The Pixel 7 Pro is ideal for more casual mobile gamers that want to make the most of the games they play while integrating them into their everyday phone. The cameras are stunning, as is the 6.7-inch display. However, the brilliant screen and versatile processor come at the expense of battery life.
The Pixel 7 Pro is Google’s most powerful phone to date. Launched in October 2022, it’s competing with flagship devices from the likes of Apple and Samsung. I’ve owned Pixel phones for five years, having previously had their 4a and 6 models before upgrading to the 7 Pro at launch, around a year ago. After using this phone daily since then and with all that experience using Google devices, I can safely say this is its best phone. But is it one of the best gaming phones?
What makes the Pixel 7 Pro such a leap forward in quality is the Tensor G2 processor. It’s the tech giant’s second attempt at making a processor chip for its devices, and while I had no major issues with the previous version, the Tensor G2 feels smoother and more refined.
Despite being positioned in competition with Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung’s S23 Ultra, the Pixel 7 Pro comes in considerably cheaper. Pixel 7 Pro handsets start at $899 (£849), compared to $999 (£1,099) and $1199.99 (£1,249) for the iPhone 14 Pro and the 23 Ultra respectively.
Suppose you’re familiar with the Android operating system and Google’s suite of apps. In that case, the Pixel 7 Pro is a tremendous daily Android phone for games that can handle everything thrown at it, including extensive photo editing. It can handle the best Android games and is perfect if your mobile gaming is more at the casual end of the spectrum.
- Excellent value for money
- Stunning camera quality
- In-built VPN
- Platform updates only last three years
- Battery life is less than expected
At its launch in late 2022, the Google Pixel 7 Pro went on sale at $899 (£849) for the base model with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Given that the flagship is no longer brand new, you can now find deals on the handset sim-free in all major retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy. It’s also available from the best cell phone providers.
These are the full Google Pixel Pro 7 specs:
|5000 mAh, 30W wired, fast wireless charging
|6.7-inch OLED (3120 x 1440)
|128GB, 256GB (not expandable)
|Rear: 50MP (f/1.85) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 48MP (f/3.5) 5x telephoto, Front camera: 10.8MP (f/2.2)
|7.5 ounces (212g)
|6.4 x 3 x 0.3 inches (162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9 mm)
|Obsidian, Snow, Hazel
When it comes to features the Pixel 7 Pro is decked out with everything you would expect for a flagship phone. Google’s ever-expanding library of apps and the best Android games is at the heart of the device and the ability to carry over between my laptop and phone is something that makes my life easier.
An in-built VPN provides security when you’re browsing online and Google says that it has tested to international standards. I can’t say if I have had any need for it yet so I assume it is doing its job, but it will save you money on having to buy one of the best mobile VPNs.
The Pixel 7 Pro runs on Android 13 with a Google skin and receives the latest updates before other Android-based phones. These are regular (almost too much so) but this allows for the Tensor chip to continue learning and adapting. For example, the more you speak into the phone it learns the names of your family/friends and your speech patterns. This translates to autocorrection that mirrors your speech. I’m a big fan of the Android system but I can’t say that I have noticed any significant learnings from my year with the device.
Elsewhere there is a fingerprint reader under the display, a USB-C port for charging, and an imposing camera that is still the envy of my friends. The camera (and its editing software in particular) is class-leading but I did prefer the fingerprint reader being on the back of the device rather than the front. It seemed slightly more responsive, the new version isn’t bad but it can be a little imprecise. If you prefer there’s also a face unlock option.
If you like your phone to be mostly glass with small curved bezels then the Pixel 7 Pro will tick all those boxes. In an effort to be more sustainable the polished aluminum finish is 100% recycled.
The design is sleek and feels premium but I do have one complaint. Google has followed the trend of having gigantic camera notches that could slow down traffic. If you’re using the phone without a case (as I did for a week or two) then trying to use it while laid on a surface results in sideways rocking.
My Pixel 7 Pro is the all-black option called Obsidian but there are also white (Snow) and gray/green (Hazel), the brighter colors are only for the 7 and 7a models.
