Google launched its Pixel range of smartphones back in 2016 and since then they’ve gone on to become a firm favourite for Android fans. Renowned for their excellent cameras, Pixel phones have over the years offered the simple, uncluttered version of Android that Google always intended, making them great to use. Another reason for their popularity is that they’ve usually been quite affordable, just like the Nexus phones they followed on from.
This changed a little recently, with Google adding a Pro model, giving people the chance to opt for the premium flagship experience that rivals phones from the likes of Apple and Samsung. But the continued release of both a standard model and the ‘a’ range of budget-conscious phones, makes sure there’s something for everyone.
If you’re thinking of buying a new Pixel and don’t know which one to choose, we’ve compared the latest models to help you get the model that’s right for you. We also outline the specs and headline features of each Pixel that’s been released and help you identify which Pixel you may already have, plus which models have wireless charging and if they’re waterproof.
Here, there, is a complete guide to the history of Google Pixel phones.
Google Pixel phones compared
Here’s a quick breakdown of the latest Pixels and how they stand up to their closest model.
Pixel 7 vs 7 Pro
The two premium models in the current range share a lot. They both have the new Google Tensor G2 chip, IP68 water-resistance and the fantastic cameras for which the Pixels are famous. The Pro does give you more though, with an additional 48MP f/3.5 telephoto camera, a larger and higher quality display, plus support for Ultra Wideband. Whether you need this is up to you, as the Pixel 7 is fantastic and will save you around $300/£300 when compared to its Pro stablemate.
Putting the last two generations of flagships up against each other shows the difference a year can make. While the Pixel 6 Pro is still a great phone, boasting the Google Tensor G1 chipset, triple rear cameras and new design, the Pixel 7 Pro adds a layer of polish to proceedings. For a start it features the next generation Google Tensor G2 chipset, the cameras are also slightly improved with a wider field of view for the Ultrawide lens, plus the display is brighter. Both are excellent, but with a year of refinement on its side the Pixel 7 Pro is the one we’d recommend.
Pixel 6 vs 7
As with their Pro counterparts, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 have many similarities. Both come with IP68 ratings, full HD+ OLED display with 90Hz refresh rates, excellent cameras, and offer superb value for money. Again, the older model features the G1 Tensor chipset, while the newer version gets the faster G2. Unusually, the Pixel 7 actually has a marginally smaller OLED display (6.3in rather than 6.4in), but this does make it slightly smaller and lighter than its older sibling. The rear cameras are practically the same, but the front sensor on the Pixel 7 does have a minor upgrade. The real difference is in camera modes, as the Pixel 7 uses the G2 chip to access editing tools like unblur, magic eraser and cinematic blur in video that shoots with a shallow depth of field to movie-style footage. Small differences, but they do add up to the Pixel 7 being a better package overall.
Pixel 6a vs 7a
Perhaps the biggest step up from its predecessor is found in the Pixel 7a. While the Pro and standard models were mostly refinements, the 7a is a complete overhaul. It’s the first ‘A’ model to feature wireless charging, a 90Hz refresh rate on the display, the latest Google Tensor G2 chipset and all the software capabilities this brings, especially to the cameras which also saw significant upgrades. The Pixel 6a is no slouch, and can be found for ridiculously affordable prices at the time of writing, but the Pixel 7a is very close to the Pixel 7, making it one of the best and most affordable mid-range phones on the market.
The Pixel 7a is the newest phone in the line-up, making its debut in May 2023. If you want the current flagship though, then that would be the Pixel 7 Pro, which was launched in October 2022. If you’re wondering when the Pixel 8 will be released, then it looks very likely that the standard and Pro models will take their bow in October 2023. So, you might want to wait until then if you’re thinking of buying one of the premium models.
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.