Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 pro review: The best Android phones you can buy

Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 pro review: The best Android phones you can buy

The new Tensor G2 chip is the main act here – it provides improved performance over the Pixel 6, but the speed increase is not noticeable during general use (last year’s flagship was already blazing fast when it came to opening apps and basic phone navigation). Instead, the newly updated chip enables Google to do more with AI and machine learning on the device itself, meaning that for many tasks it doesn’t have to waste fractions of a second transmitting data to Google’s servers to be processed and interpreted.

It makes things like summoning the Google Assistant with a voice command, dictating messages, translating languages ​​in real time, controlling smart home technology and transcribing audio recordings feel noticeably faster on the Pixel 7 and 7 pro.

The Google Assistant

Google’s virtual assistant continues to be the most powerful, accurate and responsive of the Big Three – beating Siri and Alexa. This is partly thanks to the search giant’s relentless cataloging of the world’s information, but also due to its ability to understand natural speech and interpret text and images without delay. Ask your phone to “show me pictures from the trip to Margate”, for example, and in a split second you’ll have half a dozen pictures of you hanging out by the 2p coin slide.

This kind of Tensor G2-powered smarts also allows Pixel phones to do a bunch of other smaller but still useful things, like screen your calls and see the caller’s transcribed words in real time, so you can see those “we heard you’ve been in a car accident recently” scams before you pick up. You can also record an oral interview and have the conversation converted into a searchable text file, with named speakers.

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The camera is where Google has made the biggest improvements compared to last year’s phone, and it’s also another area where Google’s processing smarts have been implemented to great effect.

You have a 12 MP ultra-wide camera that can take slightly wider pictures than before. The 50MP main camera is the hardest working of the three, producing outstanding photography in light, dark and indoor lighting conditions. Google’s ability to intelligently understand what’s in the frame and how it should look enables impressive HDR blending, detail capture, portrait and night photography, without having to fiddle with any settings.

On the Pixel 7 pro, the 48MP telephoto lens can achieve an impressive 30x zoom, although photos taken at this level tend to look greedily over-processed, as Google’s camera software struggles to guess details that the sensors can’t actually see.

The fun stuff happens at less extreme zoom levels, where the Pixel 7 pro has a new trick to improve sharpness and detail when shooting long-distance subjects. Instead of using the main lens for everything up to 5x zoom, then suddenly letting the higher-quality telephoto lens take over, the camera now uses information from multiple lenses simultaneously to produce higher-quality images at intermediate zoom levels. The result is a more continuous zoom experience – like using an SLR camera lens – and better photography.

Photo features

More importantly, all this complicated lens juggling happens automatically. In our tests, we found that the Pixel 7 pro produces some of the best images of any phone we’ve tested. The Pixel 7 also gets some of this lens trickery. Dialing in to 2x zoom now results in much sharper results, so striving for more interesting framing of our subjects no longer means sacrificing image quality.

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Also new is the macro mode, which is exclusive to the Pixel 7 pro. This makes it possible to photograph small subjects placed very close to the lens, and is automatically activated when the camera software detects that you are about to do something with a small matter.

Of course, the Pixel 6’s outstanding camera capabilities are still here too. Astrophotography mode uses long exposures to capture dramatic nighttime images of starry skies and galaxies. AI-powered photo editing features let you tap on objects and people you want to remove from your photo. You can also deblur faces, a feature that even works on existing photos in your Google Photos app. The effect can be striking when used on old family photos, although it can be a bit eerie to see Grandpa rendered in sharp detail.

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