I’m a longtime user of Apple’s iPhone – since 2008 to be exact. I got my first iPhone as a birthday present and it was the original that started it all. I’ve updated every year since then to the latest and greatest Apple has to offer (most recently the iPhone 14 Pro) and I don’t regret my decision one bit.
However, since starting at Digital Trends, I’ve broadened my horizons by trying Android devices. There are a ton of different manufacturers out there, and each has their own version of Android. But so far my favorite has been Google’s own Pixel 7. To me, it’s just like Google’s version of an iPhone, and it’s quite beautiful.
What iOS is to Apple, Android is to Google
Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, which featured iPhone OS. Android was originally developed by the Open Handset Alliance and the first commercial sponsor was Google. In 2005, Google bought Android, Inc. and helped refine the Android operating system before launching the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, in 2008. Although there are many Android manufacturers these days, it is primarily Google that takes care of the development of the Android operating system. Individual brands have heavily customized versions of Android on their devices, but Google is still the leader.
In the Pixel 7, the hardware was designed by Google and the Android version on it is quite puristic compared to other brands. The Pixel 7 also uses Google’s own Tensor G2 chip, similar to Apple and its A-series Bionic chips in iPhones.
I’ve tried a handful of different Android phones over the past few months, but my favorite so far has definitely been the Pixel series. One of the main reasons is that the software doesn’t feel like bloatware.
As someone who has been using iPhones for over a decade, I think the Google Pixel 7 is pretty much on par with Android 13. Android 13 is fast, snappy, and responsive without any third-party customizations. It also feels very similar to iOS 16; I picked up the Pixel 7 and started using it naturally with the swipe navigation gestures I’m familiar with from iOS, and it’s pretty much the same. Swipe up from the bottom to return home, swipe up longer to bring up the app switcher, swipe up from the top to bring up notifications and quick settings, swipe from left to go back, etc. I’ve applied , which I was aware of on iOS, and it worked flawlessly on the Pixel 7.
Like most people my age, I’ve had a Google account for most of my life. I mainly use Gmail, I’ve already backed up a ton of photos to Google Photos, my main calendars have always been in Google Calendar, I’m reluctant to use Google Drive/Docs/Sheets/Slides when necessary, and I’ve kept my address book in Google as failover.
So even though I use an iPhone (and other Apple devices), most of my data is in Google – which means I can access it from anywhere. I love that once I log into my Google account on the Pixel 7, all my essentials are already on the device and I don’t have to set up a third-party account (like Samsung, OnePlus, etc.). ) to back up my data.
While I’m liking Android 13 on the Pixel 7 so far, I’m finding that some things are made even better on the iPhone. For example, it’s a bit choppy when I’m scrolling through something, and it suddenly stops when I reach the end. I also love tapping the status bar at the top of my iPhone to easily return to the top of the screen, which Android doesn’t seem to do. When it comes to little things like that, I still appreciate iOS and how it adds a bit of elasticity and bounce when scrolling. It’s small details, but they are important to me.
The Pixel 7’s design play is too good
I’m a bit of a butterfinger, so the moment I get a new phone I’ll slip it straight into a case if I have one – and the Pixel 7 is no different. However, when I take it out of a case, the glass material for the back cover makes it feel premium even with the aluminum body.
I honestly wish my iPhone 14 Pro had an aluminum frame instead of stainless steel because I’m not a big fan of the glossy finish (fingerprint smudges). Of course, since my Pixel 7 device is the obsidian black variant, it gets fingerprinted easily.
I’m also a big fan of what Google did for the camera with the camera bar design. Again, for someone who’s used iPhones, the three-lens camera array on the iPhone 14 Pro is a little tiring at this point, and the camera bar is unique and distinctive – much like iPhones were when they first came out. I also like that the camera bar has a matte aluminum look since it’s an extension of the aluminum frame; It adds a nice contrast with the shiny back.
Oh, and let’s not forget that the camera lenses are flush with the camera bar. Although the bar sticks out like the camera hump on the iPhone 14 Pro, once you place a case on the Pixel 7, the camera bar protrusion is imperceptible.
Apple devices are always considered premium aesthetically, but I’m very impressed with what Google has come up with in the Pixel 7, even if it’s not the Pro version. To me, the Pixel 7’s hardware combined with a pure version of Android 13 just makes me think if an iPhone was made by Google, this would be it.
One of the main reasons I upgrade my iPhone every year is the camera improvements Apple is adding to the Pro models. However, I was quite impressed with the Pixel 7’s performance as a camera, particularly the post-processing tools.
Although my iPhone 14 Pro remains my main device, I’ve enjoyed testing the Pixel 7 camera in my time with it to date. Images I took with the Pixel 7 were balanced with the correct colors you would see in real life, which is quite similar to the results I get with the iPhone 14 Pro. I didn’t take any photos that looked washed out or artificial, unlike other Android phones I’ve tested like the OnePlus Nord N300 5G. Of course, the Pixel 7’s selfie camera isn’t the best due to skin tone inaccuracies, but the dual rear camera system is an ace.
While I could easily point the Pixel 7 camera at anything and get good results, it’s not my favorite feature of the phone. No, I actually love Google’s photo editing tools more, and I wish Apple would add the iPhone. The Magic Eraser tool in particular is my biggest selling point and one of the reasons I would buy a Pixel if I wasn’t an iPhone user.
As someone who has used iPhones primarily for photo editing only, the built-in editing tools in the Photos app are pretty much barebones. You only have the basics and a few filter-like effects. I’d love to see Apple add a tool like Magic Eraser because I really enjoyed using it to eliminate strangers in the background of some of my favorite Disneyland photos. I also like how Google uses its artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze a photo and make suggestions for improvement. I don’t always use the suggestions, but I like having the option in case I need inspiration.
I haven’t used all the features the Pixel 7 has to offer in terms of camera and photo editing, but it’s easy to use and produces great images, and editing has never been easier. I really wish Apple would have similar features in iOS later.
The Pixel is Google’s iPhone, and that’s a good thing
I’ll still be using my iPhone 14 Pro as my main device, but if my iPhone connectivity wasn’t so strong, the Pixel 7 (maybe even the Pixel 7 Pro if I’d tried one) would be my phone of choice. I just love how fast and snappy Android is on it, without Android’s customized forks that other manufacturers use on their hardware. The Pixel 7’s overall aesthetic and feel is also very well done, and the camera and photo features are great.
I know there’s still a lot for me to explore in the world of Android, and I’m just beginning to tread water. But the Pixel experience has been – so far – so enjoyable for me. While other manufacturers have their own strengths, I wish all Android devices could be as good as the Pixel.