Is it worth the upgrade?

Is it worth the upgrade?

A yellow Google Pixel 7 with packaging on a brown table.

The Google Pixel 7 is perhaps the most beautiful Pixel phone to date. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Google recently released the latest update to their flagship Pixel series, the Pixel 7. Being a long-time Pixel and Nexus user, I was naturally interested in taking a look at what I believe to be one of the best-looking Pixel phones to date. So I contacted Google to purchase a loaner device for this review.

In my review of the 6a, I mentioned that there are only a few major differences between the 6a and the 6: the camera’s megapixels, 60Hz screen, and wireless charging. Despite only having 6GB of RAM compared to the Pixel 6’s 8GB, you can barely feel the difference in day-to-day use.

So, does the Pixel 7 make any big strides from these already excellent phones? Read on to find out.

Weight and design

When I picked up the Pixel 7 (after using the Pixel 6 for almost a year), I immediately noticed that it is significantly lighter than the Pixel 6 and easier to hold. It is also slightly smaller in dimensions.

It’s still by no means a “small” phone, but the size reduction is a welcome change. It makes the Pixel 7 much more ergonomic to hold compared to the Pixel 6 and 6a, while also being much lighter.

As I mentioned earlier, the new design of the Pixel 7 is sublime. It’s perhaps the most stylish Pixel phone ever. However, the camera bump is made of aluminum and it’s been reported that it will scratch easily if you’re not careful, although that didn’t happen to my review phone. This is a drawback compared to the glass bulges on the Pixel 6 and 6a.

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Camera

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 have the same 50-megapixel main camera on the back of the phone. And upon review, there is virtually no difference between the images taken by them.

A photo taken by the Google Pixel 7 of a landscape in Singapore

The photo was taken by the Pixel 7’s 50 MP camera. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

A photo taken by the Google Pixel 6 of a landscape in Singapore

The image was taken by the Pixel 6’s 50 MP camera. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

A photo taken by the Google Pixel 6a of a landscape in Singapore

Image taken by the Google Pixel 6’s 12 MP camera in July. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

This despite the fact that the Pixel 7 has an upgraded chip. In fact, you can barely tell the difference between the photos and those taken by the 12-megapixel camera on the Pixel 6a.

The big difference is the Pixel 7’s front-facing camera. Without going into too many technical details, it has a wider camera lens than the Pixel 6. Because of this, you are able to capture a lot more in a photo (especially when you need to include that one extra person in a group selfie).

Face lock

This is a feature exclusive to the Pixel 7 among the three phones. It’s quick and fast if you have enough light around you, but suffers a lot in low-light environments.

Also, unlike the Pixel 4, you won’t be able to use the face unlock feature for high-security apps like your banking apps, as Google says it’s “not secure enough”. Instead, you’ll have to resort to using the fingerprint reader if you don’t want to enter your PIN to access these apps.

The face unlock feature is nice to have on the go, though, as the fingerprint reader, while functional, still isn’t as instant compared to the likes of Apple’s iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy range.

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Google Tensor 2

The second-generation Tensor chip is found in the Pixel 7. The Tensor SoC is what powers the Pixel phones (as a CPU and GPU) ever since they moved from the Snapdragon chip from the Pixel 6 onwards.

I have to admit that as a standard user I don’t immediately see any kind of improvement, at least in daily use, since the chip in the Pixel 6 was already very good to begin with.

However, I did notice a reduction in low-light and night camera processing time for the Pixel 7. I didn’t have to hold still as long as I did for the Pixel 6 to take photos in Night Sight mode.

In day-to-day use, however, all three phones are equally fast, despite only having 6GB of RAM in the Pixel 6a, compared to 8GB of RAM in the Pixel 6 and 7.

Gaming is still atrocious on the Tensor chips, compared to an iPhone or a phone with a high-end Snapdragon. If you’re looking at a device that can play, the Pixel 7 still isn’t it. Maybe the next generation?

Conclusion

Honestly, the phone’s design is the only reason I’d “upgrade” to the Pixel 7. It’s basically a more refined Pixel 6.

Battery life between all three devices appears to be the same, with the phones dying within one day of heavy use.

The Pixel 7 retails for SG$999, while the Pixel 6 retails for SG$749, and the Pixel 6a retails for SG$599.

If you don’t need wireless charging and a 90Hz screen, the 6a is the best buy of this lot. If you want a more premium-feeling phone, the 6 is also a good buy. I can attest to its usefulness because it is my daily driver.

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But if you want the prettiest of the three, there’s no arguing that the Pixel 7 wins in that category.

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Dominic loves technology and games. When he’s not busy getting fit or water-cooling something he’s watching, he does some pro wrestling.

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