Has Google fixed the reception problems for the Pixel 7 series? We tested the Pixel 7 series across three continents to see if the Pixel 6 series’ network demons have been exorcized.
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After much anticipation, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are now for sale in 17 countries. That means many of you with firm pre-orders have already already unboxed your shiny new Pixels, marveled at their sleek design, tried out their outstanding cameras, and exhaled a sigh of relief that the in-display fingerprint scanner worked perfectly this time.
The faulty fingerprint reader on the Pixel 6 series wasn’t the only problem people experienced with the Pixel 7 duo’s forerunners. Among the complaints was an issue with the most fundamental component of any phone, smart or not. Yes, we’re discussing the annoying reception problems that have resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of taps on the airplane mode in order to force a connection and make a call or continue a grim session of doomscrolling. While not every user had trouble with their phone’s network connectivity, those who did described it as “more like a recurring yet familiar migraine.”
Even though the Pixel 7 is now available, some potential purchasers may have waited to make a purchase until they saw whether or not the Pixel 7 series’ unique Tensor G2 chipset, which includes a new and improved modem, had successfully exorcised the networking demons. The Android Authority crew has had the pleasure of using various Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro units on three separate countries over the course of the past week. Is Google’s Pixel 7 series now free of reception problems? Let’s get some input from knowledgeable people.
The Honorable C. Scott Brown (Pixel 7 Pro)
I’m on T-Magenta Mobile’s Max plan with my Pixel 7 Pro. My recent travels have taken me from urban New York to suburban Connecticut, and I’ve encountered zero difficulties along the way. It’s been easy to go from mobile to Wi-Fi, and the times I’ve lost coverage have been to be expected (such as traveling on the subway). I can’t compare it to the Pixel 5 series because I haven’t used one as my primary phone very often. However, I haven’t observed any major change in connectivity when comparing it to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which I’ve had as my daily device for over a year.
Bhutani, Dhruv (Pixel 7 Pro)
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro can now be bought in 17 different countries around the world. That means that many of you who pre-ordered from day one have probably already opened your precious new Pixels, admired the sleek design, tried out their great cameras, and breathed a sigh of relief that the fingerprint scanner built into the screen works perfectly this time.
But the Pixel 6 series’ messed-up fingerprint reader wasn’t the only thing people had a good reason to complain about. One complaint had to do with the most important part of any phone, smart or not. Yes, we’re talking about those annoying reception problems that caused hundreds, if not thousands, of people to tap on the airplane mode to force a connection so they could make a call or go back to doomscrolling. It wasn’t a problem that every Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro owner ran into, but for those who did, it was like having a frequent but familiar migraine.
Now that the Pixel 7 is out in the wild, some people who wanted to buy it may have waited to spend their money until they knew if the Pixel 7 series’ custom Tensor G2 chipset and its new and improved modem had completely gotten rid of the networking demons. The Android Authority team has been able to test several Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro units on three different continents over the past week. Has Google fixed the Pixel 7 series’s trouble with reception? Let’s ask those who know.
I haven’t had much time to test the Pixel 7 Pro outside of my house, but when I have, the reception has been fine. I usually see three to four bars of 4G LTE in New Delhi, India, which is the same as what I get on my Galaxy S22 Ultra. It once went down to two bars, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra does that more often and in the same places. I haven’t used the Pixel 6 Pro because it never came out in India, but so far I haven’t had any problems with connectivity.
Rita El Khoury (Pixel 7 Pro)
I’ve been using the Pixel 7 Pro in Paris on Bouygues Telecom’s 5G plan, and I’ve also been carrying around the Pixel 6 Pro, which is also on the same plan. So far, the difference between the two has been huge, at least on my units. I don’t have any of the problems I talked about in detail in my Pixel 6 Pro connectivity deep-dive. The 6 Pro stays offline almost all of the time when I’m in the Paris Metro, and it disconnects every hour or two (sometimes more often) when I’m above ground. The Pixel 7 Pro, on the other hand, just stays online. In some underground areas, it might switch to 4G or H+, but the dreaded exclamation point on the network signal doesn’t happen very often. When it did show up, it didn’t last long, and the phone seemed to find a signal quickly. Yesterday, my husband got his 7 Pro and hasn’t had any problems with it yet.
