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Google’s Pixel 7 has launched in India, their first flagship in the country in nearly four years. At ₹59,999, does it live up to the Pixel flagship hype? Find out in our full review.
|Google Tensor G2||6.3" FHD+ AMOLED||
|8GB RAM||50MP dual rear cameras||4,355mAh battery|
It’s always a special thing when Google launches a flagship Pixel in India, and with this new Pixel 7, my expectations were really high. I reviewed the baby Pixel, the Pixel 6a a few months ago, and I really enjoyed my time with it. That’s mostly because the Pixel series always represents the best of Android, how Google intends it to be, and that’s what every Pixel device in the past has felt like. But, and this is the biggest of buts, the Pixel 7 is different, and I’m going to tell you why.
Design + Utility
One thing I really like about the Pixel 7 is its design—Google always makes sure that their devices look a bit different from the rest, and this phone does that too. In this ‘snow’ coloured variant, the phone looks very classy, and the signature band across the rear cameras is now a very pronounced, chunky bit of brushed aluminium. It’s very well integrated, because it spills over into the sides of the phone which are also done up in the same matte silver finish.
The whole device isn’t too large or bulky, in fact, I quite enjoyed using it without a cover as well. The glass back is glossy, so there’s a decent amount of grip here, and the white colour doesn’t show up a lot of fingerprints either. It’s just shy of 200g, so it’s pretty well balanced in terms of weight as well.
The Pixel 7 doesn’t come with a headphone jack, that’s no surprise, but I am a bit disappointed with the lack of dual-SIM connectivity. You can still use one physical SIM and another e-SIM together, but there’s no way to use two physical SIM cards together on this phone. Like the Pixel 6a, you don’t get expandable storage, so if you need anything more than 128GB, you’d better upgrade that cloud storage subscription. It’s also a bit odd to see that Google has decided to exclude Indian buyers from higher storage, because both the 7 and 7 Pro are offered with up to 512GB of storage in international markets, just not in India.
There is, however, an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, which is always good to see.
Also, both that front glass on the display and the back glass are Gorilla Glass Victus, so feel free to drop-test this phone once you buy it.
The Pixel 7 sports a 6.3-inch OLED display with a full-HD+ resolution. In terms of colour reproduction, it seems similar to the Pixel 6a’s OLED screen, but there’s two main things that set it apart—for one, it gets much brighter under direct sunlight, and second, the screen refreshes at 90Hz. It’s not as smooth as the 120Hz LTPO panel on the 7 Pro, nor does it have a higher QHD+ resolution, but I guess Google wanted to limit those features to the Pro model.
In fact, if you want to see what the Pixel 7 Pro is like, you can head over to Deepit’s review, I’ll have it linked in the description below.
Anyway, the Pixel 7’s display is more than adequate for all your day-to-day needs, whether it’s content consumption on Netflix or graphic intensive gaming, the screen runs smooth and straight throughout. Another big plus is support for HDR 10 – HEVC on Netflix, which means HDR content on the app can be watched in all its glory.
All that aside, the bezels are quite noticeable and chunky, and that bottom chin is thicker than the rest of the bezels all around.
Still, it’s good to see that the in-display fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock and rarely gave me trouble during my usage.
Google also made it a point to mention that the Pixel 7 series get an Always-On Display, which works just as well as before, and the screen on and off animations are still the best in the business—the experience of both waking the phone and putting it on standby look great every time you do it, and it’s the little details like this that make the Pixel experience what it is.
The cameras are one of the main reasons to buy a Pixel device. The 7 gets the same 50MP primary sensor found on the 6 and 6 Pro. But, how does the sensor perform, and is it any better?
Well, the answer isn’t so simple. See, Google’s biggest advantage isn’t hardware, it’s software, and for years, the processing on Pixel devices has meant that Google didn’t really have to upgrade the camera hardware—the processing was just that good.
But, that performance seems to have hit a ceiling, because I couldn’t see a significant enough difference between the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7 in terms of camera performance.
Pictures taken with the Pixel 7 in outdoor situations were always good, with accurate colours, excellent dynamic range, and even good depth of field when slightly close up to objects. There’s a decent amount of sharpness in images, in fact, I’d go as far as to say that some images end up looking over-sharpened, even, especially ones taken with the portrait mode.
In mixed-lighting conditions, results were as expected—balanced colours, not a whole lot of grain and overall, pleasing images.
Even in low-light situations, this camera system works perfectly well, especially due to Google’s tried and tested NightSight. Dark spots are reduced, the overall image is brightened up quite well, and grain is kept to a minimum. There are, however, two things I’d like to point out—first, I wish Google had provided an anti-reflective coating on the camera housing to reduce lens flare, because that was a prevalent issue in night-time shots and even indoors at times. The second is the point of diminishing returns, which is where I believe Google’s low-light performance has reached. It seems that the competition has caught up so much with Night photography, that it didn’t feel like the Pixel 7 was offering me some incredible results that I could never dream of getting on any other smartphone.
