Google’s latest Pixel phones were finally unveiled at an event this morning. The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are equipped with faster chips, and most importantly, upgraded cameras and new computational photography features, with the 8 Pro gaining significant manual controls.
|Google’s new Pixel 8 phone. Image: Google|
The Pixel 8 is the smaller device, with a 6.2″ display. Inside is the new Google Tensor G3 processor and 8 GB of LPDDR5x RAM. This phone’s 1080 x 2400 OLED screen runs between 60 and 120Hz for smooth animations, and can crank its brightness to 1400 nits for HDR content with up to 2000 nits peak brightness.
The dual-camera system in this phone has been upgraded to feature a high resolution 50MP Octa Phase Detection sensor in the main 24mm equiv. camera with a brighter F1.68 aperture, which Google touts as having ‘21% more light sensitivity’ overall. This camera can be used in a cropped 2x “remosaiced” mode if users want a focal length that’s closer to 50mm.
The secondary ultrawide is only 12MP, but at a wider 14mm equiv focal length and a sub-3cm macro focusing distance, it makes up for the lack of resolution with the flexibility autofocus brings.
For those who want a third camera and a bigger screen, the Pixel 8 Pro is the model to consider this year. This premium 6.7″ class phone has more RAM (12 GB), a brighter OLED screen (up to 1600 nits for HDR, and 2400 nits peak), up to 1 TB of onboard storage and some new software features that are only on the Pro.
The Pixel 8 also gains a ‘Pro Controls’ mode in its camera app, giving users the option to manually set ISO, shutter speed and white balance. The Pro 8 also allows users to save the camera’s combined, multi-shot output as DNG files (a similar concept to Apple’s ‘ProRaw’ mode, but using a standard file format), including 48 and 50MP files, if you wish.
While the main wide camera is shared between both models, the Pixel 8 Pro’s ultrawide goes high-res, with a 48MP sensor, a F1.95 aperture, and tighter 2cm macro focusing capabilities. Finally, the front-facing camera in the Pro picks up autofocus, something you don’t get with the plain Pixel 8. The Pro also has a third, 48MP Quad Phase Detection telephoto camera, with a F2.8 aperture and an equivalent focal length of 112mm.
Both devices get a slew of new ML-enhanced photo editing features thanks to the Google Photos app. Of note is Magic Editor, which lets you select people in a shot and reposition them, make the sky more dramatic, or change the background and lighting entirely. This feature relies on the cloud and a generative AI model that attempts to keep the changes looking as natural as possible. Best Take can let you mix and match faces in group shots, getting everyone’s best smile in a single image.
And for video, the Pixel 8 Pro will send a version of your clips up to the cloud to beef up its HDR or enhanced low-light video using Video Boost. The Pro also gets a new Pro Controls mode, letting users fully customize their shooting experience and send Raw DNGs to the editor app of their choice.
Pixel 8 starts at $699 for a phone with 128 GB of onboard storage, with up to 256 GB and three different colors available as an option. The Pixel 8 Pro starts at $999 for a phone with 128 GB, and can be equipped with up to 1 TB of storage and comes in three colors.