And when I say peek, I mean a peek. Google didn’t fully unveil the handset at the developer conference, instead it just briefly showed off an image of it and gave some early promotional material about the new Tensor 2 silicon that will power it.
Despite the lack of firm information, the tease was enough to get me super excited. This isn’t because I’m a Google fanboy or that I found any of the information and imagery particularly exciting. As I noted at the time, the design looks very familiar, with there appearing to be only minor changes to the visor rear camera housing and coloring.
It’s because of the amazing experience I’ve had using the Pixel 6 Pro over the past 6 months. To catch readers up, I gave the Pixel 6 Pro 4.5/5 when I reviewed it in October 2021, finding its clean Android 12 software, top of the line rear camera and wealth of exclusive Tensor powered AI features made it one of the best phones available.
The latter is particularly important. Tensor, Google’s first own-brand CPU, lets the Pixel 6 Pro do a number of cool things using the company’s AI/machine learning capabilities. The coolest of these are the ability to real-time translate and transcribe conversations in real time and Magic Eraser.
Magic Eraser is a custom camera editing mode that lets you remove unwanted elements, like photo bombers, from images captured on the Pixel in two easy clicks. Throughout the time I’ve spent with the phone, this trick has proven to be invaluable, reliably saving several holiday and engagement shots.
Since my review, I’ve only grown fonder of the handset, with it acting as my phone of choice between reviews. Prior to this, I tended to prefer Samsung Galaxy phones, with the Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S20 Plus acting as my daily drivers in the years before the Pixel 6 Pro.
The last time I actually wanted to use a Google phone as my regular handset was all the way back in 2013 when the Nexus 5 first came out.
Because of my positive experience with the Pixel 6 Pro I can’t help but get excited at the prospect of the Pixel 7, despite at first glance it looking very similar to its predecessor. This is especially true given the areas Google’s already pledged to build on with the new phone. Specifically, the firm said it is focusing on using AI to radically improve the new phones’ speech, photography and video powers.
Max Parker has already argued why Google’s increased focus on AI over just making the best camera phone as it did with past Pixels is a smart move, and I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.
Testing every Pixel since the line launched, year-on-year we’ve found Google’s phones have offered best in class camera performance when capturing stills, despite often not having as developed hardware as rivals because of their use of the firm’s advanced AI. This has let them offer much better image processing, leading to key things like better low light performance and more balanced color reproduction than the competing Galaxy and iPhone competition.
So expanding that tech to offer a better experience holistically just makes sense. I can’t wait to see what actual improvements Google makes to the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro’s speech, photography and video features using Tensor 2’s AI chops as a result.