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Google Pixel 7 vs 6 (2023): Is It Time To Upgrade?

The Google Pixel 6 is arguably one of the best phones produced by Google. It saw the company depart from the mid-range approach of previous Pixel phones and move towards a true flagship smartphone. With the Pixel 6, you got a better build, better display, better camera, and a new Tensor chip โ€” but at a familiar mid-range price point.

Given all the features the Pixel 6 offered, it became a customer favorite for its value.

Enter the Pixel 7. Google’s latest smartphone iteration builds on the success of its predecessor. It even comes at the same price at launch. But what’s new with the Google Pixel 7? And are these changes worth upgrading from a phone like the Google Pixel 6? In this Google Pixel 7 review, we compare it against its predecessor.

Google Pixel 7 vs 6 Smartphone Comparison Chart

ModelGoogle Pixel 7Google Pixel 6
 
Price
Dimensions and Weight6.13 x 2.88 x 0.34 in.
6.95 oz
6.24 x 2.94 x 0.35 in.
7.30 oz
Display6.3-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080p)6.4-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080p)
ChipsetTensor G2Tensor
RAM8 GB8 GB
Storage Options128 GB / 256 GB128 GB / 256 GB
Rear Camera50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide
Front Camera10.8MP (ฦ’/2.2)8MP (ฦ’/2.0)
Battery4355 mAh, 24 hours battery life4614 mAh, 24 hours battery life
Wireless ChargingYesYes
Fingerprint UnlockYesYes
Face UnlockYesNo
Always-on DisplayYesYes
DurabilityIP68 dust/water resistant, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus display cover glassIP68 dust/water resistant, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus display cover glass
ColorsObsidian, Snow, LemongrassSorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral, Stormy Black
Release DateOctober 2022October 2021

Design and Build

The Google Pixel 7 offers a refined design and improved build that gives it a more premium feel than the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 7 vs 6 Design comparison
Google’s Pixel 7 (left) is actually smaller than the Pixel 6 (right), although the difference is minimal

The Pixel 7 is more of a refinement of the Pixel 6. You still get the visor-esque rear camera bar, a design feature becoming emblematic of the Pixel lineup. However, on the Pixel 7, it sports a matte aluminum cover, merging seamlessly with the aluminum side frame of the phone. The choice of material also lends the Pixel 7 a more premium feel.

Also gone is the polarizing dual-tone finish of the Pixel 6. While it wasn’t particularly ugly, the two-tone design seemed out of place for a phone competing with other flagships. On the Pixel 7, Google keeps the colors uniform throughout the rear. It really shouldn’t matter at the end of the day since you’re likely covering the phone with a protective case.

Speaking of protection, both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 enjoy IP68 dust and water resistance. The Pixel 7, however, upgrades to a Gorilla Glass Victus for the back. It’s a thinner material than the Gorilla Glass 6 on the Pixel 6 but more scratch-resistant and durable. Fortunately, both phones use Victus for their respective AMOLED panels.

And what about displays? Interestingly, the Pixel 7 gets a smaller 6.3-inch screen than the Pixel 6’s 6.4-inch estate. It’s barely noticeable, like how the Pixel 7 is slightly smaller, thinner, and lighter than its predecessor. Plus, both screens are Full HD+ and have a 90Hz refresh rate.

Camera

The Pixel 7 gets a modest front camera upgrade from the Pixel 6 but enjoys several software enhancements for taking photos overall.

Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6 camera comparison
A look at the camera systems of the Pixel 7 (left) and Pixel 6 (right)

As far as camera hardware is concerned, there aren’t big changes. Google is known to keep the same camera hardware across multiple Pixel generations. The Pixel 7 comes with 50MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide rear cameras like the Pixel 6. For the ultra-wide modules, you have similar 114ยฐ field of view for both phones. Like the Pixel 6, you also get optical image stabilization for the 50MP lens on the Pixel 7.

The Pixel 7 does upgrade to a 10MP front camera from the Pixel 6’s 8MP. Plus, the front camera supports a long-awaited feature since the Pixel 4, which is Face Unlock. It isn’t as secure yet as other facial recognition systems out there, but it’s a good alternative to the Pixel’s fingerprint unlock on days you have greasy hands.

Most of the camera improvements comes down to software. Real Tone performance, for instance, has been improved on the Pixel 7. Super Res Zoom has also been bumped to 8x compared to the 7x on the Pixel 6. It’s not as impressive as the Pixel 7 Pro’s, but image quality is still solid considering the phone doesn’t have a dedicated telephoto lens.

