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Google Pixel 7 has not yet convinced me after a week

The Google Pixel 7 would probably be one of the most popular smartphones on the market if it was available worldwide. But it is only available in selected countries, and to be able to buy it in Poland, for example, you have to bend a little. I wanted to but after a week with this phone I still don’t know if it was worth it.

I’ve always liked pure Android

Smartphones with Android have a rather long history, after all, the 13th version of this system debuted this year, so willy-nilly I have passed through a lot of smartphones in the last 10 years. I always tried to choose an affordable smartphone with as “pure” Android as possible, without additional overlays that would only slow it down. That’s why I had a Nexus 4, among other things, which is Google’s first approach to making its own device (although LG was actually the manufacturer). I remember this smartphone very well, although, of course, it had its drawbacks, and at first it could not be officially bought in Poland.

Later, it was time for OnePlus and their flagship killer that focused on simplicity and only slightly tweaked pure Android. It was also not easy to buy, but in 2014 I bought a One, which I replaced with a 3 and then a 7T. Each of these smartphones had their drawbacks, but at a price under PLN 2,000, this was one of the best choices in terms of price and quality. And most of all, OnePlus has done quite well with updates. The OnePlus 7T just got Android 12, 3 years after the launch and when we already have Android 13, but it still does quite well in this regard compared to the competition.

Basically, looking at what current smartphones have to offer, I wouldn’t even change my OnePlus because I don’t see anything on the market that is clearly better (maybe except for photo quality), but I’ve always wanted to try the Pixel. All previous Google smartphones from this series had their drawbacks, they did not look very attractive and, above all, they were expensive for their capabilities. The Pixel 6 was something of a breakthrough that fixed many of these flaws and enjoyed considerable popularity. That’s why I decided it’s time to test what the Pixel 7 can do, which should have polished other imperfections, such as a bad fingerprint reader or an average selfie camera. In addition, Google has kept the price of its smartphone, it is still above PLN 3000, but it does not look so bad compared to Apple. In addition, it is supposed to be the most intelligent smartphone on the market…

The Google Pixel 7 makes a good first impression

Obviously, buying a Pixel 7 was not easy, luckily I was able to use the help of a good friend of mine (to whom I salute!) and buy the smartphone directly from Google. 649 euros in a set with Pixel Buds Pro headphones is a great offer and it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. Later, just a short journey by courier from Germany to Poland, and so the smartphone was in my hands. He came to me after his first reviews started appearing on the site, so I more or less knew what to expect. In the box, in addition to the phone, there is only a USB type C cable and a USB type C to A adapter. The smartphone itself … slides. Seriously, using it without a case is risky, you have to be very careful. However, there can be no objection to the quality of the processing. The new bezel is nicely integrated into the camera strap and has a matte finish which makes it look very nice and doesn’t collect fingerprints like the Pixel 7 Pro.

I like that the camera strap stretches across the entire width of the smartphone. Thanks to this, the phone rests firmly on the table, which cannot be said about all models with an island on the side. What I didn’t like is the fact that the power and volume buttons are placed on one side. In OnePlus, they were on opposite sides, and I think it’s a more ergonomic solution. Especially if you want to take a screenshot. Maybe it’s just a matter of habit, we’ll see in a few weeks. On the bottom side we have symmetrically placed openings for the speakers / microphone and the USB Type C socket. The speaker on the top side is perfectly camouflaged and practically invisible.

The phone is obviously waterproof (IP68), has wireless charging (20W) and works with MagSafe iPhone chargers (checked). Charging via the cable is max. 30W and then replenishing the energy from ~ 10% to 100% takes about 1.5 hours (50% is after half an hour). In this respect, it could be better, the OnePlus 7T charges a little faster, but the Pixel 7 works longer on the battery and the first weeks are learning our behavior, which should have a positive effect on the working time. But in general, I can’t complain about the battery, it lasts the whole day without any problems, there will be time for more accurate measurements.

There have been rumors in the reviews that the Pixel 7 is getting hotter. I can’t confirm that though, yes the case can get warm sometimes (eg when I was charging it and wirelessly transferring data from an old smartphone) but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. It also heats up under heavy CPU load (in benchmarks), but nothing like that happens during normal use. And speaking of the processor, the Google Tensor 2 isn’t what many people expected, it’s just a slightly improved chip from the previous generation, but you can’t feel it when using the phone. The Snapdragon 855+ in the OnePlus 7T is even slower and still gets the job done. On the Pixel 7, thanks to the 90Hz refresh, everything works very smoothly and I haven’t noticed any stuttering yet, and wouldn’t the numbers in the benchmarks match?

The Google Pixel 7 also has its drawbacks

However, this does not mean that this smartphone does not have its drawbacks. For example, I really like that the screen is flat, not bent to the sides like the Pro models, but aesthetes will probably not like that the frame of the screen is not symmetrical (it still has a “beard” at the bottom). The cutout for the selfie camera is also quite large, the lens has a clear black frame, which is why my standard wallpaper is dark. Apple’s trick of hiding the notch will give you a much better visual experience. I don’t know if the fingerprint reader is much better than the Pixel 6, but if it was worse, I would probably get rid of this smartphone quickly.

The Pixel 7 has it right, maybe a little better than the OnePlus 7T, which is over 3 years old. I don’t believe there has been any progress during this time. It’s also a little too high in my opinion, and when the screen for entering the unlock code appears, the ability to read the fingerprint disappears completely. There is also a Face Unlock feature, but as reported, it only allows you to unlock the screen. But what if you have to click on it anyway to bring up the splash screen. I could also put my finger on the reader. Users also complain that sometimes the screen is unlocked with Face Unlock and they are not aware of it, and when it comes to paying in the store, the transaction is rejected. Google is working on a fix that will ask for fingerprint authorization in such a situation and not automatically reject the transaction. And speaking of NFC, the antenna works very well, has a much better range than the OnePlus and makes it much easier.

I didn’t like all the solutions used in Android 13 on the Pixel 7. For example, the shortcut bar has huge buttons with scrollable descriptions instead of nice icons that fit much more on the screen. The date and weather widget you see in the image above takes up the entire width of the screen and cannot be removed. However, it is good that you can adjust the size of the app icons and grid. There is also a large selection of animated wallpapers and themes, so there should be something for everyone. However, I will write more about the software in the full review, because this week I only needed the personalization options it gives.

The Google Pixel 7 takes great photos

The biggest advantage of Google Pixel smartphones is their camera, and I have to admit that these are not baseless opinions. The Pixel 7 takes great photos, in a direct comparison with the iPhone 13 it is very similar, and that is probably enough for a recommendation. They upload a small sample below, but after compression, if you want to see some photos in full resolution, you can find more here. I will gradually enlarge this gallery, because there are still some shots missing, even in better, sunnier weather. The night mode looks great, although at high magnification you can see that the photos are slightly enhanced by algorithms. The additional features shown on the Pixel 7, such as the ability to remove elements from a photo or fix blurry photos, also work quite well, although not perfectly. This is essentially a topic for a separate article, as well as its shooting capabilities.

Google Pixel 7 – Ask me anything

I can’t say yet if I’m happy with the move to the Pixel 7. It has its minor or major disadvantages, some things are done differently and require getting used to. What I miss the most is the thin case I had in the OnePlus, all the bumpers I’ve tested make the phone so thick that it loses all visual qualities. Google’s system also offers so many options that we even have a dedicated tutorial showing the most important elements of system configuration. So there is hope that I will be able to fit it on myself, even if no one moves the volume control buttons to the left side. I’ll hopefully be able to write a bit more about it in a full review in two weeks.

If you have any specific questions or want to check something, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer :).

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