Google just took the wraps off their latest smartphones: the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. While there wasn’t a ton of new stuff that we didn’t know about before the event thanks to the ridiculous amount of leaks we’ve seen in the past few weeks, Google’s moves specifically with regard to AI in these devices provided a few surprises to go along with all the features we already knew about. Let’s go through the highlights of these new devices from Google and if you were looking for a spec breakdown, you can see it all right here.
At the heart of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro lies the new Google Tensor G3 chip, an SoC built to deeply integrate AI into the entire phone experience. It comes sporting a whopping seven years of software support that includes both OS and security updates. And with regular Feature Drops, Tensor G3 ensures that your phone gets better over time and stays in sync with the latest Google tech.
A slightly new aesthetic
The first thing that catches the eye about the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro is their updated designs that lean into softer silhouettes and beautiful finishes with their eco-friendly use of recycled materials. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro aren’t just pretty, but they feel great, too. With their contoured edges and flat screens, they are actually a bit more functional, too. The Pixel 8 is a tad smaller than the Pixel 7 from last year, boasting a 6.2-inch Actua display at 120Hz that’s 42% brighter than the Pixel 7.
The Pixel 8 Pro returns with a 6.7-inch Super Actua display (Google’s new marketing term for their screens), which is Google’s brightest display yet at a max brightness of 2400 nits: making your ultra HDR images look true to life even under direct sunlight. The matte glass back and polished aluminum frame create a sophisticated look and the new temperature sensor is a practical tool that can be used for checking a pan’s temperature or to ensure your baby’s milk is not too hot.
Continuing Pixel’s camera mastery
The camera systems in both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have seen significant upgrades as well. The Pixel 8 Pro, for instance, boasts better low-light photography, a bigger ultrawide lens for improved Macro Focus, a telephoto lens that captures 56% more light, and a front-facing camera with autofocus. The Pixel 8 gets improvements, too, with an updated main camera and a new ultrawide lens enabling Macro Focus.
The redesigned camera app interface also makes capturing content easier and faster, with Pixel 8 Pro users now getting Pro Controls for more creative control over settings like shutter speed, ISO, and more.
But the most impressive parts of the camera come down to edits and AI magic. The new tools like Best Take and Magic Editor in Google Photos are nothing short of astonishing if they work in the real world. Best Take uses an on-device algorithm to create a blended image from a series of photos, ensuring everyone looks their best. Magic Editor, on the other hand, employs generative AI to help align your photos with the essence of the moment you were trying to capture. Can’t get everyone to smile together? Pixel can fix that for you. Need to get rid of objects without ruining the photo? The updated Magic Eraser will bring massive improvements to the experience and really allow for big changes after your photos are taken.
Audio Magic Eraser and Video Boost
And now, with your videos, Audio Magic Eraser will allow your recordings to be free from unwanted background noises. Later this year (via Feature Drop), the Pixel 8 Pro will also receive Video Boost, enhancing video quality by adjusting color, lighting, and stabilization, thanks to the Tensor G3 chip. It’s like adding Google’s famous HDR across every frame of your recordings and – if it works as advertised – it looks pretty amazing.
There’s a ton of stuff that was covered for these phones, but one of the highlights of the event was the introduction of Google Assistant with Bard – a move that hopefully makes the Assistant a useful tool on Pixel Phones once again.
Starting at $699 for Pixel 8 and $999 for Pixel 8 Pro, both phones are $100 more than their predecessors; but Google has also brought the goods this time, too. Reviews will help clarify if the extra cost is worth it, but the features available now and coming soon via a Feature Drop look pretty amazing. The pre-order for Pixel 8 Pro comes with a free Pixel Watch 2 and the Pixel 8 comes with a free pair of Pixel Buds Pro; both available for pre-order now and on shelves from October 12. I’m very interested to see what phone reviewers across the board have to say about these new Pixels. I know I’m pretty excited to give them a spin!