existing camera features, it will likely debut some new ones with the Pixel 7 series as well.
Pixel 7 & 7 Pro Specs: The Inside Is What Counts
One of the major changes with the Pixel 6 and the 6 Pro was the introduction of Google’s Tensor chip and this is also an area that Google has confirmed is changing. More specifically, refining. The Pixel 7 and the 7 Pro will come loaded with a next-gen Google Tensor processor. What exactly that means in real terms is less clear, although it should be expected that the next Pixel phones will, at a minimum, be more powerful and more power efficient in general. Even though the first-generation Tensor chip was seen as a powerful solution, it didn’t fare quite as well against Apple’s latest Bionic chip and Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon SoC, so it would be expected that the next-gen Tensor processor will look to further close that performance gap.
Processor aside, it remains unclear just how much else will change in the specs department. A recent report by 9to5 Google looks to confirm that the displays won’t change much, resulting in similar sizes to the Pixel 6 series. For reference, the standard Pixel 6 comes with a 6.4-inch display, while the Pixel 6 Pro increases the screen real estate to 6.7 inches. Likewise, there isn’t expected to be any changes in the resolution or refresh rate either, with the Pixel 7 resigned to the same 1080 x 2340 and 90Hz, and the Pixel 7 Pro sticking with 1440 x 3120 and 120Hz. According to a recent tweet by Ross Young, the standard Pixel 7 may see a slight decrease in size from 6.4 inches to 6.3 inches.
Unsurprisingly, both the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will come running on the latest version of the operating system, Android 13, and benefit from all the latest software features. Google tends to release its newest Pixel phones each year to coincide with the general release of the latest consumer-ready version of Android and they are typically the first ones to feature the new OS. The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro won’t be any different. Of course, Pixel phones also tend to come with a slightly customized ‘Pixel’ version of Android, so there will likely be some minor Pixel 7-specific tweaks as well.
Pixel 7 & 7 Pro Battery: How Long Will They Last?
Compared to some of the other areas, the battery is one which has seen less speculation and traction in terms of leaks and official teases. As a result, it remains unclear whether consumers should or shouldn’t expect much change here. The Pixel 6 is loaded with a 4,614 mAh capacity battery while the Pixel 6 Pro battery is rated at 5,003 mAh. Neither are that small so it seems unlikely that there will be much room to drastically increase the actual capacity, especially given the overall sizes are expected to remain relatively the same. That’s not to say there won’t be slight adjustments, it is just the newer models are unlikely to come with significant changes to the overall capacity.
Still, the capacity is only one element of the battery chain and the inclusion of a new, and presumably more powerful and efficient Tensor chip, is likely to result in some general battery performance gains. How much, and how those gains will translate to real-world daily use is something that’s only really going to be known once the devices are out in the wild and in the hands of consumers.
Any deficits in the actual capacity and the efficiency could also be further offset by improvements to fast charging. The current Pixel phones are not the fastest when it comes to charging so it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see improvements in this area with the Pixel 7 series. At the same time, it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see no changes in this area.
Pixel 7 & Pixel 7 Pro Early Verdict
The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are shaping up to be great phones, and arguably the best options for anyone looking to pick up an Android phone in late 2022 or early 2023. It is not expected that this will be a macro upgrade cycle, but more of a refinement to what the Pixel 6 series currently offers. The Pixel 6 series was initially plagued with various bugs and issues, and while it is hoped that Google will offer a smoother experience this time around, that might not be the case. Yes, some of the various Pixel 6 grievances will likely be ironed out with the Pixel 7 series, but this is Google, and a new operating system version with various tweaks. All of which likely means there probably will be some teething problems at first. Considering the initial grievances experienced with the Pixel 6’s under-display fingerprint sensor, it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see the Pixel 7 phones actually arrive with a new and better fingerprint solution.
The major question all this raises is whether those with a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro should upgrade to the newer models when they are released? Answering that is a lot harder to do prior to the official launch, but it (so far) doesn’t look like there will be any ultra-compelling reason to make the year-overy-year upgrade. For those with an older Pixel phone, however, upgrading to Google’s Pixel 7 or 7 Pro is likely to be worth it.