After a long hiatus, Google has finally unveiled its flagship Pixel series of devices in India. Dubbed Pixel 7 And yet Pixel 7 Pro (Review), the smartphones are equipped with a brand-new, in-house Tensor G2 processor that enables a host of camera features, including super high-res zoom and remarkable lowlight photography. There’s been a lot of confusion on the interwebs regarding the Pixel 7 Pro’s camera chops, which is why, today, I’m testing the smartphone against iPhone 14 Pro Max It remains to be seen if it can hold a candle against the best the industry has to offer. To find out, read on.
Let’s kick things off by taking a closer look at the specs of our competitors. Starting with the Pixel 7 Pro, the device comes with a 50MP main sensor that works alongside a 12MP ultrawide snapper and a 48MP telephoto sensor with 5x optical zoom range. For selfies, the device gets a 10.8MP camera on the front.
On the other hand, the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a 48MP main sensor, which is paired with a pair of 12MP ultrawide and telephoto snappers. Up front, the smartphone gets a 12MP camera for clicking selfies.
With no specifications available, let’s take a closer look at the photography chops of our competitors. Now, right off the bat, you should know that both the phones click very similar pictures during the day. If anything, the Pixel 7 Pro distorts the image with a warmer color tone, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s output delivers a noticeably cooler color.
For example, if you look at the images in the attached slider above, you’ll notice that two snaps provide the same corner sharpness in a close crop. Furthermore, the photos are equally detailed towards the center as well. If anything, the mud near the pavement in the 7 Pro’s snap looks red, which shows that the smartphone prefers warmer color tones. On the other hand, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s image is more color-accurate and the device delivers a shade of dust as standard.
Here is another example that further substantiates my findings. In the slider attached above, both phones bring out the elements in the frame well. Consequently, whether it’s zoomed into the center or panned left or right, you’ll find the same detail in both photos. The color of the brown pot hanging from the tree is rendered more accurately in the 14 Pro Max photo. The Pixel 7 Pro, once again, has manipulated the image with a warm color palette, and accordingly, you’ll notice a red tinge emanating from the surface of the pot.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max edges ahead of the Pixel 7 Pro as far as wide-angle images are concerned. Now, notice that the differences in the photos are not night and day. In contrast, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s snaps offer slightly better corner sharpness. What’s more, I’ve noticed that the Pixel 7 Pro’s sensor adds a pink tint to images.
For example, if you look at the slider attached above, you’ll notice that the bushes on the edge side of the frame retain their sharpness in the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s snap.
Similarly, in the slider attached above, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s snap squeezes more detail around the buildings in my apartment complex. The composition of the Pixel 7 Pro, on the other hand, has a noticeable pink tint on the right side of the building. The same effect can be seen on the white car placed in the center of the snap.
Moving on, let’s take a closer look at telephoto snaps from both phones. First off, you should know that both phones can take the main sensor output to deliver a 2x zoom photo, which is similar to what you’d get with a dedicated 2x optical sensor. Interestingly, the 2x zoom shot from the two phones is neck and neck – in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find any other differences in the photos, except for the relative color science of the images.
For example, in the above slider, you’ll notice that the petals of the red flower look equally sharp and detailed on both phones. Now, the Pixel underrepresents bright, vivid colors, and accordingly, you’ll notice that the red color of the flower looks a little different in the 7 Pro’s snap. On the other hand, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s image gives a more realistic representation of the scene. At the same time, the photo does not muck red, which is great.
The same goes for the 2x shot of the yellow flower. Whether it’s the bokeh effect, or the definition in and around the petals, the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max turned out surprisingly similar images. The iPhone 14 Pro Max’s snap has again changed the color of the flower to tea. The Pixel 7 Pro’s snap looks very attractive, although the smartphone slightly tones down the vivid yellow tones of the petals.
As the device gets a dedicated telephoto sensor with 3x optical zoom capabilities, the iPhone 3x turns in a slightly sharper image. The Pixel’s output isn’t far behind. For example, in the slider attached below, you’ll notice that both phones do justice to a 3x shot of a rose flower.
Now, in typical Pixel fashion, the 7 Pro’s output is pretty low and, as a result, the composition looks a bit gloomy. However, both images look equally sharp and have similar detail even at 100 percent crop.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max holds its own against the Pixel 7 Pro’s dedicated 5x telephoto sensor. In fact, for the most part, you can get away with similar images at 5x zoom from both phones. Note that the Pixel 7 Pro’s output is sharper, though, so you’ll have to pixel-peep to spot differences in snaps. As an example, if you look at the slider attached above here, you’ll notice that the two phones perfectly match the detail around the rose petals. Furthermore, while the Pixel’s output is slightly sharper, the iPhone’s composition has more true-to-life colors.
The Pixel 7 Pro takes a clear lead when clicking images at 10x zoom or beyond. For example, if you look at the slider attached above here, you’ll notice that the rose buds in the 7 Pro photo look very sharp.
The scene remains unchanged at 15x, the highest zoom offered on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Here, you’ll notice that the transmission tower looks significantly sharper and more structured on the 7 Pro Snap. I also noticed that the iPhone 14 Pro Max introduces highlight clipping at higher zoom levels. What’s more, the Pixel 7 Pro can zoom up to 30x, which gives it extra brownie points.
Selfies and portrait selfies
Selfies on the iPhone 14 Pro Max are a mixed bag. I say this because the phone distorts a sharper image with more realistic color tones, the edge detection of the handset isn’t the best.
Consequently, in the slider attached above, you’ll notice that the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s selfie offers a more realistic skin tone and much sharper detail around my eyes. On the other hand, the Pixel 7 Pro’s selfie looks slightly orange and the photo itself isn’t that sharp.
In contrast, Google one-ups the iPhone and clicks a better portrait selfie. In fact, in the slider attached above, you’ll notice that the smartphone created a cleaner bokeh effect around the edges of my unruly hair.
Lowlight with night mode
The Pixel 7 Pro takes a commanding lead after the sun goes down. In fact, images with the smartphone’s nightscape utility enabled offer better detail across the board. Furthermore, the handset reduces lens flare significantly.
I also noticed that the iPhone 14 Pro Max snap has weird white balance issues. To wit, there is a noticeable blue tint from the lights near the stairs. So, if you’re a night owl, you’ll find the Pixel 7 Pro right up your alley.
It is difficult to identify a clear winner this time. As you can see, the cameras on both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Pixel 7 Pro have their strengths and weaknesses. For the most part, the iPhone 14 Pro Max clicked a more color-accurate picture. At the same time, the Pixel 7 Pro offers superior zoom capabilities. And, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s ultrawide sensor outputs slightly better stills, the Pixel 7 Pro takes the lead in low-light scenes. All said and done, buyers opting for either of the two smartphones will have a lot to like about their respective camera setups.