The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are fast approaching, with Google set to unveil its new phones on October 4. So the wait is almost over, and between leaks and official teasers from Google itself we have a reasonably good idea of what to expect.
The upshot is that these phones might not be huge upgrades over the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro, but there are enough likely changes for them to be worth paying attention to – and at least one surprising new feature has been rumored.
With that in mind, we’ve listed the five changes, features, and improvements that we’re most looking forward to seeing in the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Note that none of these have been confirmed yet, but we think most of them are likely.
1. Better cameras
The Pixel 7, and particularly the Pixel 7 Pro, already have some of the best cameras you’ll find on a smartphone, so if the new models improve on those then they could easily rank among the best camera phones.
And improvements are expected, with both Pixel 8 models rumored to be getting a new, larger primary sensor that can capture 35% more light. This will likely improve its performance in all situations, but especially for low-light shots.
The same source claims that the Pixel 8 Pro will have a 64MP ultra-wide camera (up from 12MP on the Pixel 7 Pro), with this having the same sensor as the main camera on the Pixel 7a, so we should see an improvement in image quality there too.
2. A temperature sensor
One of the more interesting things we’ve heard with regards to the Pixel 8 Pro is the inclusion of a temperature sensor on the camera bar. This isn’t expected to be included on the standard Pixel 8, and exactly what it will be used for is uncertain at this stage, but it could mean that the Pro model will be able to check your body temperature, which is likely to be a beneficial health metric for some people.
It’s certainly intriguing though, and it's a feature that you won’t find on any other current smartphones.
3. A new chipset
New generations of phones almost always arrive with new chipsets, and the Pixel 8 line will likely be no exception, with the Tensor G3 expected to power these phones.
While Google’s Tensor chipsets never rival the most powerful in the industry from the likes of Qualcomm and Apple, a leak suggests that the Tensor G3 will at least be a significant upgrade over the Tensor G2, with support for ray tracing in games, plus more power and better AI skills.
That could make the Pixel 8 line feel substantially more high-end, and make them much better choices for gaming than the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
4. 8K video
This is something we’re less sure the Pixel 8 line will feature than the other things on this list, because while a leaker has claimed that the Tensor G3 chipsets in these phones will support 8K video recording, the source of the leak speculated that the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro themselves won’t, given that the current models can struggle with heat management even when recording in 4K.
But given that no other phones – aside from the possible Pixel 8a and Pixel Fold 2 – are likely to use this chipset, it would seem odd to have that support within it but not enable it in the new Pixels, so it’s certainly possible that the Pixel 8 series will allow for 8K video recording.
If so that would be a huge upgrade, and something that even the iPhone 15 Pro Max doesn’t support (though some other phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, do). Of course, whether the Pixel 8 line will be able to stay cool while doing so is another matter entirely.
5. A refined design
We’re not expecting a visual overhaul for the Pixel 8 line, but some changes and refinements do look likely. For one thing, teasers for these phones suggest that they might have slightly more rounded corners than the Pixel 7 line, while leaked hands-on photos of the Pixel 8 Pro show a slightly less curvy screen than its predecessor.
These aesthetic changes aren’t likely to wow anyone, but we’re already big fans of the design of recent Pixels – they’re unmistakably Pixel phones, and we’re happy to see Google stick with broadly that design for another year or two.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.