Google is a software company at its core. Even though it expanded its business to hardware, with the Google Pixel 7 Pro and its smaller sibling being the latest in a long line of great phones, the company is still responsible for Android as a whole. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t give its hardware products exclusive features. After all, it needs to differentiate itself from the competition. As such, the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro both come with a slew of new features exclusive to them.
Direct My Call improvements
Pixel phones have always been great phones. They offer some of the best spam protection and allow you to use Google Assistant to force callers to explain what they want before they can talk to you. The Pixel 7 series brings some enhancements to this area, specifically when it comes to Direct My Call.
Direct My Call was introduced in 2021. It helps you navigate through the audio menus you’re sometimes confronted with when you call company hotlines. On the Pixel 6 and earlier, Direct My Call transcribes whatever the machine on the other end of the line tells you, slowly building a list of options you can pick through to continue. This changes for some lines on the Pixel 7, with Google working with a few companies to make it possible for the phone call menu to appear in full before, even before the voice on the other end talked you through all of them.
Weather forecast in the morning
The Pixel phones come with the At a Glance widget in the upper-left corner of the home and lock screens. The same is true for the Pixel 7 series. The widget gives you quick glances at contextual information, such as upcoming calendar appointments, details for your package delivery, fitness tracking information, stopwatches and timers, connected devices, and more.
The Pixel 7 series adds one more nifty detail to the widget: expanded weather forecasts in the morning. Rather than showing the current temperature and weather conditions at the bottom of the widget, like At a Glance does on every other Pixel throughout the day, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro show you the maximum and minimum temperatures as well as a short verbal blurb on the predominant condition you can expect. A small but neat touch.
Automatic transcriptions for voice messages
Many phones come with the Google Messages app. It allows you to send and receive SMS messages and supports the newer and better RCS format. Using your cellular data or Wi-Fi, RCS allows for sending high-quality images, videos, audio messages, and more, complete with read receipts.
For the Pixel 7, Google added automatic transcriptions for voice messages to the app, created locally on your phone, with no need for sending audio to servers. This lets you know what someone wants to tell you without listening to them, which is great when you’re in a loud environment or feel uncomfortable playing a voice message.
Google Recorder is an exclusive app developed for Pixel phones and probably one of the most advanced. It automatically transcribes what you record, making it easy to follow lectures or find specific bits in an interview you conducted. The cherry on top is that this happens locally on your device, with no audio ever sent to Google (unless you use Recorder’s cloud backup option).
On the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, the app helps you differentiate between different voices, complete with an option to label people. In Google’s demos, up to three people were supported, but it wasn’t clear if there is a limit to the feature. It’s tailored to interview use cases, and writers like us at Android Police are looking forward to it.
Voice commands and voice typing
Google lets you utter a handful of voice commands without starting with “Ok Google” or “Hey Google.” The Pixel 7 expands that with a new silence command. This allows you to quickly silence incoming calls when you can’t reach your phone to do the action manually without starting with the hotword. It’s similar to how you can say “Stop” when a timer goes off on your Google Assistant smart display.
Voice typing was supercharged on the Pixel 6 with new on-device machine learning capabilities, and the Pixel 7 goes a bit further. The new Pixel series offers support for new languages, allowing those who speak Italian, Spanish, and French to use the advanced dictation feature. The company also introduced emoji suggestions to the voice typing mix, as well as the option to pick specific emoji that you know by name.
Photo unblur, improved night mode, and zoom
On the photography front, Google introduced a new photo unblur tool. This unblurs photos that show more motion blur than you would like or that are slightly out of focus. The tool works well on images that aren’t completely destroyed but that you would like to see in more clarity. This feature isn’t limited to photos taken with the Pixel 7. You can use it on any photo in your library.
Both pairs of images: Blurred vs. unblurred.
When you shoot photos, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro come with an improved night mode that is up to two times faster at capturing images than the Pixel 6. We can confirm as much in our Pixel 7 vs. Pixel 6 comparison. On top of that, you get more control over night mode. When it’s dark, you can tap a small shortcut in the lower-right corner to access night mode settings, allowing you to turn it off, use max night mode for a more detailed image, or switch back to standard night mode.
1st and 2nd: Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 7 at 2x zoom. 3rd and 4th: Pixel 6 vs. Pixel 7 at 2x zoom, cropped in to show the difference in details.
Last but not least, the digital zoom has been improved. The Pixel 7 doesn’t have new camera hardware on the back compared to the Pixel 6, save for a new 5x telephoto camera on the Pixel 7 Pro. However, the software can now extract more details using Super Res Zoom. When you zoom in by 2x on the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, all megapixels in the area of the sensor are used as individual pixels. This leads to a better result than on the Pixel 6, which uses pixel binning on the 50MP camera to create a 12MP image, regardless of zoom.
Bedtime mode with cough and snore detection
If you charge your phone next to your bed at night, the Pixel 7’s new bedtime mode might be for you. You can set it up to automatically kick in when you charge your phone after a specific time of the day, automatically suppressing notifications and calls until your alarm rings or if you don’t have one, a specified time in the morning. You can tweak a few more options, such as automatically turning your screen grayscale at night, turning off the always-on display, and dimming the wallpaper. It’s also still possible to turn on bedtime mode automatically after a certain amount of time has passed, regardless of whether you charge your phone.
On top of that, you can optionally enable cough and snore detection. This gives you a broad estimate of the quality of your sleep and an idea if you should see a doctor about conditions like sleep apnea. The feature works locally on your device only, with no audio leaving it for analysis on servers. Cough and snore detection won’t show the microphone indicator when it’s active as it uses Android’s Private Compute Core. This is like Google Assistant hotword detection, which also uses the microphone without an indicator.
Google has a few more features coming exclusively to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro later this year. Clear Calling improves audio from phone calls when you’re in a loud environment. You also get access to Google’s VPN for free for five years, giving you a basic layer of protection when you surf online on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. The latter is confirmed to come in December 2022, while we don’t have a word on when Clear Calling will roll out.
With the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Google once again makes clear that it is a software company. The Pixel lineup has always been excellent in the software department, safe for minor issues that usually get ironed out with a few updates shortly after launch. Thanks to its custom Google Tensor G2 CPU and further plans for more chips in the future, Google may double down on exclusive features that can’t come to other or older phones due to them utilizing special cores and capabilities in the processor.
Google Pixel 7
Google didn’t reinvent the wheel with the Pixel 7, but they didn’t need to. With improved cameras, the next-gen Tensor G2 chipset, and Google’s wonderfully feature-filled software, the Pixel 7 earns its price tag handily again this year.
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Google’s Pixel 7 Pro refines the Pixel experience after the 6 Pro’s initial stumbles last year, improving stability and taking the camera prowess to new levels with image fusing and 4K60fps video on all cameras. 30W fast charging and Pixel’s addictive features like automatic Call screening and Pixel recorder help make the Pixel 7 Pro an alluring phone even as an iterative update.