Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro Pack More AI and New Cameras, but at a Higher Price

Google just announced the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones. Our phone  experts reveal if they're worth it - CBS News

Google’s new Pixels are more expensive than last year’s phones, but they also feature big changes.

The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are here, bringing more intelligence and camera improvements to Google’s flagship phones. The new phone, launching October 12, shows how artificial intelligence is becoming an ever-expanding part of Pixel phones, with Google Assistant calling searches and photo editing.

But these upgrades come at a higher price than last year, with the Pixel 8 starting at $699 (£699, AU$1,199) and the Pixel 8 Pro starting at $999 (£999, AU$1,699). AU$). That’s $100 more than the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. In line with previous Pixels, the camera is an important part of the focus. Macro mode comes to the Pixel 8, while Google promises better video capture in the Pixel 8 Pro with a feature called Video Boost, which processes clips in the cloud rather than on the device. Both the phones will also have new editing tools for changing facial expressions and group photos.

Google has been drawing a wider line between the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro by equipping its most expensive phone with a temperature sensor for the first time. Perhaps most importantly, both phones will benefit from seven years of software updates, more than Apple and Google have said.

Taken together, these updates show Google’s efforts to differentiate itself from its rival Samsung, which dominates the Android smartphone market. If these phones live up to what Google says, it can achieve this.

New AI and camera features in Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro

While AI has been a key part of the smartphone experience for functions like voice recognition and image processing, Google is taking it a step further with the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. This manifests itself in new tricks like Google Assistant that can compile web pages.

I saw this happen during a Google presentation before the phone was released. While reading a Wikipedia page in Google’s Chrome browser, I used the side button to activate Google Assistant and clicked on the “Summarize” button presented on the screen. After a while, Google Assistant brings up a list of key points. Call Screen, a feature that lets Google Assistant answer calls on your behalf to check for spam, is also getting an upgrade.

The assistant’s voice now sounds more natural and can better understand the context of the call. Google said it made the change to prevent legitimate callers — such as a doctor’s office calling to confirm an appointment — from paying as soon as they hear the assistant’s voice. I heard a sample of this new voice on Google Play, and I can say that it sounds almost human. It looks more realistic and less like a robot.

The call screen can also remove the context while the call is in progress. If a driver calls to ask where to drop a package or food, for example, the assistant should understand. If it works like a Google display, you’ll be able to tap an on-screen option to ask the driver to drop off the package at your door. Get the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro up close and personal.

Read More: Apple Resolves iPhone 15 Pro Overheating Issues in Latest iOS 17 Update

But one of the latest innovations is a photo-editing app called Best Take, which changes the look of a person’s face in a group photo. It works by looking for a face in six photos taken in a few seconds using a face detection algorithm running on the device. It also suggests alternative facial features based on those six photos, and only those six photos.

In other words, it doesn’t pull other photos in your library that were taken at a different time. The idea is to help you take pictures where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera. While this may seem practical, it comes at a time when AI campaigns are raising questions about the legitimacy of the internet.

I used my video maker a few times in my short time with the Pixel 8 before the Google announcement. And sure enough, the Pixel 8 gave me a lot of options for replacing the neutral words that I had in the photos I was editing. Both phones’ cameras are getting upgrades in other areas, in keeping with the photography theme behind Google’s Pixel phones in recent years.

The Pixel 8 has the same 50-megapixel main camera as last year’s Pixel 7 and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. But the main camera sensor on both devices is sensitive to light, according to Google, and there is a new super macro mode on the Pixel 8 to get really close-ups. This feature was exclusive to last year’s Pixel 7 Pro.

Google saved its biggest camera upgrade for the Pixel 8 Pro, which has a 48-megapixel ultra-wide camera compared to the 7 Pro’s 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. But one of the best new features of the Pixel 8 Pro won’t be available at launch. Video Boost, arriving in the coming months, gives you the option to organize videos in the cloud rather than on the device itself.

This means that Google can add images through a more demanding pipeline because it is not limited to the phone’s processing power. Based on Google’s demo image, it looks like this could be especially useful for improving quality in low-light environments.

