Google has already confirmed that the Pixel 7 will be launching later this year, and the early look we got at it at the company’s Google I/O 2022 conference looked very familiar, with the prominent camera bar for a second generation.
Apparently that’s not all that’s coming back for seconds. According to an Android Open Source Project code dive from 9to5Google, the panels in use on the upcoming Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will be virtually indistinguishable from those used on their predecessors. But there could be an upgrade on the Pro that could boost battery life.
The code highlights two display drivers: C10 and P10, which the site reckons refers to Cheetah and Panther — the codenames of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro respectively. The former is a 2400 x 1800 panel capable of hitting 90Hz, while the latter is a 3120 x 1440 display that can reach 120Hz.
The identical specs shouldn’t be surprising, as the code suggests the panels themselves are the same Samsung produced models as last year — S6E3FC3 and S6E3HC3 respectively. Though the site also found a reference to S6E3HC4, which suggests that the Pro model could get a generational advance — albeit one with identical specs on paper.
Upscaling to save battery life
So far, so identical, but there are two differences that the site flags. First of all, the Pixel 7’s panel is marginally smaller than last years — it’s 1mm shorter and 2mm narrower, making the image ever-so-slightly more sharp.
The second change is more interesting, and exclusive to the Pixel 7 Pro’s display. 9to5Google found reference to something called “DDIC scaling”. The listing suggests that the 2K panel could render everything in 1080p and then upscale the image to 1440p, which would help conserve battery life.
It’s not a new approach, and is something that has been available on handsets from Samsung and others for years now, but it certainly could be helpful, especially given the short poor battery life we registered in our Pixel 6 Pro review. The Pixel 6 Pro managed just under 8 hours in our battery test, regardless of whether forced to use 60Hz mode or not.
Hopefully the Tensor 2 chipset will offer such efficiency improvements that this battery-saving option isn’t necessary. All the same, it’s nice to have a backup if the Pixel 7 Pro’s stamina is as underwhelming as it’s predecessor’s.