Google's Pixel 7 and 7 Pro review reveals that the company's photography wizardry has returned
The Pixel 7 Pro camera is the genuine article. I've never enjoyed smartphone photography more.
Whether your subject is so far away that it's actually on a different continent or so close that you can taste it, Google's Pixel 7 Pro can capture anything flawlessly and with minimal effort owing to its specialized telephoto lens and macro focus capability. The new Tensor G2 technology that powers the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartly employs software to perform tasks that the tiny optics in smartphones cannot.
Both phones will be released on October 13, with the Pixel 7 beginning at $599 and the Pixel 7 Pro at $899.
However, these Android phones are more than simply mobile cameras, and the two Pixel 7s may be considered small disappointments in this regard. Aside from exterior color scheme modifications and a new texture for the camera bar, the Pixel 7 line resembles the Pixel 6 line externally.
This is also true on the inside. The Tensor G2 chip enables a few useful new AI features connected to phone calls and text messages, but the usefulness of these new Google flagships has not changed. Unfortunately, the standard Pixel 7 lacks the most advanced camera functions.
It lacks the photography prowess of the 7 Pro, but it is certainly attractive.
This gradual strategy is not the worst thing in the world, given that the Pixel 6s were excellent smartphones. If you purchased a Pixel device last year (or earlier this year with the Pixel 6a), the Pixel 7 series is probably not enough of an improvement to warrant an upgrade. But if you've been holding on to an older Pixel (or even if you want to move from iPhone to Android, as much as your buddies with blue bubbles would detest that), now may be the time to upgrade, preferably to the Pixel 7 Pro.
Your Instagram feed will look far more current.
The end of the two-tone color scheme
The age of metallic camera bars is arrived.
Ever seen a Pixel 6? Then you've seen a Pixel 7, although the older model was slightly more entertaining.
There is no innovation comparable to that of Dynamic Island on display here; Google largely kept with what worked on the Pixels 6 last year. It retained the iconic horizontal camera bar towards the top of the phone's back, which now sports a newer, more metallic appearance. The dimensions of the two Pixel 7 smartphones are nearly identical to those of their Pixel 6 predecessors. The Pixel 7 measures 6.3 inches (a tenth of an inch less than the Pixel 6), while the Pixel 7 Pro is 6.7 inches. Refresh rates are also the same, with the Pixel 7 sporting a fluid 90Hz and the Pixel 7 Pro a fluid 120Hz.
However, after using both phones intensively for a few days, I cannot say that I detected the difference in refresh rate, even having relatively sensitive eyes. If possible, avoid making this characteristic of the 7 Pro a selling point.
Each phone has a front-to-back glass body, and I would strongly recommend a case to mitigate this. Both of my Pixel 7s have slipped and slid on softer surfaces, which is annoying.
Each member of the Pixel 7 family has a glossy, glassy texture.
Google's sole significant physical change this year is the elimination of the two-tone color scheme that made the Pixel 6 line so recognizable in public. Each Pixel 6 from the previous year had slightly varied colors above and below the camera bar, which not only made each device look unique but also naturally led the eye to the lens array itself. This time, the colors are consistent throughout the entire phone.
Both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are available in obsidian and snow, while the Pixel 7 has an exclusive lemongrass hue and the Pixel 7 Pro has a hazel option.
I like the metallic look of the camera bar on this year's smartphones, but I really dislike the elimination of two-tone hues. In comparison to last year's Pixels, this year's smartphones merely resemble...phones.
Thankfully, the functionality of the Pixel phones is far more significant than their appearance.
Professional 30x zoom is available at the touch of a button.
The primary hardware distinction between the two new Pixel 7 smartphones is the rear camera array. Both phones include the identical 10.8MP front-facing camera, 50MP wide-angle camera, and 12MP ultra-wide lens. Similar to previous year, the Pixel 7 Pro features a 48MP telephoto lens. In contrast to last year's Pixel 6 Pro, zooming in on distant subjects has never looked this fantastic.
Google has utilized Tensor magic to increase the Pixel 7 Pro's maximum zoom length to a staggering 30x. The iPhone 14's maximum magnification is 5x, whereas the iPhone 14 Pro's is 30x. This latter number is not very remarkable, as other current Android smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4, can also zoom that far. The true magic here is the processing changes that take place in the background when you zoom in extremely close on subjects, which result in images that are significantly crisper than anything the Galaxy Fold 4 could create.
To test this, I visited Domino Park on the East River shoreline in Brooklyn, which offers a breathtaking perspective of the Manhattan skyline. From the pier, One World Trade Center is seen in the far distance. According to Google Maps, it is approximately six miles by road. Using the Pixel 7 Pro's 30x telephoto zoom, it is possible to see the summit of 1WTC clearly from a whole different landmass. It's unbelievable.
I was on a different island than the one this structure is on. Wild.
Let's attempt a another example. The text at the very top of the tall structure in the center of the shot on the left is practically hard to read unless you press your eyes against the screen. Please refrain from doing so.
However, if we use the Pixel 7 Pro's telephoto lens to zoom in, we can read the writing (which is regrettably simply the building's address) as if we were standing right next to it. This is one of the most incredible smartphone camera systems I've seen in quite some time. Using the Pixel 7 Pro, you may capture crystal-clear images from a great distance.
Close up. Close up.
The Pixel 7 Pro includes an additional proprietary feature known as "Macro Focus." Even inexpensive smartphones from the previous year, such as the Moto G Stylus 5G, featured macro lenses. The concept is that you may physically place the phone very close (centimeters) to a small subject, such as a flower bud, and still capture a clear, focused image. While other smartphones, such as that Moto device, consigned macro photography to a separate option within the camera app, the Pixel 7 Pro is far more refined in this regard. Simply utilize the default camera view at 1x zoom and place the phone close to the subject to initiate macro focus.
This is how I captured this photograph of these berries on a plant near my residence. Looks wonderful, doesn't it?
From millimeters away, visibility is perfect.
The Pixel 7's camera is also excellent.
If you can afford the additional $300, the Pixel 7 Pro's camera array is one of the greatest I've ever seen on a smartphone and is well worth the additional cost. Fortunately, the standard Pixel 7 is not a bad camera in and of itself. The less expensive Pixel can still compete with other superb smartphone cameras.
Portrait mode is undeniably back and still fantastic. Both Pixel 7 smartphones are capable of fast capturing stunning portrait images and allowing you to change the depth of field effects using simple sliders in the editing menu. I never felt the urge to do that, however. The photographs I took immediately appeared to be of high quality.
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