That being said, this is still a very good point-and-shoot camera system that’ll take a good shot 95% of the time.
Even the ultra-wide sensor performs quite well, with a fair bit of consistency in terms of colour reproduction when compared to the primary sensor.
I’m also happy to report that the Pixel 7 gave me excellent results in one major area where the Pixel 6a lacked—videos. Contrast is nice and punchy, colours are almost always correct, and there’s even a good amount of detail, especially at 4K 60fps. OIS helps immensely, offering very stable footage, even while walking, which was good to see. Video quality didn’t really dip even in mixed lighting and indoor conditions, and even though white balance did seem to recalibrate itself at times, the end result almost always ended up looking good.
Apart from all this, the Pixel 7 also packs in some cool features in the camera app, like the Long Exposure Mode and Action Pan, both of which let you express your creativity even further. You also have Cinematic Blur for videos, which gives you this artificial depth effect, and it worked pretty well for the most part, but I still think it’ll take an update or two until Google is able to make it look more realistic.
But enough about the rear cameras, what about the front camera, is that any good?
Well, it’s a 10.8MP sensor, embedded in a centrally aligned hole-punch. It does a decent enough job of capturing faces in brightly lit conditions and gives similarly good results in mixed lighting conditions. However, low-light performance isn’t the best in the business, and overall, pictures with the front camera tend to look a little soft and lack detail, regardless of the lighting conditions. Still, there is support for 4K video recording with the front camera, which only a handful of Android phones can boast of, so that’s a good thing to see on the Pixel 7.
When it comes to performance, the Pixel 7 runs on the new Tensor G2 chip, a processor developed in-house by the good folks at Google. As far as day-to-day performance is concerned, the Tensor G2 is right in line with other flagship chipsets out there—little to no lag, smooth multi-tasking, and more than decent gameplay even on graphic intensive games like Call of Duty Mobile. It is worth pointing out though, that the chipset does seem to be a bit prone to overheating. For example, any time I tried to shoot in sunny conditions for more than a couple of minutes of in 4K 60 fps, the camera app would automatically stop recording once the chipset got too hot.
Anyway, for everything else, the Tensor G2 is absolutely fine, and in any case, Google’s improvements with this new chip are aimed more at machine learning than outright performance.
For example, Tensor G2 enables features like Unblur, which can take all the pictures in your library that aren’t in ship shape and correct them to make it look like a more pleasing image. Then there’s Magic Eraser and Real-time transcription, both of which we’ve seen earlier, but both now come with some improvements to make them perform better than ever before.
Then there’s the software, which has always been a highlight of the Pixel experience. Stock Android, just the way Google meant it to be. The Pixel 7 runs Android 13 out of the box, which all its little improvements to performance optimisation. The look and feel of the interface remain mostly similar, and I’m still annoyed that I can’t have the brightness toggle right there the moment I swipe down the notification shade—it’s still two swipes away.
Also, before I forget—it’s worth noting that the Pixel 7 only comes with 8GB RAM, unlike the 7 Pro that gets 12GB RAM as standard, but honestly, it handled multi-tasking and apps running in the background just fine, no real complaints here.
4,355 mAh, that’s how big the battery on the Pixel 7 is, which is, in all honesty, quite respectable. Even with heavy usage during my testing period, it gave me around a day’s battery life with the 90Hz refresh rate and AOD turned on, and that’s about as much one can ask for from a battery this size.
Charging speeds are capped at 30W, which isn’t the fastest we’ve seen from recent Android phones. Now 30W isn’t all that slow, but the way this phone charges up isn’t very efficient if you’re looking for a quick top up. Zero to full takes nearly two hours, even though the phone indicates around 1 hour 35 minutes when you plug it in, which makes me think Google could let it charge faster if it weren’t trying to preserve the longevity of the battery unit.
Honestly, this is a phone you’re better off charging overnight, and you may also want to use all the battery optimisation and power-saving features to make sure you get the most juice possible on a single charge.
Still, there is both wireless charging and reverse wireless charging, so those are a couple of feel-good flagship features that I’m glad Google hasn’t reserved for just the Pro variant.
At ₹59,999, Google has priced the Pixel 7 very fairly for the Indian market, and it’s a welcome change compared to their pricing strategy in the past. However, due to the absence of flagship Pixels in India for four long years, the competition has more than caught up, and it’s hard to call this the undisputed champion of the under-60k segment. What it is though, is a great alternative, and a very compelling one at that.
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