It's only recently that Google released the Pixel 7 series, and the reviews have started pouring in. As expected, both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have received generally favorable reviews; everything ranging from the hardware to software experience has been great. However, it now turns out that the Pro variant is plagued with a display issue, a big one, and something that we have not seen before.
The Pixel 7 Pro Seems to Have Some Concerning Display Issues, and We Are Not Sure if a Software Update Can Fix Them
Adam Conway, a Senior Technical Editor at XDA-Developers, has been using the Pixel 7 Pro since Monday. He has noticed that although the battery life is a lot better than the predecessor, when you are using the phone at a higher brightness, the battery immediately drops drastically within a short period. It would have been normal until Conway talked to other members of the team, and Daniel Bader, Valnet's Technical Brands Lead, mentioned that he experienced the same issue.
Now, it is safe to say that using the phone display outside is going to draw more power. The issue is that the power draw is disproportionate. Conway then spoke to other members of XDA and collected reading from their devices, and based on the readings, it seems like the Pixel 7 Pro has a big display issue. Conway then recruited XDA's display analyst Dylan Raga for some help, and both of them have been using the measurements from the Pixel 6 Pro and the Galaxy S22 Plus so they can have some context as to why the Pixel 7 Pro is draining this much battery when it comes to the display.
When at 600 nits, all four of the Google Pixel 7 Pro units topped at 3.5W to 4W. However, it gets worse when you are going to the max brightness. The display's power consumption shot up to 6W. These display luminance ratings are usually measuring peak brightness at 1% APL, in other words, a very small part of the screen lighting up. On the other hand, high brightness mode should be jumping to 1000 nits across the entire panel when the white screen is displayed.
For the sake of reference, the display on the Galaxy S22 Ultra uses around 2W at 600 nits and 4W at 1000 nits. Dylan Raga mentioned that the numbers Conway collected show that the Pixel 7 Pro is using 50% more power than the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the S22 Plus comparatively.
Dylan also pointed out that if one was to extend the Google Pixel 6 Pro display power consumption graph in the same direction that it was already headed, one would be crossing over the same values that they were experiencing on the Pixel 7 Pro. This seems like Google has been having an issue with the panels, and the Pixel 7 Pro is just making matters worse.
Conway then spoke to Ben Sin, Daniel Bader, and Manuel Voneu of Android Police, three people who are using Pixel 7 Pro units that they received from Google. They all got the instructions as to how to measure the power usage from the display at max brightness, and all their values were roughly in line with what Conway got his hands on. Here's what the source shared:
|Power Consumption||Google Pixel 6 Pro||Google Pixel 7 Pro||Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus|
|600 Nits at 100% APL||2.9W||3.5W-4W||2W|
|800 Nits at 100% APL||4W||–||–|
|1000 Nits at 100% APL||–||6W||4W|
To make sense of the problem, the Tensor G2 found in the Pixel 7 Pro has a TDP of 10 to 12W, and although the tests are not complete, it does mean that display alone at manual brightness is likely using just a little bit less than half of the max power of the chipset. In high-brightness mode or playing intensive games, it is entirely possible that one could be drawing up to 18W of battery at any given time. This would easily kill any smartphone battery in just under three hours, and that is only the display and the chipset. This leaves all the other phone components, which would mean that you would have to run to the nearest power outlet a lot faster.
It is still too early to say anything since the testing is still in the preliminary stages. Conway has tested the same behavior across multiple devices and spotted the same erratic power draw across all of them. Thankfully, the base Pixel 7 models are a lot more normal, so the issue is just exclusive to the Pro variant. We are not sure if a software update is going to fix it, but even in the current stages, we don't think it will. Google could eventually fix it, but until there is a further revelation.
Sadly, the unusually high power draw is not the only issue. Prasad Naik from GSMArena pointed out on Twitter that the display remains active for a very short period even after you have turned it off.
I was wondering how I ended up in apps I wasn’t in after I unlocked the Pixel 7 Pro. Turns out the screen remains on for several milliseconds after you lock it. pic.twitter.com/qvtwxp9lTC
— Distinguished Gentleman (@krazyfrog) October 13, 2022
Conway has also noticed the same issue on his unit, and at the time of writing, it still is unclear what is causing this issue, but it sure looks like a software update could fix this issue.
Will this sway your decision to buy the Pixel 7 Pro? Let us know what you think of this issue in the comments below.