The Google Pixel 7 Pro: A users story (6 Months Later)
💡 I wrote this back in October 2022 and it blew up on the internet, I've migrated the post to my new server and updated it.
So there I was sitting happy with the Pixel 6 Pro, it's a great phone, it takes great photos and it works well, and as the overarching theme of this post. If you're happy with the Pixel 6 Pro and have one, it does what you want. Don't get the Pixel 7 Pro...
💡 I still standby this statement in May 2023
That's not to say the Pixel 7 prod doesn't have some nice new features, it's an iterative phone, not an innovative phone I think is the best way to say it.
As a Google fanboy who's got his eco system decked out Google from Chromecast, Nest Hubs, Doorbell and Phone there were however a couple of features the inner photographer and nerd in me liked.
💡 This isn't just a Google problem, Samsung, Apple even the once innovative OnePlus have all taken to releasing new devices year after year with very little in the way of innovation outside of their language and marketing techniques. The Samsung Z Fold 3 and z Fold 4 "update was a great example of this.
So I upgraded my Pixel6pro to a Pixel7Pro on launch day..
So here are a few thoughts on a few key areas and a final summary on the phone.
Do I care about the colours?
My first observation is one from the Google side and isn't a problem, it's more of a peeve.
Why do these tech firms (by which I mean Apple and Google) bother with making phones in strangely named variants of colours? The first thing anyone does is cover a phone with a phone cover... Then you don't care what colour your phone is...
Who are these mad people who don't put covers on their phones? What parallel universe do they come from where the phone isn't sliding off a table?
Who's saying to themselves "Ah, I'm so glad this new phone came out in sentimental gold or underestimated green"
Don't get it... Not a big problem.
Sure the Pixel 6 Pro had eSim support but this was the first time I've not needed to just swap the Sim and in my case (not sure if this is normal) I needed to contact esim.net and have them unhook the esim from the Pixel6pro and provide me with a new QR code.
This took a little time, a few hours, would have been good if they had a button press to process this via the web, but there you go, once I had the new QR code I was done in seconds...
While I don't travel as much as we used to Post Covid we are looking to and having a few Sim socket that allows for picking up a local PAYG provider and just putting the sim in.
One tiny observation.
The Sim tray on the 7Pro seems like it will break pretty easy and getting the Sim out takes longer fingernails than I have. I say this because i lost the Sim tray for my Surface pro Duo and a replacement is about $60USD
💡 I've not used a Sim in the P7Pro since I've had it and its been great I have 2 eSim's from esim.net one on o2 and one on Vodafone and swap for coverage.
Pixel Watch Bundle
This ones a little on me not reading the fine print, there was a lot of it in my defence.
When I picked up my new phone from O2, there was no watch with it... I have to wait till 1 Nov to apply for the Pixel Watch.
Now I'm sure this has to do with supply chain issues, it's a bit sour taste in the mouth when you think you'll be getting a new watch and phone and just get a new phone. (FWP I know!)
Obviously, I'll get over it, and my wife will get a new watch soon... It again sullied an experience that didn't need to be.
💡 My wife loves the Pixel Watch, it tracks her steps, heart beat, its tiny and the battery lasts for a few days. Happy wife, happy tech purchasing and all that. :-)
Of the two things, I look for in a phone battery is one of them.
I'll be honest the phone seemed to start off a little weak and has on one occasion let me down, I was at a Google conference last week and having the phone on to take notes for a few hours did no favours for the battery.
I'm old school enough to have the requisite battery pack for fast charging in my bag so wasn't a showstopper.
Generally speaking however I can go all day with the phone including train rides, smartwatch connectivity over Bluetooth, playing podcasts, checking apps like slack etc.
The battery is no worse than the Pixel6pro and I'm reliably informed should improve based on usage information as time goes o
I'll have about 30% using as mentioned between 06:30 and 23:00 each day.
💡 I have to say, I live on my mobile, photos, music, podcasts, apps to do my job, and home media I have it on a lot and i will always get well over a day on the battery life. I also noted a little while back the phone stopped telling me how much percentage it had left it now tells me a time the battery will probably run out.
This was the other 50% of the swaying factor for me, I take a lot of photos, and some are not too bad and I do this 99.9% of the time using my phone of the time. I've been through my Nikon, Canon and Micro 4/3 phase and have got to the "you know what, this phone is always with me and takes good photos" phase.
There were a few things on the camera which stood out to me and have wowed me since having the phone.
The best way to explain the zoom is by showing it with unedited photos...
There is the original photo a pretty one, however you see those horses in the back?
Take a closer look
This is taken by hand, with no tripod while holding a moving dog...
This computational stuff is what Google does well and I've seen a few photos from the Samsungs using their incredible Zoom and to my eye, they don't look as good as this does.
This looked like a cool feature, I'm assuming it only works with a certain type of blue. I kinda wish the Pixel kept all the detail from the shot like the old Lytro camera did so I could by default refocus after the fact as the blue removal needs some work.
I've not dug right into this yet as trying to line up a macro shot while walking an excitable dog on a lead is hard. However, the few close-up shots I've taken have in general been very nice.
I'm looking forward to getting some good insect shots
There are 10 main new camera features which are worth looking at over at the google site
It's well worth a look over to see what else is new that I'm not interested in.
Is the camera better?
To my eye, yes it is, the phone processes (or at least feels like it does) photos quicker, the shots seem sharper, the skin tones do look better and I'm enjoying it as much as I was the Pixel 6 pro, is the camera leaps and bounds better than the previous phone? Personally, I'd say no, again this is an iterative phone with some nice tweaks and I'd hope over the course of its lifecycle to see some innovation happening with the camera especially.
💡 The camera is better, I carry no other camera any more and have done a couple of trips now with only this device. Its not let me down.
Much like the camera, I think stating if the Tensor 2 makes the phone faster is a personal thing. As an example, I use an Insta360 X and edit the output on Vimeo Create to make mainly dog videos.
This process of doing this is now about a minute it was about 3 minutes before so I can see a processing speed improvement.
I've not enabled the 120hz refresh on the screen, I'm as blind as a bat and I don't think I'd see a difference personally.
Opening apps and swiping between them up and down the Niagra Launcher I've installed all seem very fluid and I've not seen any obvious bottlenecks in the phone speed in these areas.
💡 It still works like that, I've had a lot of Android devices and it's not often I've had one which hasn't been factory defaulted and still runs as smoothly as the day I first got it.
Had I not been a nerd, a Google Fanboy I don't think I would have upgraded from the Pixel6pro to this phone, it's not enough of a jump to justify it. That being said if I was looking for the best phone camera out there and a pixel watch then that's a good deal...
Like so many vendors these days Google is creating a "hyper-reality bubble" around its products in the same way Apple do with one of the best bait-and-hook techniques out there.
The build quality is good, the features are there, and new features will obviously roll out to the Pixel 7 phones first which is also a plus (note I said features and not security updates as Google updates all its current phones around the same time.)
It could cost, supply chain, and risk in an economic downturn however this iteration of phones is getting a bit boring now. It is possible that there is a pixel fold around the corner which a Gen-2 of that device sans bugs and issues of the Gen 1 beta release will be a good one to watch.
This is a really good phone and I'd recommend it in a heartbeat to an iPhone user or a Samsung user looking to go Android. However, it's not enough of an upgrade for many more than the most stalwart of nerds...
💡 Time is a great changer of minds, while I still question the validity of the original update, its wasn't a huge step forward, over 6 months on I'll concede that this is a good phone and unless the Pixel 8 Pro does Harry Potter level magic, it will be a good phone for a while.
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