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Google Pixel 7 Pro Review: The Android Smartphone to Beat

Rating:

9/10

?

  • 1 – Does not work
  • 2 – Barely functional
  • 3 – Severely lacking in most areas
  • 4 – Functions, but has numerous issues
  • 5 – Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great and worth purchasing
  • 8 – Fantastic, approaching best-in-class
  • 9 – Best-in-class
  • 10 – Borderline perfection

Price:
Starting At $896

The Google Pixel 7 Pro stood up on a side table.
Cianna Garrison / How-To Geek

In recent years, the Google Pixel line has established itself as a worthy competitor to Apple and Samsung smartphones, but its past devices have had a few issues. Google’s Pixel 7 Pro, released in October 2022, remedies those issues and takes center stage as the Android phone to beat.

The Pixel 7 Pro brings together a professional camera system, a streamlined user interface, and a sleek design that might be enough to convert Apple loyalists. Its camera setup and high-speed performance alone justify the $899 price point if you’re looking for the latest pro handset.

Since I’ve been using the Google Pixel 7 Pro, I haven’t been able to put it down, and there’s very little to complain about when using it. This smartphone gives the iPhone 14 Pro a run for its money, combining the best of what Android has to offer with Google’s capabilities and convenience.

Here’s What We Like

  • The camera is mind-blowingly good
  • The display is spacious and vibrant
  • Great speakers, calls, and connections
  • Android 13 and the Pixel UI do the job right

And What We Don’t

  • Battery life is so-so
  • The occasional pause in speed
  • Awkward placement of volume button

How-To Geek’s expert reviewers go hands-on with each product we review. We put every piece of hardware through hours of testing in the real world and run them through benchmarks in our lab. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product and never aggregate other people’s reviews. Read more >>

Gorgeous Modern Design

The Google Pixel 7 Pro laying face down.
Cianna Garrison / How-To Geek
  • Display: 6.7-inch QHD+ LTPO AMOLED (3120 x 1440)
  • Ports: USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 port
  • Colors: Hazel, Snow, Obisidian
  • Materials: Aluminum frame, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus front and back
  • Water/dust resistance: IP68
  • Dimensions: 6.4 x 3 x 0.3in (162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm)
  • Weight: 7.47oz (212g)

I’m not the type to drool over a phone design unless it’s in some unique color like the Samsung Galaxy S22’s Bora Purple. But enter the Google Pixel 7 Pro with its strategically placed triple camera system, Corning Gorilla Glass front and back, and a 6.7-inch screen, and I’ll eat my words.

My Pixel 7 Pro is Hazel, a gray-green shade that makes the aluminum camera housing pop. The aluminum strip is a major step up in design compared to the Google Pixel 6 Pro, which didn’t have any special material encasing the housing. I also received a gray Google Pixel 7 Pro case to keep it safe and protected.

On the back of the phone, the rear triple camera system sits half an inch down from the top. In the middle of the back is a clean “G” Google logo. The front of the Pixel 7 Pro has a front-facing camera centered at the top of the screen and an in-screen fingerprint sensor at the bottom third of the display, while the volume button sits right below the power button on the right edge of the smartphone. On the top edge is a single speaker along with the top microphone.

The other speaker is located on the bottom edge of the phone to the left of the USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, which allows for a 10GB/s transfer speed. To the right of the charging port is the bottom microphone.

The Pixel 7 Pro’s design feels comfortable in your hand despite the phone’s heft. If I could change one thing, I’d move the volume button up higher (or to the left edge of the phone). It can be awkward trying to adjust the sound levels with your right thumb, so I had to use my left (or both hands) for it to feel natural.

Operating System: Android 13 Is Easy, Breezy With the Pixel UI

  • Current operating system: Android 13
  • Software updates: 3 years of OS updates, 5 years of security updates

Unlike other Android phones, the Pixel 7 Pro combines the Android 13 operating system with the Pixel user interface (UI). While it’s clearly an Android phone, the simplicity in the Pixel’s UI harkens back to Apple iOS’s streamlined user experience.

