We’re still a fair way off seeing the next generation of Pixel phones, as Google has only recently launched the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. But, rumours are already beginning to appear about what we might see when the series 8 models arrive.
Here’s what we know so far, as well as a wish-list for what we’d like in the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.
When will the Google Pixel 8 be released?
There’s no confirmation of the official release date for the Pixel 8 models at the moment, but every single Pixel flagship so far has been released in October, like clockwork, so it feels pretty safe to say we expect the Pixel 8 series to make its debut in October 2023.
That’s also roughly what’s suggested by a Pixel product roadmap obtained by Android Authority, which claims that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will launch “later in 2023.”
We thought we might get a sneak tease of the Pixel 8 series in May at Google I/O, but instead the company only revealed the affordable Pixel 7a alongside the much anticipated Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet.
How much will the Google Pixel 8 cost?
Again, there’s no word yet from Google about the potential price tags that will accompany the series-8 devices. Of course, we can use the last few models as a guide to how much you’ll need to save up. Here’s how they lined up:
This shows that Google has been quite set in its ways when it comes to pricing. If that continues in 2023, and we think there’s a good chance it will, then the Pixel 8 should be $599/£599 and the Pixel 8 Pro $899/£849.
What about the Pixel 8’s specs and features?
Obviously, with the Pixel 8 release date so far in the distance, there’s not much to go on in regards to new components or features – but there have been some leaks and rumours that point the way.
The most recent and detailed leak so far comes from OnLeaks (via Smartprix) which has an exclusive look at the Pixel 8 Pro design from all angles showing off a similar but tweaked design compared to its predecessor. The headline change is the move from a curved to a flat display which will supposedly be 6.52in – smaller than the 7 Pro’s 6.7in display.
It’s worth noting that display expert Ross Young disagrees on that dimension however, instead reporting that the 7 Pro will stay at the same 6.7in display size.
OnLeaks / Smartprix
Smartprix also reports that the phone will measure a similar 162.6×76.5×8.7mm (12mm with the camera bar) and it’s noticeable that the camera module now has a single cut-out for all the cameras, whereas the 7 Pro has a separate section for the telephoto lens.
The new addition below the flash is believed to be an infrared temperature sensor, as revealed in a video shared to 91mobiles by leaker Kuba Wojciechowski, and since taken down with a copyright strike.
The video, allegedly an official promo shot by Google, details how the temperature sensor can be used as a contactless thermometer to check your body temperature – a health feature presumably inspired by Covid. Tellingly, the video also shows a design that closely matches OnLeaks’ renders, including the single, large pill-shaped camera cutout.
OnLeaks has also given us our first look at the regular Pixel 8, teaming up with MySmartPrice this time. The phone has fewer changes than the Pro model, with an almost identical looking design to the Pixel 7 – and no sign of that temperature sensor.
The handset will be smaller at 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm but the bigger news – or should we say smaller – is that the display will drop from 6.3in to 5.8in. Again, Ross Young disagrees though – he also predicts a drop, but only a more modest decrease to 6.16in, around the same size as the recent Pixel 7a.
OnLeaks / MySmartPrice
Finally, the website TechGoing has sourced alleged images of each phone in cases. These don’t reveal much in the way of specifics, but show the same camera bar designs as the above renders, lending weight to the idea that Google is tweaking the Pro set-up.
As for the phones’ specs, Dutch site GalaxyClub has reported that work on the third generation of Google’s Tensor chipset is already well into development, meaning it should accompany the Pixel 8 launch. According to the site, Samsung will be the manufacturer again, with a chip bearing the code S5P9865 already appearing on test boards. This follows the naming sequence used with the previous Tensor 1 and 2 processors, which were respectively numbered S5P9845 and S5P9855.
With the Tensor 2 that features in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro already proving more energy efficient and powerful than the previous generation, there’s hopes that the third iteration will push things even further when it arrives.
WinFuture has found more concrete info about the two phones after a dive into what it calls “publicly available code sources.” The site found code names for two phones: ‘Shiba’ and ‘Husky’. Google has used animal names before for Pixel flagships – Cheetah and Panther for the Pixel 7 series – so it seems likely this refers to the Pixel 8 handsets.
According to the code both phones will run a chipset named ‘Zuma’ which uses the same modem as the Tensor 2 – another clue that we’re looking at the next Pixels. Both phones also run on Android 14, which is no surprise.
Surprisingly both handsets feature 12GB of RAM, and display resolution is also high: 2268×1080 for Shiba and 2822×1344 for Husky, suggesting this latter phone is the Pro model.
Those two codenames also appear in the Pixel product roadmap mentioned above, but interestingly with the extra note that while the Pro (Husky) will stay about the same size, apparently the regular 8 (Shiba) will have a “smaller display and overall smaller form factor” – lining up with the reports above.
Now let’s turn to cameras. We’ve had one possible hardware leak here: leaker Ice Universe has tweeted that the Pixel 8 Pro will use the Samsung ISOCELL GN2 camera sensor for its main shooter. That’s a large 1/1.12in sensor with a 50Mp resolution – a much larger sensor size than the 7 Pro’s 1/1.31in sensor, which should capture much more light.
Given the Pixel’s cameras have always been so good, there’s a juicy rumour about the Pixel 8’s cameras unearthed by developer Kuba Wojciechowski. They posted source code from the Pixel camera app that suggests the next phone might use something called staggered HDR:
Currently, Pixel phones do not use staggered HDR, which is a feature that can capture different exposures at the same time but use the same pixels.
“This allows achieving the same effect as regular HDR but without the increased capture time or chance at the photos being blurry because of misalignment of frames caused by movement,” Wojciechowski said in their Twitter thread.
9to5Google has also delved into Google Photos code to find two new video features that could well be Pixel 8 exclusives when they launch. Neither is yet functional, but the team found the user interface for a ‘Video Unblur’ mode that likely uses machine-learning to sharpen blurry video footage, as well as a set of video ‘overlay’ filters including black and white and options to recreate the look of Super 8 or VHS footage.
Anything that will improve the already excellent Pixel camera is good in our book.
Wishlist of what we’d like to see in the Google Pixel 8
The class of 2022 has impressed, but here’s what we’d like Google to refine in its next iterations.
120Hz refresh rate on all models
This is a pretty straightforward one these days. With so many mid-range Android phones boasting 120Hz refresh rates to make scrolling smoother, it makes sense for both the Pro and standard Pixel 8 to have this capability. It’s already present in the Pixel Pro 7 and Pixel Pro 6, but we’d like to see the 90Hz rate on the Pixel 7 make the step up when its replacement arrives.
Faster charging speeds
In both our Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro reviews, the main gripe was slow recharge times. In an age where phones can go from 0% to 100% in around half an hour, the Pixels seem doddery in comparison. So, we think it’s important that Google addresses this in the Pixel 8 devices.
Improved facial recognition
While the Pixel 7 Pro impressed us with its new facial recognition unlock feature, the Pixel 7 still needs more time in the oven. Hopefully, the year between releases will mean the Pixel 8 has a better showing.
Lose the weight!
Ok. We’re not fat shaming the Pixel 7 Pro, but at 162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm and 212g it could be described as big-boned. We don’t know, maybe it’s a thyroid issue, but for the Pixel 8 Pro we’d love to see a more slimline chassis. It’s true that most powerhouse phones are quite chunky these days, but for the sake of our wrists we can only pray for lighter and tighter designs in 2023.
To see what phones the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will have to see off, check out our best smartphone and best smartphones coming in 2023 roundups.