Every two years, I have a budget from work to buy a new phone. My Pixel 5 has been a great phone for my usage, and for the most part, I've been really happy with it.
The only criticism that I did have at the time was about the screen size:
But I do kinda wish it was a tiny bit bigger.
And this did come up with some multi-day hospital stays that I unfortunately had to endure this year. Watching movies and TV shows from my bed had me wishing for a phone that had a bit bigger screen.
Roll around to two years later, and there wasn't really anything else other than the Pixel phones that have interested me for a new phone. Somewhat unfortunately, I have gotten very used to the Pixel-phone experience, albeit running Nova as my launcher.
Other than the general lack of bloat, there are a few things that I really like on Pixel phones, such as the dialler that automatically resolves names for businesses calling me, as well as identifying probable scam/spam callers.
So, it was kind of a no-brainer to replace the Pixel 5 with the Pixel 7. The 'Pro' version didn't really offer anything that appealed to me; for example, I don't use the cameras that much to pay extra for the extra telephoto one that the Pro has.
Much has been made of the weakness of Google's Tensor G2 chip compared to other flagship phones, but like with the Pixel 5 that had a mid-range Qualcomm SOC, I don't need anything more than that for my needs. Plus, I'd definitely take battery life over performance any day of the week.
After using it for over a month, I'm mostly happy with it, except for one big issue: the under-display fingerprint sensor.
I get how 'fancy', 'modern', or high-tech' an under-display fingerprint sensor seems; it is kinda like magic. But compared to traditional capacitive fingerprint sensors (like the ones on a back/side of a phone), the optical fingerprint sensor in the Pixel 7 is unreliable at best.
Combined with the basic face unlock, it does work most of the time. However, I've noticed that it becomes less reliable with increased ambient light. Outside in the sun, it's very flaky, especially if I'm wearing sunglasses or a mask which removes the face unlock capability. Inside in not-bright areas, it's mostly reliable. Re-enrolling the fingerprints doesn't improve things.
It's a jarring change from using the Pixel 5's rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor that just works 95% of the time.
Other than the fingerprint sensor and some extra software magic, this is probably the most incremental phone upgrade I've ever done, and if we're being picky, the fingerprint sensor is functionally a regression anyway.
There's just not much innovation in new phones these days, and to be honest, I'm not sure what else there is to be accomplished, short of fancy holograph technology we've been promised by sci-fi movies 😜.