Google Pixel 7: How a refined, bug-free Pixel 6 successor could finally put Samsung and Apple on high alert
– both within Google as a phone-maker and in the broader smartphone world.
If Apple and Samsung are the powers of the day, it’s almost as if the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro were speaking truth to power:
Sundar Pichai & Co managed to undercut not only Apple and Samsung but even budget-friendly brands like
– the original flagship killers. Google was running the hood. Well, only in the 9-12 countries where Pixels are sold, but still…
Sorry not sorry.
Pixel 6 & Pixel 6 Pro: An update on the bugs and my experience five months later
It’s beautiful, but it’s Pixel imperfect.
As someone who’s often asked for phone recommendations, after seeing the Pixel 6 series, I was glad I’d just be able to say “get the Pixel!”. And I did. I talked my cousin into buying the vanilla Pixel 6, and I pre-ordered a Pixel 6 Pro for myself.
Great success! Oh, the sweet feeling of getting a bargain! Those who buy pricey Apple and Samsung phones can go take a walk! I’m winning in life over here!
But… then came the bugs…
I put them into two categories – the ones I’ve experienced myself and the ones I’ve read about. And while people have reported things like a second punch-hole, dropping Wi-Fi signal, and ghost-dialing, I’ll focus on my experience.The finicky fingerprint scanner, the broken automatic brightness, the painfully slow charging speeds (slower than what was advertised), and simply inconsistent battery life were all the issues that I experienced and often still experience with my $900 Pixel 6 Pro.
My cousin isn’t nearly as nerdy when it comes to phones, but he can also attest to all of that, except for the battery life issue – the vanilla Pixel 6 simply has better battery life than the Pixel 6 Pro, despite the 8% smaller cell. Deal with it.
Unfortunately, he also wasn’t able to register his fingerprint. Yes! He used his shiny new Pixel 6 with a passcode for five months straight, like a caveman. Again – he’s much more patient than me.
So, what’s the update on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro bug situation?
Ironically, my cousin sent me a screenshot of his working fingerprint reader this morning. About five months and five updates later, Google was able to get it right. He’s buzzing!
As for my experience with the Pixel 6 Pro… it’s better. Especially the fingerprint scanner, which after the last two updates feels 3x faster and more responsive. Sure, this still doesn’t get it to Galaxy S22 level, but it’s so much better than before.
The adaptive brightness, slow charging, poor battery life and disappointing stand-by time? They aren’t fixed. It’s one of those situations where you simply get used to the things you don’t necessarily love, which I’m not a fan of. But here we are.
Did Google always know Pixel 6 and 6 Pro were going to be as problematic as they are?
Maybe. Perhaps Google knew the Pixel 6 series was rushed out the door. These bugs do seem too obvious to miss. Probably that’s why the company gave away $400+ worth of gifts with the $600 Pixel 6, which made it seem like the steal of the decade.My cousin received a pair of Bose QC 45II and a 75 EUR Google store voucher with his purchase. Of course, he was going to keep the phone, despite all the bugs. So, even if those who pre-ordered were unhappy due to the buggy experience, they stuck around. I also received a pair of Bose 700s, but I’m not into them.
I kept the phone because of the incredibly fun camera system, stunning rear design, and Android 12, which grew on me big time. But for the average user, this would be far from enough to keep using a phone with somewhat broken fundamentals like the fingerprint reader, adaptive brightness, and battery life.
Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro: Trademark design is back, but let’s make the Pixels perfect-er
Get to work, Google!
The Pixel 6 bugs are here – some of them are getting fixed, some probably never will. What’s left to do? Of course!… Let’s take a look at what would make the upcoming Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro better than the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro need:
- A faster and more reliable fingerprint scanner
- Reliable adaptive brightness, which doesn’t start fluctuating for no reason
- Better optimization for maximum battery life on a single charge and better stand-by time
- Faster charging speeds, since the Pixel 6 Pro is currently the slowest charging flagship on the market – yes, it’s slower than an iPhone
- A new and improved Tensor chip, for more demanding tasks like video editing; otherwise, Tensor seems to be doing just fine
- An option to take Portrait Mode photos with the zoom camera on the Pro model and good standard Portrait Mode photos, which currently come out oversharpened and overprocessed
- Swap the Pixel 7’s ultra-wide-angle shooter for the 4x zoom camera from the Pro model, which is much more useful – based on the leaks, clearly not happening
- A new, wider, ultra-wide-angle shooter on the Pixel 7 Pro which doesn’t introduce tons of noise in mid-low light scenes
- A new selfie camera with support for 4K video and better photos for the Pixel 7 to match the Pixel 7 Pro
- Improved HDR for photos, with higher contrast – like with the good old Pixel 2
- A redesigned front to give the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro symmetrical bezels, just like the Pixel 5 (leaks say this isn’t happening)
- A smaller Pixel 7, as the Pixel 6 is incredibly big for its screen size (according to the leaked renders and dimensions of the Pixel 7, this one might come with a 6.2-inch screen)
- The power button to be moved below the volume rocker, where it belongs (again, it doesn’t look like this is happening)
Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro don’t need:
- To become more expensive
- A new rear design – the one we have now is recognizable, and great-looking (it seems like Google is listening)
- A new vibration motor – the current one is awesome
- A new main camera – the current 50MP sensor is incredible and must be further optimized
- A new zoom lens – the current 4x zoom camera is the single best zoom camera on the market with the biggest sensor and incredible, real camera-like tunning
Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro: Competition overview
Even if Google ticks off every box from my wishlist, the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro won’t exist in isolation. If you know you want a Pixel phone, chances are you know what you’re getting yourself into, or your cousin’s a tech writer. If that’s not the case, though, your 2022 options will be more than good enough. Let’s take a quick look.
Samsung Galaxy S22 series
Sure, we won’t see another slab flagship from Samsung this year, but the S22 series is already out and ready to take on the current and future competitors.
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 and S22+ phones come with a refined design. Both are much more compact than the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, which will hold true for the Pixel 7 series if Google doesn’t do anything to change that.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is basically a Note now, is a whole different story, though. It comes with a super versatile camera system and an S-Pen. But, for example, I don’t need a 10x optical zoom lens and a stylus. What about you?
Apple iPhone 14 series
It gets a bit more interesting over at Cupertino. Google’s Silicon Valley neighbor is gearing up for a complete overhaul of the iPhone. At least as far as the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are concerned.
Leaks and rumors promise a nostalgic nod to a blast from the past – the iPhone 14 is supposed to resemble a modern-day iPhone 4, which I so wouldn’t mind. A new primary 48MP camera and a punch-hole display are the other standout features said to come to Apple’s 2022 Pro iPhones.
For a change, the vanilla iPhone 14 isn’t going to be accompanied by a mini iPhone. Instead, we’re expecting an iPhone 14 Max. The 14 and 14 Max will most likely keep the iPhone 13’s design language (with a notch), while bringing some expected improvements in the camera processing and battery life departments.
Pixel 7 – Galaxy S22 – iPhone 14 price comparison, if all the rumors and expectations pan out:
If Google keeps the same pricing while introducing at least 70% of the improvements mentioned earlier, we might be looking at a winning Pixel 7 duo.
The other wild card on the table is the iPhone 14 Max. Due to mixed reports, we currently don’t know if this one will come with an added zoom lens and ProMotion, but even if it doesn’t, it will be extremely competitive, especially compared to the Galaxy S22+.
Which new and improved features would you like to see on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro? Let me know!