Google has launched its two newest smartphones, just months after it brought out its Pixel 6a and about a year since the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro debuted. If you’re looking to upgrade your Android smartphone, or wondering what’s new with the Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro, we’ll compare and contrast these two new phones to help you choose between them.
The short and simple answer to the question of what’s new, is that Google has again made significant changes to the design of the Pixel phones. In this case the most obvious difference is a more protruding camera array banded around the top of the phone. This time it also utilizes an aluminum wrap on the camera band to make it stand out and create a visual highlight instead of trying to make it blend in. In a small bit of design differentiation, the camera band on the Pixel 7 Pro is shiny aluminum while the Pixel 7 uses a matte finish.
Both devices have the cutting-edge Tensor G2 chip, fast charging, wireless charging, power share and promise Google’s “Beyond 24-hour battery life” and they integrate seamlessly with other devices in the Pixel universe; see my review of Google Buds Pro and review of the newly launched Pixel Watch to learn more about these devices too.
By and large, you can expect the Pixel 7 Pro to have more features, power, and better specs. But in some cases whether this is going to make a huge difference to you will be up to how you use your smartphone. Here are some of the key differentiators.
When it comes to deciding between a Pixel 7 and a Pixel 7 Pro, the size of the screen should be at the top of your flowchart. If you want a big honking phone that is not a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or an iPhone 14 Pro Max, the 6.7-inch Pixel 7 Pro is the one to consider. However, while the Pixel 7 is a tiny bit smaller than its predecessor, the 6.3-inch screen is still fairly large closely matching the size of a Samsung Galaxy S22+.
Display & Screen resolution
Naturally for high-end phones, you can expect higher screen resolutions on larger displays to ensure sharp visuals. Google has done this with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro and they continued the trend with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. The Pixel 7’s OLED display boasts a 1080×2400 (FHD+) screen resolution at 416 PPI and I found it to be just fine for watching videos. For reading webpages and eBooks, I would recommend using the Pixel 7 Pro with its 1440×3120 (QHD+) OLED display bumping up the PPI to 512.
If you are upgrading from a dated 60 Hz phone, you will notice an improvement the moment you use any of the new Pixel phones. The Pixel 7 has a 90 Hz display resulting to smoother scrolling and animations. Moving up to the Pixel 7 Pro’s 120 Hz display is a bit less noticeable but once you use it daily, it’s hard to go back unless you want to conserve battery life. Having a high refresh rate makes playing action games like Minecraft and Fortnite more enjoyable too.
One of the golden rules of choosing a phone is to not solely base it on the battery capacity. The Pixel 7 Pro houses a 5,000mAh battery which sounds superior over the Pixel 7’s 4,355mAh battery but the Pixel 7 Pro draws more power to light up those extra pixels on the larger screen and higher refresh rate. Google Pixel phones are pretty good on but sadly the Pixel 7 devices don’t score any massive improvements here. I would give this a tie based on my time with the phones but will give the Pixel 7 a slight leg up as you can extend the battery a bit more by lowering the brightness and switching the refresh rate to 60 Hz. Your mileage will vary and future updates might improve things.
Like many other smartphone families, the “Pro” part of the Pixel 7 Pro points to the advanced camera array featuring a 50-megapixel f/1.85 lens, a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 48-megapixel telephoto lens boasting up to 5x optical zoom along with a 10.8-megapixel selfie cam on the front. The good news? The Pixel 7 gets most of that good stuff sans the telephoto lens. So for the typical shutterbug, go for the Pixel 7 unless you prefer framing your shots on the Pixel 7 Pro’s larger screen.
Memory & Storage
While both phones use the same Tensor G2 and Titan M2 combo for processing and security duties, the Pixel 7 Pro has 12 GB of RAM while the Pixel 7 only has 8 GB. The priciest Pixel 7 Pro model exclusively features 512 GB of storage space too which is double the capacity of the top tier Pixel 7 variant and there is no microSD card slot to save you. This might not matter right now but remember, future Android and third-party app updates may utilize the extra RAM and take up extra space so consider the Pixel 7 Pro if you’ll use it well beyond your carrier lock-in period.
What else to know when choosing between Pixel 7 & Pixel 7 Pro
Outside of the size, memory, display and camera differences, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro share a decent amount of premium features.
Both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro come with Android 13 out of the box which means that these phones will be at least 1 major version ahead of the Pixel 6 devices at the end of their 5-year cycles. You also get many of the fun Pixel exclusives like Face Unblur, Magic Eraser, and Live Translate on the camera side and impressively bright 1,000-nit HDR displays. As I mentioned in my Pixel 7 review, the improvements are minuscule compared to the Pixel 6. But as competitors in a crowded smartphone landscape, the years of Pixel refinements and aggressive pricing make both the Pixel 7 ($799 CAD) and Pixel 7 Pro ($1,179 CAD) solid choices.
Check out our review of the all new Pixel Watch too if you’re a Google fan.