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Google Pixel 7 Pro vs Pixel 6 Pro: Which is the best flagship for you?

Google's Pixel 7 Pro promises some of the best photos and videos a smartphone can produce, and one of the fastest, smoothest displays ever. But are all of those features worth more than the discount its predecessor will inevitably receive? Let us help you decide...
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer on
Google Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro next to each other.
Image: Google

Google's new Pixel 7 Pro continues the line's tradition of upping its photo and video game with enhanced hardware and new software processing features, while its second-gen Tensor G2 chip makes it the most powerful Pixel yet. 

Some power users will take advantage of every bit of that new power and all of the new features. But, with the Pixel 6 Pro already being such an excellent phone, its discounted pricing might make it a much better fit for the more average user. 

Let's take a look at the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro's specs, and which buyer would be the best fit for each device. 

Also: Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6: Which generation should you buy?

Specifications

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Google Pixel 6 Pro

Display

6.7-inch 1,440 x 3,120 LTPO OLED with 120Hz refresh rate

6.71-inch 1,080 x 2,400 AMOLED with120Hz refresh rate

Weight

212 g

210 g

Processor

Google Tensor G2

Google Tensor

RAM/Storage12GB RAM with 128GB/256GB/512GB storage 12GB RAM with 128GB/256GB/512GB storage
Battery5,000 mAh with 30W charging5,003 mAh with 30W charging
Camera50MP f/1.85 wide, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 48MP f/3.5 telephoto, 10.8MP f/2.2 front

50MP f/1.9 wide, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 48MP f/3.5 telephoto (4x), 11.1MP f/2.2 front

Connectivity5G (mmWave and sub-6GHz) 5G (mmWave and sub-6GHz)

Colors

Obsidian, Snow, Hazel

Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny, Stormy Black

IP rating

IP68 water and dust resistance

IP68 water and dust resistance

PriceStarting at $899

Starting at $649.99

You should buy the Google Pixel 7 Pro if...

Man on a call on the Pixel 7 Pro.

The Pixel 7 Pro in the Snow colorway.

Image: Google

1. You want all-day (or more) battery life

Google has upped its battery game, not on the hardware front, but from an efficiency standpoint. It claims the device is able to last 24 hours or more thanks to its new Adaptive Battery feature. This tech works in the background optimizing your power by doing things like learning your favorite apps, and automatically preventing apps you don't frequently use from wasting battery life. If a full day isn't enough, the Pixel 7 Pro also now supports Extreme Battery Saver, which can push the lifespan of the smartphone to 72 hours by limiting connectivity and some other features when the need arises. It's not something you'll want to use all the time, but it could be a literal lifesaver in a pinch. 

Also: Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 7 Pro: How to buy the right one for you

2. You have pro photographer or videographer aspirations

Google's Pixel smartphone line has been at the forefront of smartphone photo and video technology for pretty much its entire existence, and this generation is no exception. Features like enhanced low-light photography, 4K60 video support even for the front-facing selfie camera, and the ability to "unblur" both pictures taken by the Pixel 7 Pro itself and elsewhere all promise to make it one of the best photo and video smartphones ever. Features like Guided Frame even let those with vision impairments take great photos via audio and haptic feedback.

3. Buttery-smooth displays are important to you

Not only does the Pixel 7 Pro support a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, but it also includes updated Smooth Display technology that adapts the refresh rate dynamically. This means that you'll still get buttery-smooth, fast-motion refresh rates when you need them, while dropping to much lower refresh rates to save battery life when the onscreen graphics are still or barely moving. 

You should buy the Pixel 6 Pro if...

Pixel 6 Pro with pink and blue background.
Image: Google

1. You just want to save some cash

Buying last year's flagship can be a bit of a tricky situation. Sometimes, you get a fantastic phone that can very nearly compete with the following year's edition for between 30% and 50% off. Other times, you may be missing out on features that render the discount you received irrelevant. Thankfully, the Pixel 6 Pro definitely falls into the former camp in our opinion. Aside from the photo and video upgrades and the CPU bump, the Pixel 7 Pro doesn't offer anything truly revolutionary. This means its slightly older sibling, the Pixel 6 Pro, at its discounted price, is probably still the smart option for most average Android users. 

2. You're not really that into smartphone photography and videography anyway

Expanding on the first reason above, this one goes out to all those folks (like me) who mostly just take pictures of their dogs, cats, and family members when something cute or memorable is happening. Let's be realistic, smartphone cameras have been far more than up to this task for many years now. The Pixel 6 Pro especially offers earlier, still-great iterations of both Real Tone and Night Sight, features that earned widespread praise when they launched, for good reason. If you don't have any real plans to use the camera enhancements in the Pixel 7 Pro, that discounted Pixel 6 Pro pricing looks a lot more attractive.

3. You're a casual smartphone user who still wants the latest security updates

One of the best things about Google's Pixel line has always been that it is among the first to be updated with new Android features thanks to Google's first-party ownership. While all of the flashy new toys those features often include may be fun to play with, the security features those updates also ship with are what keep you and your family safe. Since Google has committed to five years of security updates for all of its Pixel devices, this means you still have about four years of guaranteed security updates left on the Pixel 6 Pro, far more than most similarly priced, newer devices that originally launched as midrange smartphones are likely to offer you. If you don't tend to upgrade your smartphone often, this is well worth noting. 

Review: One year later, the Pixel 6 Pro is still Google's best smartphone

Alternatives to consider

Open to other flagship smartphone prospects? Consider these ZDNET-recommended devices:

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