There's no getting around it: the Pixel 7 Pro's camera is the genuine, no-holds-barred article. I've never had so much fun with a smartphone camera.
Google's Pixel 7 Pro, with its unique telescopic lens and macro focus capability, can capture your subject wonderfully and without trouble, whether it's so far away that it's practically on another continent or so near that you can taste it. The new Tensor G2 chip, which powers both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, cleverly employs software to achieve things that smartphones' tiny lenses ordinarily cannot.
Both phones will be available on October 13th, with the Pixel 7 starting at $599 and the Pixel 7 Pro starting at $899.
However, these Android phones are more than simply mobile cameras, which is where the two Pixel 7s may be considered small disappointments. Aside from the external color schemes and a new texture for the camera bar, the Pixel 7 series looks very similar to the Pixel 6 line.
That is also true on the inside. The Tensor G2 chip enables a few useful new AI features connected to calls and voice messaging, but the usability of these new Google flagships hasn't altered significantly. Unfortunately, the standard Pixel 7 lacks the finest of the new camera features.
It doesn't have the same camera punch as the 7 Pro, but it's certainly attractive.
Because the Pixel 6s were excellent phones, the incrementalist approach isn't the worst thing in the world. If you bought last year (or earlier this year with the Pixel 6a), the Pixel 7 series is probably too minor an increase to warrant an upgrade. However, if you've been holding on to an older Pixel (or even wish to switch from iPhone to Android, much to the chagrin of your blue-bubble-wearing buddies), now might be the time to upgrade, preferably to the Pixel 7 Pro.
At the very least, your Instagram feed will appear much more current.
Long live the two-tone color scheme.
Hello, and welcome to the era of metallic camera bars.
Have you ever seen a Pixel 6? Then you've seen a Pixel 7, albeit the older model was a touch more entertaining.
There's no Dynamic Island-style innovation here; Google basically stuck with what worked with the Pixels 6 last time. It preserved the phone's iconic horizontal camera bar (with a newer, more metallic texture) that sits at the top of the backside. The Pixel 7 phones are nearly the same size as their Pixel 6 siblings. The Pixel 7 measures 6.3 inches (a tenth of an inch less than the Pixel 6) while the Pixel 7 Pro measures 6.7 inches. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have the same refresh rates, with the Pixel 7 running at a smooth 90Hz and the Pixel 7 Pro running at an even smoother 120Hz.
That said, after using both phones intensively for a few days, I can't say I observed a difference in refresh rate, and I have quite discerning eyes for that type of stuff. If at all possible, avoid making that feature of the 7 Pro a selling point.
Each phone's body is coated with glass from front to back, which I strongly recommend covering with a case. Both Pixel 7s have slipped and slid on softer surfaces, which isn't fun.
The Pixel 7 series has a gleaming, glossy appearance.
Google's sole significant physical change this year was the removal of the two-tone color scheme that made the Pixel 6 series so easily identifiable in public. Last year, each Pixel 6 featured slightly distinct colors above and below the camera bar, which not only made each one stand out but also naturally drew attention to the lens array itself. This time, the colors are consistent over the entire phone.
Both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are available in obsidian and snow hues, with the Pixel 7 getting an unique lemongrass colorway and the Pixel 7 Pro getting a hazel colorway.
I like the slick metal feel of the camera bar on this year's phones, but I don't like that the two-tone colors have been removed. Last year's Pixels appeared to be fun and quirky, however this year's phones simply look like...phones.
Fortunately, what the Pixel phones can do is considerably more significant than their appearance.
A professional zoom of 30x is only a button press away.
The rear camera array is by far the most significant physical difference between the two new Pixel 7 phones. Both phones have a 10.8MP selfie camera, as well as a 50MP wide camera and a 12MP ultra-wide lens on the back. The Pixel 7 Pro, like last year, sports a 48MP telephoto lens on the back. However, unlike last year's Pixel 6 Pro, zooming in on distant subjects has never looked this fantastic.
This time, Google has used Tensor magic to increase the maximum zoom length of the Pixel 7 Pro to a stunning 30x. For comparison, the iPhone 14 only goes up to 5x, and the iPhone 14 Pro goes up to 30x. That latter figure isn't surprising, given other current Android phones, like as the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4, can zoom that far as well. The real magic here is the computational enhancements that occur in the background when you zoom in on things, resulting in significantly better images than the Galaxy Fold 4 was capable of.
To put this to the test, I went to Domino Park on the East River shoreline in Brooklyn, which has a beautiful perspective of the Manhattan city skyline. One World Trade Center may be seen in the distance from the pier. According to Google Maps, the distance is around six miles. Using the Pixel 7 Pro's 30x telephoto lens, you can see the summit of 1WTC from a whole different landmass. It's incredible.
I was on a different island than the one where this structure is located. Wild.
Let's look at another case. The tall structure in the center of the left photo has something written at the very top that is practically impossible to read unless your eyes are pressed against the screen. By the way, don't do it.
But if we use the Pixel 7 Pro's telephoto lens to zoom in, we can see the inscription (which is regrettably just the building's address) as if we were right next to it. Simply put, this is one of the most impressive things I've seen in a smartphone camera system in a long time. The Pixel 7 Pro can snap crystal clean photographs from a long distance.
Close up, close up, close up.
The Pixel 7 Pro also includes a special feature known as "Macro Focus." This isn't really novel in smartphones; even low-cost devices like last year's Moto G Stylus 5G have macro lenses. The concept is that you may physically place the phone very close to a small subject, such as a growing flower, and get a crisp, focused photo. While other phones, such as the Moto X, relegated macro images to their own menu in the camera app, the Pixel 7 Pro is far more subtle about it. Simply utilize the phone's default camera view at 1x zoom, bring it close to your subject, and macro focus will begin immediately.
That's how I came into these berries on a plant near my house. Doesn't it look great?
Clear as can be seen from millimeters away.
The Pixel 7's camera is also rather good.
The Pixel 7 Pro's camera array is one of the best I've seen in a smartphone, and it's well worth the US$300 price increase if you can afford it. Fortunately, the ordinary Pixel 7 isn't a bad camera in its own right. The less expensive Pixel can compete with other excellent smartphone cameras.
Portrait mode is clearly back and still fantastic. Both Pixel 7 phones can take great-looking portrait photographs quickly while allowing you to modify the depth of field effects with a few easy sliders in the editing menu. However, I never felt compelled to do so. Right away, the images I took looked fantastic.