Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6: What's different?

Google Pixel 7 vs Google Pixel 6
(Image credit: Future)

A Google Pixel 7 vs Google Pixel 6 breakdown is a must now that the new Pixel is here. What's truly new and different?

As you'll see in our Pixel 7 hands-on review, there are not a ton of differences. In fact, the screen size has shrunk on the Pixel 7 when compared to the Pixel 6. However, the biggest difference is clearly the shift to Google's new Tensor G2 chip, which continues to place an emphasis on Google's machine learning capabilities to give it an edge over the Pixel 6 and the best Android phones

Other upgrades include a sleeker design, great new camera features like Cinematic Blur and a brighter display. Let's break down the biggest differences between the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6. 

Google Pixel 7 vs Pixel 6 specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Pixel 7Pixel 6
Starting price$599$599
Display6.3-inch OLED (2400x1080)6.4-inch OLED (2400x1080)
Refresh rate90Hz90Hz
CPUTensor G2Tensor
Storage128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras50MP (f/1.85) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide50MP (f/1.85) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide
Zoom8x Super Res Zoom7x Super Res Zom
Front cameras10.8MP (f/2.2)8MP (f/2.0)
Battery size4,355 mAh4,614 mAh
Wired charging speed30W30W
Size6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches6.2 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches
Weight6.9 ounces7.3 ounces
ColorsObsidian, Snow, LemongrassSorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral, Stormy Black

Google Pixel 7 vs. Pixel 6: Price

Pixel 7 in lemongrass

(Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel 7 starts at a very affordable $599 (£599 / AU$999) for 128GB of storage and then increases to $699 (£699 / AU$1,299) for 256GB. See our Pixel 7 preorder page for all the latest deals and promotions. 

In the US, the Google Pixel 6 has a retail price of $599 for 128GB and $699 for for 256GB. However, we have even seen deals with the Pixel 6 starting at just $199 at Best Buy. So make sure to check our best Pixel 6 deals before buying.

Google Pixel 7 vs. Pixel 6: Design and colors

Google Event

(Image credit: Google via YouTube)

The design of the Pixel 7 is definitely a welcome update over the Pixel 6. To be clear, the Pixel 6 was not an ugly phone by any means, but its two-tone colors were certainly a polarizing choice compared to other smartphones. 

That is gone with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. Google has made the back of the phones all one color, with a matte aluminum covering for the rear camera bar on the Pixel 7 and a polished aluminum covering on the Pixel 7 Pro. This gives the Pixel 7 a premium feel that the Pixel 6 lacks.

One interesting change: the Pixel 7 has actually shrunk compared to the Pixel 6. The phone features a 6.3-inch display, which when combined with thinner bezels reduces the phone's dimensions to 6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches compared to the Pixel 6's 6.2 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches. The Pixel 7 is also lighter at 6.9 vs 7.3 ounces for the Pixel 6. 

the best pixel 6 cases on three new Pixel 6 models

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 both come in three colors, though the Pixel 7's colors take a more muted approach overall. The Pixel 7 comes in Snow, Obsidian and a vibrant, pale yellow Lemongrass. The Pixel 6 comes in Stormy Black, and two more pastel options in Kinda Coral and Sorta Seafoam.

Google Pixel 7 vs. Pixel 6: Displays and Face Unlock

Google Pixel 7

(Image credit: Google)

The display sizes for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 are 6.3 inches and 6.4 inches respectively. That actually could be a surprise downgrade for the Pixel 7, though given both displays feature an FHD 2400 x 1080 resolution with a 90Hz refresh rate, expect the differences in display quality to be negligible.

One plus is that the Pixel 7's OLED display is rated to be up to 25% brighter outdoors than the Pixel 6. The Pixel 7 goes up to 1,000 nits with HDR content and has a peak brightness of 1,400 nits. Google did not provide a nit rating for the Pixel 6. 

Another perk for the Pixel 7 is Face Unlock. This feature has been missing since the Pixel 4. So if you want to unlock your phone just by glaring at it, the Pixel 7 would be the clear choice, though you can also use fingerprint unlocking on both phones. 