Excluding the newly released Pixel Fold, the 7 Pro is the biggest phone that Google makes. It has a 6.7-inch screen, 6.4 inches tall, 3 inches wide, and 0.3 inches thick. Compared to iPhones, which tend to be more angular the Pixel feels smooth and lightweight (other than that weighty camera notch).
Overall the phone feels well made and durable thanks to the Gorilla Glass used throughout the phone. I did drop the phone once out of the case which did cause a tiny amount of damage to one corner.
The screen on the Pixel 7 Pro is one of the best features of the phone. I have been using the device almost solely in the adaptive refresh mode where it alters between 60 and 120hz depending on the situation. Pair this with the adaptive color setting and you have a bright, vibrant screen that maximizes your games, images, or time spent scrolling social media.
I can’t remember many instances in the past 12 months where I’ve found the screen unable to keep up with me. If you’re buying a flagship phone, this is probably the least you can expect and the differences between this and an iPhone 14 will be marginal. If you’re upgrading from a much older device then the differences will be stark, so much so it took a little getting used to for the first few days I used the 7 Pro.
While the high refresh rate screen looks good on the eye, it comes at a cost. Despite Google claiming you can get more than 24 hours from the 5000 mAh battery, I have found that isn’t often the case.
Yes, on low usage days, I can get closer to 30 or 35 hours but if I have spent a lot of time using maps or flying up the ranks on Marvel Snap then I will need to charge the phone every day.
If you are someone with a high daily screen time then the fast charging feature will come in handy. An hour of charge can often get the battery topped all the way up. If you’re unable to charge on the go the battery-saving settings are very good and can make 20% of power last for hours. Google even claims that the ‘extreme’ saver settings can produce 72 hours of runtime but I have yet to test this out.
The battery life has remained consistent throughout my time with the 7 Pro and I have yet to see any signs of the battery degrading over time.
So how does the Pixel 7 Pro perform as a gaming device? If you’re a hardcore mobile gamer that really likes to push their devices to the limits then you’re better off getting a dedicated gaming phone and Google certainly doesn’t market this as such. If you’re more like me and like to dip in and out of games then this is a great option. I have to admit that prior to getting the Pixel 7 Pro I wasn’t a regular gamer. Pairing the Pixel 7 Pro with Marvel Snap however has changed that.
That UHD+ screen that I mentioned earlier immerses me in the battles with the vibrant colors of the Marvel characters remaining faithful to their comic book origins. I have even started to dip into a game or two of Civilization VI, which is a much more detailed game, and the Pixel can handle it with ease.
The Tensor G2 chip has been able to cope without lag or latency despite my phone starting to fill up with messages, emails, and photos. In fact, I can’t remember a single moment where I have been waiting for it to catch up. This certainly wasn’t the case on previous Google devices and was in part what led to my mobile gaming lapse.
Away from gaming and the processor can handle some tasks which would slow down some laptops. Google’s magic eraser feature to remove background objects from images is outstanding and almost flawless, in comparison most games will be a breeze. Like I said previously though, if this is how you like to use your phone then you better have a power bank available because your Pixel 7 Pro will drink your battery dry.
- Yes: If you use Google apps daily
- Yes: If you’re looking for a phone that can game and handle quality photography
- Yes: If you want a phone cheaper than its rivals Apple and Samsung
- No: If you’re looking for a long-lasting battery
- No: If you’re looking for a dedicated gaming phone
If you’re a more casual mobile gamer that wants a vibrant, beautifully designed, and responsive phone for less than $1000/£1000 then the Google Pixel is definitely worth your investment. Its appeal increases even further if you prefer the Android operating system and use Google applications.
iPhone 14 Pro – better for Apple fans
If you want an everyday phone that isn’t gaming-specific take a look at Apple’s iPhone 14 and its Pro variant. It costs around $200/£200 more than the Pixel but the spec sheet is very similar, and definitely worth it if you prefer iOS and the best Apple Arcade games.
Asus ROG 7 Ultimate – a dedicated gaming mobile
The Asus ROG 7 Ultimate is capable of running any mobile game that you can get your hands on. It features an air trigger system to help with shooters, and a 6000 mAh battery (higher than the Pixel 7 Pro) to ensure you can spend hours playing games on the go.