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Google Pixel 7 Review: It’s a No-Brainer

Awesome quality, fantastic price.

Rating:
8/10
?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price:
Starting At $595
Holding the Google Pixel 7 outside.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek
The Google Pixel 7 offers a flagship experience, yet it costs almost half the price of competing smartphones. It's got great cameras and exclusive features, though I don't love everything about this device.

Last year’s Google Pixel 6 managed to offer a flagship experience for just $600. And the new Pixel 7 takes things a step further—it retains the $600 price tag, but it adds a ton of new features and refinements, including an upgrade to Google’s world-class camera technology. It’s a no-brainer.

Here's What We Like

  • Awesome cameras
  • Speedy night photography
  • Exclusive AI-enabled features
  • Bright 90Hz display with HDR support
  • An incredible bargain, even at full price

And What We Don't

  • Not great for resource-heavy games
  • Only three years of major OS updates
  • Camera zoom quality is disappointing

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Design and Usability: It Stands Out from the Crowd

  • Display: 6.3-inch AMOLED 90Hz
  • Display Brightness: 1000 nits (regular), 1400 nits (HDR)
  • Maximum Refresh Rate: 90Hz
  • Weight: 6.95 ounces
  • Build: Gorilla Glass Victus (front and back), aluminum frame
  • IPX Rating: IP68
  • SIM Card: Nano-SIM and eSIM
  • Headphone Jack: No

As expected, the Pixel 7 retains last year’s “Robocop” design. It has a large horizontal camera bar, a glossy glass back, a flat display, and a nice little hole-punch camera. That said, the Pixel 7’s camera bar is made of aluminum instead of glass. This gives the phone a more premium vibe, and it’s especially noticeable with the “lemongrass” colorway that Google sent me.

This premium look doesn’t impact comfort or usability—thank goodness. The Pixel 7 is relatively lightweight, it’s a comfortable size, and the buttons are easy to reach when holding the phone in one hand. (That said, I don’t like that Pixel phones have all their buttons on the right side. I’d prefer to have volume and power on opposite sides.)

The "Set Up Face Unlock" screen on the Google Pixel 7.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

And, of course, the Pixel 7 finally brings back Face Unlock. But this feature might be a bit unnecessary. The Pixel 7’s fingerprint reader is very reliable, especially when compared to the Pixel 6. I found that it’s often a faster option than Face Unlock, and besides, Face Unlock is extremely limited. (You can’t use Face Unlock to activate Google Pay, for example.)

Other notable specs include the Pixel 7’s 6.3-inch 90Hz OLED display, which can hit an impressive 1,400 nits when playing HDR content (otherwise, the maximum brightness is a respectable 1,000 nits). I haven’t had any trouble using this phone outside in bright sunlight, and while some people may prefer the Pixel 7 Pro’s 120Hz screen, I’m perfectly happy with 90Hz at this price.

The Pixel 7’s stereo speakers are also pretty solid, and they can get quite loud. That said, it’s hard to hold this phone in landscape mode without covering up the speakers. (This is really only a problem when playing games or streaming video, but I figured that it’s worth mentioning.)

I should also note that the Pixel 7’s design is quite durable. It sports an IP68 water and dust-resistance rating, which isn’t always guaranteed in a smartphone at this price. And while last year’s Pixel 6 has relatively weak back glass, the Pixel 7 uses Gorilla Glass Victus on its screen and backside—a notable upgrade, in my opinion.

Photo Quality: Bananas, Most of the Time

A close-up of the Google Pixel 7's cameras.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

  • Main Camera: 50MP f/1.9
  • Ultra-Wide Camera: 12MP f/2.2
  • Selfie Camera: 10.8MP f/2.2
  • Video Settings: Maximum 4K 60FPS, 10-bit HDR

As we all know, Google makes some awesome cameras. And while the Pixel 7 uses basically the same camera hardware as its predecessor (minus some very small upgrades to the ultra-wide and selfie lenses), its Tensor G2 chipset offers a boost in computational photography performance.

In other words, the improved AI makes the cameras better. This is especially noticeable when shooting low-light or night photography, which requires intensive processing. (By the way, the Night Sight shooting mode is very fast on the Pixel 7. Other phones need to pause for a long time after taking a photo with Night Sight.)

It’s hard to make any complaints about the Pixel 7’s camera quality. These are some of the best cameras you’ll find in a smartphone—images are sharp, detailed, and colorful. Both the main and ultra-wide cameras are reliable and consistent, and I rarely find myself guessing if a photo will look good. Video performance is equally great, and the Pixel 7 supports 4K shooting at 60FPS, which is a nice addition for content creators.

As always, I love Google’s implementation of Portrait Mode and Night Sight. But the Night Sight mode is still a bit touchy, especially if you’re close to your subject. And the new Cinematic video mode isn’t all that great. It’s supposed to blur the background behind a subject, but it often leaves the subject’s outline looking overly sharp or warped. (The iPhone’s Cinematic shooting mode is still the gold standard.)

