Google’s focus on AI as a defining element in photography is apparent, bolstered by a chip that effectively manages heat, and screens that share similarities across the Pixel 8 phones, with subtle differentiations.
For quite some time now, AI has been a central theme for both apps and hardware, offering results to varying degrees. Its impact is subjective and hinges on specific utility. However, Google’s new Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8 phones have seamlessly integrated AI as a core feature, setting a strong precedent among smartphones.
The phones represent a significant generational improvement, being not only more expensive but also more refined. Google’s emphasis on AI provides a glimpse of the future, with impending AI features expected to arrive in the coming weeks, promising to elevate the user experience even further.
A dual approach by Google positions AI as a pivotal feature for this generation of Pixel phones. Google Photos, a familiar app, now boasts an added layer of AI models, especially for the Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8. To unlock all image editing options, users are encouraged to leave the phone connected to Wi-Fi while charging it overnight.
The Magic Editor, enhancing the extensive Google Photos editing feature set, is the most robust implementation of AI. Offering comprehensive editing controls, it allows users to effortlessly manipulate various aspects of their photos. However, the Magic Editor’s efficacy is more pronounced with new photos taken by the Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8, as it struggles with older photos lacking the necessary detail and lighting data.
Both the Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8 have witnessed an evolution in their camera hardware, with the Pixel 8 Pro boasting a triple camera setup and the Pixel 8 featuring a dual-camera system. Notable differences between the two models lie primarily in the camera specifications, with other aspects maintaining parity in terms of specs and software.
The inclusion of ‘Best Take’ proves to be a useful feature, providing the ability to optimize photos taken in quick succession. Similarly, the ‘Audio Magic Eraser’ utilizes AI to diminish unwanted background noise in video recordings, enhancing the overall audio experience.
Looking ahead, the introduction of ‘Video Boost’ is anticipated, promising enhanced video editing capabilities by leveraging powerful data centers. Nevertheless, the success of AI-powered editing tools prompts contemplation on whether they compromise the authenticity of captured memories.
Furthermore, Google’s Tensor G3 chips demonstrate remarkable performance, primarily focusing on powering AI capabilities. Notably, the improved thermal management of the Tensor G3 chip minimizes concerns about overheating, ensuring a smoother user experience even under intensive usage.
Enhancements in the modem contribute to improved connectivity on 5G and Wi-Fi networks, reflecting in stable battery performance for both models. Despite the lack of significant design alterations, subtle changes are noticeable, including different finishes and materials for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.
Although the phones boast impressive features, some shortcomings, such as the absence of display out support and relatively limited storage options, indicate areas for improvement. Overall, Google’s emphasis on advanced AI not only for photography but also for enhancing utility through features such as Assistant voice typing, Translate, and Read Aloud positions the Pixel 8 series as formidable contenders against strong alternatives like Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series and Apple’s iPhone 15. The market’s response and potential emulation of Google’s AI-driven approach by other Android phone manufacturers remains a point of interest.