While you could spend time crunching numbers and comparing specs — to the point where you end up wanting to rip your hair out — you could also just buy the Google Pixel 7 and call it a day. It’s the phone that keeps jumping out to me after skimming through Black Friday deals all morning, and if you’re in the market to get a new phone, it’s the one you should almost certainly spend your dollars on.
What makes the Pixel 7 so irresistible
The Pixel 7 is already one of the better Android deals when it’s not on sale, so its Black Friday promo just makes it all the more tempting. If you’re OK with the base model that comes with 128GB of storage, the Pixel 7 can be yours for a mere $499. If you need to step up to the 256GB model, you’re still only paying $599. That’s $100 off the usual MSRP and puts the Pixel 7 on a value pedestal no other smartphone can match this year.
I say this for a few reasons, the first of which has to do with the Pixel 7’s hardware and specs. The Pixel 7 is just a darn good-looking smartphone. The camera bar is incredibly sleek, the metal/glass construction feels outstanding, and it all comes in a package that’s easy to use one-handed. Taking up the front of the phone is a 6.3-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. It’s bright, colorful, and moves with excellent fluidity.
The rest of the specs are also strong. Google’s Tensor G2 chip handles most apps and games with ease, 8GB of RAM allows for reliable multitasking, and you have wireless charging support for convenient refueling. Battery life has also proven surprisingly long-lasting, with Digital Trends’ Andy Boxall saying he could get through two days on a single charge.
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Camera quality is another strong suit for the Pixel 7. Google equips the phone with a 50-megapixel primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and a 10.8MP selfie camera. In typical Pixel fashion, the Pixel 7 delivers photos that are lusciously vibrant, full of great colors, loaded with detail, and just pleasing on the eyes in every way imaginable. It’s not the most technically impressive camera system on paper, but the results more than speak for themselves.
And then there’s the software. The Google Pixel 7 ships with Android 13 out of the box and is promised three years of major Android updates in the future. That longevity adds welcome peace of mind, but the software experience available today is darn near perfect — largely thanks to all of the helpful AI features Google lets you run wild with. Calling your phone or electric company and have to navigate through complicated call menus? The Pixel 7 transforms those automated menus into buttons you can read through and press. On hold with a number? The Pixel 7 uses the Google Assistant to hold your spot in line for you while you go about your day. Get a voice message from someone but have difficulty hearing? The Pixel 7 can automatically transcribe that voice message into a text for you to read. You may not use these features all the time or every day, but when you do need them, they become really difficult to live without.
Is there any reason you shouldn’t buy the Pixel 7? Some users have reported pesky software bugs — some worse than others. Pixel phones have long struggled with this, and the Pixel 7 is no different. But even as someone who had a bug-ridden Pixel 7 Pro, I can’t find any good reason for you to skip this year’s Black Friday sale.
$499 is an unbelievably good price for a phone of the Pixel 7’s caliber. It looks great, performs admirably, has a joyful camera system, and ships with software that can legitimately make your life easier. Unless you absolutely must have an iPhone, the Pixel 7 is the best Black Friday phone deal you really shouldn’t overlook — and the only one you should seriously consider spending any money on.
I put the iPhone’s Dynamic Island on my Pixel 7 Pro — and I can’t go back
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro got a big refresh last year, and key to that was a new selfie camera design with a pill-shaped cutout. Only, this is no normal hole -- it's the home of a new feature, the oddly-named "Dynamic Island." It's a notification bubble that lives behind the selfie camera that displays information like music tracks, timers, and anything else you need to know, but don't need a full screen for. If you're playing music on Spotify, it'll display the track name and controls. If someone calls you, it'll show the person's contact information. Waiting for an Uber? It'll show you how far away it is. It's even tied into the Face ID unlock process. It's a great use of the selfie camera — and one with a bright future.
At least, that's what we thought. The Dynamic Island has had a tough start, as app support was extremely limited, meaning it didn't live up to Apple's promises. This persisted for a number of months before the Dynamic Island finally got what it needed to live up to its hype.
I have to stop using the Pixel 7a — but I don’t want to
I think the Google Pixel 7a is all the phone I need. I’m not saying it’s the only phone I’ll ever use, seeing how my job and interest in mobile tech don’t work that way. But the Pixel 7a is so excellent that if I was a free spirit, I’d buy it, settle down, and not worry about any other phones for a couple of years.
My admiration for the Pixel 7a goes beyond it just ticking a few basic requirement boxes and extends to the device’s overall ability and the ease with which it has fitted into my life. I genuinely think it’s a better purchase than the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro, and if I didn’t have to swap my SIM card to another phone this past weekend, I’d still be using the Pixel 7a today.
The software makes my life easy
Google can create the perfect Pixel phone — if it changes one thing
A new Google Pixel A-series has launched, and it's sure to make reasonably priced phones quiver in their boots. The Google Pixel 7a introduces new features for the A-series, including a 90Hz refresh rate, the highest megapixel count ever on a midrange Google phone, and the Tensor G2 processor. It's a solid smartphone, and it puts up a good fight against a number of similar devices — including the Samsung Galaxy A54 and even the flagship Google Pixel 7.
But the fact that it's able to stand up against its flagship brethren highlights a concern -- the price. The Pixel 7a costs $499, which is only $100 away from the Pixel 7. That small disparity means there's a big gap underneath the Pixel 7a for another phone. The $349 Pixel 6a helps to fill some of that gap, but it's not enough. It's time Google embraced the budget phone market by creating a Pixel phone for those who want a truly cheap smartphone with the Pixel name. Not convinced? Let me make my case.
A budget Pixel would be good for everyone