Thursday, 13 October 2022 10:21

The new Google Pixel 7, 7 Pro, and Watch - first impressions Featured

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Google's latest flagship handsets are now available - the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, providing the purest Android experience with hardware specs to rival competing flagship smartphones from Apple and Samsung. Also available is the brand new Google Pixel Watch LTE with Fitbit.

Google's Pixel handset range first launched in 2016, which at the time was considered the best smartphone camera due to its software optimisations like HDR+.

The brand-new Pixel range sports impressive specs, including the Google Tensor G2 system on a chip (SoC), up from last year’s Pixel 6/6a Google Tensor. The Tensor SoC replaced the previous Qualcomm Snapdragon processors used in all previous Pixel models and was a clear winner with snappy responsiveness and greater software processing capabilities to enhance photographs.


This year, the Tensor G2 processor beefs the handset up yet again, and once more the camera is a direct beneficiary of the raw grunt available.

And, while the Google Pixel 6 set new sales records for the company, it was marred by consumer concerns over software issues that caused display glitches, delayed - or even disabled - fingerprint logins, randomly placed calls, disappearing camera editing features, randomly blocking some incoming calls and Wi-Fi problems. Each of these was ultimately resolved by software patches but did erode the initial excitement where Google’s Pixel 6 was lauded as the most exciting phone, more than the Apple iPhone 13.

Well, the news is good. iTWire has been working with the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro and the Wi-Fi is stable, the screen is glorious, the fingerprint sensor is snappy, and they have delivered rock-solid, highly responsive performance.

Let's talk about the raw numbers:

Both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro

Display: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Processor: Google Tensor G2
Rear camera: 50MP sensor f/1.85 lens and 12MP ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 lens
Battery: non-removable, fast charging, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging
Materials: aluminium frame, glass back, IP68 dust and water resistance
Operating system: Android 13, with a minimum of three years of major OS releases, and five years of security updates

Pixel 7 specific

Display: Pixel 7 - 6.3" OLED 90Hz 2400x1080 FHD+
Storage: 128GB or 256GB
RAM: 8GB LPDDR5
Front camera: 8MP sensor with f/2.2 lens and 92.8 degree field of view
Battery: 4355 mAh
Colours: Obsidian, Snow, and Lemongrass

Pixel 7 Pro specific

Display: Pixel 7 Pro: 6.7" LTPO OLED 120Hz 3120x1440 QHD+
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
RAM: 12GB LPDDR5
Front camera: 11.1MP sensor with f/2.2 lens and 92.8 degree field of view, also laser detect autofocus and optical image stabilisation
Rear camera: Additional 48MP telephoto sensor with f/3.5 lens
Battery: 5000 mAh
Colours: Obsidian, Snow, and Hazel

The Google Tensor G2 is a 64-bit octa-core system on a chip with a CPU, TrustZone and Titan M2 security, a Mali-G710 MP7 GPU, and LPDDR5 RAM. It provides seriously noticeable grunt, making the Pixel experience fluid and seamless, natural and effortless.

Of course, specs only tell part of the story. Looks-wise both handhelds have a premium feel with subtle curves. Both devices are very bright; in fact, swiping down from the top to reveal settings and then swiping right to take brightness to the max gives the brightest screen I have ever seen on a smartphone.

Nicely, Android 13 is packed full of valuable hints for experienced users and newcomers alike. They are unobtrusive when you already know your way around, and welcome when you don’t. For example, open the camera for the first time and you receive a brief introduction to each of the different modes. Each time you open the camera afterwards there is no prompt, but the explanations are still visible with a simple click on the small “?”. This helps you remember the difference between, say, long exposure and action pan when taking motion shots. (Namely, long exposure adds a creative blur to moving subjects and you hold the camera still, while action pan focuses on a moving subject and adds a creative blur to the background.)

 

The camera

Other tips abound throughout, but this takes us to the camera which is replete with options from night sight, motion, portrait, regular camera, video, cinematic, and other modes. These modes include panorama, photo sphere, and Google Lens - whereby you can search for items, look up food, solve homework, translate text, and other smart things.

Video options include normal, slow mode, and time-lapse - the latter two have further options of auto and manual settings ranging from 5x to 120x. This is all on top of the zoom levels, too.

On the 7 Pro, the camera allows you to zoom out from 1x to 0.5x, providing a wider view, and then zoom in to 30x, switching from optical zoom to digital zoom as it moves along. The device augments its already impressive hardware with the fast processing of the Google Tensor G2 SoC to provide additional enhancements and smarts.

Here are some samples, though note they are scaled down for web usage - the original photographs are 3072x4080 resolution and up to 8MB each. However, this ought to demonstrate the zoom range and detail -

1.0x - normal photo

Pixel7ProCamera 1.0

0.5x - zoomed out

Pixel7ProCamera 0.5

30x - all the way in

Pixel7ProCamera 30

In all three cases, I'm standing in the exact same location.

Here's motion blur; well, maybe my cat was a little too quick but you can see how well this captures an object.

Original:

Pixel7Pro motion1

Motion blur:

Pixel7Pro motion2

And here's a zoom-in on my cat from the same height and distance.

Pixel7Pro Cat

There is more to be said, but ultimately the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are worthy contenders of the flagship title. They are professional phones that look great, feel great, perform excellently, and have huge battery life. On my first day, I set up the phone, installed apps and updates, used the camera, watched videos, played Fortnite, and even after a day of use was still at 65% capacity.

 

Google Pixel Watch

Meanwhile, the Google Pixel Watch is Google’s first watch built inside and out that brings together helpful guidance from Google plus Fitbit’s best health and fitness features, all in a stunning new design.

Pixel Watch Lifestyle 4

The watch is sophisticated, comfortable, and durable. It includes 4G LTE so it can remain connected even without your phone. Its bold, circular, 3D domed glass blends seamlessly into the stainless steel body giving it a slim appearance and, in fact, it’s even comfortable to sleep with.

It’s water-resistant up to 50 metres, and scratch resistant. It’s driven by the tactile crown to control screen scrolling, open shortcuts, and open the app tray. A side button will bring up your most recently used apps.

Watch faces and watch bands can be customised, and it’s powered by Google Wear OS 3.5 meaning you have all your Google apps like Gmail, calendar events, Google Pay, or the Google Assistant right on your wrist.

Besides being an elegant and richly featured smartwatch, it’s also deeply integrated with Fitbit to provide heart-rate tracking, on-device machine learning, and 40 exercise modes. It allows you to track your workouts, but also watches your health for signs of atrial fibrillation, and scores your sleep to aid you in better rest and health.

Other metrics and insights include breathing, heart rate variability, and many more. You can see insights in the Fitbit app, and you receive Fitbit Premium membership for six months for both new and returning users. This provides deeper insights along with 800 workouts and 400 mindfulness sessions.

The Google Pixel Watch works with other Android 8.0+ phones and is available in Bluetooth/Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/4G LTE connectivity.

It has up to 24 hours of battery life even with an all-day continuous per-second heart rate and heart and activity tracking and can charge up to 50% in just 30 minutes.

 

Pricing and availability

The Google Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel Watch are all available for purchase today from the Google store, JB Hi-Fi, Telstra, Vodafone, OfficeWorks, and Harvey Norman, and coming to Optus soon.

  • Google Pixel 7: from $999, depending on storage
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro: from $1,299, depending on storage
  • Google Pixel Watch Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: $549
  • Google Pixel Watch Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/LTE: $649

 

Stay tuned to iTWire - we'll have more coverage of the new Google Pixel range as we use it more.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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