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(Pocket-lint) - In 2021, Google ripped up its own playbook in so many ways with the Pixel 6. It delivered a striking new look with completely new software, and even teased and showed off the phone months in advance to get ahead of the leakers. 

With the Pixel 7 in 2022, the name of the game is refinement, but with the same approach to marketing. We've known what the Pixel 7 would look like for months. What we didn't know was how it would build on the performance of its predecessor, and if it could deliver a significantly better experience. We've spent some time with it to find out.

Our quick take

The overriding feeling of using the Pixel 7 is that not much has really changed since the previous model. Yes, there are enhancements to some of the features and a slimming down of the body, and that does make a difference, but the essence of Pixel remains the same. It's essentially like using a slightly better, more grown up version of the Pixel 6. 

That's no bad thing though. The Pixel 7 delivers a great every-day experience, and the new features like the Photo Unblur in Photos, and the facial unlock, add conveniences to a phone that's all about making it as easy as possible to do very complex things. 

Want to take a photo of the stars at night? No problem. Point it at the sky, take a photo. Have an old out-of-focus shot of a memory you don't want to lose? Great, Photo Unblur will let you sharpen up the image and make it better. Or maybe you just want to take a good selfie without any thought. Google Pixel 7 has you covered. And while camera is obviously a highlight, the effortlessness with which it handles the every day stretches across the whole device. That's what makes it such an enjoyable phone to use. 

Google Pixel 7 review: The same, but different

Google Pixel 7

4.5 stars - Pocket-lint recommended
For
  • Solid and attractive design
  • Great camera system
  • Vibrant and bright display
  • Clean and fluid software experience
Against
  • Ultrawide camera not as strong as primary
  • Not hugely different to Pixel 6

Design: What's changed from the Pixel 6? 

  • 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7 mm - 197g
  • Gorilla Glass Victus front and back
  • IP68 water/dust resistance 
  • Obsidian, Snow and Lemongrass colours
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With Pixel 6 Google changed its design language for Pixel significantly, so it wasn't ever likely that things were going to change drastically for the Pixel 7. 

Look at them from the front and you'll see the two are basically identical in terms of having that rectangular shaping with straight bezels and minimal rounding in the corners. Plus, there's that now instantly recognisable camera bar across the back of the phone. 

Pocket-lint Google Pixel 7 hardware photo 3

And here is where the biggest visual change has occurred. Because, instead of having a glossy glass panel running along that bar, Google opted for a solid aluminium bar, giving it a much more seamless look, and cutting out a pill shaped area for the two cameras. 

One other small difference is the fact that the two-tone colours scheme is gone. Both the glass above that camera bar and beneath are the same. On this white model, it's a very clean overall look and one that we think is just a tad tidier and more refined. 

That's also reflected in the slimmed down size. It's shorter, narrower, thinner and lighter than its predecessor, making it seem a bit less chunky in the hand and the bezels less prominent around the display. It just feels like an all-round more polished and high-end phone. 

Pocket-lint Google Pixel 7 hardware photo 15

We also really like the solid feel of the phone. It feels well made, and the IP68 rating will ensure that dust and water will be kept at baydcd.