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Fast Charge: The Pixel 7 Pro is the standout Android phone of the year

OPINION: I’ve spent the past week reviewing the Pixel 7 Pro, a phone I had high hopes for but didn’t think would trouble some of the best phones Trusted Reviews has tested this year.

After watching the Made by Google event before the review units arrived, I was struggling to really understand what was new and what would make this phone any different from the Pixel 6 Pro. Google reps waxed lyrical about the phone’s improvement, but my excitement level was low.

This all changed when I started using the phone.

The Pixel 7 Pro isn’t a huge jump from the 6 Pro, and if you upgraded to Google’s latest last year then you’re probably fine to skip this generation. But the 7 Pro makes a number of tweaks, both software and hardware, that make this a generally much better device and my favourite Android phone of the year so far.

The Pixel 7 Pro

For those in Europe, the pricing of the phone is the immediate tempting factor. With Apple seriously upping its prices in this region with the iPhone 14 series, the fact that the Pixel 7 Pro sticks to the same £849 / €899 price as before is very welcome.

Compared to the similarly-sized (and similarly-specced) iPhone 14 Pro Max, the Pixel 7 Pro is £250 more affordable in the UK and a whopping €580 cheaper in countries like France. That’s a massive difference that could very well sway those looking to upgrade.

It also undercuts the RRP of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (£1149 / €1249) and is more in line with the price of the OnePlus 10 Pro (€899 / £799). If I had to choose between spending my money on a Pixel 7 Pro or one of those two Android phones, I would choose the Google option – it’s just far better value.

On the phone itself, the Pixel 7 Pro feels like the most complete flagship from Google. My time with the 6 Pro was plagued with numerous bugs and issues, janky performance from the Tensor chipset and general oddities I wasn’t used to on a phone at that price. The story has been completely the opposite this time, with the Pixel 7 Pro running fantastically.

Google has taken a clever approach with the Pixel 7 Pro, offering an alternative to those that have grown tired of phones being all about huge (and largely pointless) speed increases. With its Tensor G2 chipset, Google has kept general performance in games and day-to-day tasks the same – but it has beefed up the AI processes.

Features like the Magic Eraser, Unblur, Voice Recorder and so on are noticeably quicker and more accurate. Actually utilising processor performance for tasks that make a difference every day rather than beefing it up purely to look good on benchmarking apps is a direction I hope we see more of.

The added smarts of the Tensor G2 help the camera too. I love the photos taken on the 7 Pro: they’re full of contrast, joyous colours and lots of detail. Whether it’s bright, murky or dark, the camera produces a great shot. And then there are the camera modes that, instead of being gimmicky like the modes you’ll find elsewhere, actually make sense.

Unblur can take a shot you’d probably delete and bring it back to life, while Magic Eraser will easily remove unwanted guests. Guided Frame helps people who need it take selfies with vibrations and sounds, while Real Tone captures the most accurate skin tones anywhere.

Don’t forget about the ecosystem

The final piece of the puzzle Google has managed to get right this year is the ecosystem that surrounds the phone. The Pixel Watch is a great smartwatch for those who don’t want a hulking fitness watch and it matches the style of the phone. The Pixel Buds Pro are easily Google’s best earbuds yet and the first to pack higher-end features like ANC.

Pixel 7 phone

The Pixel 7 Pro is full of features you’ll want to use – and for the first time in a Pixel phone, everything works as it should (at least it has in my time with the device). The basic spec of the phone might not have changed much, but as a whole product and as part of a wider ecosystem, Google might just have hit gold this year.

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