3 Google Pixel 7 leaks including a 2nd-generation Tensor SoC and a camera snoozefest
1. Another Samsung-made SoC
Google's camera smarts have always been one of the series' strongest points, and the dedicated Tensor processors found in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro took Google's computational smarts to the next level. The problem many fans had with the Google Tensor SoC is the Samsung partnership that seemed to contribute to poor battery life, heaps of bugs, and not-so-stellar performance in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro devices.
While in-house silicon has proven to be very fruitful for companies like Apple and its Bionic processors—allowing companies to more tightly integrate features and security into their platforms—the first-generation Tensor processor suffered some major speedbumps. Hopefully, Google's second-generation Tensor platform will see a smoother launch and better reception.
If you're phone shopping, you can still get your hands on the Tensor-powered Google Pixel 6, available on Amazon
2. The RoboCop visor design is back, but it is better
Going off Google's 2022 I/O announcement and an eBay listing of a Pixel 7 prototype, we're going to see a refresh of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro camera visor with a few tweaks. While the 2021 flagship's design certainly isn't unoriginal, fans of the Pixel series were firmly split on whether or not it was a good design. One thing we can say is that the camera slab on the Pixel 7 seems to be part of the same metal unibody as the side rails.
On the other hand, carrying over the back cover design of the Pixel 6 devices means the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will almost certainly feature the glass-metal-glass sandwich found in most modern smartphones. The Google Pixel 5 and 5a proudly rejected the glass slab design in favour of a metal housing with a bioresin coating that won the hearts of many Pixel fans, both for its durability over glass, and its uniqueness in a pretty stagnant market.
3. Camera sensor déjà vu
Google has historically been very stingy about camera sensor upgrades on its Pixel lineup—the same 1/2-inch, 12.2 MP Sony IMX363 sensor is present from the Pixel 3 all the way to the Pixel 5a—so it's no real surprise that leakers are reporting the Pixel 7 Pro will have the exact same camera setup as the Pixel 6 Pro, with the excellent, 1/1.31-inch, 50 MP Samsung ISOCELL GN1 pulling the weight of the main camera sensor duties.
Lack of camera hardware changes is both a good and a bad indication. While camera hardware upgrades are great—gathering more light with a larger, better sensor is almost always better than using HDR trickery to get the same effect—it's difficult to dismiss the benefits of streamlining development for the imaging pipeline on the Pixel lineup. Only making your development team focus on two camera setups greatly cuts back on the cost of development and might just get Google to the top of the smartphone camera game, if the company plays its cards right.