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For years, Google's Pixel phone lineup felt like nothing more than a hobby- a hobby that just happened to produce phones that had some of the best smartphone cameras money could buy. Over the last couple of years, however, there's been a shift in how Google approaches its Pixel phones, and the entire line is starting to attract the attention of iPhone and Android users alike.

Google currently offers five different Pixel models, which include the Pixel 6a, Pixel 7a, Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro and the Pixel Fold. The lineup is sure to change, most likely in October, when Google reveals the Pixel 8. I've extensively used all the currently available Pixel phones. In fact, if I don't have my iPhone on me, it's all but guaranteed I have one of Google's Pixels in my pocket. So, if you can't or don't want to wait for Google to make the Pixel 8 official and are looking to pick up a Pixel right now, I'll walk you through each currently available model and help you pick the right Pixel phone for you.

The best Google Pixel phones: Our top picks

Google Pixel 7 Pro vs Pixel 6 Pro: Should you upgrade? photo 2
Google Pixel 7 Pro
1. The best Google Pixel phone overall

Pixel 7 Pro builds on the foundation of the Pixel 6 Pro, offering a more refined design, stunning camera performance and clean software.

  • Great camera performance
  • Fantastic display
  • Clean software experience
  • Competitive price
  • Not many changes from Pixel 6 Pro
  • Limited HDR sharing
  • ace unlock limited

Google's premium flagship smartphone is the Pixel 7 Pro, which features a 6.7-inch OLED display with up to 1500 nits of brightness, and up to a 120Hz refresh rate. All of that means you shouldn't have any issues looking at the screen in direct sunlight, and the high refresh rate of the display ensures smooth scrolling and high-action scenes in videos or moves are buttery smooth. The Pixel 7 Pro is available in some pretty unique color combinations thanks to the horizontal metal bar that runs across the back of the phone, as is the rest of the Pixel lineup. The 7 Pro comes in hazel, snow or obsidian.

The Pixel 7 Pro uses Google's Tensor G2 processor, a 5000 mAh battery, IP68 dust and water resistance, comes with 12GB of memory, and ranges in storage from 128GB to 256GB to 512GB. All of this adds up to a performant experience across the board, including all-day battery life.

In addition to having the largest display and battery capacity out of any Pixel 7 model, the Pixel 7 Pro also has the most advanced camera setup. Every current Pixel phone has a camera bar on the rear of the phone, giving it a unique design compared to the rest of the smartphone market. Inside the Pixel 7 Pro's camera bar is a triple camera setup, featuring a 50 MP wide camera, a 12 MP ultra-wide camera, and a 48 MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and up to 30X Super Res Zoom. The front-facing camera on the Pixel 7 Pro is the same as the Pixel 7, coming in at 10.8 MP.

Prior to the Pixel Fold, my preferred Pixel phone was the Pixel 7 Pro. Overall, the Pixel 7 Pro is the best Pixel phone Google has to offer right now, and it's perfectly suited for someone who doesn't want anything less than that. From a large and bright display to long battery life and a camera experience that other Pixels come close to but can't quite match, it does everything you'd expect of a flagship smartphone.

A Google Pixel Fold on a desk with an emoji wallpaper.
Google Pixel Fold
2. Best foldable Pixel phone

Google's Pixel Fold is the company's first foldable smartphone and it sure is a looker. It takes a different approach than Samsung's Z Fold line, and you're either going to love or hate it.

  • Great quality design
  • External display is very usable
  • Great camera results
  • Some software optimisation still to happen
  • Pricey
  • Middling battery life

Google's newest Pixel phone,the Pixel Fold, is the company's first smartphone that veers from the traditional slab form factor and features a foldable display. At $1800 it's also the most expensive Pixel. The overall design is similar to Samsung's Z Fold 5 in that there's an outer display you can use for more routine and mundane tasks, but when you need a larger screen the Pixel Fold opens like a book to reveal a much larger, tablet-like inner display. Only instead of being tall and narrow like the Z Fold 5, Google took a shorter and wider approach to the overall design of the Pixel Fold. Personally, I like this foldable design because it makes the outer display much more usable in more scenarios, and the inner display isn't as tall when the Fold's open. The Fold is available in obsidian or porcelain color options.

