Google gave us all a first look at the next generation of Pixel devices at this year’s I/O conference, revealing that this time around, the Pixel 7 devices would have a more polished look while still keeping with the design language made popular by the Pixel 6 — which has become synonymous with the Pixel smartphone brand.
While they didn’t really tell us too much at I/O about the specifics of the new Pixel 7 line – besides showing us the different colorways available and assuring us that it will indeed carry the next generation Tensor chip – they did manage to do the one thing Google has been struggling with for years — stopping leaks from taking over the narrative. So what is that they say? “If you can’t beat them, join them,” right?
While this move to out-leak the leakers hasn’t stopped us from discovering more about the upcoming devices, it has, in my opinion, both tempered and raised expectations when it comes to comparing them to their predecessors, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Leaks have continued as they usually do, hinting at camera improvements and display differences. Still, besides the initial unofficial renders and the official promotional images from Google, we haven’t really gotten a good look at how the devices look and feel next to each other.
The Latest Pixel 7 and 7 Pro Early Hands On
While the Pixel 7 line launch is still about a month and a half away, that hasn’t stopped prominent content creator Lew from the Unbox Therapy YouTube channel from getting his hands on a couple of early versions of the devices and comparing the hardware with the Pixel 6/6 Pro.
The units are not retail versions, a fact that Lew discloses right from the beginning and is made obvious by the lack of the Google logo on the back of the phone or an operating system. Still, from this early hands-on, Lew was able to provide some interesting insights about the camera bar on both the Pro and non-Pro versions of the phone, as well as the size of the displays compared to the current generation.
We get a clear view of the dual camera setup on the Pixel 7 versus the triple camera setup on the 7 Pro encased in the new gunmetal – as Lew called it – finish on the new camera bar. One neat detail on the 7 Pro is that the camera bar melds onto the phone’s edges as if it was all one polished metal piece. On the Pixel 7, the edge has more of a matte aluminum look.
On the boot screen, we get to see some basic interior specs, such as the amount of RAM and storage each device carries – at least on these development units. We are looking at 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage on the Pixel 7 model, while the Pixel 7 Pro shows to have 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, both the same as the Pixel 6 line from last year.
Both models include the front-facing camera right in the top center, the same as the Pixel 6, but with a slightly smaller hole punch on the Pro model. When roughly measured with a caliper tool, the Pixel 7 Pro is revealed to be slightly shorter and thinner but wider than the Pixel 6 Pro. However, the more aggressive curve around the edge of the Pixel 6 Pro gives it the appearance that the bezels are smaller. Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 is significantly narrower and shorter than the Pixel 6, making it a more portable and easier-to-handle phone for those with smaller hands.
The Pixel 7 is also about 10 grams lighter than the Pixel 6, but surprisingly, the Pixel 7 Pro is about a gram heavier than the Pixel 6 Pro, perhaps hinting at a larger battery. What seems apparent this time around is that Google is making a concerted effort to differentiate the Pro model from the non-Pro by tweaking the dimensions and making the non-flagships lighter and more pocketable.
While I’m still trying to decide if I will upgrade to the Pixel 7 line from the Pixel 6, based on the information gathered from this video, I’m pretty confident that the Pixel 7 Pro will be too large for me to handle. Just like when I was faced with this decision last year, I chose the Pixel 6 over the Pixel 6 Pro because of the size difference, even when I knew that the 6 Pro had better specs. However, now that Google is shrinking the non-Pro version even more, the decision is pretty much being made for me on which version I would pick in October when the new Pixels go on sale.