As expected, Google announced its new-generation Pixel smartphones at its Made by Google ’22 event today in New York City. They are minor upgrades to last year’s models, with updated Tensor chipsets, fingerprint readers, and cameras.
The new smartphones are attractive and professional looking and offer an evolved take on the design that debuted last year with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Among the minor changes, the camera bar is now metallic instead of black plastic and it provides a nice visual differentiation and better rigidity.
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RAM and storage options are unchanged from last year: the Pixel 7 will come with 8 GB of RAM, the Pixel 7 Pro will come with 12 GB, and each will have 128 and 256 GB storage options. As before, the Pixel 7 Pro will further differentiate from its stablemate with a larger and improved display: 6.7 inches at QHD+ resolutions and up to 120 Hz vs. 6.3-inches at Full HD+ resolutions and up to 90 Hz.
And the Pixel 7 Pro will also have a superior camera system. Both smartphones provide a 50 MP main wide lens and 12 MP ultra-wide lens on the rear and a 10.8 MP front-facing selfie camera. But the Pixel 7 Pro also adds an improved 48 MP telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom (up from 4x on the 6 Pro) and a new Macro Focus mode.
Both smartphones offer IP68 water resistance, Face unlock, and an in-display fingerprint reader. Face unlock was rumored for the Pixel 6 Pro but never appeared, so that’s nice, and the fingerprint reader promises to be better than its predecessor, a very low bar.
Both systems ship with Android 13, of course.
Leaks ahead of the event suggest that the Tensor G2 chipset offers only modest performance improvements over its predecessor, which is found in the Pixel 6, 6 Pro, and 6a. More to the point, Tensor continues to lag behind recent Qualcomm and Apple Silicon flagship chipsets from a performance perspective. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Google chose to focus on the chipset’s ISP (image signal processing) and AI performance instead.
Pricing is the same as last year and is thus reasonable: the Pixel 6 starts at $599 while the Pixel 6 Pro starts at $899. They can be preordered now and will ship next week.