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    Google Pixel 8 Pro review : Go Big or Go Home !

    Google has announced some of the most exciting features yet for its new 2023 Pixel smartphones, however the price rise compared to the previous generation is significant.

    The top Pixel 8 Pro has a slew of AI camera features owing to the all-new Tensor G3 processor, as well as design changes from the previous model. But are these modifications worth the price increase?

    I’ve spent some time with this high-end smartphone to help you determine if it’s the next Android device you should buy.

    Design & Build

    • Large phone
    • Three colours
    • IP68 rating

    Unless you’re a fellow tech writer or a die-hard Google devotee, it’s easy to confuse the Pixel 7 Pro with Pixel 8 Pro.

    Once again, a metal camera bar on the back contains the lenses, but this time a temperature sensor is positioned beneath the flash. In addition, the cameras are all contained together in one long pill form, giving the visor a more coherent ‘visor’ look than the previous iteration.

    The remainder of the phone is constructed of matt glass with a ceramic-like appearance and feel (the standard 8 is glossy). It’s extremely expensive, but it makes me anxious to use it without a case compared to devices made of more robust materials (a Google-branded case would set you back an additional $29/£29). Nonetheless, it has Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and an IP68 designation for dust and water protection.

    The AG4Tech team is divided on the design. Personally, I like it since the phone looks good for the price and has a distinct design language that distinguishes it from competitors. It comes in three colors: Obsidian, Bay, and Porcelain – black, blue, and cream for those who are perplexed by fancy marketing jargon.

    Google pixel 8 Pro

    While many may compare the physical specifications of the 8 and 8 Pro, you should consider the size. This is a bigger gadget, with dimensions of 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8mm and a weight of 213g. It’s fantastic for watching films on, but it’s not perfect if you have small hands or pockets (women’s pants, take note).

    The chassis is built of 100% recyclable polished aluminum – mine had a beautiful champagne gold finish that contributed to the premium impression.

    To summarize, it feels high-end and is pleasing to the eye, although it may be larger and heavier than you’re used to.

    …the phone looks its price and has a distinctive design language that sets it apart from rivals

    Screen & Speakers

    • 6.7in OLED display
    • Stereo speakers
    • Variable 120Hz display

    Google has created a knockout on the display of its flagship phone. The first major distinction is that it has a flat display rather than a curved one like the 7 Pro. It has a 6.7in LPTO OLED Super Actua display with a resolution of 2992 x 1344 at 489ppi. If you want to save battery life, you may lower the resolution to 1080p.

    In practice, this is an excellent display for viewing videos on and fully demonstrates the phone’s photographic capabilities. It’s also bright enough to use in direct sunshine – I never had any issues with glare or seeing details on the screen. It also has Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for your piece of mind.

    According to Google, the phone includes a VRR refresh rate that, when enabled, may vary between 1- and 120Hz depending on the workload. My phone, on the other hand, simply showed Smooth Display as a toggle between 60Hz and 120Hz. You also can’t select a precise fixed refresh rate above 60Hz, like you can with competitors.

    The Pixel 8 Pro’s dual speakers are powerful and great for podcasts and YouTube videos. If you want to listen to music on your phone, there’s even a touch of thump in the bass (though, for the sake of everyone, please wear headphones in public). Of course, there is no headphone jack – RIP.

    The haptics are clipped and responsive, and there is a sliding scale for adjusting the intensity of touch feedback from your keyboard – this is off by default.

    Specs & Performance

    • 12GB RAM
    • Four storage options
    • Tensor G3 processor focused on AI capabilities

    The phone has a hefty 12GB RAM and storage options of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB (the latter is only available in the United States). At 128GB, that’s a little low for a Pro smartphone.

    The Pixel 8 Pro features an entirely new CPU, the Tensor G3. It is 10 times more complicated than the Tensor G2 and, according to Google, is the company’s largest machine learning model to date.

    Google has mostly concentrated on this chip’s AI capabilities, which the smartphone surely delivers on. It doesn’t put much emphasis on powerful performance because it can’t compete with other flagship rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, as demonstrated by our benchmarking tests:

    Google Pixel 8 Pro benchmarks

    However, unless you’re a heavy mobile player, you shouldn’t notice these variations in normal use. It’s easy to navigate and multitask, and swiping on social media is quick and responsive. I encountered one instance where Instagram took a few seconds to load, but this was resolved by quitting the app.

