Pixel 7: Everything we know about Google’s 2022 flagship

With the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro being out for nearly a year, Google is preparing the Pixel 7. Google officially teased the Pixel 7 series at its I/O conference this May, and since then, anticipation has only grown. The Pixel 7 is launching toward the end of the year and will be Google’s answer to the iPhone 14.

Alongside Google’s official announcement, details about the phone have trickled out over the past few months, giving us a somewhat clear look at what to expect. As with all leaks and pre-release information (even from the manufacturer itself), take this with skepticism.

Models

A variety of Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pros sit on a purple background.

As has been standard with all Pixel phones except the Pixel 5, Google will be launching at least two models of the Pixel 7. These will be called the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. They will share similar designs to last year’s Pixel 6 handsets, but with the usual spec upgrades scattered throughout. This is a release strategy Google has frequently used for the Pixel series. Last year gave us the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro; before that was the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, and so on.

There are rumors making the internet rounds that a third Pixel 7 model could potentially be launching alongside the 7 and the 7 Pro, but there hasn’t been much to support that. The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro both received FCC IDs, but there wasn’t any mention of the mysterious third phone. If it does exist, it seems unlikely to launch alongside the two new Pixels. Instead, it could possibly be launched with separate marketing.

Design

Left: Pixel 6 Pro. Right: Pixel 7 Pro.
Pixel 6 Pro (left) and Pixel 7 Pro (right)

The Google Pixel 7 is to inherit a lot of what Google built into the Pixel 6. It looks quite close to the Pixel 6, with the exception of slight changes to the camera visor or camera bar (or whatever you want to call it). This means the visor-like rear camera will thankfully remain a design fixture. Despite that, the two tone-design on the glass is sadly gone. In the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, there was a slightly different sheen of color above the camera bar that served to add a splash of color. With the 7 and 7 Pro, the camera bar adds that extra touch of color this time around.

For a company that moved away from a distinct design with the Pixel 4 and 5, to take ownership of such a striking look can only be a good thing for brand recognition. The Pixel 6’s design truly stands apart from other smartphones. Iterating on it means carving out a look. It’ll be a good choice if Google can keep it going.

Specs

Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro camera layout

Google is expected to be making some changes to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. Notably, the screen size of the Pixel 7 is coming down to 6.2 inches. The Pixel 7 Pro is expected to go up a little and ship with a 6.8-inch display. When compared to the previous models, the Pixel 6 is slightly taller than the 7, as seen in an early hardware breakdown posted to YouTube by Unbox Therapy. The Pixel 7 Pro is much closer in size to its predecessor than the base model, but according to the video, it seems to sport a slightly slimmer vertical bezel than the Pixel 6 Pro. It’ll be a bit more like Apple and Samsung, which have gone to clearly demarcate their big phones from their regular phones. The Pixel 6 came in Large and Xtra Large sizes with no reasonably-sized option. The Pixel 7 is rectifying that error.

Inside, Google is expected to continue eschewing Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and keep working with its own in-house Tensor chips with 8GB of RAM and 12GB of RAM, as confirmed by the Unbox Therapy video. There have been reports of a Tensor 2 chip in the works, which Google has confirmed. While that would undoubtedly be more powerful, power is not the area where Google’s first Tensor floundered. The company’s choice of modem resulted in an inconsistent signal performance that has led to a deleterious effect on the battery, as shown by battery tests run by both GSMArena and DXOMark. Hopefully, the second-generation Tensor chip fares a bit better.

That said, questions have been raised about how much more powerful Google’s Tensor 2 would be. Analysis of a Pixel 7 Pro prototype that has been circulating from eBay has revealed that the chip would keep the same CPU core configuration as the last one. The GPU could still see upgrades, as could the image signal processor and custom Tensor Processing Unit, but the CPU performance gap between Tensor and Apple or Qualcomm’s processors isn’t expected to narrow.

Cameras

A Man holds a white Google Pixel 7 Pro in his hands.
Digital Trends Graphic/Google

Google’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are expected to keep the same rear camera layout and specs as the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, as detailed by a handful of leakers. This means the Pixel 6 will have a 50-megapixel main camera and a 12MP ultrawide camera, while the Pixel 7 Pro will add a 48MP telephoto lens to the layout.

Google has done this before with the Pixel 3, Pixel 4, and Pixel 5 all sporting the same camera. To be clear, the hardware is good, and the camera experience of both phones is excellent. The reasoning here could be the same, with Google focusing on getting the most use of the camera hardware before moving on to newer ones.

Around the front, though, a new report claims the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will both support 4K video recording with their front-facing cameras. The report is based on versions of the Google Camera app that comes bundled with all Pixel phones. The Pixel 6 Pro also supported 4K video with its selfie camera, though the baseline Pixel 6 did not. Seeing how the Pixel 6 Pro used an 11MP selfie camera while the Pixel 6 got an 8MP one, we can safely assume the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will both get 11MP selfie sensors this year.

Price and availability

Google Pixel 7 Pro in white on a stylized background
Digital Trends Graphic

Google’s Pixel 7 is expected to break cover at the company’s annual #MadebyGoogle event in October. According to the latest information shared by reliable tipster Jon Prosser, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will be launching on October 6. The devices are expected to go up for pre-order on the same date, and they are touted to start shipping on October 13. All of these dates align with the historical Pixel release dates, so they are likely to be true.

As for pricing, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were aggressively priced, leading to Google making gains in the premium market (at least in North America). It would be wiser for the company to stick with the $600 and $900 starting prices rather than raising the prices to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung, both of which still retain substantial mindshare and ecosystem advantages over Google’s products.

Anything else?

Pixel buds pro, Pixel phones (6a, 7, & 7 Pro), and a Pixel Watch laid out for display.

Other Google Pixel-branded products expected to arrive this year are the Pixel Notepad and the Pixel Watch. Google also released the Pixel 6a, which it announced alongside the Pixel 7. While in the Pixel 7’s generation, it takes some design cues from the Pixel 7 and stands as a mid-cycle release for those who want the Pixel experience for less money.

As for the Pixel Watch, it will be coming with the Pixel 7 later this year. Google has yet to share pricing and availability on that, however. And for the Pixel Notepad — Google’s long-rumored foldable — it remains a mystery. Some people believe it could make a surprise appearance before 2022 is over, but we could also be waiting until 2023 (or later) before that shows up.

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