The Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro feature enhanced AI and new cameras, but they come with a higher price tag. Google’s latest Pixel phones have a higher price compared to last year’s models, but they also bring more noticeable enhancements.
The Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro Came With Better Cameras But Higher Prices
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are here, introducing increased AI capabilities and camera enhancements to Google’s flagship smartphones. These new phones, set to launch on October 12, underscore the growing role of artificial intelligence in Pixel devices, encompassing the Google Assistant, call screening, and photo editing.
However, these improvements are accompanied by a steeper price compared to last year, as the Pixel 8 starts at $699 (£699, AU$1,199) and the Pixel 8 Pro begins at $999 (£999, AU$1,699). This represents a $100 increase from the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.
As in prior Pixel releases, the camera remains a significant focus. The Pixel 8 introduces a macro mode, while the Pixel 8 Pro is expected to deliver significantly enhanced video capture through a feature called Video Boost, which performs video processing in the cloud instead of on the device. Additionally, both phones will feature a new editing tool designed for altering facial expressions in group photos.
Like previous Pixel releases, the camera continues to be a major focus. The Pixel 8 introduces a macro mode, while the Pixel 8 Pro is anticipated to bring substantial improvements to video capture through a feature called Video Boost, which conducts video processing in the cloud rather than on the device. Furthermore, both phones will include a new editing tool aimed at modifying facial expressions in group photos.
The New AI features and Camera of Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro
Although AI has traditionally played a crucial role in smartphone functions like voice recognition and image processing, Google is advancing this further with the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. This is evident in new capabilities, such as the Google Assistant’s capacity to provide summaries of web pages.
I witnessed this feature during a pre-launch demonstration by Google. While browsing a Wikipedia page using Google’s Chrome browser, I pressed the side button to activate the Google Assistant and then selected the “summarize” option displayed on the screen. Within a short period, the Google Assistant compiled a list of essential points in bullet format.
Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro’s Call Screen’s Enhancement
Call Screen, the feature where the Google Assistant handles calls to screen for spam, receives an enhancement. The Assistant’s voice now sounds more natural, and it can grasp more context from the call. Google implemented this update to prevent legitimate callers, such as a doctor’s office confirming an appointment, from hanging up upon hearing the Assistant’s voice. I had the opportunity to listen to a sample of this new voice in Google’s demonstration, and I can confirm it sounds remarkably human-like. It boasts a more lifelike quality and is notably less robotic.
Call Screen can now gather contextual information during a call. For instance, if a delivery driver contacts you to inquire about the drop-off location for a package or food delivery, the Assistant is expected to comprehend. Based on how it functioned in Google’s demonstration, you’ll have the ability to select an on-screen option to instruct the driver to leave the package at your doorstep.
Subsequently, it offers recommendations for different facial expressions, exclusively utilizing those six photos. To clarify, it does not access other photos in your collection taken at separate times.
The goal is to assist in capturing a photo in which everyone is smiling and facing the camera. While this may seem practical, it arises during a period when the increasing use of AI is prompting concerns about authenticity online.
Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro’s Camera Enhancement
During a brief experience with the Pixel 8 before Google’s official announcement, some testers took a few selfies with my video producer. As expected, the Pixel 8 offered multiple choices to substitute the somewhat neutral expression they had in the photo they were editing.
Both phones are also receiving improvements in other camera aspects, aligning with Google’s photography-focused approach in recent years. The Pixel 8 is equipped with a 50-megapixel primary camera akin to last year’s Pixel 7, along with a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. Notably, the main camera sensor on both devices boasts enhanced light sensitivity, as stated by Google. Additionally, the Pixel 8 introduces a new macro mode for capturing improved close-up shots, a feature previously exclusive to the Pixel 7 Pro last year.
Google reserved its more significant camera enhancements for the Pixel 8 Pro, which features a 48-megapixel ultrawide camera, a notable increase from the 7 Pro’s 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. However, one of the most intriguing new features of the Pixel 8 Pro won’t be accessible right at launch. Video Boost, slated to arrive in the following months, offers the choice to have videos processed in the cloud rather than on the device itself.
This enables Google to subject the footage to a more intensive processing pipeline, as it isn’t limited by the phone’s processing capabilities. Judging from the demonstration footage provided by Google, this feature appears to be particularly beneficial for enhancing video quality in low-light conditions.
The Google Pixel 8 Pro’s New Temperature Sensor
Google promotes the Pixel 8 Pro as the inaugural Pixel phone featuring a temperature sensor. This sensor can come in handy for tasks like checking the temperature of a cup of coffee before drinking it or measuring the pavement’s temperature before taking your dog for a walk. While these scenarios may not be common for everyone, the Pixel 8 Pro introduces this feature for those who may find it useful.
It appears to function effectively, at least based on Google’s demonstration. When I launched the thermometer app on the Pixel 8 Pro and held it over a cup of tea or a glass of water, it quickly provided temperature readings. The app offers preset options for measuring various materials, including beverages, plastic, metal, rubber, and food.
Google has also applied for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to use the sensor for measuring body temperature, essentially transforming the phone into a contactless thermometer. Plus, you can store these readings in the Fitbit app.
Google isn’t the initial company to include a temperature sensor in a smartphone. Recall the Samsung Galaxy S4 from a decade ago? That phone featured a sensor for detecting temperature and humidity in your surroundings, although it never became a fundamental aspect of the smartphone experience.
I’m uncertain if the Pixel 8 Pro’s temperature sensor will serve a practical purpose or if it’s merely a gimmick. Nevertheless, it illustrates how phones are further replacing common items such as keys and wallets.
More Information About Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro operate using Google’s latest Tensor G3 processor and have a similar size to their previous models. The Pixel 8 Pro features a 6.7-inch screen, matching the Pixel 7 Pro, while the Pixel 8 has a slightly smaller 6.2-inch display, in contrast to the Pixel 7’s 6.3-inch screen.
Both phones now feature brighter screens, which is a great improvement because I usually find Pixel phone screens to be too dim. The Pixel 8 is also receiving a higher 120Hz refresh rate, an upgrade from the Pixel 7’s maximum of 90Hz, which should provide smoother graphics and scrolling. Apart from a few design adjustments, like the matte back glass on the Pixel 8 Pro, the overall appearance and feel remain consistent with the Pixel 7 family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Other Noteworthy Features or Improvements?
The main highlights are the AI enhancements, camera upgrades, and improved displays, but for more specific details, it’s best to refer to the official specifications and reviews.
Do These Phones Offer Better Display Quality?
Yes, both phones feature brighter screens, addressing previous concerns about screen brightness, and the Pixel 8 offers a higher 120Hz refresh rate for smoother graphics and scrolling.
Are There Any Notable Design Changes in These Models?
While there are some design tweaks, such as the matte back glass on the Pixel 8 Pro, the general look and feel remain consistent with the Pixel 7 family.
What AI Enhancements Can Users Expect From These Phones?
The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro feature enhanced AI capabilities, which enhance various aspects of the user experience, including voice recognition, smart assistant functionality, and more.