    On this phone, I was even able to play Genshin Impact on medium settings – however it took a long time to install and the phone became rather warm during this period. The graphics had some popping and latency, but the fact that I didn’t have to use low settings on this demanding title was a pleasant surprise.

    Cameras & Video

    • Excellent main 50Mp camera
    • Superior image processing
    • AI editing tools are a mixed bag

    This phone series is known for its amazing camera setup, and the Pixel 8 Pro delivers yet again.

    The primary camera has a 50Mp resolution, an f/1.68 aperture, and a 1/1.31in image sensor. This means that the camera can let in more light, capturing greater details and reflecting realistic tones.

    The technology is quite remarkable. Fur, hair, grass, and masonry are all depicted with exceptional detail. In low-light conditions, the Pixel correctly increases shadows and colors to match how they look to the human eye. Even moving items like birds and water are dynamically caught, with minimum blur in the air.

    Portrait photographs are creative, with just the appropriate amount of background blur – albeit this may be adjusted further in the editing process. Macro focus is also possible on images as near as 2cm, letting you to catch minute details in objects like flowers with amazing clarity. The night vision is especially outstanding, with the sky remaining a genuine inky black while raising tones just enough to appear authentic.

    The ultrawide camera has been updated from 12- to 48-megapixels, with autofocus and an aperture of f/1.95. While the light recorded isn’t nearly as enthralling as it is on the primary camera, there are plenty of details to be seen, and there aren’t any washed-out colors to be found on lesser smartphones.

    The Pixel 7 Pro’s telephoto lens maintains the same 48Mp lens with an f/2.8 aperture and a 5x optical zoom. There’s also up to 30x digital zoom with Super Res Zoom to compensate for hand tremor when shooting.

    The Pixel 8 Pro produces outstanding images at up to 5x zoom. The degree of detail recorded on the clock and stained glass window may be seen below. The digital zoom isn’t nearly as amazing, but in excellent lighting situations, it’s not as fuzzy as I’ve seen on competitors. This is more difficult for the camera in darker conditions.

    Pixel 8 Pro - 50Mp main camera 30x zoom - tree
    Pixel 8 Pro - Super Macro mode - yellow flower
    Pixel 8 Pro - 50Mp main camera - church
    Pixel 8 Pro - 50Mp main and 48Mp telephoto 5x zoom - church
    Pixel 8 Pro - Super Macro mode - flower
    Pixel 8 Pro - 48Mp wide-angle camera - town centre
    Pixel 8 Pro - 50Mp main camera portrait mode - cat

    On the front is a 10.5Mp selfie camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 95-degree wide field of vision, allowing you to come closer for selfies. The picture processing prowess on this amazed me, with selfies being natural, albeit a few stray strands of hair did blend into the backdrop. Because of the triple mic array, it is also suitable for video calls.

    There are the standard Pixel editing classics like Astrophotography, Pro controls for manual shooting, and Face Unblur. Many users, though, may be tempted to the new AI camera features.

    The Magic Editor lets you alter the composition of images in a variety of ways. You may use Magic Eraser in conjunction with highlighting a person to adjust their size and position to your liking. This can all be done manually, however in my photo of my spouse, the auto-generated tool worked great.

    The second standout feature is Best Take, which allows you to change out other people’s emotions while taking several images. I’ve already addressed my moral concerns about this feature (concerns echoed by my friends and family, who all felt it was awful). Leaving that aside, I can claim that Best Take is not without flaws.

    It definitely works better on the primary back camera. It’s difficult to detect that my face has altered in certain images since the AI cleverness moves my hair and neck so realistically. If someone is totally turned away from the camera, the tool may not recognize them as a subject for editing.

    certain of the traditional AI craziness began to sneak in on the front camera, with facial features distorted in certain photos. Any stray arms in the path cause the gadget to go into a slight breakdown.

    The Pixel 8 Pro can capture 4K and 1080p video at 60, 30, and 24 frames per second. The Audio Magic Eraser, which managed to neatly suppress road noise below my voice even when a large stinky bus drew up next to me, is one of the most astounding features on this. It couldn’t completely eliminate the traffic signal sounds, but I was still pleased with the results.

    Night Sight on video also means that the smartphone’s low-light processing skills may be used to film recordings – I discovered that I was able to pick up more accurate shades on my midnight stroll than previous smartphones I’ve used.

