The Google Pixel 7 made a surprise appearance at Google I/O this week, as Google offered a preview of its next flagship. Thanks to an onstage glimpse at the upcoming device, we know there will be a Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro with a slightly retracted camera bar and that the next-generation Tensor chipset will power both phones when the next-generation Tensor chipset arrives in the fall.
Here’s what we don’t know about the Pixel 7 – everything else.
You can’t blame Google for giving away details about the Pixel 7. We’re likely to have five months for it to arrive, and in the meantime there’s an entirely different phone to bring to market – the Pixel 6a. Google probably wanted to build anticipation for its flagship phone and get people used to the slightly changed look. The oval camera lens replaces the more traditional round one found on the Pixel 6, and the camera bar will be made of aluminum on the new phone.
Obviously, there’s more to the Pixel 7, and we expect to hear most of it between now and the launch date of the new device. But until those details are revealed, here are the biggest questions we hope to get answered by the time the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro arrive.
How is Google planning to fix the Pixel’s battery life?
If you told Pixel 6 users their biggest complaint with the phone, I’d bet battery life would be at the top of the list. Neither the Pixel 6 nor the Pixel 6 Pro made a mark in our battery test, which has our phones surfing the web on cellular until they run out of power. The Pixel 6 ran out of juice after 8 hours and 13 minutes, while the Pixel 6 Pro and its bigger battery offered an even less long run, at 7 hours and 49 minutes. It’s about 10 hours before the average smartphone gives up the ghost.
(Image credit: Tom Guide)
So if Google wants the Pixel 7 to last longer, Google has some work to do. Some of them may come in the size of the battery and can house the 4,614 and 5,000 mAh power packs found in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro respectively. Or perhaps the new Tensor chipset in the Pixel 7 will be more adept at power management.
Whatever the solution, it’s been a long time since Google entered our best phone battery life list, and if the Pixel 7 is going to break that streak, something has to change.
Will the fingerprint sensor be different from the Pixel 6’s?
There’s at least one other common complaint about the Pixel 6 phones, and it involves the under-display fingerprint sensor used by the two devices. In testing the Pixel 6 last fall, I found the sensor to be fairly sluggish and inconsistent, working reliably only if I kept my finger pressed against the screen, which felt much longer than on other phones. Was. My colleague Jordan Palmer also found the Pixel 6 Pro’s sensor to be likable about holding his finger.
(Image credit: Tom Guide)
On the one hand, it looks like Google has admitted that the Pixel 6’s sensor doesn’t perform up to snuff, as the company has confirmed that the newly announced Pixel 6a uses a different sensor than the one in its more expensive sibling. Is. We won’t be able to determine if this means more consistent performance until the Pixel 6a starts shipping in July, though.
Again, Google attributed the performance of the Pixel 6 fingerprint to “advanced security algorithms”. In other words, it’s a feature, not a bug. Still, some Pixel software updates seem to improve the performance of the fingerprint sensor, so perhaps Google can continue to iron things out with the Pixel 7.
How will the Pixel 7’s cameras improve?
Google’s Pixel flagships have earned a reputation for superior camera performance, though it’s usually the phone’s AI-powered software that earns praise. Still, for the Pixel 6 lineup, Google also strengthened the camera hardware. After years of using the 12MP wide angle lens as the main camera on its phones, Google switched to a 50MP sensor.
(Image credit: Tom Guide)
Only Google can say whether there will be a camera upgrade with the Pixel 7. We’ll focus on the Pixel 7 Pro’s telephoto lens. While the current Pro model offers 4x optical zoom, it’s safe to say that Google’s Galaxy S22 phones offer better telephoto features, with the super resolution zoom on the S22 Plus and the S22 Plus producing a relatively clear picture at 30x. It will be interesting to see how the Pixel 7 Pro tries to match up, if that.
What new features will the next generation Tensor chip enable in the Pixel 7?
We know that a new Tensor chipset is headed to Pixel 7 phones. This would mean an improvement in performance over the current chip, although honestly performance is only part of the story here. Silicon includes a dedicated Tensor Processing Unit that powers a number of machine learning-powered features that help differentiate the Pixel from other Android phones.
(image credits: google)
We don’t yet know what new capabilities will be possible with the updated Tensor chipset. But we’re pretty sure Google won’t rest on its reputation here. The Magic Eraser — one of my favorite Pixel 6 tools — is coming to the Pixel 6a, but instead of enabling the same version as before, Google tweaked it. Now, in addition to removing unwanted people and objects with a single tap, you can also change the color and tone of objects so that they don’t distract as much in your shot. An updated Magic Eraser has us thinking that Google has yet to discover things that the Tensor chip can do.
Can we expect the Pixel 7 to have expanded Android support?
Buy a Pixel 6 model, and you’re guaranteed an Android version update until October 2024—essentially three years in which you can expect to grab a new version of Google’s operating system. That sounds generous enough, until you consider that Samsung changed its update policy with the arrival of the Galaxy S22 this year.
Now Samsung’s flagships from the past two years may be planning a four-year Android update with this year’s Galaxy A midrange model. It is attractively close to iPhone territory in terms of support.
If I were to Google, I’d be a little embarrassed that another phone manufacturer was promising more updates to my software than I could for my phone. The launch of the Pixel 7 gives Google a chance to do something about it.
Will Google keep the Pixel 7 price low?
Google figured out a way to cut down on the competition with the Pixel 6 lineup. The Pro model costs $100 less than the iPhone 13 Pro and Galaxy S22 Plus, while the Pixel 6 is $100 less than the cheapest iPhone 13 model.
(image credit: shadow_leaks)
Google may have to work harder to keep up with those prices for the Pixel 7. Component prices are rising like everything else, and it’s putting pressure on phone makers’ bottom lines. Persistent rumors claim that the iPhone 14 Pro models will cost $100 more than their predecessors.
Assuming the claim isn’t off-base, Google will have to work hard to ensure that the same economic pressures facing other phone makers don’t affect its pricing. Any increase in the prices of Pixel 7 will negate one of the biggest advantages of the phone.
Pixel 7 Outlook
With the Pixel 7 not coming out until the end of the year, it’ll take a while before we can definitively answer any of these questions. But the fact that we have a lot of questions about what awaits us with the Pixel 7 shows that Google has done a good job in terms of increasing interest in the upcoming phone.
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