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Google Pixel 7 Pro vs Pixel 6 Pro: worth the upgrade?

Been waiting all year for new hardware releases from Google? Great news — the Pixel 7 series is finally here! Though the base Pixel 7 is still a great choice, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is the device everyone’s after, with its powerful specs, new colorways, and upgraded processor.

But with so many smartphones hitting the market, how do you know which new device to invest your hard-earned cash in? If you’re considering upgrading from the Pixel 6 Pro, it’s worthwhile to note that this is more of an iterative update, and there’s not much to separate these two smartphones. We’re here to help you decide whether to upgrade or invest in Google’s latest flagship by comparing the Pixel 7 Pro to the Pixel 6 Pro across several core categories. So before you make that decision to upgrade or buy the new Pixel 7 Pro, keep reading.

Specs

Google Pixel 7 Pro Google Pixel 6 Pro
Size 162.9 by 76.6 by 8.9mm (6.4 by 3.0 by 0.3 inches) 163.9 by 75.9 by 8.9mm (6.45 by 2.99 by 0.35 inches)
Weight 212 grams (7.5 ounces) 210 grams (7.41 ounces)
Screen size 6.7-inch OLED with 10-120Hz 6.7-inch OLED with 10-120Hz
Screen resolution 3120 x 1440 pixels (512 pixels per inch) 3120 x 1440 pixels (512 ppi)
Operating system Android 13 Android 13
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Processor Google Tensor G2 Google Tensor
RAM 12GB 12GB
Camera 50-megapixel wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 48MP telephoto rear

10.8MP front

50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 48MP telephoto rear

11.1MP front

Video 4K at up to 60 frames per second, 1080p at 60 fps 4K at up to 60 fps, 1080p at 120 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.3 Bluetooth 5.2
Ports USB-C 3.2 USB-C 3.1
Fingerprint sensor Under-display, optical sensor Under-display, optical sensor
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 5,000mAh

30W wired charging (charger sold separately)

23W wireless charging

Reverse wireless charging

5,003mAh

30W wired charging (charger sold separately)

23W wireless charging

Reverse wireless charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Obsidian (black), Snow (white), Hazel (dark green/gold) Stormy Black, Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny (peach)
Price Starting at $899 Starting at $649
Buy from Google Google, Amazon, Best Buy
Review score 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and durability

At first glance, the Pixel 7 Pro looks pretty similar to the Pixel 6 Pro, keeping the same polished aluminum frame, smooth glass back, and prominent camera bar. This time around, though, the bar is aluminum and varies in color depending on the model color of choice, which we think looks pretty sleek.

Both devices have the same 6.7-inch 120Hz OLED display and adaptive refresh rate, ensuring everything feels silky smooth. It’s worth noting the Pixel 7 Pro is a hair heavier at 212 grams compared to the Pixel 6 Pro’s 210 grams, but this difference is so slight it’s unnoticeable.

Attention to detail makes the difference between the two phones. This time around, the Pixel 7’s plastic mmWave cutout is smaller than that of its predecessor, plus it blends nicely with the rest of the frame. The device as a whole feels less top-heavy, with much less noticeable curved edges. Not all design choices here are great ones, though — the power button and volume rocker are positioned lower down the side frame, making the volume-down button tricky to reach, and meaning Pixel 6 Pro cases won’t work on Google’s latest flagship.

Both phones also pack an IP68 rating, so you can safely submerge them in freshwater up to around 10 feet for 30 minutes — though we don’t recommend taking your Pixel to the pool. Both are also resistant to dust and foreign particles. The Pixel 7 Pro comes in Obsidian (black), Snow (white), and Hazel (a sophisticated dark green with a gold stainless steel frame), while the Pixel 6 Pro comes in Stormy Black, Cloudy White, and Sorta Sunny (peach).

Though the camera bar adds a pleasing pop of color on the Pixel 7 Pro, this round’s too close to call, so it’s a tie.

Winner: Tie

Performance, battery life, and charging

Google Pixel 7 Pro.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Here it is, the main reason to upgrade to the Pixel 7 Pro: that powerful processor. The Pixel 7 Pro packs Google’s latest Tensor G2 SoC, while the Pixel 6 Pro has the older Google Tensor chip. According to Google, the Tensor G2 is faster and more efficient than the base Tensor chip, though in reality, both devices are unlikely to struggle with anything you throw at them, from multitasking to playing the most demanding Android games. Both the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro pack in 12GB of RAM, with up to 512GB of onboard storage — and, as expected, that’s not expandable.

On to battery life, things are pretty similar, with the Pixel 7 Pro’s 5,000mAh battery and the Pixel 6 Pro’s 5,003mAh battery practically identical. Both batteries should easily see you through 24 hours of normal use, and with Extreme Battery Saver mode, you could push battery life to 72 hours. In testing, we were impressed with the Pixel 6 Pro’s battery life, though there were plenty of reports that others didn’t have our rosy experience with the phone. The Pixel 7 Pro has been similarly divided, and it lasted around a day in our review period.

