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I gave the Pixel 7 Pro a second chance — it didn’t go how I hoped

Relations are often complicated. There can be dazzling highs, crushing lows, and issues that require a tremendous amount of work to overcome. Sometimes, everything works out, and it’s happily ever after. Other times… not so much. In the case of my relationship with the Pixel 7 Pro, it’s been a mix of everything.

Our Google Pixel 7 Pro review was one of the more negative ones when it was initially published. I praised the phone for its stunning design and killer hardware — but was ultimately frustrated by an onslaught of neverending bugs. Comments from other reviews and other Pixel 7 Pro owners on the Digital Trends team confirm that I’m not alone in experiencing bugs on the phone — though the severity of glitches on my particular unit stood out as something of an outlier.

Two Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphones laying on a desk.
My old Pixel 7 Pro (left) next to my new model (right) Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Wanting to give the Pixel 7 Pro the best chance possible, Google shipped me a brand new unit to test out. I used it as an opportunity to reevaluate my thoughts on the phone and see if a fresh unit could sway me to see the light.

It has been a couple of weeks since then, and while this new Pixel 7 Pro isn’t quite as buggy as my original one, it also hasn’t done enough to resolve my biggest problem with Google’s flagship Android phone.

The bugs haven’t gone anywhere

Messed up Quick Settings on a Google Pixel 7 Pro.
My Quick Settings keep breaking… again Joe Maring/Digital Trends

My Pixel 7 Pro review has an entire section dedicated to bugs I experienced with my first review unit. I encountered bugs that caused my Quick Settings to become unusable, audio/visual errors when playing YouTube videos, random shadows on my home screen, and more. It got to a point where I couldn’t go a single day without some sort of bug throwing a wrench into things — forcing me to restart my Pixel 7 Pro multiple times per day.

While I haven’t been forced to restart my second Pixel 7 Pro on account of bugs messing things up, they most certainly are still present. This includes one of the most annoying bugs I experienced with my first unit.

Trying to play Call of Duty: Mobile on the Pixel 7 Pro

Any time I open Call of Duty: Mobile, the Pixel 7 Pro opens it in a small, windowed view every single time. If I want to play the game full-screen, I have to tap a button that restarts the game and displays it like normal. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, the whole experience of playing CoD: Mobile is botched on the Pixel 7 Pro.

Swiping up from the bottom of the screen to go home almost always causes visual glitches with the game, randomly zooming in on the screen and requiring multiple swipes up to get back home. And if a button is too close to the bottom edge of the screen, tapping it often doesn’t work — instead causing the screen to perform its weird zoom glitch again. If I try swiping up to go home too many times, I get this lovely “Pixel Launcher keeps stopping” error. Good stuff.

Error message on the Google Pixel 7 Pro saying "Pixel Launcher keeps stopping."
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

When I do eventually get back to my home screen, my Quick Settings are often squished up at the top, plus the status bar and brightness slider disappear. I’ve found that re-opening and closing CoD: Mobile can fix this instead of a restart, but it’s still a horribly aggravating experience every single time.

I’ve also played Asphalt 8, Diablo Immortal, and Marvel Snap on my Pixel 7 Pro. To the phone’s credit, none of those games have had the same issues I’ve experienced with Call of Duty: Mobile — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other games on the Play Store that won’t run into the same problems.

Heating concerns continue

Two Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphones.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

One of my other complaints about the Pixel 7 Pro was its Tensor G2 chip. It’s plenty powerful and runs virtually any app or game with ease — but it does so at the expense of getting very warm.

This second Pixel 7 Pro unit gets just as hot as my previous model did, if not slightly more so. Play any game for 15 minutes, and the Pixel 7 Pro is very noticeably warm to the touch. Hell, even just plugging it in to charge is a surefire way to turn it into a portable hand warmer. The Pixel 6a still holds the title for the hottest Pixel I’ve used, but the Pixel 7 Pro isn’t far behind in my experience.

I’ve yet to notice this heat causing any performance issues, but even so, it’s concerning that a smartphone less than a month old gets so toasty so quickly. It may be much ado about nothing, but I struggle to imagine this is good for the Pixel 7 Pro’s long-term health — especially after months, let alone a couple of years of use.

The Pixel 7 Pro deserves better

Google Pixel 7 Pro standing up against a red brick wall.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

When I received my second Pixel 7 Pro and got the idea for this article, I wanted to run it with the headline, “I gave the Pixel 7 Pro a second chance, and it blew me away” — hoping I could recite my bug-free, much-improved time with the phone. Unfortunately, that’s (obviously) not what happened.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro can still be a great smartphone, and I think there are many reasons to still be excited about it. I love taking photos with its camera, Google’s take on Android 13 remains my favorite to date, and little touches like Magic Eraser still elevate the Pixel experience above anything else. If you get a Pixel 7 Pro that works as intended, it easily becomes a smartphone you don’t want to stop using.

But that “if” is apparently a huge one to overcome. I’ve now used two separate Pixel 7 Pro smartphones — each one set up from scratch — and I’m still running into the same bugs that my previous model was giving me. One of the most popular Android games runs like a dog, my Quick Settings are repeatedly rendered useless, and Tensor G2 is far too eager to warm up my hands (despite how nice it feels in late December in Michigan).

Two Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphones.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

And that’s after just a couple of weeks of use. My first Pixel 7 Pro seemed to reveal more and more problems the longer I used it, and I’m not confident this second model won’t repeat that habit.

Ultimately, it all comes back to what Andy said in his Pixel 7 review. These phones can be awfully difficult to resist, but there’s also a very clear risk if you decide to join #TeamPixel. I want to love the Pixel 7 Pro and use it as my daily Android phone, but having now gone 0-2 with the bugs winning, I’m about ready to strike out and call it a game.

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Joe Maring
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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