Google Pixel 8, 8 Pro Review
Google Pixel 8, 8 Pro Review: The Generative AI Smartphone Is Here

From Audio Magic Eraser to Best Shot, the newest Google Pixel flagships pack quite a few AI features up their sleeves

The new Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are the clearest evidence that AI is not something that’s brewing for the future. It’s already here and it’s creeping up on you. Many of us started hearing the term Generative AI more frequently after the arrival of Chat GPT. It was the same buzzword we heard during the unveil of Google’s 2023 flagships. 



The world’s most helpful personal assistant? 


The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are probably the devices that Google first envisioned for its Pixel even as far back as 2016 when the first Google Pixel dropped. The new Pixel twins mark the fruition of that vision, of a smartphone that can be mighty helpful and clever. Almost too clever. One of the big announcements at the Pixel 8 launch was Google Assistant with Bard. It’s part of Google’s vision for (Google) Assistant as the world’s most helpful personal assistant with a conversational overlay and not just a voice enabled button that repeats things you can probably read on your screen. This is one of the many AI-driven features that makes the Google Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro among the most interesting smartphones we’ve checked out. First let’s get the specs out of the way. 



Meet the Pixel 8 twins. 


While AI and software enhancements may be the central theme of the 2023 Pixel flagships, Google has also made some welcome hardware changes: 


· Google Pixel 8 


– 6.2-inch OLED display / 2400 x 1080 pixels / 60-120Hz refresh rate / Actua display / 428 PPI / 2400 nits peak brightness 


– Dual rear cam: 50MP primary lens / 12MP ultra-wide lens / 10.5MP Selfie shooter (ultrawide) 


– 4575 mAh battery 


· Google Pixel 8 Pro 


– 6.7-inch OLED / 3120 x 1440 pixels / 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate / Super Actua display / 489 PPI / 2400 nits peak brightness 


– Triple rear cam: 50MP primary lens / 48MP ultra-wide lens / 48MP telephoto / 10.5MP Selfie shooter 


– 5050 mAh battery 


We enjoyed using the Google Pixel 8 with its compact form factor, it’s a tad lighter than last year’s Pixel 7 and is one of the best smaller smartphones that finds a balance between form and function. The Pixel 8 Pro now comes with a matte finish. It’s more appealing than the glossy form of its predecessor but it’s still a tad slippery. 


One of the most visible changes we noticed during our tests are the displays. The Pixel 8 finally gets a 120Hz refresh rate display that was long overdue, and both displays get brighter. Google 


is calling it the Actua and Super Actua display (for the Pixel 8 and the 8 Pro) and they are among the most vibrant displays out there even under direct sunlight. 



Does the camera hardware even matter? 


Google was among the first brands to harness the power of AI for it’s mobile shooters. Think Night Sight (Google’s lowlight photography solution) or handy tricks like Magic Eraser or Photo Unblur that we enjoyed using on the Pixel 7 twins. Google has enhanced the ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 8 Pro. But it’s the AI-driven updates that make the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro terrific shooters. We tried the Audio Magic Eraser feature that allows you to scrub out audio segments within your video almost the same way you would eliminate a photo bomber with Magic Eraser for photos. There’s Best Shot that is designed for those painful friends who like to ruin group pictures. The camera begins to capture facial expressions even before you hit the shutter button and then the AI takes over. You can replace that crazy face with the best shot. It might sound creepy but it’s more useful than you can imagine. 


Google’s Night Sight now comes to videos. Night Sight Video enhances every frame of a video that you capture in low light. Google also showed off Zoom enhance (a Pixel 8 Pro exclusive) that allows you to pinch, zoom and enhance an image within Google Photos with AI. This is a feature that is expected to drop by the year end. 



Cool or gimmicky? 


Not sold on the AI? There’s more. Both devices are powered by Google’s all new Tensor G3 chip that brings noticeable improvements to device and camera performance. We would have liked to see Google bump up storage on the base variant of the Pixel 8 Pro to 256GB. Somehow 128GB doesn’t seem to ring right in 2023 even with Google’s cloud storage options. Then there’s the new Temperature sensor that’s housed under the LED flash. Think of it as a thermometer (you can activate it by opening the Pixel Thermometer app) that you can use to measure the temperature of anything from coffee to your body temperature. We can already imagine wine snobs checking whether their favourite light white wine is being served at 7-10 degrees centigrade at the bar. 


Google has also improved charging speeds (up to 27W for the Pixel 8 and up to 30W for the 8 Pro). It’s still not insanely fast like those 100W plus chargers out there. The Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro are the best Google Pixel devices we’ve checked out. The Pixel 8 should work for most users except if you’re a serious photographer who needs the zoom lens and advanced AI-enabled photo features. There is a tonne of AI-driven features on both Pixels – the transcribe feature for voice recordings now offers a summarise option that can be very useful for long meetings. The cameras shine on both devices with improved video capabilities and stellar lowlight performance and the seven year OS update guarantee is a huge deal. The big question is whether you want to be part of Google’s Generative AI smartphone era? 


The Google Pixel 8 comes in Hazel, Obsidian and Rose and costs Rs 75,999/128GB & Rs 82,999/256GB. The Google Pixel 8 Pro (available in Bay and Obsidian) costs Rs 1,06,999/128GB

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