The outer display of the Pixel Fold is a 5.8-inch OLED display with 1550 nits peak brightness. The internal display is a 7.6-inch OLED display with 1450 nits of peak brightness. Both screens have up at 120Hz refresh rate. The Fold's hinge closes completely shut, leaving no gap between the screen, preventing dust and debris from getting inside when it's closed and in your pocket. The list of components powering the Pixel Fold will look similar, as it uses Google's Tensor G2 processor, and has 12GB of memory and 256GB or 512GB of storage. The battery is 4,821 mAh and has been more than enough to last a full day in my use over the last six weeks or so. That's with mixed inner and outer display usage, I'd say of 40 percent to 60 percent, respectively.

As for the camera setup of the Pixel Fold, you can expect a similar experience to Pixel 7 Pro. There are three rear-facing cameras on the Fold, with a 48 MP wide camera, a 10.8 MP ultra-wide, and a 10.8 MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and Super Res Zoom up to 20x. There are two front-facing cameras, a 9.5 MP camera above the front display and an 8 MP shooter above the inner display. You're not going to get the same overall quality from the Pixel Fold's camera setup as you would the Pixel 7 Pro, but I've captured some really impressive photos with it that have made me all but forget about the hardware differences between the two. Plus, you can use the rear cameras to take selfies on the Pixel Fold due to how the phone folds open, and you're able to use the front display to frame the shot.

Where the Pixel Fold will undoubtedly fall short for some users is with app compatibility. All Android apps open and run fine on the Pixel Fold, of course, but due to Google's choice to go with a widescreen design, not all apps are optimized to take up the entirety of the internal display. Instead, you see black letterboxes on either side of the app's window. It can be annoying, and it's surely not as polished as Samsung's Z Fold 5.

That said, if you're someone who is tired of Samsung's somewhat heavy-handed One UI Android tweaks and customizations or don't like the design of the Z Fold 5, the Pixel Fold is a fine choice for a foldable phone.

Google's Pixel 7a.
Google Pixel 7a
3. Best mid-range Pixel phone
$444 $499 Save $55

The Pixel 7a is Google's latest mid-range phone. It succeeds the Pixel 6a, and sits alongside the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, offering a number of great specs and features and bridging the gap even more between flagship and mid-range.

  • Flagship power
  • Quality Pixel camera (with a caveat)
  • Solid build
  • Good clean software and timely updates
  • Ultrawide camera switching bug
  • Display not the brightest

Shortly after Google updates its core Pixel phone line, the company has a habit of releasing an A-series model that uses some of the more attractive features of its latest smartphones but cuts corners to make the phone more affordable. This year, that's the Pixel 7a.

The 7a comes with a 6.1-inch OLED display with the same resolution as the Pixel 7, but without any sort of listed peak brightness. You'll still get up to a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling, however. It's powered by Google's Tensor G2 processor, has a 4,385 mAh battery, 8GB of memory and comes in one storage size of 128GB.

Instead of having a glass back and an aluminum frame, the 7a is made of plastic — so it lacks the same premium feel and polish as the rest of the Pixel 7 lineup. However, it's the first A-series Pixel phone to include wireless charging. The housing also has IP67 water and dust resistance. A fun aspect of the Pixel 7a is its various color options which set it apart from the rest of the line. The 7a comes in a very bright coral, sea, charcoal or snow.

The backside of the 7a has two cameras. There's a 64 MP wide shooter, and then a 13 MP ultra-wide. The front-facing camera is 13 MP. In my experience, the photos you get from the 7a are clear and sharp but lack some of the overall quality you get from the rest of the Pixel 7 line or even the Pixel Fold. That's not to say you won't be happy with the images, I've been very pleased with the photos I've taken on the 7a overall.

