Go to Reviews.org US Edition
The new Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have a lot in common with last year’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro but are built to last you a lot longer.
The highlights here aren’t all that different from what you’d expect (or might have been led to expect based on the usual deluge of Pixel 8 leaks). This year's pair of premium Google smartphones have a softer silhouette, with well-rounded corners and a flat-screen display. The sum total of these tweaks makes for a Pixel 8 that’s actually smaller than its 2022 counterpart in physical size.
The Pixel 8 clocks in with a 6.17-inch OLED Actua display with FHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Pixel 8 Pro up the ante with a larger 6.7-inch screen. Where the screen on the standard model goes up to 2000 nits of brightness, the more expensive option has a "Super Actua Display" that caps out at 2400 nits.
Beyond the headline act of having a brighter screen, both devices boast most of the premium perks you'd expect from a flagship smartphone, such as an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, water and dust resistance, wireless charging and fast charging via USB-C.
Google is also introducing an improved Face Unlock system this time around. For the first time, Android's equivalent of Apple's Face ID tech will meet the highest security standards for biometrics on an Android device.
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will also be the first Google devices to come with a new temperature sensor. There's definitely a novelty factor at play here, but the ability to point your phone at a given object to sense its temperature may open up some intriguing possibilities for developers willing to make use of it.
Under the hood, the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are powered by the new Tensor G3 processor. As with last year, the cheaper model is armed with 8GB of RAM while the more expensive Pixel 8 Pro packs in 12GB of memory. Storage-wise, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro start at 128GB but go up to as much as 512GB of onboard storage.
Although Google's third-generation SoC is a solid upgrade on last year’s Tensor G2, the company seems less interested in the speeds and feeds this time around. Instead, the emphasis is on the new AI-based applications and experiences that the Tensor G3 will be capable of delivering over the long run.
For now, many of these experiences involve the multi-lens camera system found on the back of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. As is tradition, the Pixel 8 will have a dual-lens rear camera setup while the Pixel 8 Pro rounds things out with a third telephoto lens. In both cases, the hardware is integrated into a bar-shaped module.
Both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have a 50MP main camera powered by Samsung's Isocell GN2 image sensor. In addition, The Pixel 8 will have a 12MP ultrawide lens (powered by the Sony IMX386) sensor while the Pixel 8 Pro will have a 48MP ultrawide camera (courtesy of the Sony IMX787) plus a third 48MP telephoto lens camera (backed up by the Samsung GM5 sensor).
The ultrawide lens on the Pixel 8 Pro now supports macro focus thanks to a wider field of view and autofocus. Both devices also tout improved real-tone tech to deliver better skin accuracy across the photos and videos you capture.
In line with previous Pixel devices, the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will come with a number of unique AI-powered camera features.
Aimed at photographers, there's Best Take. This feature allows you to quickly and seamlessly synthesize mulitple "takes" of an image into one.
The main use case that Google are pointing at here is big family photos, where there's always someone who pulls a face, blinks or sneezes at the last minute. Assuming it works as intended, Best Take promises to allow you to easily correct by stitching in a faces from one photo in another and then using AI to cover up the evidence. On paper, there's no way for that not to sound a little Cronenbergian but it could be cool and useful to have on-hand heading into the holidays.
The other big AI-enhanced trick that the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will have at launch is the new audio magic Eraser. Akin to its visual-based counterpart, this tool will let you strip and scrub out unwanted noise or sound in videos taken using the Pixel 8’s camera.
Those looking at the Pixel 8 Pro for its videography capabilities will have a while to make the most of them. The biggest new feature that the Google Pixel 8 has in store for videographers won't be available at launch.
This one is called Video Boost. This feature will tag in one of Google’s data centers to enhance and optimise the results that the hardware here can deliver in a way that's comparable the Pixel's Smart HDR optimisations.
Both Video Boost and Night Sight for Video are slated to arrive at a later date via one of Google’s feature drop updates.
This long-view when it comes to features ties in nicely to the fact that one of the biggest upgrades to Google’s Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro has nothing to do with the hardware itself. Both devices come with a full seven years of OS updates, feature drops, security updates and customer support. That’s almost double what Samsung offers.
In Australia, the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are available to pre-order from today ahead of an October 12 launch. The Pixel 8 starts at $1199. The Pixel 8 Pro starts at $1,699.