Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Sorry, but you’re all wrong — any Pixel 7 is a great buy

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The Google Pixel 7a in a person's hand.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I bet you’re worried about buying a Google Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, or Pixel 7a, aren’t you? There are some nasty horror stories about terrible reliability out there, and they’re enough to send many potential buyers screaming into the waiting arms of a Samsung Galaxy S23 or an iPhone 14 Pro, each ready to provide comfort with their solid dependability.

Contents

  • No problems, really?
  • The Pixel 7a isn’t any different
  • No, I’m not showing off

Well, at the risk of sounding smug, I’ve used all three and had no serious issues with any of them. And how’s this for a daring follow-up statement: When someone asks me if any are worth buying, I’ll say yes. You heard me right, I think you should buy a Pixel 7 phone.

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Does this mean I’m also saying the accounts of Pixel problems are overblown and that those complaining are merely overly sensitive souls? No, but either someone at Google is looking after me, or there’s an equally good chance the Pixel 7 model you buy will be fine too.

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No problems, really?

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

When I was reviewing the Pixel 7, I often spoke to Digital Trends’ Mobile Editor Joe Maring about the phone, as he was using a Pixel 7 Pro. The problems he described to me sounded alien, as I hadn’t experienced any of them. I actually went out of my way to replicate the more serious ones by repeating similar actions or using certain apps. When I review a phone, I don’t often go looking for problems — I use them normally and see what transpires. Here I was, goading the Pixel 7 into going wrong.

But it didn’t go wrong. It just worked. I went on to the Pixel 7 Pro afterward, using it over the Christmas break and for various weeks for camera comparisons and other stories, including a second opinion on our review. I’ve also been using the Pixel 7 again these past few weeks. Every now and then, I’d remember they are supposed to be terrible phones, filled with bugs that would frustrate me to the point where I’d put my SIM in another phone. Well, it has just never happened. Both are as reliable and steady as most other phones I’ve used this year.

I’m feeling pretty special. Is Google singling me out and sending me the very best review samples it could find, handpicked off the production line and prepared especially for me? Clearly, something is going on, as in the Digital Trends’ microcosm, my Pixels are the phone equivalent of unicorns. But could I really go three-for-three? The Pixel 7a was incoming, so would this end my winning streak and see me write a very different story about life with Pixel phones?

The Pixel 7a isn’t any different

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I’m writing this a week into using the Pixel 7a as my everyday phone with my main SIM card inside. I’ve used it for all the usual things — photos, calls, social media, browsing, apps, games, and navigation — and I’ve been waiting for it to go wrong. Had Google’s elves picked another phone off the line for me, ensuring I continue to feel like one of life’s winners. or was this the Pixel that would break me?

Smug mode continues to be activated, as it appears this is another Pixel phone custom-made for me. It’s doing a great job so far, with no software reliability problems, and no evidence of any is lingering in the background, waiting to ruin my day either. I can’t really tell the difference between it and the Pixel 7 in terms of performance or ability, and if you told me I must switch to one of the other Pixel 7 models, I wouldn’t mind. However, I don’t think Digital Trends’ Mark Jansen would feel the same way.

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Has the Pixel 7a been entirely problem free? The perfect smartphone? No, but none of its idiosyncrasies are deal breakers. The most serious on the Pixel 7a is the connectivity, as it doesn’t have the same Wi-Fi range as other phones and often drops the signal. Reconnecting sometimes requires you to open the Settings app and force it to do so, but not always. It falls back on a cellular signal, so it’s not like the phone is dead at any point.

Like the other Pixel 7 models, the Pixel 7a gets pretty warm under load, and the battery life isn’t the best. But I’m definitely getting longer life than some of the reviews I’ve seen, with three hours of screen time seeing the battery last almost two days. These are issues likely exasperated by the Tensor G2 processor, and while annoying, they aren’t things that have made me want to stop using any of the Pixel 7 phones. If I was put off by shorter-than-hoped-for battery life, I would struggle to find any modern, capable smartphone to use every day. My iPhone 14 Pro’s Wi-Fi connection isn’t always perfect, either.

No, I’m not showing off

Google Pixel 7 Pro Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

What’s the moral of the story, or is this just several hundred words of showing off that my Pixel phones work as expected? I suppose the takeaway is just because some haven’t been lucky with the Pixel 7 doesn’t mean you’ll be one of them. Assuming someone at Google isn’t saying, “Make sure Andy gets good phones,” there are at least some leaving the factory without any problems.

I’m going to carry on using the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and the Pixel 7a to see if any of them suddenly go rogue, but I’m not expecting any drama. It makes me very excited about the Pixel Fold, too, provided my guardian angel at Google continues to select only the prime examples of its latest phones for me (and I’m fortunate enough to test one out). It may just have a chance of stealing my beloved Galaxy Z Fold 4‘s crown as the best foldable you can buy.

It’s always good to hear both sides of ownership stories, and while the Pixel 7 series isn’t perfect, it’s not like every phone that leaves the factory is a pig. If you’re worried about your order, let me know, and I’ll see if my guardian angel can help you too.

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