I’ve had a Huawei P30 Pro since 2019. It was an impressive device back then and it still is to some extent in 2023. Sadly, the P30 Pro is held back by a lack of updates, , and a camera system that produces boring-looking photos.
I ended up replacing it with a Google Pixel 7 Pro, which I have been using since late May. Here is a list of observations that I’ve made over the past few months. Do with them what you will. :-)
The Pixel looks fairly unremarkable from the front. For the most part, it’s just a slab of glass with .
The back looks slightly more interesting. Most of the surface is covered by glass, which is supposed to give the phone a more premium feel. It doesn’t really do anything for me (other than to make it slippery), but it looks pretty nice.
I have mixed feelings about the camera bump on the back (the “visor”). It’s quite an eye-catcher and helps newer Pixel phones stand out from the rest. However, it also prevents the phone from lying flat on tables. Moreover, I think the material and finish on the Pro model makes the phone look cheap.
I slapped an official Pixel case on my phone, which enables the phone to lie flat on tables without wobbling. I honestly think it’s too expensive for what it is (a piece of plastic that’s a bit too slippery). At least it’s not a dust magnet, like the Huawei’s silicon case for the P30 Pro.
A lot has been said about the build quality of Pixel phones on the internet. There have been reports of broken volume rockers and cracking camera lenses. So far, I haven’t had any issues yet. I hope it stays that way.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is noticeably heavier than my Huawei P30 Pro. I’m not quite sure what causes the Pixel to weigh so much more, but I can say that this is definitely not a phone you’ll want to hold with one hand for longer stretches of time.
The first thing you notice when you turn the Pixel on, is its display. The Pixel’s 6.7″ AMOLED display is a marked improvement from the one in my Huawei P30 Pro. Its HDR10+ support makes photos and videos look gorgeous, a 120Hz refresh rate makes the UI feel buttery smooth, and at 1500 nits peak brightness you won’t have any problems when you use your phone outdoors on a bright sunny day.
Although the display supports resolutions of up to 1440p, the 7 Pro’s default resolution is set to only 1080p. I honestly don’t see the difference between the two, but maybe I’m just getting old.
When people say they don’t buy a Pixel for the hardware, they mean that the Pixel’s unique selling point is its software. However, there are a few things that can be slightly annoying for some people:
Performance is fine, especially for normal apps (i.e. not games). It doesn’t feel any different from my 2019 Huawei P30 Pro however. .
The Pixel 7 Pro provides support for multiple eSIMs, but only comes with one physical SIM card slot. This can cause problems if your provider doesn’t support eSIMs (mine doesn’t).
There’s no expandable storage. What you buy is what you get.
The Pixel can become uncomfortably hot, especially on a warm day. It doesn’t take much to turn your Pixel into a portable hand warmer: simply charging it, enabling the hotspot, or turning up the display brightness is enough. Consequently I haven’t bothered to play any games on the Pixel.
By contrast, my Huawei P30 Pro always stays cool unless I run graphically intensive applications for extended periods of time or install system updates (which it sadly no longer receives).
5G is absolutely worthless here in the Netherlands. Reception is kind of bad where I live, and which makes it consume ungodly amounts of energy. I only use 4G now.
The most annoying thing about the Pixel 7 Pro is its battery. Out of the box, the battery life on my Pixel was atrociously bad. The battery drains quickly and charges relatively slowly.
My Huawei P30 Pro fully charges in half the time it takes the Pixel 7 Pro to reach 100%, and loses it charge in roughly twice as much time after four years of heavy usage. I’m also not happy with the fact that my Huawei charger doesn’t work at all on the Pixel. I had to go out and buy a new charger specifically for my new Pixel. So much for saving the planet.
With a few tweaks (no 5G, no always-on display) the battery usually lasts long enough to get me through a day – but not always. The Pixel often suffers from battery drain that’s especially noticeable when you’re not using it, e.g. during the night. I’ve had nights where the Pixel somehow manages to consume 20% of its battery, even though it’s literally just lying on my bedside table, with Wi-Fi, mobile data, and Bluetooth turned off.
Pixel phones come with a clean and up-to-date Android experience. It’s good and definitely better than what I previously had on Samsung and Huawei phones, but it’s not entirely free from bloatware. There are several Google widgets which cannot be removed from home screens. It also has some weird bugs. My Pixel once managed to become completely unresponsive to the point where even the shutdown dialogue didn’t register any touches. This would have been unthinkable on my Huawei P30 Pro.
In return, you get a few impressive Pixel-exclusive features, like audio transcription and live translation. However, most of these don’t work for the languages that I use at work and at home (Dutch and ), so as far as I’m concerned they don’t exist. 🤡
Android Auto is arguably the thing that has improved the most with my upgrade to the Pixel. With my P30 Pro I would often spend literal minutes trying my phone to connect with my Volkswagen Golf. With the Pixel it usually only takes me a few seconds. Having said that, the Pixel occasionally disconnects for seemingly no reason. This is kind of inconvenient when I’m driving at 120km/h.
On paper, the Huawei P30 Pro has a very good set of cameras. It’s good at basically the same things as the Pixel 7 Pro, e.g. low light photography and 30⨉ zoom. However, most photos taken on my Huawei P30 Pro look a bit boring, washed out or ridiculously oversaturated. I personally think that photos taken by the Pixel manage to look good most of the time.
My only complaint is with the front-facing camera, which doesn’t do a very good job indoors when it’s starting to get dark outside.
I give the Pixel a 6/10. The Google Pixel 7 Pro has several impressive features, but they only work for a few languages. The camera system is good, but everything else is just kind of mid. In my opinion, the Pixel 7 Pro doesn’t live up to its hype. Moreover, it suffers from a few very annoying issues that should’ve been resolved during the design phase.
|I chose the Pixel 7 Pro over
|Google Pixel 7(a)
|Lacks a telephoto lens. Also, my store didn’t have it in stock.
|Apple iPhone 14 (Pro)
It somehow still doesn’t support USB-C. Also, I’m not a huge fan of iOS’s walled garden.
|Samsung Galaxy S23
I don’t like the OEM bloatware (Samsung apps, awkward language localisation).