The Pixel phones of Google include cameras that set the standard for the industry, quick software and security upgrades straight from Google (like iPhones do from Apple), and competitive pricing. Yet, picking the ideal model might be challenging. Should you get the Pixel 7A? Or keep spending less and use the less recent Pixel 6A? or get the absurdly pricey Pixel Fold?
Don’t worry; we’ll explain the differences between one of the top Pixel phones and help you choose the finest one. Also, we provide Pixel-only advice on how to maximize the functionality of your new phone and suggest a few protected covers and accessories based on our testing. Revised: May 2023 The Pixel 7a, the Pixel Fold, and a Totallee case have all been included.
Google Pixel 7a: The Best Pixel
New benchmarks are established for mid-range smartphones with the Pixel 7a. While a touch more expensive than the Pixel 6A from the previous year, it comes with almost all the top features you could desire. Wireless charging is a feature that is quite unusual for phones priced under $500 in this generation. Moreover, you get a 90 Hz refresh rate for the screen, which results in more frames per second and a more fluid look and feel for on-screen interactions.
While Google believes the metal mid-frame is marginally more robust than the predecessor’s, both its design and construction quality are comparable. The front screen still has Gorilla Glass 3, which isn’t as scratch-resistant as some of the glass on more expensive Pixels, but at least the back is made of a premium plastic composite that won’t break. While this model is available in Charcoal, Sea, and Snow, it’s the Coral variation that intrigued me.
There won’t be any performance issues for you. It is powered by the same Tensor G2 processor found in the Pixel 7 Pro from Google. It also enables a few new software gimmicks, including Picture Unblur, which can utilize machine learning techniques to unblur people’s faces in those late-night photos. That’s perfectly quick for everyday work and the majority of mobile games. (I attempted to take a picture of a bride and groom dancing, and it really did this extremely nicely.)
Speaking of the camera system, there is a new 64-megapixel camera that is at the front of the pack, along with a 13-megapixel ultrawide camera. Although they are not as excellent as the cameras in the Pixel 7, the effects are almost invisible (you have to look really close). Whether you use it in low light to photograph the stars or on a bright day to capture a landscape, it’s clearly the best camera phone for the money.
The many outstanding software features on Pixel phones, many of which are really useful on a daily basis, play a role in why we recommend them so highly. The majority of them have been compiled below this guide, but my favorites are Assistant Voice Typing, which uses the built-in keyboard to transcribe voice recordings much more quickly and accurately, and Now Playing, which lets me listen to music without having to search for it, and Call Screen, which has largely stopped all telemarketers from calling me.
Also, it will get security upgrades for five years, ensuring long-term support. Frankly, Google only indicates three OS updates (Samsung offers four). The fact that Google isn’t taking the lead on this is frustrating, particularly in light of the fact that Apple’s almost six-year-old iPhone 8 now has iOS 16.
The battery life and the fingerprint sensor are the two aspects of the Pixel 7A that I don’t trust. Neither of these is as quick or dependable as I’d like them to be. The 4,385-mAh battery may last you a whole day with moderate usage, but on busy days, you’ll probably need to recharge before the sun sets. You’ll need to go elsewhere to get a phone with a headphone jack or a microSD card slot, respectively.
Google Pixel 6a: The Best Budget Pixel
The Pixel 6a released one year ago is still a great deal, particularly at its current price of $349 (note: it regularly goes for $299). You get a 6.1-inch OLED screen that is crisp and just bright enough to see in direct sunlight, similar to the Pixel 7a. (not as bright as the Pixel 7a).
It seems well manufactured and is a beautiful compact phone, unlike most current products on the market. The Gorilla Glass 3 front will need a screen protector to prevent scratches, but the metal frame and clicky keys, together with the plastic composite rear, give the device a deceptively opulent appearance. It also comes in sage. Green phones, rejoice!
The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro flagships from 2021 are powered by the same first-generation Tensor chip found inside. That still means that you are receiving some of the greatest value today. Even while playing mobile games like Apex Legends, I hardly ever had any slowdowns.
Also included are all the major software features that were first seen on the Pixel 6 line of phones, such as Assistant Voice Typing for voice-only message sending and Magic Eraser in Google Photos for removing unsightly items from your photographs’ backgrounds.
The Pixel 6a can withstand being immersed in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes because of its IP67-rated water resistance and 4,410 mAh battery cell, which comfortably powers it through the day. The in-display fingerprint sensor could irritate you since, like the Pixel 7a, it works OK but isn’t as quick. Also, it will get five years of security updates and three OS upgrades (from the date it was launched).