Google Pixel 8 Pro has a temperature sensor

Google’s Pixel 8 Pro is also the first Pixel phone with a temperature sensor. Google has positioned it to be useful for situations like checking the temperature of a cup of coffee before drinking water, or measuring the temperature of the sidewalk before walking your dog. I’ve never wanted to do any of those things, and I don’t know if the Pixel 8 Pro will change my mind. But it seems to work fine, even with Google’s display. The Pixel 8 Pro measured the temperature of a cup of tea and a glass of water almost instantly after opening the phone’s thermometer app and pouring it over the glass. The app offers a few set options for ordering different items, such as wine, plastic, metal, plastic and food.

Google has filed for approval with the US Food and Drug Administration so that the sensor can be used to measure the temperature, turning the phone into a contactless thermometer. And of course, you will be able to save these readings on the Fitbit app.

Google isn’t the first company to integrate a temperature sensor into a smartphone. Remember the Samsung Galaxy S4 from 10 years ago? The phone has sensors to detect the temperature and humidity of your surroundings, although it never became a central part of the smartphone experience. I don’t know if the temperature sensor of the Pixel 8 Pro will be useful or just a gimmick. But it’s another example of how phones continue to replace everyday items like keys and wallets. Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro: the basics

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro run on Google’s new Tensor G3 processor and are the same size as their predecessors. The Pixel 8 Pro has a 6.7-inch screen, just like the Pixel 7 Pro, while the Pixel 8 has a 6.2-inch screen that’s smaller than the Pixel 7’s 6.3-inch screen. Both phones have brighter screens this time around, which is a welcome improvement considering I find the Pixel phone’s screen to be quite impressive. The Pixel 8 also benefits from a higher refresh rate of 120Hz, compared to the Pixel 7’s maximum of 90Hz, which should allow for smoother graphics and scrolling. Aside from a few design changes, such as the matte back glass of the Pixel 8 Pro, the overall look is still the same as the Pixel 7 family.

Overall, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro appear to offer a mix of completely new features, such as a temperature sensor, and improvements to existing offerings such as a call screen. The question is whether these upgrades will really be worth it and make the new Pixel worth their price.

Google Pixel 8 Specs vs. Pixel 8 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Google Pixel 8 Pro Google Pixel 7 Google Pixel 7 Pro
Display size, tech, resolution, refresh rate, brightness 6.2-inch OLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels; 60-120Hz adaptive refresh rate 6.7-inch OLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate 6.3-inch OLED display, FHD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels) , 90Hz 6.7-inch OLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Pixel density 428 ppi 489 ppi 416 ppi 512 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.9 x 2.8 x 0.4 in 6.4 x 3.0 x 0.3 in 6.13 x 2.88 x 0.34 in 6.4 x 3.0 x 0.3 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9 mm 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8 mm 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7 mm 162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9 mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 187 g (6.6 oz) 213 g (7.5 oz) 197 g (6.9 oz) 212 g (7.5 oz)
Mobile software Android 14 Android 14 Android 13 Android 13
Camera 50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 50-megapixel (wide), 48-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto) 50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 10.5-megapixel 10.5-megapixel 10.8-megapixel 10.8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Google Tensor G3 Google Tensor G3 Google Tensor G2 Google Tensor G2
Storage and RAM 8GB + 128GB, 256GB 12GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 8GB + 128GB, 256 GB, 12GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Expandable storage None None None None
Battery 4,575 mAh 5,050 mAh 4,355 mAh 5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Under display Under display Under display Under display
Headphone jack None None None None
Special features 5G (Sub 6, mmWave); VPN by Google One; 7 years of OS, security and Feature Drop updates; front-facing camera has autofocus; 13W Qi wireless charging; 30W wired charging; USB-3.2 speeds via USB-C; IP68 dust and water resistance; Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on front and back 5G (Sub 6 and mmWave); VPN by Google One; 7 years of OS, security and Feature Drop updates; front-facing camera has autofocus; 13W Qi wireless charging; 30W wired charging; USB-3.2 speeds via USB-C; IP68 dust and water resistance; Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on front and back 5G, Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Long Exposure Mode, Action Pan; Hold For Me, Wait Times, Direct My Call Live Translate 5G, Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Long Exposure Mode, Action Pan; Hold For Me, Wait Times, Direct My Call, Live Translate
US price off-contract $699 (128GB) $999 (128GB) $600 (128GB) $899 (128GB)
UK price £699 (128GB) £999 (128GB) £599 (128GB) £849 (128GB)
Australia price AU$1,199 (128GB) AU$1,699 (128GB) AU$999 (128GB) AU$1,299 (128GB)

Editors’ note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories.

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