You’ll be back up and running quickly with both phones supporting 30W fast charging, taking the battery to 50% in around half an hour — though there’s no charger in the box. Both devices also support 21W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging for your earbuds and accessories.

This round is close again, but we’re giving it to the Pixel 7 Pro thanks to Google’s powerful Tensor G2 chip.

Winner: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Cameras

Google Pixel 7 Pro.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

On paper, the camera hardware across these two phones is identical — Google’s camera experience has been excellent for a while now, so the company is sticking with what it knows. That means the same rear camera setup: 50-megapixel wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 48MP telephoto rear lenses. This time around, though, the lenses get a boost from the Tensor G2, meaning the Pixel 7 Pro likely offers improved image processing.

The Pixel 7 Pro’s camera app now includes two shortcuts for quickly zooming in at 2x and 5x. You can also zoom up to 30x if you want. Zoomed shots look good, with the 5x zoom creating a much tighter shot than a non-zoomed photo, with an excellent amount of detail. When it comes to the 30x zoom, things get a bit watercolor-like, but it’s nice having the option there.

Both phones produce incredible photos in all kinds of lighting conditions, though images captured by the Pixel 7 Pro sometimes look a little too saturated, and the HDR can be a bit heavy-handed.

On the front, the 11MP selfie cam remains unchanged, supporting 4K video recording the same as the Pixel 6 Pro. Notably, the Pixel 7 Pro’s front-facing camera now supports Face Unlock on the lock screen. Though this feature was planned for the Pixel 6 Pro, it never happened, reportedly due to battery concerns.

There are some notable new features on the Pixel 7 Pro. Google increased the ultrawide camera’s sensor size by 25% to enable macro mode, which does an incredible job of capturing up-close detail, and Cinematic Blur, the equivalent to the iPhone’s Cinematic mode, which adds a shallow depth-of-field effect to your videos. There’s also Photo Unblur, which, as the name suggests, promises to unblur your photos using AI and machine learning. It’s worth noting here that our results with Photo Unblur have been pretty disappoint

ting. When used on old family photos, we found the results either artificial looking — distorting faces or adding too much sharpening — or barely noticeable.

We’re giving this round to the Pixel 7 Pro for the improved image processing and new features, though this round was close.

Winner: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Software and updates

Android 13 logo on a Google Pixel 6a.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Both the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro run Android 13, though the Pixel 7 Pro is the first device to run Google’s latest operating system out of the box. Google promises up to five years of security updates and three years of major Android updates, making both phones an excellent, future-proof choice. With that said, the Pixel 6 Pro has been out for a year, so it will stop receiving updates about a year before the Pixel 7 Pro.

We could call this round a tie, but since you’ll get an extra year of updates for the Pixel 7 Pro, we’re giving it the crown.

Winner: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Special features

Someone holding a white Google Pixel 7 Pro.
Google

With the Pixel 7 Pro being more of an iterative update to the Pixel 6 Pro, there aren’t that many special features to set the two devices apart. Google Assistant is smarter in the Pixel 7 Pro, and the phone suggests relevant emoji when you’re voice texting, great if you’ve forgotten the exact name of the one you want. There are also some new software tricks this time around, like Clear Calling. Though not available yet, this feature promises to use the Tensor G2 chip to boost the caller’s voice and reduce background noise.

The Pixel 7 Pro’s front-facing camera now supports Face Unlock, a feature that never made it to the Pixel 6 Pro, so you won’t have to scan your fingerprint or enter a passcode to unlock your phone. That’s a good thing, as the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 7 Pro hasn’t improved much at all and often takes a couple of tries to properly scan your finger. However, it’s worth noting here that you can’t use Face Unlock in place of fingerprint scanning for approving purchases, unlocking apps, or authentication in banking apps.

This round was close, but ultimately, the Pixel 7 Pro wins out thanks to smarter Google Assistant, neat new software tricks, and support for Face Unlock.

Winner: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Price and availability

A variety of Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pros sit on a purple background.

The Pixel 7 Pro supports all major carriers and is , starting at $899 for the 128GB variant.

You can from third-party retailers such as Amazon or Best Buy, starting at $640 for the 128GB variant. The Pixel 6 Pro is also available on all major carriers.

Overall winner: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Though the updates to the Pixel 7 Pro are iterative, Google’s still done enough to make its latest flagship a clear winner in comparison to the Pixel 6 Pro. With the powerful Tensor G2 processor, Face Unlock, and plenty of optimizations and new features — plus the gorgeous new Hazel colorway — it’s the better pick of the two phones. However, we should note here that the Pixel 7 Pro is already seeing its fair share of bugs, which may find you restarting your phone multiple times a day. While these won’t affect everyone and will likely be ironed out in time with software updates, it’s still worth bearing in mind if you’re planning on picking up a Pixel 7 Pro. It’s also important to remember that the Pixel 6 Pro is still a solid choice, and if you’re already the proud owner of a Pixel 6 Pro, there really isn’t any need to spend your hard-earned cash on an upgrade.

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