Google’s easy-to-use UI blends well with Android 13’s layout. All of your Google apps are easily accessible, and everything is conveniently linked to your account. It’s a one-stop shop instead of a more complicated user experience, a complaint I’ve heard from Apple users who found UIs like Samsung’s One too convoluted.

Tapping, swiping, and organizing my apps were all a breeze with the Google Pixel 7 Pro. Between the fun customization options like Android 13’s “Material You” themes and the refined Pixel UI, this smartphone’s user experience is top tier.

Display and Graphics: Bright, Crisp, Fast

The Google Pixel 7 Pro in someone's hand.
Cianna Garrison / How-To Geek
  • Refresh rate: 10-120Hz refresh rate
  • Display: Quad high-definition (QHD) LTPO OLED at 512 PPI
  • Brightness: Up to 1000 nits (HDR) and up to 1500 nits in peak brightness
  • Security: In-display optical fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock

From the minute I started using the Pixel 7 Pro, I was impressed with its bright display. The device is capable of crisp, high-quality graphics thanks to its QHD screen. One of the coolest features of the Pixel 7 Pro’s display is the inclusion of LTPO or low-temperature polycrystalline oxide.

LTPO is also used on the iPhone 13 and 14 Pro smartphones and helps maximize your battery life by dynamically adjusting your screen’s refresh rate. So, for example, when I was playing the mobile game Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!, I watched the screen refresh rate go everywhere from 50Hz to 120Hz. When using less demanding applications, the refresh rate went as low as 10Hz.

The variable refresh rate doesn’t go down to 10Hz often—it’s mainly for the Pixel 7 Pro’s Always-On Display (AOD). With AOD, you can reap the benefits of seeing the time, date, and weather when your phone is locked. Your Pixel 7 Pro will then automatically drop its refresh rate down to as low as 10Hz to preserve battery life. This is also helpful for the Pixel’s At a Glance functionality, which shows updated weather information and events on your home and lock screen throughout the day.

As for the color contrast, the Pixel 7 Pro blew me away with its vibrancy and rich color palette.

From streaming to playing mobile games to scrolling through photos or 4K videos you’ve recorded, this smartphone’s display shines in clarity, contrast, and brightness.

The Cameras: See It to Believe It

The Google Pixel 7 Pro lying flat to show its back cameras.
Cianna Garrison / How-To Geek
  • Rear-facing camera: Triple camera system
  • Wide camera: 50MP Octa PD Quad Bayer wide camera, ƒ/1.85 aperture,

    82-degree field of view

  • Ultrawide camera: 12MP ultrawide camera with autofocus, ƒ/2.2 aperture, 125.8-degree field of view

  • Telephoto camera: 48MP Quad Bayer PD telephoto camera, ƒ/3.5 aperture, 20.6-degree field of view, 5x optical zoom, Super Res Zoom up to 30x
  • Front-facing camera: 10.8 MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture, 92.8-degree ultrawide field of view
  • Video recording settings: 4K30, 4K60, 1080p30, 1080p60, 10-bit HDR capabilities (when using 30FPS only), speech enhancement
  • Video modes: Cinematic mode, Time lapse, Slow-mo up to 240FPS

The Google Pixel 7 Pro surpasses expectations with incredibly detailed photos and videos. I felt like I was using a professional camera, not a smartphone. If you want one of the best phone cameras on the market right now, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is it.

The Rear Cameras: I Couldn’t Stop Taking Photos and Videos

First, let’s compare the Pixel 7 Pro’s camera specs to the Apple iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 14 Pro has a 48MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and a 12MP 2x telephoto camera. The Pixel 7 Pro’s main and telephoto cameras feature an extra 2MP and 36MP, respectively, while the ultrawide camera differs in the field of view.

Most importantly, the Pixel 7 Pro’s camera system delivers fine details thanks to its main 50MP Quad camera and the inclusion of the 48MP telephoto lens, plus Google utilizes some AI machine learning to fill in the gaps when using its Super Res Zoom.

