Google Pixel 7 Pro — someone just bought and used a prototype for three weeks

Google Pixel 7 reveal at Google IO 2022
(Image credit: Google)

Update: Google Pixel 7 colors just revealed — and a storage disappointment.

Google may want to be a bit more careful with its top-secret prototypes. Back in April, a prototype Pixel Watch was left in a restaurant before the company had confirmed it even existed, and last week a Pixel 7 was spotted for sale on eBay

That listing was cancelled, but it appears that sales of prototypes have been going on for a while, as one Redditor has apparently been using the Pixel 7 Pro happily for weeks. It’s not even explicitly stated that he or she knew it was the unreleased model when purchased, which isn’t hugely encouraging for those looking for sweeping changes.

AMC20_ (opens in new tab) purchased what was listed as a Google Pixel 6 Pro on Facebook Marketplace in North Texas, and had been “using it for about three weeks” without issue. 

Unfortunately for the Redditor in question, the recent reports of prototypes leaking appears to have spooked Google, and the phone “starting acting weird” and eventually was subjected to a remote factory reset. It now looks like this:

Pixel 7 Pro prototype

(Image credit: AMC20_ / Reddit)

“It's been working 100% fine the entire time I had it until yesterday morning,” the poster wrote. “It was early, about 4:00 [or] something, I was getting ready and I saw the screen start flickering and doing weird stuff.”

The phone then stated that it was performing a factory data reset, and wouldn’t let the user intervene. “Then I saw a circle on the screen saying erasing date and then it went to that screen,” the Redditor continued. “I think big G did it.”

Other than generally being very impressed with the phone (“it’s a bad ass phone and the pictures are amazing,” the poster commented on Android Police (opens in new tab)), there aren’t too many details provided — though apparently it is similar enough for a screen protector designed for the Pixel 6 Pro to work: “even the fingerprint scanner portion matched up well,” the poster wrote (opens in new tab)

The original seller, for their part, apparently claims (opens in new tab) they believed it to be a Pixel 6 Pro, but apparently had “other units” that were also wiped. 

Pixel 7 Pro prototype

(Image credit: AMC20_ / Reddit)

Whether you believe that explanation is up to you: in the defense of the poster, it does look a lot like the Pixel 6 Pro, right down to the Stormy Black color scheme. In the case for the prosecution, the logo on the back is nothing like the usual Google ‘G’.

We know from Google’s own teaser that the Pixel 7 is going to look very familiar indeed, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Here, it sounds like incremental improvements with a faster second-generation Tensor processor, improvements to camera performance and — hopefully — stronger battery life, possibly based on screen resolution trickery

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.