    I can say that Best Take is not 100% foolproof

    Battery Life & Charging

    • Day-long battery life if used on lower settings
    • Supports 30W charging with Google’s brick

    On paper, the Pixel 8 Pro features a slightly larger battery than the Pixel 7 Pro, with a capacity of 5050mAh against 5000mAh. However, the greater battery life did not result in a significant improvement in testing.

    I was able to make it last all day by lowering the resolution and refresh rate. If I didn’t, the Pixel 8 Pro would lose energy faster. The 8 Pro lasted nine hours and 33 minutes in our internal tests. It’s a pity for a phone of this size.

    If you don’t have Google’s own 30W charging brick (which isn’t included because Google only includes a USB-C to USB-C connection), charging is similarly sluggish. A 30-minute charge got it to 24 percent, and it takes around two hours to charge it completely using a 44W Vivo charger I had on hand.

    Google’s one is said to produce greater results, with the company boasting a 50% charge in 30 minutes. Regardless, even that figure lags behind rivals like as Xiaomi and Oppo. In addition, the phone supports 23W wireless charging as well as reverse wireless charging.

    Software & Apps

    • Android 14
    • Handy AI features for accessibility
    • Thermometer for object temperature
    • Seven years of updates

    I’m still mourning the loss of my shattered Pixel 3 (always keep your phone in a bag when cycling, kids), so I was eager to go back to Google’s smooth and pleasing UI with the Pixel 8 Pro.

    If you’ve been itching to get your hands on Android 14, the Pixel 8 phones are the first to come with it. The app interface is sleek and straightforward, and there is a large selection of widgets accessible. The At A Glance function displays the weather, date, and other information such as timers, recommended commuting times, and more. While useful, it cannot be deleted or changed, which may be inconvenient for some.

    With generative AI wallpapers, you may make something absolutely unique by mixing a variety of words. For example, I requested an impressionist-style background with volcanoes and ice cream cones and received some bizarre results. Some prompts provide only one option, implying that this is a feature that will most likely evolve over time.

    AI also has applications in other fields. Google says that message dictation now supports more natural language. The phone recognized my pauses as commas and even picked up on some lingo. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than what I’ve seen in the past. Google Assistant can now read aloud webpages using requests like’read this article,’ which is wonderful for accessibility – it can now read aloud webpages.

    The phone’s thermometer (not present on the standard 8) can currently only be utilized for objects. For reportedly more accurate readings, you can select from other things such as food, drinks, and cast iron. Hold the phone 2cm away from the surface and touch the button to get a reading.

    Despite the IP68 rating, I had small heart palpitations when gripping this £1,000 phone so near to my boiling hot mocha, and I’m not the type of person who cares about the exact temperature of my food and drink. This function may be useful to certain individuals, but it feels a little specialized and gimmicky.

    If the sensor could take a user’s temperature, it would be far more revolutionary. The good news is that it is on its way; Google is simply waiting for FDA permission before making it available to the general public. I’m delighted to see the firm is following the correct procedures; it’s just a bad it won’t be accessible at launch.

    One of the most compelling reasons to buy the Pixel 8 Pro is Google’s huge guarantee of seven years of OS upgrades, feature drops, and security updates – which means the phone is protected until 2030. This is a smack in the face of competitors like Samsung, who promises four years of OS upgrades and five years of security patches, despite being the leading promise earlier.

    …one of the biggest reasons to buy the Pixel 8 Pro is Google’s monster promise of seven years of OS updates

    Phones should be built to last, and it’s good to see Google providing an industry leading figure in this area.

    Price & Availability

    If you’re on a tight budget, the Pixel 8 Pro is the phone for you, with pricing beginning at $999/£999 for the base 128GB variant. Readers in the United States can acquire it from Google, Amazon… while those in the United Kingdom can get it from Google, Amazon.

    Specs

    • 6.7in QHD+ 120Hz LTPO OLED
    • Google Tensor G3 chipset
    • 12GB RAM
    • 128/256/512GB and 1TB non-expandable UFS 3.1 storage
    • 5,050mAh battery
    • 30W wired charging
    • Wireless charging
    • 50Mp f/1.68 main camera
    • 48Mp f/1.95 ultrawide camera.
    • 48Mp f/2.8 telephoto camera
    • 5x optical zoom
    • Super Res Zoom up to 30x
    • 10.5Mp f/2.2 front camera
    • 5G
    • Wi-Fi 7
    • Bluetooth 5.3
    • IP68
    • Gorilla Glass Victus 2
    • 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8mm
    • 213g

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