Pixel 7 Pro: Finally! Google fixed my biggest issue with the Pixel 6 Pro

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June Wan/ZDNET

For the past year, I’ve read many articles online lauding the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. As much as I wanted to join that discussion by purchasing and testing both phones, I eventually returned the two within a couple of weeks because a basic, core function did not perform at an acceptable level.

The problem

The phones could not connect or keep a reliable cellular signal in the areas where I live, work, and play.

The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro arguably captured the best still photos, had extremely useful and unique Pixel-exclusive functions (call screening, direct my call, and more), and were quick to get the latest updates from Google.

Despite these benefits, if a phone cannot function as a phone and secure a solid cellular connection at nearly all times, then it’s a failure. I was constantly losing, or not even obtaining, a cell connection with T-Mobile on these phones.

There were widespread reports of cellular and some Wi-Fi connection issues with the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro phones. If a company cannot show proven reliability in core areas, then I cannot use that smartphone for my daily needs.

Google used the Tensor G1 last year, a chip created by Google and based upon the Samsung Exynos 2100 with the Samsung modem. The Exynos Modem 5123 powered the 4G and 5G connection, but it seems there were modem issues that showed it couldn’t compete with the Qualcomm X65 5G modem.

The solution

The Tensor G2 in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro is reportedly using a Samsung Exynos 5300 5G modem, and it looks like that is a good thing.

Part of my commute consists of a train route on the outskirts of several towns where the cellular reception can be fairly weak. This route has been a part of my cellular test for Android phones for years with Samsung and OnePlus phones always setting the bar.

Testing for the past couple of weeks has revealed that the Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro challenge the Samsung Z Fold 4 for signal strength. The Pixel 7 Pro has not only secured a reliable signal on this route, it has not dropped any calls for the two weeks that I’ve been using it with my T-Mobile and Google Fi service.

It’s disappointing that Google went a full year with substandard cellular service and that people tolerated such performance. However, it is fantastic that cellular reception no longer seems to be an issue to discuss, and we can get on to debating the other pros and cons between various devices.

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