The primary 12-megapixel camera sensor is there, along with a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor, much as on the Pixel 5 and earlier Pixel devices. It is an excellent camera system that outperforms the majority of its midrange rivals. The camera’s hardware, though, is getting older.
The Pixel 6A’s photographs can seem grainy, especially in low light, when other newer cheap and midrange phone cameras extract more information, especially with their bigger image sensors. Because Pixel cameras are meant to be the finest of the best, I’m mostly being selective here. This camera will continue to wow.
The need for wireless charging, a headphone port, and a charging adaptor in the package, as well as the fact that you can only extend the 128 GB of storage without a microSD card slot, are my main complaints. Although several rivals use 90- or 120-Hz screens for better interactivity, the screen only runs at 60 Hz. Yet, it doesn’t break the bank and offers everything you’d want.
Google Pixel 7 Pro
The Pixel 7 Pro is the high-end Pixel to purchase if you have the money, and at $899, it still offers better value for money than the competitors. The huge 6.7-inch screen’s 120 Hz refresh rate makes it seem more fluid to engage with, and on the sunniest days, it gets slightly brighter for a no-squinting experience.
A larger 5,000-mAh battery that, with typical usage, can last a whole day and morning is another benefit of the larger size. In addition to Face Unlock, there is wireless charging and marginally improved IP68 water resistance. It is driven by the Tensor G2, much like the Pixel 7a, and will gladly run any program or game you throw at it.
The 50-MP main camera and 12-MP ultrawide camera on the Pixel 7 Pro produce some very gorgeous images under various lighting situations. It stands out from the competition thanks to Real Tone, the company’s picture algorithms that guarantee the camera keeps the correct colors for people with darker skin.
But the iPhone still produces videos that are of higher quality overall. Improvements to the video camera experience include 10-bit HDR for more vibrant and properly illuminated movies. With the exception of low-light situations, the iPhone also often produces sharper selfies.
If you find yourself wishing your smartphone camera could zoom in farther and take better pictures at that high zoom level, then you should really consider the Pixel 7 Pro. You may capture images of distant things in crystal clear detail thanks to its 5X optical camera. Even better, updates to Google’s Super Res Zoom algorithm make photographs you take at magnifications of up to 30 times seem pretty darn fantastic.
I discovered that 10X is where it really shines, giving me photos that are crazily close to the standard of the 10X optical camera featured on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Now that the ultrawide camera has focused, a new Macro Focus option may be used to take sharp pictures of very close-up things. Even though it isn’t as inexpensive as the Pixel 7a, the Pixel 7 Pro will nonetheless be impressive. Try not to spend the full price, as it is often on sale for $749.
Google Pixel Fold
At $1,799, the Google Pixel Fold is the most expensive Pixel ever. It is not yet available, but preorders begin on June 20, and it is similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold4 in that it is Google’s first folding smartphone. While it uses the Tensor G2 chipset, it also has 12 GB of RAM to help with multitasking.
Open the phone up to reveal a 7.6-inch OLED screen (both 120 Hz) for video viewing, reading, or utilizing split-screen applications while still carrying out your daily phone chores on the 5.8-inch front OLED screen. During the next few months, we’ll be testing the Fold and posting our findings here. Even if the smartphone is pricey, a foldable screen may really be useful in certain situations, particularly if you use your phone often. The Fold is covered in more detail here.
Pixel Pass: Is It Worth It?
Google unveiled a new option for purchasing its phones through the Google Store with the Pixel 6. You may purchase the related phone for $55 per month for the Pixel 7 Pro, $45 per month for the Pixel 7, and $37 per month for the Pixel 6A, with the option to upgrade to a newer Pixel model after two years. The Pro costs $1,320, the Pixel 7 costs $1,080, and the Pixel 6A costs $888. What gives, when they sell for $899, $599, and (initially) $449?
You also get 200 GB of Google One cloud storage, YouTube Premium (no advertisements), and YouTube Music Premium, in addition to Google’s Preferred Care, which covers screen repairs, replacements, and accidental damage coverage for a two-year period. Also, you’ll get the Google Play Pass, which gives you access to applications and games without advertisements or in-app purchases, as well as future deals on the Google Store that are not yet known.
Over the period of two years, the sum of all those separate services plus the price of the Pixel 7 Pro is $1,806. As a result, you actually spend less—$486 less, to be precise. But, it only truly pays off if you use YouTube Music instead of other services like Spotify and watch a lot of YouTube.
When your Pixel arrives, Google claims any existing subscriptions to these services will be cancelled, and you’ll only get one charge for Pixel Pass (though you will need to manually cancel YouTube Premium or YouTube Music Premium before subscribing to Pixel Pass).