The Google Pixel 7 Pro figures to be the most impressive of the two handsets Google releases next month, and it’s going to need to be. Given the size and likely specs of Google’s upcoming phone, we expect it to take on the likes of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S22 Plus, not to mention even higher-end devices like the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
To go up against those phones, the Pixel 7 Pro is going to have to deliver something special.
And the fact of the matter is, we don’t know what that will be just yet. While Google has set a date for its fall product event and even gave us a preview of the Pixel 7 lineup earlier this year, a more detailed account of the Pixel 7 Pro’s specs and features has yet to materialize. We know the phone is getting a new Tensor processor and a slightly tweaked look, but that’s about all that Google has disclosed so far.
Leaks about the Pixel 7 Pro are filling in some of the gaps in our knowledge — something we expect to continue now that we’re two weeks out from the Google October event. Here’s what we know so far about the Google Pixel 7 Pro, along with what we’re hoping to see from this fall’s top-of-the-line Google phone.
Google Pixel 7 Pro news and rumors (Updated September 22)
Google Pixel 7 Pro: Release date and price rumors
Google sent out invites for an October 6 event in Brooklyn where it’s promising to “introduce the latest additions to our family of devices.” As such we can expect to see the Pixel 7 Pro and other Pixel devices, like the Pixel Watch. This would also track with Google’s past form for releasing Pixel products in October.
As for the release date of the Pixel 7 phones, a new tip has them slated for October 18, so 12 days after the reveal, which is a little later than the previously tipped October 13 release date.
According to Google, Pixel 7 preorders will begin on October 6 (opens in new tab)which is the same day as the launch event.
The Pixel 7 Pro’s potential price isn’t as official as the launch date, but rumors are beginning to clear things up. Leaker Artem Russakovskii (opens in new tab) claims that the Pixel 7 Pro is going to cost $899, matching the starting price of the Pixel 6 Pro. (The Pixel 7 will cost $599, according to Russakovskii, which is also unchanged from last year.)
That would be very good news if it happens, especially now that Apple has confirmed it’s sticking with a $999 starting price on its iPhone 14 Pro instead of hiking prices by $100 as had been rumored. Google can still beat the iPhone 14 Pro and the Galaxy S22 Plus on price if it offers the Pixel 7 Pro for $899, cost being one of several ways the Pixel 7 Pro could beat the iPhone 14 Pro.
Google Pixel 7 Pro: Design and display
Google overhauled the look of its phones with last year’s Pixel 6 release, and that distinctive appearance — a horizontal camera bar stretching across the back of the phone — will continue with this year’s models, based on the Pixel 7 images Google has shared.
Still, you can expect a few tweaks. Specifically, the camera bar on the new Pixels will be aluminum and the lens is arranged in a slightly more prominent way, with what we presume is the telephoto lens on the Pixel 7 Pro set apart from the main and ultrawide cameras.
A Pixel 7 Pro unboxing video confirms this slightly altered new look, and an early hands-on with some Pixel 7 prototypes suggests the Pro is pretty much the same size and weight as its predecessor. The Pixel 7 Pro is a little bit wider — 76.68 mm vs. 75.89 mm — although that’s not the sort of change you’re likely to notice with the naked eye. The new phone also measures 0.2 mm thinner than before.
That said, you’d expect the screen size to remain unchanged at 6.7 inches. The OLED panel on the Pixel 6 Pro could adapt its refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz depending on what was happening on the display, and we’d also plan on that feature returning for the Pixel 7 Pro. Some new phones are able to scale down to 1Hz in a move to preserve battery life, and we wouldn’t mind if Google adapted that capability for its upcoming phone.
For colors, the Pixel 7 Pro looks to be coming in Snow, Obsidian black and Hazel. The first two are pretty straightforward to understand, while Hazel is a dark gray/green hue, meaning there’s no “lively” color choice this year.
Google Pixel 7 Pro: Cameras
Cameras aren’t expected to change that much on the Pixel 7 Pro, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Pixel 6 Pro is one of the best camera phones, so the same camera hardware on this year’s model should produce some outstanding shots. Given the changes Apple’s making to the iPhone 14 Pro cameras, though, we’re especially interested in seeing how an iPhone 14 Pro vs. Pixel 7 Pro face-off will shake out.
