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After the complete reinvention that was last year’s Google Pixel 6, this year’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are all about refinement. Google’s latest flagship phones build on the slick new design introduced in the previous-gen models, all while introducing more advanced cameras and an upgraded Google Tensor G2 processor that promises faster speeds and smart improvements to everything from making phone calls to cleaning up blurry images.

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro look like solid upgrades to two of the best phones you can buy, but can they compete with heavy hitters like the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S22? We went hands-on with both new devices before they launch next week, so let’s dive in.

Where to preorder the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro

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The $599 Pixel 7 and $899 Pixel 7 Pro are both available for preorder now from the Google Store as well as major retailers, and are set to ship next week. The Pixel 7 comes in Snow, Obsidian and Lemongrass finishes, while the higher-end 7 Pro comes in Snow, Obsidian and Hazel.

Preordering the Pixel 7 from Best Buy will get you a free $100 e-gift card, while grabbing the Pixel 7 Pro will get you a $200 e-gift card. You can also get up to $400 toward both phones with an eligible trade-in. Amazon is offering a similar promotion, with the Pixel 7 getting you a $100 Amazon gift card and the Pixel 7 Pro including $200 in Amazon credit.

• Google Pixel 7 (from $599 at Best Buy and Amazon)
• Google Pixel 7 Pro (from $899 at Best Buy and Amazon)

A sleek refinement

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While the Pixel 7 builds on the colorful, rectangular design introduced in last year’s models, it still immediately stands out as its own thing. This is thanks in large part to the new aluminum camera bar in the back, which houses the rear lenses (two for the Pixel 7, three for the Pixel 7 Pro) and looks a lot sleeker than the all-black bars on the Pixel 6 series.

The colors are pretty standard Google — both models come in Snow and Obsidian (aka white and black), with each phone getting its own shade of green (a bright lemongrass on the Pixel 7 and a foresty Hazel on the Pixel 7 Pro). They all look attractive enough, though some extra color variety would be nice, especially considering the Pixel 6 came in some neat yellow and red shades. Both phones looked great up close and felt lightweight and comfortable to hold, but like on the new iPhone 14 series, their glossy backsides pick up fingerprints quite easily.

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The displays are similar to the Pixel 6 series, starting with the Pixel 7’s 6.3-inch 1080p screen that promises 25% better brightness alongside a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling. Stepping up to the Pixel 7 Pro gets you a large 6.7-inch display with a sharp 3120 x 1440 resolution and an even smoother 120Hz refresh rate. These displays were impressive in my limited hands-on time — YouTube videos looked bright and colorful, and the Pixel 7 Pro’s extra-fluid screen felt great to use when swiping my way around webpages.

Powering the new phones is Google’s new Tensor G2 processor, the second chip made by Google itself. It promises faster speeds, of course (the previous Tensor chip held up well against rival phones, despite falling behind on some tests), but just as important is its ability to deliver an even more advanced camera experience.

Cameras get smarter — and more accessible

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The Google Pixel series has long delivered one of the best camera experiences on any phones we’ve tested, and that looks to continue with the Pixel 7 family. The standard Pixel 7 promises improved Real Tone technology (which is designed to capture more accurate skin tones, particularly for those with darker skin), and a new Cinematic Blur video feature that will let you create dramatic, movie-like focus effects, much like Cinematic mode on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. The Pixel 7’s front camera, which is now on par with its Pro counterpart, can capture 4K video at 60 frames per second and offers a wider field of view for those big group selfies.

As with previous iterations, the Pixel 7 Pro model looks like the one to get if you’re more serious about your photography. Google’s higher-end phone packs a triple-camera system, which includes a 5x telephoto lens complete with 30x Super Res Zoom — that should all translate to really crisp zoomed-in shots, even from very long distances. There’s also an improved ultrawide lens with a Macro Focus feature, which is designed to capture the tiniest details (think the petals of a flower or the ridges of a dog’s nose) — and sounds a lot like the iPhone 14 Pro’s Macro mode.

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Of course, hardware is just part of the equation for a Pixel camera, and these phones continue to stand out by offering handy software features for magically improving your shots. That includes Photo Unblur for sharpening unclear shots and a Guided Frame feature that uses audio and vibrations to allow folks with limited eyesight to still take clear selfies. These perks will be joining the usual camera benefits you’ll get on a Pixel, such as Magic Eraser (for getting rid of unwanted people and objects in the background) and Motion Mode for keeping video smooth during high-action scenes.

I was impressed by the quick shots I was able to capture of all of Google’s new devices on display while playing with the 7 Pro, but we’ll obviously need to spend more time with both phones to see how their cameras truly hold up.

Better everyday calling and usability

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On top of powering a better camera experience, the new Tensor G2 processor powering Google’s new phones promises enhancements to basic things like recording transcripts and making calls (you know, the whole reason you need a phone in the first place). An upcoming Clear Calling feature will reduce background noise while you’re on the phone, while Direct My Call will now show menu options up front so that you’re not sitting on the line forever when calling up a business for customer support. The new Pixel phones also have VPN by Google One built in, a feature that promises to keep your web surfing experience safe without you having to buy a separate VPN.

On the battery life front, the new phones promise to last throughout more than 24 hours of everyday use, and up to 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver turned on. We’ve found Google’s phones to deliver great battery life in the past, so we’re eager to see how the new models hold up in everyday use.

How the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro compare

Display

6.3-inch 1080 x 2400 OLED display, 90Hz

6.7-inch 1440 x 3120 OLED display, 120Hz

Processor

Google Tensor G2

Google Tensor G2

Memory

8GB

12GB

Storage

128GB / 256GB

128GB / 256GB / 512GB

Rear cameras

50-megapixel wide camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide camera

50-megapixel wide camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, 48-megapixel telephoto camera

Front camera

10.8-megapixel

10.8-megapixel

Dimensions

6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches, 6.9 ounces

6.4 x 3 x 0.3 inches, 7.5 ounces

Battery life

24 hours, 72 with Extreme Battery Saver

24 hours, 72 with Extreme Battery Saver

Colors

Obsidian, Snow, Lemongrass

Obsidian, Snow, Lemongrass

Price $599 $899

The takeaway

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The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro look like promising refinements to two of the best Android phones out there. The designs take last year’s attractive overhaul and make them even better-looking, and the new camera features — including vastly improved zoom, some nice accessibility additions and a few borrowed tricks from the iPhone — could make these some of the best camera phones around. The prices are also very compelling: the $599 Pixel 7 and $899 Pixel 7 Pro undercut their respective iPhone counterparts by a good margin, making them a good fit for anyone who wants a flagship-quality handset for a reasonable price.

Those with last year’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro can probably hold off for now, but anyone with a Pixel 5 or older will likely enjoy a big upgrade on every front, from design to camera capabilities. We’ll be putting the new Pixel phones through their full paces to see how they stack up to the competition, so stay tuned for our full reviews.