Google Pixel 8 event in 15 minutes [Video]
Video uploaded by The Verge on October 4, 2023
New Google’s products and features: Pixel 8 Series and more
Google’s new products and features were revealed at its Made by Google event this week in New York City: The Pixel 8 Pro, the Watch 2, and a lot of AI features that power them both.
Google has had a busy year, introducing its new flagship Pixel phones and watches, as well as presenting the next step of its AI vision, with a smarter and more capable Google Assistant. Google wants to be the first choice for devices that can help you do everything, especially with the holiday season approaching – and the AI frenzy that has taken over the tech industry this year.
Let’s talk now about the Pixel 8 Series
The Pixel 8 Pro has a more refined design, and updates most of the key components and cameras to make the phone more appealing. The temperature sensor is a curious addition, but it’s unclear if it’s a useful feature or a novelty. Either way, the phone has a lot of AI-powered features and tricks that make it different from the rest.
The Pixel 8 series looks very similar to the last models at first sight. Both the non-Pro and the Pro models have rounder forms, with curved edges and corners on both devices. The camera bar is still as controversial as before, with the Pixel 8 Pro having a triple-lens setup and the standard Pixel 8 having only two: A wide-angle sensor and an ultra-wide.
The bezels of the new Pixel devices are also thinner than ever, giving more screen area for users to interact with. That will be especially appreciated on the non-Pro Pixel because it has a significant refresh rate boost this year, going from 90Hz to 120Hz. The display sizes are unchanged at 6.2 inches and 6.7 inches for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, respectively.
All of this, and some other Google Assistant enhancements to voice dictation and phone calls, is possible thanks to a new Tensor G3 chipset which has a machine learning model that’s 10x more complex than the Pixel 6 from two years ago.
Both devices have 50-megapixel wide cameras with 2x optical zoom and 10.5MP selfie cameras, but the Pro has an advantage with dual 48MP ultrawide and telephoto lenses on the back for better long-distance capturing. If you like close-up shots, you’ll be pleased to know that macro photos and videos are better on both Pixel 8 camera systems.
As for battery life, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have 4,575mAh and 5,050mAh batteries, respectively. There are no major charging speed gains this time as the maximum wattage is still limited to 30W. That’s still faster than the latest iPhones though.
What has changed a lot is Google’s promise of software updates. Starting with the Pixel 8 series, the company will offer seven years of software, security, and feature updates, the most any major company has offered.
Here are the cameras:
- Main: 50MP f/1.68
- Ultrawide: 48MP f/1.95
- Telephoto: 48MP f/2.8
- Front-facing: 10MP f/2.2
Magic Editor lets you tap and drag on an object in a photo to move it, and the AI will then process and intelligently fill in the space left behind. I saw how a Google exec opened a photo of his son shooting a basketball, tapped on his son, and moved him to near the basket so it looked like he was doing a dunk. The exec told me that while the boy’s shadow was now out of place, he could use Magic Editor to move it, too.
Best Take can analyze a series of photos taken in succession and, with your help, find the best expression for each person across all the images and create one photo in which everyone is looking at the camera and smiling – it’s impressive, if perhaps a little unsettling.
Video, which you can shoot at up to 4K at 60fps, gets an upgrade as well, with Google processing every frame of video through its HDR pipeline for better low-light performance. There’s even a new Audio Eraser to help you remove annoying noises from your videos.
It seems like Google has done a lot of work on its cameras, although at this point it’s too early to say whether the Google Pixel 8 Pro will be one of our best camera phones.
Google’s Call Screening also gets an update, with a much more natural-sounding voice. In a demonstration, a Google rep, acting as a delivery person, called a Pixel 8 Pro that was set to screen calls. The Pixel 8 Pro answered, and we explained that we had a package to deliver. On the Pixel 8 Pro, we were able to type a note telling the delivery person they could leave the package by the door, and the Pixel 8 Pro relayed that message in its normal-sounding voice. If the voice hadn’t identified itself as a personal assistant, I would never have known it was an AI.
Magnifier app for Pixel phones, and it’s a great improvement in accessibility. Magnifier makes the world around you a lot easier to read. The Magnifier app, which the company says lets users magnify small text, see object details, or zoom in on faraway text like street signs or restaurant menus behind a service counter will be included on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro when they officially launch next week, but it’s available to download on Pixel phones now (the 5 or later).
Magnifier works much like a camera app in that there’s a capture button in the middle, a toggle button to switch between front and rear cameras, zoom in and out buttons – pinching also works – and a button to turn on the flashlight (side note, it has a brightness slider, something my native flashlight doesn’t have and I didn’t even know my phone could do).
Once an image is captured, the contrast is immediately enhanced to make text stand out. There are sliders for brightness and contrast if you want to adjust further, plus filters to apply like inverted, grayscale, blue on white, red on black, and yellow on white — all useful for colorblindness.
There’s also a Google Lens button that offers up translation, text-to-speech, search, shopping, or copy and paste.
There’s no indication if the magnifier app will be brought to a wider Android audience or if it will remain a Pixel exclusive, but the app is available in the Google Play store.