At its $499 regular price, you're saving at least $100 compared to the Pixel 7, or $400 when compared to the Pixel 7 Pro. Although, right now Google has all three phones marked down and the Pixel 7a is actually only $5 less than the Pixel 7. If that's still the case when you're shopping for a Pixel phone, do yourself a favor and spend the extra $5 to get the Pixel 7. It's the better phone out of the two. But if the promotion has run its course, and you're looking to save cash, the Pixel 7a is a fine mid-tier smartphone from Google that does a fantastic job of mixing affordability with performance.

pixel 7
Google Pixel 7
4. Best Google Pixel phone for most
$399 $599 Save $200

Google's Pixel 7 is ultimately the best Pixel phone for more people due to its mix of size, performance and affordability. You're not missing out on a lot compared to the Pixel 7 Pro, unless having the best camera experience possible is your top priority, that is.

  • Solid and attractive design
  • Great camera system
  • Vibrant and bright display
  • Clean and fluid software experience
  • Ultrawide camera not as strong as primary
  • Not hugely different to PIxel 6

Google's Pixel 7 shares a lot of the same core features and capabilities you'll see in the Pixel 7 Pro, but at a more affordable price. For instance, the Pixel 7 carries the same general design, but with a vibrant color option in lemongrass, along with snow and obsidian. It's slightly smaller, boasting a 6.3-inch OLED display, a total brightness of 1400 nits, and a variable refresh rate that tops out at 90Hz. You're still getting an excellent display, just not quite as bright or fast.

Inside the Pixel 7 is the same Tensor G2 processor, a 4355 mAh battery, 8GB of memory and 128GB or 256GB of storage. All of that combines to provide a smooth experience with responsive apps and interactions, and battery life that'll get through a full day.


Instead of three rear-facing cameras like the Pixel 7 Pro is equipped with, you do drop down to two rear-facing cameras on the standard Pixel 7. There's a 50 MP wide camera and a 12 MP ultra-wide. The loss of a telephoto lens isn't a deal-breaker by any means, but it does mean you won't have any sort of optical zoom, even at 5x as the 7 Pro has. The camera experience, however, is still something that can compete with the likes of Samsung's Galaxy S-series or even the iPhone 14.

I like to look at the Pixel 7 is the Goldilocks of Pixel phones. It's just right when it comes to size, price and overall performance. It's best for someone who doesn't want or need the best, is shopping on a modest budget, but still wants a phone with a top-notch camera.

incredible Google Pixel 6a deal
Google Pixel 6a
5. Best budget Pixel phone
$234 $349 Save $115

The Pixel 6a is Google's budget smartphone that brings much of the same Pixel 6 experience, condensing it down to a more affordable package. Even though it's been replaced by the Pixel 7a, it's still a fantastic option.

  • Beautiful form factor, even for a budget phone
  • Flagship power
  • Great updates policy
  • Pixel camera magic
  • Storage limited to 128GB
  • Display only 60Hz

When Google announced the Pixel 7a, it kept last year's A-series phone in the lineup. Priced at $349, the Pixel 6a has a strong case to be considered the best budget smartphone available from anyone, let alone Google. The 6a matches a lot of what the 7a is equipped with in terms of specs, but keep in mind, that it is a year older than the 7a, so the internal hardware won't quite be at the same level of performance.

With the 6a, you can expect a 6.1-inch OLED display, up to 60Hz screen refresh rate, and a 4410 mAh battery. It lacks wireless charging and is made with the same plastic material as the Pixel 7a. You can pick from three different color combinations with the 6a, which are sage, charcoal and chalk. Inside the phone is 6GB of memory, Google's first Tensor processor, and 128GB of storage.

The two rear-facing cameras are a definite weak spot of the overall Pixel 6a experience, with a 12.2 MP wide camera and a 12 MP ultra-wide camera, whereas the front-facing camera comes in an 8 MP lens.

Essentially, all of these specs mean that with the Pixel 6a you're getting a reliable phone that can run any of the current apps and services from Google and the Play Store, has plenty of battery life with a camera setup that's going to take good enough photos for everyday use.