Until that happens, we can only look at the expected specs — the same 50MP main camera as the Pixel 6 Pro augmented by 12MP ultrawide and 48MP telephoto lenses. The telephoto camera should be capable of a 4x optical zoom.
Camera hardware is only part of the story with Google’s phones. The company also thrives on computational photography, turning to software and machine learning to produce great-looking images. We’re unlikely to hear about those kinds of features until the October 6 reveal of the Pixel 7 lineup, although we’d note that what could be revealed should be pretty impressive.
Think of last year’s Magic Eraser feature, in which you can eliminate unwanted people and objects with a tap. Google augmented that capability with the Pixel 6a, adding the ability to obscure distracting objects in photos by muting their color. Those are the kind of software-powered capabilities we’re hoping to see with the Pixel 7 Pro.
Google Pixel 7 Pro: Performance and battery life
The main change to the Pixel 7 Pro that we already know about is the Tensor 2 silicon that will power the new versions of Google’s phone. Google introduced the Tensor chip last year as a way to bring more machine learning-powered experiences to its devices and based on features like on-device translation and phone tree navigation, you’d say that the move had paid off. We’re eager to see what new capabilities an improved Tensor chip would bring.
While performance isn’t the driving motivation behind Google’s switch to Tensor, we are interested in seeing how the new Google chipset measures up to the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 that’s powered phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 4, improving upon the performance of Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-based Android devices. Since the original Tensor didn’t put up much of a fight against the A15 Bionic inside Apple’s iPhone 13 devices, we don’t worry too much about the Tensor 2 giving the A16 Bionic inside the iPhone 14 Pro.
A bootloader screen on a Pixel 7 Pro prototype suggests Google could equip its phone with 12GB of faster LPDDR5 RAM while also featuring 256GB of storage. It’s unclear if those would be the base model’s specs, though, as opposed to one of several options.
As for battery life, rumors haven’t given us any clue as to whether Google will match the Pixel 6 Pro’s 5,000 mAh cell. Google better do something on the battery front, as the Pixel 6 Pro was a disappointment in our battery test. Tasked with surfing the web continuously over cellular until it ran out of power, our Pixel 6 Pro test unit died after 7 hours and 49 minutes — two hours shy of the average result.
Google Pixel 7 Pro: Software
Just as there’s no secret as to what chipset will power the Pixel 7 Pro, we’ve got a very good idea as to what software will debut on the device. Android 13 is already available for existing Pixel phones, so we’d expect the Pixel 7 Pro to ship with the new operating system installed.
Android 13 isn’t a big change from what’s come before, but you can expect new customization options to Material You design, a Now Playing widget for the lock screen, editable copy/paste text and more granular permissions for apps.
The biggest question is whether Google will feel the pressure to expand support beyond three Android OS updates for its phones. Samsung now supports four such updates for key devices like the Galaxy S series, making it the better option for people who like to hold on to their phones for as long as possible.
Google Pixel 7 Pro: What we hope to see
It’s hard to have too big a wish list for the Google Pixel 7 Pro when there are more features likely to leak between now and October 6. But we can find a few ways we hope the Pixel 7 Pro improves upon its predecessor.
Battery life: Google’s phones have all been coming up short on our battery test lately, not just the Pixel 6 Pro. We hope that the new Tensor chip inside the Pixel 7 series breaks that cycle and helps the Pixel 7 Pro match some of its flagship rivals with a place on our best phone battery life list.
Fingerprint reader: The in-display fingerprint reader Google used in the Pixel 6 flagships turned out to be a pretty finicky sensor, sometimes requiring multiple attempts to unlock the phone. Things seem to have improved with the Pixel 6a, and we hope the momentum continues once the Pixel 7 Pro debuts.
New camera features: Google’s Pixel phones have been all about the cameras, as past Pixels have given the iPhone and its cameras all they could handle. With camera hardware not likely to change much on the Pixel 7 Pro, we do hope Google has a special feature or two up its sleeve that delivers a Magic Eraser amount of “wow.”
Tensor experiences: As much as the camera, the Tensor chip inside recent Pixel phones is helping Google’s handsets stand out from the crowd. We’re excited to see what new capabilities a second-generation Tensor chipset can offer Pixel 7 Pro owners.