With the next Tensor G2 chip (more on this update below), the Pixel 7 now has Photo Unblur. The feature enables the Pixel 7 to take multiple photos from both main and ultrawide lens to ensure you get less blurry images. Moreover, Night Sight mode is faster on the latest iteration. Lastly, Guided Frame now has audio prompts for persons with impaired vision.

Specs and Software

Google’s Pixel 7 boasts the new Tensor G2 chip, which boasts upgrade GPU and machine learning capability over the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6 chipset and software
The Pixel 7’s Tensor G2 enables layers of security (left); key features of the Google Tensor on the Pixel 6 (right)

Google’s new phone is equipped with the Tensor G2 chip. While it is more power efficient than older models, the emphasis is on Google’s machine learning capabilities. For instance, the Photo Unblur feature is processed with just a tap of a button. It also boasts improved processing of audio transcripts and stronger security. These AI-powered features should make the Pixel 7 smarter as you use it.

With the Tensor G2, Google has also upgraded the GPU, for 20% better performance and efficiency. However, in terms of day-to-day use there isn’t a significant difference between the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6’s chipsets.

In terms of internals, the Pixel 7 comes with the same 8GB RAM as the Pixel 6. You also get the same 128GB and 256GB storage configurations. Unfortunately, neither phones support expandable storage, so if you’re someone who takes a lot of photos and videos, the 256GB will be the better option.

Google’s Pixel 7 launched with the Android 13, although the Pixel 6 can be upgraded to it as well. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy phones which come with the One UI skin and a ton of bloatware, Pixel phones run a stock version of Android with Google’s Pixel launcher. So unless you’re an Android purist, you may find the Pixel phones ‘lack’ software you typically find in other Android phones.

Battery Life and Pricing

The Pixel 7 has a smaller battery than the Pixel 6, but battery life remains the same.

Google Pixel 7 vs 6 Battery Life comparison
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 both support fast charging and offer an extreme battery saver mode

Interestingly, the Pixel 7 has a smaller battery than the Pixel 6. Google’s new phone comes with a 4,355 mAh battery compared to the Pixel 6’s 4614 mAh. Despite the downgrade, Google says the Pixel 7 offers the same battery performance as its predecessor. This translates to about 24 hours of use, although consumer reviews are more modest.

Charging speeds haven’t changed. It still takes 30 minutes to power your Pixel phones to 50%. Both devices support fast charging, but you will need the 30W USB-C charger.

As for pricing, Google has carved a niche thanks to offering flagship specs at a mid-range price. The Pixel 7 retails for $599, just like the Pixel 6 was at launch. Of course, as an older model, the Pixel 6 sells for less these days.

It’s worth noting, however, that Google only offers three years of Android version upgrades. So while the Pixel 7 is more expensive, it’s more future-proof than the Pixel 6.

Verdict

If you’re getting a Pixel for the first time, the Pixel 7 is a better option. Otherwise, the Pixel 6 is still a solid smartphone.

The Google Pixel 7 is not a major upgrade from the Google Pixel 6, but more of a refinement. Instead, the Pixel 7 emphasizes internals, boasting a Tensor G2 chip that makes it smarter than its predecessor. You’ll see a lot of these improvements, particularly in camera, graphics performance, speech features, and security.

For first-time buyers, the Pixel 7 is a more future-proof phone. This is worth noting since Google only offers three years of Android version upgrades.

But for those who own a Pixel 6, the Pixel 7 may not be enough of a meaningful upgrade. For instance, you get identical rear camera sensors on both phones. The Pixel 6 even has a slightly larger display and battery unit. There’s a reason why the model has become a success. It’s a solid smartphone that’s hard to top.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the key difference between the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 6?

Arguably the biggest change the Pixel 7 offers over the Pixel 6 is its new Google Tensor G2 chip. The new custom SoC offers better machine learning capabilities, seen in improved camera features, stronger security, and more efficient performance.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Pixel 7 have a telephoto lens?

No. The Pixel 7 does not have a telephoto lens. The phone only comes with a 12MP ultra-wide and 50MP wide rear camera system.

๐Ÿ“Œ How long is the warranty of the Google Pixel 6?

The Google Pixel 6 comes with a one-year warranty.

๐Ÿ“Œ What type of audio system does the Google Pixel 6 have?

Google’s Pixel 6 comes with stereo speakers and a three-microphone system.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.