Google Pixel 7 vs. Pixel 6: Cameras

Google Pixel 7 screenshot from teaser video

(Image credit: Google)

The camera hardware remains largely unchanged between the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 6, but there are some notable upgrades. Both feature two rear cameras and one front camera. While the rear cameras did not get an upgrade this generation, the front camera did get a boost. The Pixel 7 has been upgraded to 10.8MP and a f/2.2 aperture from the Pixel 6's 8MP camera with a f/2.0 aperture. 

The biggest difference in camera quality will ultimately come down to the upgraded Tensor G2 chip in the Pixel 7.  The Tensor G2 chip enables the Pixel 7 camera to take less blurry photos by taking multiple shots from the main and ultrawide cameras. The Pixel 7 also offers a faster Night Sight mode, so you should get better lowi-light pics in less time. 

Other Pixel 7 camera highlights include upgraded Real Tone performance, which focuses on ensuring persons with darker skin tones are rendered naturally in photos. And Guided Frame is a new feature that allows persons with impaired vision to be able to take the best selfies possible through guided audio prompts. These two features will be initially limited to Tensor G2 devices but will eventually be available on the rest of the Tensor-powered lineup — including the Pixel 6.

Pixel 7's photo tricks aren't even limited to your newly taken photos. With Photo Unblur, users can remove blur from old photos in the Google Photos app on Pixel 7 and use magic eraser on these photos as well.

Magic Eraser in action on a Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Pixel 7 gets some video upgrades as well. Cinematic Blur allows for high-quality video with a low depth of field. 10-bit HDR creates more realistic photos, and Active Stabilization gives Pixel users a video recorder that could compare favorably to the iPhone 14 Pro Max's Action mode. 

Google Pixel 7 vs. Pixel 6: Specs

Google Event

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In terms of specs, the phones compare favorably, with the Pixel 7 having a couple of narrow advantages. Both phones feature 8GB of RAM and128 or 256GB of storage. The pixel density on the Pixel 7 is a slight upgrade, but both have the same overall resolution and refresh rate, so don't expect a major difference there. 

Again, the real difference comes down to the Pixel 7 getting an upgraded Tensor G2 chip and Titan M2 security chip, which allows the phone to have an increased suite of features and a higher level of security. The Pixel 7 will also get VPN by Google One for free, though we have found this VPN to fall a bit short of the competition. 

Google Pixel 7 vs. Pixel 6: Battery and charging

Google Event

(Image credit: Google via YouTube)

The Pixel 7 battery has actually shrunk compared to the Pixel 6. The Pixel 6 battery clocked in a 4,614 mAh whereas the new Pixel 7 only has 4,355 mAh. Despite this, Google claims that the Pixel 7 will make it 24 hours on a single charge, with shocking 72-hour battery life when using Extreme Battery Saver.

In terms of tested battery life, the Pixel 6 lasted for just 8 hours and 13 minutes on our web surfing test. So we're hoping for more endurance from the Pixel 7. 

Both devices feature fast charging and wireless charging, though the Pixel 7 gets an upgrade here — if you're willing to pay for it. The Pixel 7 can get a 50% charge in about half an hour with a 30W USB-C charger, but you'll have to buy that separately. Meanwhile, the Pixel 6 is limited to 21W fast charging.

Google Pixel 7 vs. Pixel 6: Outlook

Google event

(Image credit: Google via YouTube)

The Pixel 6 is still a good phone with a lot of nice features. It's definitely still worth buying if you can find it at a steep discount.

Despite that value though, the Pixel 7 is a clear step up despite having a lot of similar specs to the Pixel 6. The upgrade to the Tensor G2 chip broadly expands the machine learning feature set and significantly improves camera performance and features. 

We'll have to see if the Pixel 7 is good enough to make our best phones list. Stay tuned for our full rated review. 

Next: Google Pixel 7 — 5 reasons to buy and 3 reasons to skip.

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.

  • Innovator1992
    Recently purchased a Pixel 6 on sale. However, given the Black Friday discount on the Pixel 7, I will be spending $20 plus taxes to upgrade to the Pixel 7 that arrived yesterday. It feels better in the hand than the Pixel 6. And, it does seem faster. The ENORMOUS difference is Face ID/Unlock. Since I have an iPhone 14Pro Max as my main phone, I could not stand using the poorly implemented fingerprint ID on the Pixel 6. While the Pixel 7 Face Unlock and fingerprint ID are not perfect, I do like them much better than the Pixel 6. And I do like the size of the Pixel 7 - it is remarkably close, but just a bit more comfortable in the hand, with or without a case.