I want to love the Pixel 7, but Google won’t let me

Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartphones have landed. The big announcement came and went, the phones are available online and in stores for purchase, and full reviews are now all over the internet — including on our products.

If you’ve read our Pixel 7 review or our Pixel 7 Pro review, you’ll notice that Digital Trends senior writer Andy Boxall and I have been fairly critical of the phones. There are things the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro do very well, and they come through very It is about to be one of the best smartphones of the year. But getting too close isn’t the same as going all the way.

Google has stopped working on that

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Last year’s Pixel 6 lineup was a massive shift forward for the Pixel series. Google used the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to usher in a brand new design language, the first in-house Tensor chipset, new camera sensors, and Android 12 software with new Material Design. And many of them have been incredibly successful. We said the Pixel 6 Pro was “the dawn of a great new era for Google phones” In our review last year, which featured high praise for its outstanding camera performance and powerful photo editing features.

But the perfect Pixel 6/6 Pro phones were not. In the weeks and months after their release, it didn’t take long for people to notice that such large year-on-year promotions also brought unwanted consequences.

What kind of consequences? from where we start?

I gave the pixels another chance…

Several Pixel 6 owners have reported that the adaptive brightness of their screen will randomly increase/decrease for seemingly no reason. Others had an issue where music and other playback media would stop on their own. There have also been widespread complaints about Android Auto connection issues, screen flickering issue, and a healthy dose of random device reboots.

And those were just software bugs. The Pixel 6 series has also been criticized for its poor cellular connectivity, slow fingerprint sensor, and lackluster battery life. Things got so bad that prolific names in the tech review field, like MKBHD, made dedicated videos calling out these issues.

It ended up being a tricky situation, but at least Google gave very clear issues to address as it worked on the Pixel 7.

Pixel 7 is a phone with unresolved issues

Google Pixel 7 Pro placed face down on a bench.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

At least, that should have happened. To Google’s credit, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro improve things over the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The designs are sharper, the cameras are better, the displays are improved, and there’s more good software to play with. They are all great upgrades! But what about fixing real problems for the Pixel 6 series? This is where things get frustrating.

My time with the Pixel 7 Pro has been challenging, to say the least. The fingerprint sensor is still slower than it should be, battery life remains mediocre, and software bugs are as prevalent as ever. From games that resize incorrectly to quick settings icons that don’t show how YouTube videos should play video without sound – it’s been harsh expertise.

Quick settings error on Pixel 7 Pro.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this… Joe Maring/Digital Trends

My Pixel 7 Pro seems to have had it worse than some of my mates and co-workers, but I’m clearly not alone in experiencing persistent software bugs. Andy Pixel 7 has choppy scrolling animations in Google Discover, and has also found audio issues with the YouTube app. There were many Bugs reports Paralyze the Pixel 7 setup processtense passing performance, Camera focus problemsAnd the Freezes/reboots …and the list goes on.

Just like last year, it’s not as easy as saying the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are buggy phones. Some Pixel 6 owners have had no issues, while others have been plagued by relentless bugs. The same goes for the Pixel 7. Obviously, some people have had very good experiences with Google’s latest phones — and that’s great! But it’s quite clear that having a smooth and reliable device with the Pixel 7 is not guaranteed. I want to be able to wholeheartedly recommend the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, but when buying one leaves it up to you to decide whether or not you’re going to get a good phone, that becomes a serious hurdle.

This is nothing new to Google

Corey Gaskin/Digital Trends

If these discrepancies with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro were just a one-off fluke, I’d be more inclined to give Google a pass. No company is perfect, and everyone drops the ball at some point. But the bigger problem at hand is that Google’s inability to iron out these quirks has been going on for years.

The The Pixel 2 XL had a notorious screen that was notorious for burn-in quickly and bland colours. The Pixel 3 range was plagued by bad RAM management. The Pixel 4 was a great phone that was hampered by poor battery life. With every Pixel version, it looks like this Something It rears its ugly head preventing phones from achieving true greatness.

In the end, I’m left scratching my head wondering how this keeps happening. Pixels are often great smartphones — even premium ones. But when Google has a well-documented history of persistent issues with its family of smartphones, and is still working out kinks in its seventh generation with the Pixel 7 series, it becomes hard to get past those issues when they keep happening year after year.

Google Pixel 7 Pro, lying on a rock.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Google is not a small company. It has a market capitalization of over $1.3 trillion with no shortage of time, talent, and money to create the best smartphones possible. But despite it all, Pixels often feel like products from an unstable startup. One year the display panel is bad, another year the RAM performance is inconsistent, another year the battery life is unforgivably short, and another it’s just nonstop software bugs.

Making phones is hard, I get it. But for a company of Google’s size and stature, it’s extremely disappointing that recommending the Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro still comes with a huge asterisk. I want these to be phones that I can tell friends and family they should buy and not hesitate to buy. But I can not. We were already talking about a lack of confidence in the Pixel lineup last year, and the fact that we’re having the same conversation again with the Pixel 7 doesn’t instill much confidence.

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