The only time I had trouble with the 7 Pro’s connectivity was when I was hiking in the middle of nowhere in Luxembourg while using a temporary data-only eSIM. The 7 Pro lost connectivity and didn’t reconnect when I got back to civilization. I had to use the old trick of turning on and off “Airplane Mode” to get it to scan and find a signal.
I’m cautiously optimistic that the new modem has fixed the major problems I was having with the Pixel 6 Pro, but I won’t open the confetti box until I’ve used it for a longer time and made sure it works like a phone in every situation.
All of this is, of course, just anecdotal evidence from one Pixel 7 Pro (or two, if you count the short time my husband has had it so far). I’m well aware of how different units can be. I’ve been around people with Pixel 6 Pros that had a solid 4G or 5G signal, while mine kept getting stuck on the exclamation point, so I know that one unit can’t tell the whole story.
Robert Triggs (Pixel 7)
I haven’t had much time to use the Pixel 7 outside yet, which is where the 6 Pro gave me the most trouble. But I can already tell that the connection is better where I live in the countryside of Bath, UK. I only get one or two bars of 4G LTE here on the O2 network, and my signal often drops to 3G (HSPA/HSPA+) because of the thick brick walls.
Even though the Pixel 7 doesn’t fix that, it seems to stay connected to 4G better and faster than the 6 Pro. Being a stickler for facts, I used three phones to do a 20-minute test around my office.
In a nutshell, it seems that the Pixel 7 connectivity experience is much better than the Pixel 6 and even the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It simply reconnects back to LTE faster while the Pixel 6 easily becomes stuck with HSPA+ (forcing a manual airplane mode toggle to reset it). Promising signs, but I’ll reserve final judgment until I can spend more time with it.
During the course of my exhaustive testing for Android Authority’s in-depth review of the Pixel 7 Pro, I’ve been using the device with Verizon’s 5G Start plan, and I haven’t experienced any problems with the connection at any point. In the middle of rural Pennsylvania, I have been able to hop between a 4G LTE signal and a 5G signal without any interruptions in service. With the Pixel 6 Pro, I did not see any problems with the phone’s signal; however, I did observe that it took some time to go from using Wi-Fi to using cellular data. This is not the case with the Pixel 7 Pro. The speed with which it switches networks is particularly obvious whenever I get into my car and start up Spotify for the first time.
Oliver Cragg (Pixel 7 Pro)
Oh, yes, that’s me! Just like Rob, I have the misfortune of residing in a residence that has walls that are exceptionally thick and is located in an area that has terrible reception (just outside of Bristol in the UK). In the same vein, I am a subscriber to O2 as well (full disclosure: I worked at O2 in various in-store roles in the mid-2010s). Since the Pixel 6 Pro was released in late 2021, I have kept the same O2 SIM card locked in it. With the exception of a few weeks here and there when testing various devices for reviews, I have kept it locked in the Pixel 6 Pro until I moved it over to the Pixel 7 Pro. Because of the issues with reception, I am unable to suggest what is otherwise one of my favorite Pixel phones of all time. This is something that I have not been shy about sharing.
After only one day of using a Pixel 7 Pro, I have already observed an immediate improvement in the connection’s stability. This change came about as a direct result of making the move. The Pixel 7 Pro has powered through areas where the Pixel 6 Pro would always drop the network and flash up the dreaded exclamation point in the notification bar. Instead, the Pixel 7 Pro has been able to switch between the scant 4G LTE coverage and 3G without requiring the user to quickly tap the airplane mode button.
Even though I’ve only had a brief opportunity to test it, it’s very evident that this new generation is a significant upgrade over the one that came before it. Despite this, I can’t wait to try it out in the surrounding countryside and in larger cities.