The Pixel 7 Pro's camera is the genuine deal. I've never enjoyed smartphone photography more.
Google's Pixel 7 Pro can photograph distant or close subjects with ease thanks to its telescopic lens and macro focus capability. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro's new Tensor G2 chip enables software to perform things tiny smartphone lenses can't.
The Pixel 7 starts at US$599 and the Pixel 7 Pro at US$899.
These Android phones are more than mobile cameras, and that's where the Pixel 7s may fail. The Pixel 7 line looks similar to the Pixel 6 line, save for the color schemes and camera bar material.
Inside, too. The Tensor G2 processor enables some new AI features for calls and voice messaging, but the phones' usefulness hasn't altered significantly. The basic Pixel 7 lacks the best photography features.
It lacks the 7 Pro's camera power, but it's beautiful.
The Pixel 6s were amazing, so a gradual approach isn't terrible. If you bought a Pixel last year (or earlier this year with the Pixel 6a), the Pixel 7 series is a small update. If you've been holding onto an older Pixel (or want to move from iPhone to Android, as much as your pals would detest it), now may be the time to upgrade, preferably to the Pixel 7 Pro.
You'll have a fresher Instagram feed.
Metal camera bars have arrived.
Pixel 6? You've seen a Pixel 7, but the older model was more fun.
No Dynamic Island-like innovation here; Google stuck with what worked on the Pixels 6 last time. It retains the iconic horizontal camera bar, which now sports a metallic feel. Pixel 7 phones are approximately the same size as Pixel 6 phones. Pixel 7 is 6.3 inches (0.1 inch smaller than Pixel 6) and Pixel 7 Pro is 6.7 inches. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have the same 90Hz and 120Hz refresh rates.
After using both phones for a few days, I didn't notice a difference in refresh rate, although I have discerning eyes. If you can, don't highlight this feature of the 7 Pro.
Each phone is front-to-back glass, so I recommend a case. On softer surfaces, both Pixel 7s have slipped and slided.
Every Pixel 7 device is glossy and glassy.
Google's sole big physical change this year was removing the Pixel 6's two-tone color scheme. Last year, each Pixel 6 had unique colors above and below the camera bar, which drew attention to the lens array. This phone has identical colors.
Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro come in obsidian, snow, lemongrass, and hazel.
This year's phones have a sleek metal camera bar, but I miss the two-tone colors. Last year's Pixels were fun and unique, but this year's are just...phones.
The Pixel phones' capabilities are more significant than their looks.
A button press gets you 30x zoom.
The Pixel 7 phones' rear cameras are the largest hardware difference. Both phones have a 10.8MP selfie camera, 50MP wide camera, and 12MP ultra-wide lens. Pixel 7 Pro includes a 48MP telephoto lens as last year. Zooming in on distant subjects has never looked better than on the Pixel 6 Pro.
Google used Tensor magic to boost the Pixel 7 Pro's zoom to 30x. The iPhone 14 is merely 5x, while the iPhone 14 Pro is 30x. Other newer Android phones, like the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4, can zoom that far. The true magic is the processing advancements that occurs when you zoom in, which produce crisper photos than the Galaxy Fold 4.
To test this, I visited Domino Park in Brooklyn, which overlooks the East River and Manhattan skyline. From the pier, One WTC is far away. Google Maps estimates six miles. Using the Pixel 7 Pro's 30x telephoto zoom, you can view 1WTC from another continent. Amazing.
I wasn't on this building's island. Wild.
Another example: The tall skyscraper in the center of the left photo has writing at the top that's hard to read. Not recommended.
With the Pixel 7 Pro's telephoto lens, we can read the building's address as if we were right next to it. It's one of the most impressive smartphone camera systems I've seen. Pixel 7 Pro takes great photographs from far away.
"Macro Focus" is another Pixel 7 Pro unique. The Moto G Stylus 5G from last year has a macro lens. You can place the phone very close (centimeters) to a small subject like a flower to get a good shot. Pixel 7 Pro's macro mode is more elegant than Moto's. Simply use 1x zoom and bring the phone close to your topic for macro focus.
So I could photograph these berries near my home. Nice, huh?
Centimeters distant, crystal clear.
Pixel 7's camera is good.
If you can afford it, the Pixel 7 Pro's camera array is worth the $300 price bump. Thankfully, the Pixel 7 isn't a poor camera. The cheaper Pixel camera can compete with others.
Portrait mode is back and great. Both Pixel 7 phones can rapidly take outstanding portrait photographs and allow you modify depth of field using sliders. I've never felt the necessity. My first shots were great.