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Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6: wait for the next one or buy the current one?

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intro

Google’s Pixel 7 may be a few months after release now, but Google was kind enough to show us a sneak peek of Pixel 7 at this year’s I/O convention. Soooo… worth the wait?
The Google Pixel 6 is a pretty good phone in every way for the $600 it asks from you. It has the same main camera as the Pro and excellent computational photography, thanks to the Tensor chip inside.
The question is, will the Google Pixel 7 bring enough upgrades to make it worth waiting a few months, rather than buying a Pixel 6 now? Or will it be good enough to warrant an annual upgrade from devoted fans? I’d say the answer to both questions is “no” – grab a Pixel 6 now and live your life on your terms, no need to wait and wait. But if your cellular plan ends sometime within the next 2-6 months, it might be worth jumping straight onto the Pixel 7. It depends on.
On what? Well, about how much improvement the next Tensor (Tensor 2?) will be and how well Google will fix the bugs that have been terrorizing Pixel fans since the release of the 6.
Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6 in a nutshell:

  • Same design language, slightly different accents
  • Presumably the same camera setting on both
  • Old Generation Tensor vs Next Generation Tensor
  • Same screen size, possibly same 90Hz refresh rate
  • Google should bring the same Android to both

Index:

Design and display quality

Hoping for improvements

We don’t have much information on the Pixel 7 at this point, but it goes without saying that it will likely have an AMOLED panel, the same as the Pixel 6. And the refresh rate will be at least 90Hz, though, as even midrange phones are these days. 120 Hz, Google could upgrade to that. Yes, the non-Pro pixels cost $600, but there are plenty of phones in that range right now that offer 120Hz.

Personal opinion here – I don’t mind 90Hz at all, if it improves battery life. The Pixel 6 hasn’t been phenomenal in that area, though, so the point is up for grabs.

The Pixel 7 is expected to be the same size as its predecessor, meaning we’ll likely see something akin to a 6.4-inch display on the front with a fairly thin bezel around it. In fact, from what little Google showed us of the next-gen Pixel, it looks like the overall design won’t be changed much, meaning the same rounded corners and edges – a nice ergonomic feel all around.

As for the screen quality, we can’t say we were super impressed with the Pixel 6. It was a little cloudy, not very vibrant, and the auto-brightness didn’t help. We hope the Pixel 7 at least comes with a slightly improved panel to combat other budget-friendly OLED phones that do a little better here.

Water and dust resistance in modern smartphones is basically a standard. The Pixel 6 has an IP 68 rating and we expect the Pixel 7 to have the same.

When it comes to biometrics, we expect the same optical fingerprint scanner below the display. The one on the Pixel 6 was somewhat slow and imprecise, so there’s some room for improvement by the Pixel 7 there.

Don’t expect a headphone jack on either phone, of course.

What’s in the box: Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6

As minimalist as can be – a telephone and a cable, plus some books that no one ever reads.

Performance and software

Can the tensor improve?

Google’s Pixel 6 line had the very first chips designed by Google – the Tensor. Not much of an artist, but raw performance was never the point. The Tensor SoC is built with cores that enhance the phone’s AI and photo processing and power the two core functions that Pixel phones are known for: excellent computational photography and enhanced Google Assistant capabilities.

A 2022 Pixel will definitely have a new Tensor chip – could be called the Tensor 2, we don’t know – and it will most likely have a small performance upgrade over the old one. Those are the laws of the smartphone jungle.

We certainly don’t expect the Tensor 2 in the Pixel 7 to race faster than a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, but it will probably still fit into that “pretty good” category that the Tensor gen 1 comfortably occupied. At best, it will likely match the non-Plus Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in other 2022 flagships.

For software, both phones will run nearly identical versions of Android. Google makes the Pixel, Google makes Android — it makes sense for Pixels to get timely updates to the latest builds with all the features Google intended for them.

That said, we don’t rule out adding some new shiny extras exclusively for the Pixel 7 line. Apple is doing this with iPhones, Google may be doing it with its own devices too. All that’s left for us to do is… wait and see.

Camera

Great on both sides

Last year, Google made a significant upgrade to its main cameras, giving the Pixel 6 phones 50 MP sensors. We absolutely believe that Google will stick to that spec as there’s little point in upgrading it one more time. As we all know, the Pixel magic all happens after the photo, when the image signal processor and post-processing algorithms take over.

The Pixel 7 can improve on that 12MP ultra-wide camera or the 8MP selfie camera a bit. As it stands, that selfie camera is a bit behind the competition, and we know Google could put a better one out there — the Pixel 6 Pro had one.

Or Google could upgrade the optics to get a slightly wider aperture than the F1.9 – it’s pretty good, but then again some competitors go as wide as F1.6, which makes a huge difference for low-light or low-light scenarios. shots that have a lot of creamy bokeh.

Plus, one feature the Pixel-like is missing, and other Androids have, is 8K video recording. We don’t insist on seeing that feature – there are hardly any consumer devices in homes that can play or edit 8K footage flawlessly – but Google could choose to include it to stay in the specs.

Audio quality and haptics

The Pixel 6 has OK speakers that didn’t surprise us in any way. They’re a little mediocre, a little tinny, and not something you’ll be listening to music through. Loud and clear enough for main talking videos.

It would be nice to see the Pixel 7 improve a bit here. Again, this isn’t a priority – we’d rather see Google stick to the $600 price tag rather than improve secondary features.

As for headphone jacks – none of these phones have them. Should we call it?

Google’s haptic engines have been very popular in recent years. And Google knows it, because it always loads up a bunch of little haptic vibrations and effects to give you feedback as you navigate Android. They are satisfying, cool and accurate. We expect nothing less from the Pixel 7.

Battery life and charging

We expect similar results

Last year’s Google Pixel 6 had a 4,614 mAh battery, which, using the efficiency of the Tensor chip, allowed the Pixel 6 to keep its screen on for a while – 14 hours during our browsing test.

Whatever changes Google introduces this year with the Pixel 7, they’re likely to deliver more or less the same result. A slightly more powerful processor with a few mAh on top of the battery, or a more energy-efficient Tensor with a slightly smaller battery. We will see. What we do know is that consumers hate it when they have to adjust for shorter battery life, and Google will probably want to avoid tangling springs.

In terms of charging, the Pixel line jumped to 30W last year. It’s a pretty good spec for phone chargers, and we don’t insist on Google trying to improve it. Yes, there are phones with 80W and even 120W wallbricks, but the jury is still out on how their batteries handle the rapid top-ups over a period of time. So let’s stick to 30W, that’s fast enough.

Of course, both phones support wireless charging as this is the industry standard these days.

Specifications comparison:

The expected specs of the Pixel 7 vs. the Pixel 6:

Obviously, this early in the game, most Pixel 7 specs are subject to speculation or educated guesswork. We do think Google could push the display to 120Hz, but we wouldn’t mind if it stays at 90Hz.

The current spec sheet is pretty bare, as information on the Pixel 7 line is still scarce. But for what we have, it looks like it won’t be a big departure from the Pixel 6.

Summary and final verdict

So, should you wait for the Pixel 7 or just buy a Pixel 6 right away? If you need a smartphone right here and now, I’d say just go out and buy the Pixel 6. Especially if it comes with a price cut. The Pixel 6 is a lot of phone for the $600, although many users have been reporting various bugs in the software since its release. Some have been fixed, the others – Google is still working on it.

But putting that aside, and assuming the Pixel 7 has a flawless launch, it has the potential to be (one of) the best value phones in 2022. So if you’re not in a rush, you might want to put an ear to it. the ground, see what additional leaks come through in the coming months.

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