Best Pixel phone: The bottom line

The best Pixel phone, in my opinion, currently is the Pixel 7 Pro. It's the most expensive, but compared to the high-end iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, it's a pretty good deal. And on top of that, you get a stellar camera experience and a big, bright, vivid display with long battery life and performance to match. And with the Pixel 8 announcement likely to happen within the next two months, you're going to see Google and retailers continue to offer the Pixel 7 Pro at a reduced price. If you don't care about what the Pixel 8 could potentially bring to the Pixel ecosystem, then there's arguably no better time to jump on a Pixel 7 Pro promotion.

Google Pixel 7 Pro vs Pixel 6 Pro: Should you upgrade? photo 2
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Editor's Choice

Pixel 7 Pro builds on the foundation of the Pixel 6 Pro, offering a more refined design, stunning camera performance and clean software.

  • Camera performance
  • Great display
  • Clean software experience
  • Competitive price
  • Not many changes from Pixel 6 Pro
  • HDR sharing limited
  • Face unlock limited

How do the Pixel specs compare?

  • Google Pixel 7 ProGoogle Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7Google Pixel FoldGoogle Pixel 6a
    SoCGoogle Tensor G2Tensor G2 Google Tensor G2Google Tensor G2Tensor G1
    Display6.7-inch, LTPO, Quad HD+, 120Hz, up to 1500nits6.1-inch OLED, Full HD+, 90Hz6.3-inch, Full HD+, 90Hz, up to 1400nits5.8-inch OLED, 2092 x 1080, 120Hz (cover) / 6.7-inch OLED, UTG, 2208 x 1840, 120Hz (main)6.1-inch, OLED, Full HD+, 60Hz
    Battery4500mAh, Fast charging, Wireless charging4385mAh, 18W fast charging, 7.5W wireless charging4355mAh, Fast charging, Wireless charging4821mA / 30W fast charging, 7.5W wireless charging4410mAh, Fast charging
    Operating SystemAndroidAndroidAndroidAndroidAndroid
    Dimensions162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm, 212g152.4 x 72.9 x 9mm, 193g155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm, 197g 139.7 x 79.5 x 12.1mm (folded), 139.7 x 158.7 x 5.8mm (unfolded), 283g152.2 x 71.8. x 8.9mm, 178g
    ColorsSnow, Obsidian, HazelCharcoal, Snow, Sea, CoralSnow, Obsidian, LemongrassObsidian, PorcelainCharcoal, Chalk and Sage
    IP RatingIP68IP67IP68IPX8IP67
    RAM and Storage12GB / 128, 256, 512GB8GB / 128GB8GB, 128/256GB12GB, 256/512GB6GB / 128GB

How I chose the best Pixel phones

I have reviewed smartphones for the last 15 years, back when BlackBerry thumb was a hot topic. I've used hundreds of phones over those years, spanning both Android and iOS, including having used every Pixel phone Google currently sells and all of them that ultimately made this list. I drew on my personal experience not only with these particular models but also with smartphones as a whole over my career to help determine which Pixel phones are best suited for specific types of users.

At the end of the day, you can't really go wrong with any of the current Pixel phones. They each have something unique about them, be it a low price point or more advanced cameras. Finding the right one for you requires knowing all the finer details.

What makes Pixel phones different from Samsung?

Samsung is the leading Android smartphone maker, and so it's natural to compare Google's Pixel phones to Samsung's Galaxy lineup. The biggest difference between the two brands is going to come down to the software experience.

Samsung phones use Android, just as Pixel phones do, but Samsung's One UI heavily customizes the overall experience, adding Samsung's own apps and services alongside Google's. Some people really enjoy Samsung's approach, while others prefer the light-handed approach of Google's Pixel software that tightly integrates with Google's apps and services.

Furthermore, whenever there's a major software update, such as Android 14, Google's Pixel lineup is usually the first to receive any major updates along with quarterly Pixel Feature Drops where Google adds new features and capabilities to its Pixel line.

How often do Pixels get software updates?

When you have one of Google's Pixel phones, you can expect to receive monthly software updates that typically include security improvements and bug fixes. Once a quarter, Google releases a new Feature Drop that adds new features to its Pixel line.