Now that I’ve got the good stuff out of the way, I can complain about some annoyances. I’m not a huge fan of the Pixel 7’s selfie camera, which aggressively processes photos. Some selfies look great, while others are over-sharpened or totally blown out. And while the Pixel 7’s rear cameras offer 2x optical zoom, I’m disappointed by the performance of this feature. It noticeably reduces photo quality, even in good lighting.

And here’s a small problem that’s been bothering me; the Pixel 7 camera leans toward cool tones, giving some photos an ugly blue cast. I’ve mostly noticed this problem when taking photos of green subjects, especially outdoor plants. You can correct this problem with Google Photos’ editing tools, but I wish that Google had simply done a better job in this area.

Plus, I’m still not sold on Google’s photo-editing software. The new Photo Unblur tool is hit or miss, and the same goes for Magic Eraser.

Performance: Reasonable for the Price

The default Google Pixel 7 home screen.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

  • Chipset: Tensor G2
  • Storage: 128GB or 256GB
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Operating System: Android 13

Most Android smartphones rely on Snapdragon chipsets, but the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 are unique. They utilize Google’s custom-made Tensor platform, which excels at AI tasks, such as computational photography and language recognition.

The Pixel 7 runs on a Tensor G2 chipset—the second-generation Tensor design. In the world of Android hardware, Tensor G2 is actually quite modest. Its single-core and multi-core performance fall short of competing processors, including the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Apple A15 (which are both a year old at the time of writing).

Basically, the Pixel 7 is ever-so-slightly slower than the competition. This is only really noticeable when playing resource-heavy games, encoding video, or performing benchmark tests. But it’s worth mentioning for the gamers in the crowd.

On the bright side, the Pixel 7 crushes the competition when performing AI tasks. You won’t experience a long pause after taking a photo with Night Sight, for example. And because the Pixel 7 reserves so much horsepower for AI, it contains some exciting exclusive features.

Software and AI: It’s the Smartest Smartphone

The Google Pixel 7 sitting in a jar full of broken pottery.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

In terms of raw performance, the Pixel 7 is actually quite modest. But very few people will benefit from a super-powerful phone. That’s why, instead of focusing on specs, Google is dumping a ton of its resources into AI.

Now, the Pixel 7 doesn’t do any weird iRobot nonsense. Its enhanced AI performance enables a ton of genuinely useful features, such as advanced text-to-speech and computational photography. So, let’s review some of these features!

Here are some of my favorite AI-enabled Pixel 7 features:

  • Call Screening: This is like a super-powered version of Caller ID. Not only will Google tell you who’s calling, but it can automatically decline spam. You can even ask Google Assistant to answer unknown calls—it’ll try to figure out what the caller wants, all without wasting any of your time.
  • Advanced Recording: The Voice Recorder app on Pixel 7 can transcribe full conversations. It’ll even label each person, a feature that’s super handy when interviewing someone, recording a podcast, or taking notes in class.
  • Audio Message Transcriptions: Someone sent you an audio recording, but you don’t feel like listening to it. Just ask Google to transcribe the audio message!
  • Cough and Snore Detection: You usually need a smartwatch to detect coughing or snoring during the night. But the Pixel 7 can do it for you in Bedtime mode.
  • Emoji Suggestions When Voice Typing: Do you type messages with your voice? The Pixel 7 can suggest emojis when voice typing. You can even choose these emoji using voice commands!
  • Free Google One VPN: The Pixel 7 comes with Google One VPN, a feature that’s usually exclusive to Google’s 2TB cloud storage subscription. It ain’t the most fully-featured VPN, but it’s free!
  • Song Identification: This feature is available on most Pixel phones, but it’s genuinely incredible. The Pixel 7 can automatically identify any music that’s playing and show the details on your lock screen.

Note that some of these features, including song identification, are also available on older Pixel devices. But they are exclusive to the Pixel platform—you can’t get them with Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus, or any other Android competitor.

The Gist: You Can’t Beat $599

A blurry photo of the Google Pixel 7 in a plush looking, grassy plant.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

While it isn’t a perfect phone, the Pixel 7 clearly stands out from the crowd. It costs just $599, yet it delivers a premium experience with exceptional camera quality, exclusive AI features, and a design that turns heads. If a friend asks me which Android phone to buy, the Pixel 7 is my second recommendation—it’s a close runner-up to the cheaper Pixel 6a.

If you haven’t looked into the Pixel 6a, now’s the time to do so. It costs a few hundred dollars less than the Pixel 7 but delivers similar performance, especially when it comes to photography. (Naturally, the Pixel 7 is the better of these two phones. I just like a good bargain.)

There’s just one thing I should mention; the Pixel 7 will stop receiving Android OS updates in October of 2025. Three years of major updates is pretty normal for an Android flagship, but I believe that Google should push for five years. After all, that’s the kind of support Apple offers for the iPhone, and some customers (myself included) prefer to use their phone until the wheels fall off.

Rating:
8/10
Price:
Starting At $595

Here’s What We Like

  • Awesome cameras
  • Speedy night photography
  • Exclusive AI-enabled features
  • Bright 90Hz display with HDR support
  • An incredible bargain, even at full price

And What We Don't

  • Not great for resource-heavy games
  • Only three years of major OS updates
  • Camera zoom quality is disappointing

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »