The Pixel 7 Pro, flagship of Google’s phones, is a piece of work. A good one mind you, I’m not here to praise Caesar, but to bury him. I have now lived with this phone for two weeks and two days if I’m doing the math right and it’s, don’t get me wrong, some of the stuff is amazing, but it’s not consistent, stable, or giving feedback as to what’s going on.
TL;DR – this is what I’ve found wrong on the Pixel 7 Pro at day 16. Not a judgement call, just findings.
Now, first off I’d mention I use my phone a whole heck of a lot more than most. I control things at work, home, I test out products, I’m running more control apps than anyone has a reason to, I’m taking pictures of my kids and posting them for relatives because we have only one within seeing distance. For all of this I need a phone that notifies me when something happens such as I receive a text message, or an event happens with one of the monitored apps (I use the Sense Home Energy Monitor for some notifications,) or just a variety of things.
Text messaging issues
That was one of the compelling reasons I switched from what I’m more and more considering to be the Pixel 7 Pro’s equal the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5g. I couldn’t get reliable notifications. Well, turns out on the Pixel 7 Pro it’s the exact same issue. Sometimes I get a messaging notification about a text the instant it’s received, sometimes I get it 3-7 minutes later. That just does not work reliably.
I stress this – anything over a minute for a text or MMS message is unacceptable. Apple knows this. Google can just screw off with the RCS push until it can pull RCS within a minute and display a notification. I will note, the Messages app is getting the messages, as proven by it being in the freaking Messages web page (which pulls the SMS/MMS from the phone,) but it’s unable to display a notification for some reason.
This is the exact same issue I had on the S21. It’s not been fixed by Android 13 (The S21 is on 12 I believe,) nor a fancier version of Google Messages that seems to be on my Pixel 7 Pro.
App stability isn’t on the Pixel 7 Pro
I’m not sure how much is the apps, how much is the Pixel 7 Pro, and how much is Android 13 being buggy here, but we’ll start with System UI lockups, which I’ve had a couple. Screenshot of one below.
I’ve had two displays indicating System UI isn’t responding, and at least one time when it wasn’t but there was not a display. The phone was completely frozen and stayed frozen for about a minute. In all three cases the phone resumed and was fine.
Besides the UI freezing one documented two notified and three total times, apps have been crashing. Not all apps, and considering it’s on Android 13 which is still relatively new I’m sort of giving Google a slight pass here – this does happen when a new version of the OS is out. I’ve been on the Samsung side which means about 3 months further away from bugs than the Google side.
Camera UI issues
On my S21 if I took a bunch of photos in a row and it was processing, I knew it. If I tap the button over and over again here at some point it just stops. No indication that it’s doing processing in the background. Just straight up refuses to let me take more and then maybe in 10-20 seconds I’m able to again.
Basically portrait mode, lots of shots because I have to take lots of shots because heaven forbid a kid or Guinea Pig can stay still for two seconds.
Driving mode and auto-read make me want to throw the phone out the window on the best of days, but the Pixel 7 Pro has reached new and useless heights which, to be fair, may just be the app in general. Being on one phone I can’t tell if this absurdity has spread in the past couple of weeks or what.
Here’s the breakdown…. I’m driving, in driving mode, listening to the news as pulled from 1-3 hour old podcasts… suddenly a wild noise appears…
“Auto read is still on. You can disable it at any time” – or something similar. Now we wait for five seconds because we have to LET THAT SINK IN.
“You’ve got a long message from John F****….. do you want to read it?” At this point I’m saying “yes” over and over again because the audio is delayed 2-4 seconds on my car (it’s a Honda thing from 2013 radios, not a google thing) and I finally see it pop up the “yes”.
And that’s it. Never read the message. There’s just a little window sort of thing at the bottom of the display and it’s blank and yeah… nothing… I got back home 14 minutes later and see that John had sent me a couple of messages. Neither something that Google Assistant should have had an issue reading. I don’t know why it didn’t read them but it just sat there looking sort of like it was doing something for the remainder of my drive… this has happened a few times at this point.
Maybe I’m just noticing it more because the Google Experience and all… but voice texting and handling things via voice in my car is frustrating…
And that reboot
Sitting at a computer typing away because that’s what I do and notice my phone is rebooting. This is about 8 hours after the latest update had installed, so we’re not dealing with a required update as far as I can tell nor are we dealing with anything popping up and saying “hey, we need to reboot.” Just rebooted. No notification, no justification, no idea why.
I suspect this has happened twice that I didn’t observe. I suspect this because I’ve been required to enter my pass code twice when I didn’t expect to need it and I was not paying a whole lot of attention to the message on the screen (whether my thumbprint had failed too many times before, or that the phone had rebooted.)
Pixel 7 Pro all day battery? Not so much.
The battery life on a 5000mAh internal battery is about 80% of what it was in comparison on my S21. At least I think it is. Keep in mind I’ve been using my phone a little bit more than average because even at two weeks I’m still setting things up… there’s also Text Express which I seem to be playing a bit more. But my battery is indicating low at about 9pm.
I generally am not using my phone much at work, I listen to some podcasts in a car with the unit charging so it’s got more battery than when I started, and overall yeah, not impressed with the battery. I use more battery than most, but yeah this is not close to an all day battery in my use cases. It’s not bad, but not better than 2yo battery hog with the same capacity S21.
Where the Pixel 7 Pro stacks up
I’ve been phoning on Android for 12 years now. This is reminiscent of some buggy third party phones rushing to get the latest Android level experience. Reminds me of some of HTC’s efforts back around the EVO 3D.
That said, if you want to be on the cutting edge, you’re going to get cut. This is cutting edge. I can’t stress how nice the phone and voice features are, but they are. I find none of what has happened to be excessively far outside of what I consider the norms for a newly released Android/Google product… It’s not as polished as Samsung or Apple, but with Samsung you’re working with an OS that has been out for months and mostly fixed by the time they get it, and with Apple you’re really not pushing boundaries to the extreme in OS terms from one iPhone model to the next (this is an opinion, you can show me 6000 changes but it still feels like the same with nice modifications to me).
Overall – this is just a list of things that need to be fixed and I expect will be.