Both the Pixel 7 and the 7 Pro introduce minor changes to the exterior, mainly related to the camera bump. It still spans across the whole width of the phone, and it's still rather blocky, except for the small curves towards the edges of the phone. However, it's now made of metal, not glass, which in turn accents the camera module. The bump itself is now placed a bit lower, leaving more space around the top. Other than that, it's business as usual.
And we are kind of happy with that. The overall design of the Pixel 7 is anything but generic. The camera strip is a distinguishing feature, and if you are at least a little bit in the know, you can easily recognize when someone is holding a Pixel phone. The upside is that this design eliminates the wobbling on a flat surface, whereas the downside is dust accumulation. The camera module forms deep ridges where dust settles. The Snow color (white) we got is a little better in this regard since the combination between a silver metal frame and white glass mask the accumulated dust. Smudges are also hard to see.
Speaking of colors, gone is the two-tone look. The whole glass piece is painted in one color, and depending on the colorway, the metal frame and the camera strip have a different paint job. The Snow comes with a silver accent, the Lemongrass is gold-ish, and the Obsidian comes with a darker silver accent. That's a more minimalist approach and makes it easier for some people to choose a color.
Unlike its predecessor, the Pixel 7's both glass sheets are Gorilla Glass Victus but retains the iP68 certification against water and dust. As we mentioned earlier, the newer Pixel is slightly smaller in size, as it houses a 6.3-inch display instead of 6.4". It's just a tad thinner, too - 8.7mm. The device sits at a few grams shy of the 200g mark, which is a bit hefty for a device this size. We suspect that the camera strip contributes to the overall weight as the Pixel 7 feels a bit top-heavy.
Going around the sides, we see that Google kept the slightly rounded frame instead of going flat, which is the current trend. Once again, the power button is positioned higher than the volume rocker, and we found ourselves hitting the volume up button way too often, so it takes some time to get used to. We just wished the power button had a different tactile surface or was sensibly bigger to distinguish it from the volume rocker easily.
The bottom is where the USB-C connector sits between the two speaker grilles. The secondary speaker is placed behind the earpiece grille on the front.
The front design is pretty standard - thin side and top bezels, slightly thicker bottom lip and a centered cutout for the front-facing camera. The earpiece grille is super tiny, and it's quite wide too. There are no rounded corners of the display - it's wrapped around with the metal frame.
We really like the fingerprint reader placement on the front. Many of the latest smartphones have theirs placed way too close to the bottom edge, which makes no sense, especially for compact handsets. The Pixel 7 has it right - closer to the middle of the display where your thumb naturally rests.
Overall, the phone feels nice and premium in hand; it's super easy to handle due to its size, and it's somehow not as slippery as expected. Our only complaint would be the dust build-up around the camera strip and the strangely annoying ridge you can feel where the back panel meets the side frame. It's not something we should obsess about, but we also think that a high-end phone should be held up to a higher standard. And ridges and uneven surfaces on a device in this class seem fair to be criticized.