If your holidays are like mine, you need help. While I’d love to call on my family and loved ones over the holidays, more often than not I’m stuck with just my phone. When I think about the sort of help I need over the holidays, I’m glad that Google sent me a Pixel 7 to test, because it’s one of the best Pixel phones ever, and should definitely be on your wishlist, especially with Black Friday deals fast approaching.
My holiday usually involves celebration, whether it's parties at work or parties with friends: there will be feasting. I’d love to travel to see my family abroad, but if I can’t, I’ll make do with video calls in pajamas. We’ll unwrap presents and show off everything we got. In the end, we’ll be left with memories, maybe some soreness and fatigue, and the sales receipts to remind us of it all.
The Pixel 7 is a great phone to help me handle my holiday season, and if there’s a deal that bundles it with Pixel Buds Pro or gives me a nice discount, I’d tell my friends without hesitation that this is the phone to buy.
If your holiday is dark and blurry, like mine
The holidays are a great time to take photos of things in the dark. I’m already excited about venturing into New York City and checking out the decorations, the storefronts, and the (fellow) amazed interlopers, who flock to see it all. The Pixel 7 excels at low light photos, especially with complicated lighting situations, like bright strings of lights across a dark tree.
We can spare the children the details, but often during the holidays – for one reason or another – I find my vision rather blurry and my hands less coordinated than normal. Twin such an impairment with a spot of festive photography and sometimes, I don’t realize my camera is focused on the wrong spot, or not focused at all.
With Photo Unblur on the Pixel 7, I have a chance at redemption. Google Photos can fix my lousy shots, and none shall be the wiser that I was in no condition to be the official photographer for the evening in the first place.
The real problem with blurry photos over the holidays is that the people in the photos are the people who are most important to me. I see them less frequently, maybe even just over those very holidays; once a year. In other words, I would really regret screwing up those shots.
The Pixel 7's camera has a cool feature that recognizes and focuses on faces, like most great smartphone cameras. On the Pixel, though, the camera can recognize which faces are most important to you – based on your Photo library – and it will make doubly-sure that those people stay looking sharp.
If your holiday is partially in Dutch, like mine
My family doesn’t live in just one spot anymore. Some folks have moved abroad and married themselves into the native population. They have very tall children with sunshine-blond hair, and speak an entirely different language, most of the time. I love visiting them, and I especially love the spare bedroom I get to use instead of paying for a European hotel.
Unfortunately, I can’t visit all the time, or even much at all, recently. The selfie camera on the Pixel 7 is great, but this year I’m going to use a different camera for my video calls, because I’ll be keeping the Pixel for live translation between English and Dutch.
The Pixel 7 moves language translation to its Tensor G2 chip, meaning it should be much faster at translation than an equivalent Android phone. If all goes to plan, I’ll get a chance to try it out, in concert with my Pixel Buds Pro this holiday season.
If your holiday is about showing off presents, like mine
The Pixel 7 looks cool – it’s a phone you can show off. It isn't a bland copy of the best iPhones or the best Samsung phones, and it doesn’t look like any of the dozens of cheap phones that clone the style of those leaders. When you show off your Pixel 7, you stand out.
The Lemongrass color is especially striking, but the overall look of the phone – with the camera band around the back – is very cool, without feeling too techy. The phone is smooth all the way around, with a nice screen and when you pass it around, people will undoubtedly spend a moment admiring it.
If you can grab a Pixel 7 as part of a Black Friday bundle with a pair of buds or a Pixel Watch, all the better. The Pixel Watch isn’t the best-performing watch I’ve used, but it is very stylish and fun to show off. Google offered a bundle with a watch when it was pre-selling the Pixel 7 series. If that deal comes back around during Black Friday, I’d highly recommend it.
If your holiday leaves you in debt, like mine
Google priced the Pixel 7 phone just below the competition, so it costs less than a comparable iPhone 14 or Samsung Galaxy S22. That means it’s already a great buy, but it’s still not what we’d call a bargain device. A Black Friday Pixel deal could push the phone closer towards that target range, however.
Google often releases a mid-year phone at a competitively-low price. This year, that was the Pixel 6a: a phone that has many great Pixel-exclusive features – like Magic Eraser – but not all of them. As such, I’d still prefer the Pixel 7, for its Photo Unblur and other powerful Tensor G2-powered skills. Fingers crossed for a Black Friday offer – I'll be keeping an eye out, you should too.
The Pixel 7 isn’t just one of the best Android phones you can buy, it’s one of the best phones available right now, period. If your holiday sounds like it might be anything like mine, it may be the perfect companion for conversing with foreign relatives visiting from afar, unblurring shots filled twinkling lights and cheerful faces, and if you're related to any fellow geeks, they just might enjoy toying with the new Pixel.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University.
Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.