Is Google ‘ready’ to make a big push this year? The good news is that there are multiple purchase options with offers aplenty; the bad –if you’re looking for a bargain–is that prices are generally in line with current smartphone price markers.
But that’s alright if the phones perform comparably, which is something the Pixel 8 phones look capable of doing on paper.
More of the same, but better?
While it retains the same design language, Google has shared that the hardware has been upgraded extensively. Google works a little differently from the rest of the smartphone manufacturers as they place considerable emphasis on machine learning and AI features; the hardware is designed to facilitate this.
Tensor 3 features new ARM CPUs and GPUs, imaging ISP and a next-gen TPU. Google states that the new phones can run twice as many machine-learning models as the original Tensor, and when it comes to text-to-speech, the phone is powerful enough to use the same model Google uses in data centres. The Pixel 8 phones can read webpages aloud and translate them into a different language, and they also have improved speech recognition abilities.
The benefits of improved performance also translate into its camera capabilities. Aside from improved image quality in live HDR, computational features like Magic Eraser also receive a boost–you can now remove ‘larger distractions’ while generating better-looking filler backgrounds. This principle is applied to one of Pixel 8’s most vaunted features: Best Take, which selects the best faces from multiple shots to composite the best possible outcome. It’s best used for group photos.
Aside from the visual tool, Magic Eraser, you can now tweak audio. The Audio Magic Eraser makes it possible to isolate different kinds of background sounds and remove them. In addition, the new SoC and Titan M2 security chip also enable the phone to use Face Unlock for app sign-ins and payments.
Google also announced seven years of software and security updates, which is probably overkill and kind of redundant, but a nice show of commitment all the same.
Key differences between Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro
Aside from the size difference (6.2” vs 6.7”), the Pro gets the LTPO display, which enables a variable refresh rate (1-120Hz) for better power management. The Pixel 8 gets the regular OLED display, which toggles between 60Hz and 120Hz. Screen brightness is almost similar–1400 nits vs 1600 nits–so it’s not a huge difference between the two.
They use the same 50MP main camera capable of 2x optical zoom (crop). The Pixel 8 uses the main camera to apply Super Res Zoom up to 8x and is further supported by a 12MP Ultrawide camera with autofocus. The Pro is way better specced here and sports a 48MP Ultrawide camera with autofocus and a 48MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom. Like the Pixel 7 Pro, the Pixel 8 Pro can stretch up to 30x with Super Res Zoom.
The Pixel 8 Pro has a slightly better Multi-zone LDAF sensor (vs single zone) for autofocus, while both phones have optical stabilisation for all rear cameras except the ultrawide. The 10.5MP front cameras are similar, spec-wise, though the front camera on the Pixel 8 does not have autofocus. Also, only the Pro has ‘pro’ controls and the option for high-resolution images, as well as Video Boost and Nigh Sight Video for videography.
The temperature sensor on the Pro is probably the head-scratcher of the lot, as it conspicuously isn’t marketed as a health-related tool, so it remains to be seen if there are naturally effective applications with this feature. You have to place the sensor within 5 cm of the subject, so it’s unlikely you’ll want to use this while you’re cooking.
Naturally, the battery capacity for both phones will be different–4,575mAh vs 5050mAh–but battery life for both phones has been rated for “beyond 24 hours” with mixed-use, with Google claiming an average of 31 hours.
Fitbit–err, Pixel Watch 2
With the Fitbit acquisition, Google’s Pixel Watch 2 essentially becomes the showcase smartwatch, with hardware upgrades like a multi-path heart rate sensor (multiple diodes and LEDs) to improve accuracy regardless of the intensity of the activity, complimenting Google’s updated heart-rate algorithm. It can also help you monitor stress levels by taking readings from cEDA (continuous electrodermal activity), heart rate and skin temperature to identify acute body responses. By logging your mood whenever you are notified of responses, you can identify patterns and take the necessary actions.
The Pixel Watch 2 is able to detect seven common workouts, initiate start and stop reminders and guide you through with cues to help you get through your personalised heart rate zones. Other automated features include Fall Detection, Emergency SOS, Safety Check (specified conditions prompting you to confirm your status) and Emergency Sharing (initiated by Safety Check), which shares real-time location and situation to pre-selected emergency contacts. Google says you can get 24 hours of battery life with the always-on display, and you can get a full charge in 75 minutes.
Google is really going mainstream now, with promotional offers available from all retail partners. Prices start from SGD1,099 for the Pixel 8 and from SGD1,549 for the Pixel 8 Pro. The phones are available at Google Store, Amazon, Challenger, Courts, Shopee, Singtel and Sprint Cass starting 12 October and can be pre-ordered now. The Pixel Watch 2 starts from SGD525 and is available on Amazon, Challenger, Shopee and Singtel starting 12 October.
|Offers for Pixel 8 / 8 Pro & Pixel Watch 2|
|Google Store||4 Oct, 10.30 pm SGT to 20 Oct, 11:59 pm SGT||Pixel 8: Buy the new Pixel 8, get a limited edition Pixel Pouch and a $250 discount code towards your next purchase – while supplies last. (T&Cs) |
Pixel 8 Pro: Buy the new Pixel 8 Pro, get a limited edition Pixel Pouch and a $549 discount code towards your next purchase – while supplies last. (T&Cs)
|Amazon||5 Oct, 10 am SGT to 12 Oct, 8:59 am SGT||Pixel 8: Buy Pixel 8 and receive a $180 Prime Members coupon towards your next purchase|
Pixel 8 Pro: Buy Pixel 8 Pro and receive a $250 Prime Members coupon towards your next purchase
Extra S$50 off with Citi Mastercard ® for Pixel 8, Pixel 8 and Watch 2. Valid to first 200 customers; use promo code CITIMCPIXEL*
|Challenger Courts||5 Oct, 12 am SGT to 20 Oct, 11:59 pm SGT||Pixel 8: Buy Pixel 8 and receive a $100 retailer voucher & $120 gStore voucher|
Pixel 8 Pro: Buy Pixel 8 Pro and receive a $250 retailer voucher & $120 gStore voucher
|Shopee||5 Oct, 10 am SGT to 20 Oct, 10 pm SGT||Pixel 8: Buy Pixel 8 and receive a $100 coin cashback & $120 gStore voucher|
Pixel 8 Pro: Buy Pixel 8 Pro and receive a $250 coin cashback & $120 gStore voucher
-UOB Cardholders: Additional $80 UOB vouchers for Pixel 8 Pro and Additional $50 UOB vouchers for Pixel 8.
-Non-UOB Cardholders: Additional $30 off Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8
|Singtel||5 Oct to 12 Oct||Pixel 8: Buy Pixel 8 256GB, and get $250 Singtel Lifestyle voucher|
Pixel 8 Pro: Buy Pixel 8 Pro 256GB/512GB, get $400 Singtel Lifestyle voucher
On top of the above, get $300 credit for 78 Plan (and above), $150 credit for 62 Plan with a new contract / OR $100 credit with a re-contract or upgrade / OR $100 credit for 45 or 55, $50 credit 30 SIMO