As with the Pixel Watch, we’ll be bringing more in-depth thoughts with a full review in the near future. However, now seems like a good time to offer some first thoughts (and photos) of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
First is the price. I suspect this isn’t the first thing Google wants to discuss regarding its new smartphones, but it’s important. The 7 and 7 Pro start at $599 and $899, respectively. It’s not necessarily budget — or event mid-tier — but cost is a major differentiator of the Apple and Samsung flagships of the world.
We know that phone buying has slowed down for several reasons, including price. With flagships routinely running well above $1,000, it’s a lot harder to upgrade regularly — especially with all the economic uncertainty of recent years. I’ll add for the record that you can spec the Pro up to $1,099, if you opt for 512GB of storage. That’s important to note, but it’s still a relative deal compared to other big names in the space.
The design has been tweaked a bit since last year, but it’s still easily recognizable as the same line, thanks in large part to the signature camera bar (which itself has been refined over last year’s model). Really, I think that’s a pretty good microcosm of the device itself. The Pixel 7 isn’t a huge leap over the Pixel 6 – we weren’t expecting that either. Last year was the big leap for Google. They completely overhauled the hardware department and the Pixel 6 was the result. But you wouldn’t get a breakthrough of that magnitude every year — that kind of deal with annual hardware updates.
Fortunately, Google long ago gave up the idea that it could only make a top-quality camera through software/computational photography. Both models have a 50-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, while the Pro adds a 48-megapixel telephoto. But this is Google, so software remains the thing – both for imaging and otherwise.
Ivan and Haje have a good overview of the advancements in imaging and Sarah has written a big piece on all the software stuff, so I’m not going to go into details here. Ultimately, the 7 maintains what has long been a primary driver for the Pixel: the tip of the spear for Android updates.
This has a double function. Firstly, it gets these updates into the hands of people on hardware with specs built to accommodate them and secondly, it immediately sets the line apart from the hundreds of other Android handsets out there.
All in all, it’s going to be a nice – if not particularly groundbreaking – update to the line. The handsets can be pre-ordered today and go on sale on October 12.