As you might know, Google already took the wraps off the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro during Google I/O. Before we continue, in case you’d like to take a deeper dive into Google’s decision to show off its flagship phones nearly half a year before they hit the shelves, head over to the “Google solves leaks by “leaking” Pixel 7, Pixel Watch, Pixel Tablet” story. In a nutshell, it appears as if Google’s plan behind the early Pixel 7 reveal comes with two primary goals:
- Discourage further leaks and set the tone and expectations on the company’s own terms
- Build anticipation, as well as social media presence around the upcoming Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro (e.g., ride the hypetrain)
And now it’s the time to give you a warm warning about “that hypetrain” that I boarded in 2021 when I wrote many stories about the Pixel 6 series before their launch… As the leaks kept coming, and we saw more and more of the Pixel 6’s design (Google pre-announced this one too), I grew more and more excited and eventually pre-ordered the flashy Pixel 6 Pro! I know.To be fair, the phone still looks like it belongs in a museum – the Sorta Sunny color scheme is exceptionally tasteful, but sadly this isn’t the whole story…
Google Pixel 7: Why I might never pre-order a brand new Android flagship again, even if it looks as good as the Pixel 7 Pro
Here are Pixel 7 and Pixel 7. Does the 7 Pro look tempting? Yes, of course it does. Shut up. No, you shut up.
As a tech writer and someone who’s been using the Pixel 6 Pro for about seven months now, I can warn you about three red lights that have to do with the Pixel in general:
- The outside beauty might not match the what’s on the inside (a.k.a. the phone’s reliability)
- Pixel 7 series hardware upgrades might be scarce compared to Pixel 6
- The Pixel 7’s resale value won’t be touching the iPhone’s anytime soon
In my view, those three points will apply to virtually any other Android phone, too, since (unfortunately) no Android device is immune to these challenges. But let’s break them down…
What if Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are software and hardware bugs wrapped in beauty – like my Pixel 6 Pro?
First things first, of course, there’s no way I’ll miss on warning you about the bugs. Why am I telling you about the Pixel 6’s bugs? Well, because… Pixel 7 isn’t guaranteed to be perfect, if its predecessor is anything to go by…
Sure, when buying the Pixel 6 Pro, I was getting a beautiful glass slab which indicated a premium experience, but as you might know from the dozens of news stories we’ve reported, the software (and hardware) experience on the Pixel 6 Pro was anything but first-class, especially at launch. I won’t go through all the bugs since I’ve already done that a million times here at PhoneArena, but two things stand out:
- The Pixel 6’s bugs were/are too many to ignore
- Google took a long time to address them or didn’t fully fix them
For example, I find the auto-brightness on my five-year-old iPhone 8 to be more reliable than that on my Pixel 6 Pro. Also, the under-display fingerprint reader on my three-year-old Huawei P30 Pro is noticeably more responsive than on the brand new Pixel. Both issues are related to software and hardware, and both are something you use all day, every day.
Pixel 6 fingerprint reader gets a huge improvement but only after one year?!
Ironically, to illustrate my frustration with Google’s way of handling bugs, I’m happy to report that we hear the fingerprint reader performance on Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro has gotten significantly better on Android 13 Beta 2.
We’ll still have to wait for the final version of Android 13 to make sure this remains consistent, but what makes this a fascinating case is that even if Google really fixes the fingerprint reader on Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, this will happen literally a whole year after the phones have launched. That’s because the final public version of Android 13 will be released alongside Pixel 7 in October.
Yes, this fix would come outrageously late, but also, it’d show that the lousy fingerprint reader performance on Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro was indeed something that could be fixed, but for some reason, not until a year after the phones were launched?!
Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro aren’t expected to bring many upgrades
The heading on this one speaks for itself, but let me elaborate…
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were already the big bold leap for Google. For starters, the Pixel 6 Pro completely reimagined the company’s previous efforts by introducing a brand new design – front and back. A complete redesign is a very rare occurrence in today’s phone market, even if we add Samsung and Apple to the mix, so it’s indeed a notable feat on Google’s part.
Furthermore, Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro gave us Tensor – Google’s first in-house processor, which takes on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon and Apple’s A-series of chips with a ton of smart features, albeit with a less impressive raw performance on paper.
Then, the cameras on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro were also a huge jump for Google. Take the Pixel 6 Pro, which made headlines with four brand new sensors compared to its predecessor. The thing is that judging by Google’s history, you better believe the company will squeeze every drop of performance out of those shooters, which sort of tells the broader story.
And finally, I don’t expect the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro to look or feel much different than the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. I know that because we’ve already seen the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, and you have too. And for the record, I’m also not expecting the 2nd Gen Tensor to outperform the Snapdragons or Apples of the world, at least when it comes to raw performance.
All that being said, if we put the Pixel 6 aside, Google’s never been a company that relies on flashy hardware upgrades, so I believe we’ll see even more smart software and camera features thanks to Tensor 2 and Android 13. Just like I believe that the cameras on the Pixel 7 will indeed get better, as Google will learn how to make the most out of the already powerful camera sensors existing on the Pixel 6.
Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro: More poor-release-value Android flagships on the horizon?
Upgrade every year? Get ready to pay up.
Now for the big one…
€300-400 for Pixel 6, down from €650 at launch
€550-650 for Pixel 6 Pro, down from €900 at launch
To give you an example, I managed to negotiate the price of a used Pixel 6 down to €300, which is brilliant if you are the buyer and just sad if you’re selling the device. That’s more than half the price for a six-month-old flagship phone from Google.
And because I have first-hand experience in listing my Pixel 6 Pro for sale, I can tell you that eventually, I might need to settle for €700 and that’s if I’m willing to include the brand new pair of Bose 700 headphones I got with my Pixel (for the pre-order), meaning the phone itself would go for €500-550. From €900 at launch.
My word of advice to those who like to buy, sell, and upgrade often or annually will be:
- If you’d be buying a brand new Google/Android flagship, bear in mind that this one will depreciate in value in no time
- Don’t fall for Google’s bundles (unless you’ve seen a few reviews of the phone and really need the added freebies)
Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro: Cautiously optimistic (instead overly enthusiastic like in 2021)
In the end, that’s the only takeaway… I stay cautiously optimistic about the Pixel 7 series, instead of being overly enthusiastic like I was in 2021 for the Pixel 6.
So, even if I did decide to buy a Pixel 7 Pro, I’d certainly wait for a good eBay deal, e.g., go back to my old ways of shopping for phones. Pixel 6 Pro was the first flagship phone I’ve ever bought at launch, and it might be the last one.
Unless… Look… How do I say it… Well, unless a USB-C iPhone with a brand new design and a periscope zoom camera, which holds its value for much, much longer than any Galaxy or Pixel pops up next year?
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