With its Portrait Mode and Night Sight, you can take photos anywhere, anytime and make them look good. Night Sight (as with any night mode) has its limits, though. If your environment is too dark, the photos will start to look murky.

The macro photography was particularly effective. When aiming your camera at fabric, food, or other items, the detail is astounding, especially considering it comes from a smartphone.

The Pixel 7 Pro’s zoom is a hot topic. I found that everything from 2x zoom to 10x zoom gives you detailed images, but going beyond 10x means you’re going to lose a bit of clarity. That said, at 15x Zoom I was still really impressed with the Pixel’s ability to capture an image with low distortion or blur. While I wouldn’t see myself using the 30x Super Res Zoom often, it also does better than I thought it would, though some detail definitely gets lost.

I loved recording videos with the Pixel 7 Pro. The camera pulls out the stops with its sharpness. Recording a video of a pet or an outdoor scene in 4K was too fun—I could see subtle details like individual strands of fur or ripples in water.

The other recording features, like Cinematic mode, do as well as you’d expect. The Cinematic mode is a joy to play with, but it’s still in its early days for phones. Some edges looked a bit too fuzzy when a subject, aka my dog, moved a lot.

The Front Camera: Great for Most Users

Where the Pixel 7 Pro outshines Apple in the triple-camera system, it falls a little bit short on the front-facing camera. That isn’t to say it’s bad, though. The front-facing camera still weighs in at 10.8MP; this is less than the iPhone 14 Pro’s 12MP, which also has a better aperture.

That being said, most casual users will still like the Pixel 7 Pro’s front camera. It provides detailed photos with decent light capture, giving selfies an 8.3MP resolution. Photos and videos with the front camera will keep you satisfied, and some turn out so brilliantly that you’ll be surprised.

The front camera also has some cool features like Portrait mode, Night Sight, and Face retouching. My favorite option was Selfie Illumination, which is basically like having a built-in ring light on your smartphone, less the golden glow.

I preferred the rear camera system when taking photos and videos, but any casual selfie taker, myself included, would be happy with what the Pixel 7 Pro brings to the table in its front-facing camera.

Performance: A Phone That Does It All

  • CPU: Google Tensor G2 processor, Titan M2 security coprocessor
  • RAM: 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6e, 5G

No matter how you use your phone day-to-day, the Pixel 7 Pro keeps up. Its speedy performance allows you to switch from app to app seamlessly, while its convenient interface keeps it simple.

The Tensor G2’s speed is incredible; the processing time for most operations was minuscule, so multitasking on your Pixel 7 Pro is easy as pie.

I trusted the smartphone for all my daily tasks, and it also handled free-time activities, like gaming, very well. The Google Tensor G2 processor is a huge upgrade for Google, with an increase in speed and power efficiency during activities like photo and video processing, translating language or speech to text, and lessening background noise on calls.

Battery Life: Great, but Could Be Better

  • Battery size: 5,000 mAh
  • Battery life: Beyond 24-hour battery life, up to 72-hours with Extreme Battery Saver
  • Charging: up to 23W, max up to 50% charge in about 30 minutes with Google 30W USB-C Charger and USB-PD 3.0 (sold separately)
  • Features: Wireless Charging and Battery Power Share

Google’s Pixel 6 phones didn’t have the best battery life, according to reviews, but Google appears to have remedied this…mostly. The Pixel 7 Pro typically lasted me about a 12-hour day, and this was through heavy use, including gaming and taking photos and videos. Although I expected to get more out of the battery life, it wasn’t terrible. I had to charge it up by bedtime.

When using the Pixel 7 Pro’s Extreme Battery Saver, my battery lasted 24 hours despite using the GPS, camera, and the internet. Without turning on the battery saver, the battery drains noticeably quicker. If you barely use your phone, I do believe you could get 48 to 72 hours of battery life, but I used it so heavily that it never happened to me.

Case in point, though Google promotes its 24-hour battery life potential, don’t expect this when you’re using your phone a lot.

