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

Google's newest Pixel smartphones have arrived. These are the key reasons to buy the Pixel 7 over the Pixel 7 Pro and vice versa.
Written by June Wan, Technology Editor on
Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 7 Pro
Image: Google

It's here: Google's flagship lineup of smartphones, the $599 Pixel 7 and $899 Pixel 7 Pro. Like last year's Pixel handsets, the two feature Google's latest Tensor processor, a class-leading camera system (with a handful of quirky software tricks), and a modernized design -- highlighted by what might be the widest camera bump on the market. Generally speaking, we're not seeing any major changes to the Pixel design language this time around, which suggests that Google is still all in on this generation of smartphones.

If you're eyeing a new handset this fall, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are certainly worth the look. To help you better understand the scope of the latest phones and make your buying decision as Pixel-perfect as possible, I've broken down the key reasons to buy one model over the other below. 

More: Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro: Everything announced and the best preorder deals

Specifications

Google Pixel 7

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Display

6.3-inch, 1,080 x 2,400 AMOLED with 90Hz refresh rate   

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

Weight

197 g  

212 g

Processor

Google Tensor G2

Google Tensor G2

RAM/Storage8GB RAM with 128GB/256GB storage12GB RAM with 128GB/256GB/512GB storage
Battery4,355 mAh with 30W charging 5,000 mAh with 30W charging
Camera50MP f/1.85 wide, 12MP f/1.25 ultrawide, 10.8MP f/2.2 front

50MP f/1.85 wide, 12MP f/1.25 ultrawide, 48MP f/3.5 telephoto, 10.8MP f/2.2 front  

Connectivity5G (sub-6GHz and mmWave)5G (sub-6GHz and mmWave)
DurabilityIP68 water and dust resistance

IP68 water and dust resistance

Colors

Obsidian, Snow, Lemongrass   

Obsidian, Snow, Hazel

PriceStarting at $599

Starting at $899

You should buy the Google Pixel 7 if...

Women talking on a Pixel 7 in Snow color
Image: Google

1. Price comes before anything else

The Google Pixel 7 Pro is great; it has the best camera system of any Pixel and is treated with a blend of premium-grade materials. It's also $899, which makes the similar-looking, similar-functioning Pixel 7 seem too good to be true at $599. There's nothing wrong with paying less for a smartphone, but you'll certainly feel guilty knowing that the Pixel 7 comes with all the Android benefits of the Pro model -- while costing $300 less.

2. You want a midsize phone with big ambitions

The Pixel 7 is not a small phone by any means. But when stacked against the larger 6.5- to 6.8-inch handsets on the market, including the Pixel 7 Pro, it's considerably more compact. Even then, Google isn't settling with midtier specs on this midsize phone. The Pixel 7 is just as capable as the Pro sibling with an IP68 rating, the same main and ultrawide cameras, and also being powered by the latest Tensor G2 chipset for high performance and efficiency. Google is also promising at least five years of software updates on the less-expensive Pixel. 

3. You're #TeamLemongrass

No, I'm not talking about the aromatic that's used for cooking. Like last year's Pixel 6 series, the 2022 batch of phones offers exclusive colors. If you're a fan of bright and lively yellow hues, then Lemongrass -- limited to the standard Pixel 7 -- has your name on it.

More: The best phones you can buy right now

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

Woman looking at Pixel 7 Pro in Hazel
Image: Google

1. You want the best Pixel that money can buy

To be fair, $899 is not the most expensive asking price for a flagship smartphone. Google is still undercutting the likes of Samsung and Apple here while offering what is arguably the best Pixel handset to date. For the money, you're getting the complete Pixel camera experience (5x telephoto lens included,) the new Macro Focus feature for detailed close-up shots, polished aluminum beaming down the corners of the phone, and so much more. Oh, and the Pixel 7 series supports Face Unlock again. 

2. You'd like a larger display with a larger battery

The Pro model has a larger 6.7-inch LTPO display than the Pixel 7 that can refresh between 1Hz and 120Hz and a 5,000-mAh battery (compared with 4,355-mAh). Both aspects should yield significantly better endurance on the Pixel 7 Pro, making it ideal for power users and those who are always on the go.

3. A telephoto camera is a must-have feature

While the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro share the same main and ultrawide lenses, the latter carries a third 48MP telephoto shooter for those dreamy portrait shots of people, pets, and even food. A physical telephoto lens allows the photographer to get a natural depth of field in photos, adding a layer of blur that's ever so superior to the digital processing that non-telephoto cameras try to achieve. If this sounds like a practical tool for you, then the Pixel 7 Pro is the better of the two Pixels. 

Alternatives to consider

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

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