Google unveiled the latest models of its flagship phones, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, along with a subtle update to the Pixel Watch 2 at its hardware event today in Manhattan. Because of the steady stream of leaks and official teasers, the announcements weren’t entirely shocking.
Nevertheless, fans of Android phones should be excited by the announcement as the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are set to be some of the strongest choices on the market.
The Pixel 8 has a 6.17 inch screen, which is actually about 0.13 inches smaller than its predecessor, but it boasts smaller bezels, a 120 Hz refresh rate, and dramatically improved brightness. Both the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro will stand out even in direct sunlight with 2,000 nits and 2,400 nits of brightness respectively. The Pixel 8 will be roughly tied with the Oppo Find X6 for the brightest smartphone on the market.
The w8 is over.
Meet #Pixel8 and #Pixel8 Pro, the latest phones to bring together so many technologies from @Google. They’re fast and secure phones with Google AI and the most advanced Pixel Cameras yet.#MadeByGoogle pic.twitter.com/yk8Y6UgjSP
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) October 4, 2023
Google Looks to Impress With Innovative AI Features
AI enthusiasts should also be excited about Google’s new lineup of phones because of their impressive internals. Both phones have the same chipset powering them, the new Tensor G3 SoC.
Of course, the Tensor G3 is faster than its predecessor, the Tensor G2, but its most impressive upgrades are its AI processing power and the new features that it enables. Google itself said “Our work with Tensor has never been about speeds and feeds, or traditional performance metrics. It’s about pushing the mobile computing experience forward.”
They weren’t kidding. The new line of Pixel phones will have a significantly improved AI assistant with a boatload of exciting new features. For example, Google Assistant will now be able to recognize “um”s and “uh”s so that it won’t include them in your text-to-speech dictations. The text-to-speech feature in these phones will be the same model used in Google’s data centers.
The model will let Pixel owners read webpages aloud and translate them into different languages. Perhaps even more impressive is Google Assistant’s new summary feature that will read the webpage you are on and summarize it in 3 to 4 bullet points.
Google’s new AI tech will come in handy for improving the experience of calls too. The Call Screen is getting multiple upgrades to help you determine which calls you want to pick up and which ones you want to ignore. Google said that the upgraded Call Screen is helping Pixel owners take a whopping 50% fewer spam calls on average.
The new phones will be able to pick up the phone for you with its AI assistant and engage in a natural conversation with the caller to give you the info you need to determine if you want to pick up or not.
For example, if you get a call from a UPS driver trying to drop off a package, the AI assistant will ask them what they are calling about. When they respond it will generate a few choices that fit the situation for you to respond with like “Please leave it at the door.” You won’t even have to pick up the phone to leave the caller short messages like this.
Other New Features and Changes for the Pixel 8 Lineup
The Tensor G3 also enables a suite of exciting new camera software. One of the most interesting additions is called “Best Take” and it lets Pixel owners take a burst of photos and combine parts of them to create the best final product they can.
Pixel users who like to take videos with their device will also be happy to learn of the new Video Boost feature which uses external servers to perform processing to enhance HDR+ and color grading.
Beyond the new AI features and camera software, Google’s Pixel lineup is getting a few other relatively small but still meaningful upgrades. The strangest of which is the addition of a thermometer to the back of both phones. The thermometer can’t yet take the temperature of people as it’s pending FDA approval but that may change soon.
Some of the smaller upgrades include improved Face Unlock which now lets you use it for more things including payments and sign-ins just like Apple’s Face-ID. The general security of the new phones will also be improved thanks to the new Tensor M2 security chip.
The new chip and all of the features and upgrades in the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro come at a price. The phones are retailing for $699 and $999 respectively, both of which are $100 more than their last-generation counterparts.
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will ship on October 12th and are open for preorder now through Amazon and Google. Google is also currently offering a free pair of Pixel Buds or a $200 discount on the Pixel Watch 2 for buyers.