Calls, Audio, and Microphones Pass With Flying Colors

  • Speakers: Built-in stereo
  • Microphones: 3 integrated microphones with noise suppression

The Google Pixel 7 Plus has a stereo speaker system that does the job and then some, but I can’t say that it surpasses most other smartphones on the market right now. I measured a max of around 112 decibels when playing rock music at max volume using the Sound Meter and Decibel X apps from Google Play, but the average reading was around 88 to 90 decibels.

My favorite part? The Pixel 7 Pro didn’t exhibit any signs of sound distortion at high volumes, so you can crank it up without the headache of crunching audio.

Using Bluetooth speakers or earbuds with the Pixel 7 Pro was easy. With the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, the connection remained strong and stable through music and streams. You can also stick to the Google ecosystem with accessories like the Pixel Buds Pro.

The microphones did well at picking up my voice, even at a distance above background music. The noise suppression feature works to limit distracting sounds around you, so when you make phone calls in noisy environments, your voice comes through loud and clear.

Google Pixel 7 Pro Microphone Test


Reported Glitches

Google’s Pixel lineup hasn’t had the best track record regarding reports of glitchy software. However, my Google Pixel 7 Pro exhibited none of the claims of buggy software, and it appears Google has fixed many of the issues of the past.

At the most, I noticed a brief lag in Google Photos while editing large videos or switching between files. When swiping to a different image or video, the screen froze momentarily, but it quickly resolved itself.

There was also a noticeable delay when turning off Extreme Battery Saver. It takes app icons a moment to wake from their slumber, but it isn’t an obnoxiously long wait. Not once did I need to restart my Pixel 7 Pro to resolve an issue.

The Best Android Phones of 2022



Best Android Phone Overall

Samsung Galaxy S22


Best Budget

Moto G Play (2022)


Best Mid-Range Android Phone

Google Pixel 6a


Best Premium Android Phone

Samsung Galaxy S22


Best Android Gaming Phone

ASUS ROG Phone 5S



Best Battery Life

Moto G Power (2022)

Frequently Asked Questions

What Operating System does the Pixel 7 Pro run?

The Pixel 7 Pro uses Android 13 in combination with the Pixel UI.

Which camera setup is better: iPhone 14 Pro or Pixel 7 Pro?

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While the iPhone 14 Pro features a slightly-better front-facing camera, the Pixel 7 Pro beats it out in the main, telephoto, and ultrawide lenses. It comes down to personal preference in many cases, but the Pixel 7 Pro’s camera setup technically allows for finer details.

Is the Pixel 7 Pro waterproof?

+

The Pixel 7 Pro features IP68 water resistance, meaning it can be submerged in 1.5m (5ft) of water for up to 30 minutes.

Does the Pixel 7 Pro support wireless charging?

+

Yes, you can use wireless chargers to power the Pixel 7 Pro. That said, you’ll need a Pixel Stand to achieve the max 23W input.

Should You Buy The Google Pixel 7 Pro?

The Google Pixel 7 Pro's lock screen on.
Cianna Garrison / How-To Geek

At its sub-$1,000 starting price, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is worth every penny. For those who are afraid to step away from the Apple ecosystem, think of the Pixel 7 Pro as comparable to the iPhone 14 with an even better camera setup. The Pixel 7 Pro combines Google’s UI and Android in one, so you get the best of both worlds in a streamlined user experience.

If you’re looking for a smartphone that can do it all, the Pixel 7 Pro won’t let you down. It’s worth the price for the camera system alone; grab one today in Hazel, Obsidian, or Snow, starting at $899.

And if you’re looking for an Android smartphone with similar software and camera performance but want to save a couple of dollars, make sure to check out our review of the Google Pixel 7.

Rating:
9/10

Price:
Starting At $896

Here’s What We Like

  • The camera is mind-blowingly good
  • The display is spacious and vibrant
  • Great speakers, calls, and connections
  • Android 13 and the Pixel UI do the job right

And What We Don’t

  • Battery life is so-so
  • The occasional pause in speed
  • Awkward placement of volume button