Pixel 7 Pro teardown shows better cooling, cleaner layout than last year's model

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The Pixel 7 is still on its way, but that isn’t stopping the Internet from tearing it down already. In what’s becoming a tradition, PBK Reviews is the first to rip apart the device, specifically the Pixel 7 Pro. Now we can do some fun comparisons between this teardown and last year’s.

Just as it looks on the outside, the Pixel 7 Pro is pretty close to the Pixel 6 Pro, but you can spot some refinements. Google has done a much neater job with the graphite thermal tape this year. The Pixel 6 Pro had three different sections of thermal tape, but there’s now one monolithic block of graphite covering the cameras, SoC, and battery.

On the Pixel 6, the graphite sticker had to be multiple parts because Google didn’t want to cover up the mmWave antenna wire, which last year ran overtop of the battery. On the Pixel 7 Pro, the mmWave antenna cable is way longer and runs around the perimeter of the battery under the metal mid-frame. With no cable in the way, the thermal tape can have a way larger surface area overtop of the battery, camera, and SoC. Google removed some thermal tape that was previously close to the USB-C port, but with the process node reduction and more tape concentrated around the SoC, this should hopefully lead to a cooler phone.

Google also shared this picture of the Pixel 7's aluminum body.
Enlarge / Google also shared this picture of the Pixel 7’s aluminum body.

Google

It would probably be better to have no mmWave antenna at all because mmWave barely exists anywhere and seems like an overhyped, dead-end technology. Even if you’re pro-mmWave (I guess that would make you the CEO of Verizon?), the Pixel 7 Pro has only one antenna on top of the phone. Other phones, like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, have a better shot of picking up a signal with two mmWave antennas on either side of the device. Part of the laughable infeasibility of mmWave is that your hand easily blocks the signal, so while the Pixel 7 might have a clear line-of-sight in portrait mode, mmWave in landscape on the Pixel 7 would require some awkward hand positioning. Aren’t high-bandwidth mmWave applications mainly for media, though? Shouldn’t landscape be preferred? We should just stop including mmWave altogether.

As for reparability, the front screen pops off first, which makes a screen replacement a one-step process: “fight with the adhesive.” PBK Reviews could not get the back glass off, so it sounds like you’d have to replace the entire metal frame if the back glass shatters. The USB-C port is soldered onto the main board, which would make a broken charging port a costly fix. The battery has pull tabs, but they still won’t work without soaking the battery adhesive in alcohol first. It’s a mixed bag.

Listing image by PBK Reviews / Ron Amadeo


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