Smartphones have, over the past several years, gotten more than a little boring. While the Google Pixel 6 series was a big deal, its sequel wasn’t really anything special. Soon, though, the Pixel 8 series will make its debut, and really, there’s quite a bit to get excited about.
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Tensor might be a lot better this year
By far, the weakest link of every Pixel since the Pixel 6 has been Tensor. While Google’s customized chip is not bad, it’s still lagging far behind the competition. The original Tensor chip was full of connectivity and heat issues, and while Tensor G2 made great strides, it still was plagued with heat problems and more. And all in a world where Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips just keep getting better and better.
With the upcoming Tensor G3 in the Pixel 8, there’s reason to be a little excited.
Google Tensor G3 is expected to be a pretty significant shift from Tensor and Tensor G2. A leak earlier this year mentioned a revamped 1+4+4 core layout and the use of much newer components, most notably including Cortex-A715 and Cortex-A510 cores to back up the new Cortex-X3 that provides the bulk of performance. Those upgrades alone are worth getting excited about, but for me, there’s another aspect.
Tensor chips largely rely on Samsung to come to life, and that also means they’re made on Samsung’s processing node, which, sadly, is notoriously not as good as TSMC’s. However, in recent months, that’s apparently been changing. At this point, Samsung’s 4nm process that Tensor G3 would be based on is apparently on par with TSMC’s. That doesn’t necessarily mean Google is magically going to match Snapdragon beat for beat, but it might be a huge step in the right direction.
The curved screen evil has been vanquished
Another reason I’m personally very excited about the Pixel 8 series, and specifically the Pixel 8 Pro, is that Google has done away with the curved sides to the display, instead opting for a flat glass panel on both the standard and Pro models.
It also seems like Google is opting for a matte finish on the main body of the Pixel 8 Pro this year, at least in the “Porcelain” color that was shown off this week. The standard Pixel 8 is definitely glossy, but this is some progress, at least.
Google is giving Pixel 8 a longer lifespan
Google has been eclipsed by other Android brands when it comes to the overall lifespan of Pixel phones, but the company might be taking back the crown this year. As we recently reported, the Pixel 8 series will feature a longer software update lifespan compared to Samsung Galaxy devices, which currently get four years of Android updates and five years of security patches.
That could be a big deal, and even if Google just matches Samsung’s support, it still means you’re getting better bang for your buck.
The camera is getting new hardware
Something else that’s been a little under the radar is that Google is bringing a new camera sensor to the Pixel 8 series, likely the Samsung GN2. That probably won’t bring any groundbreaking updates, but it brings the chance for Google to further cement its status as one of the best camera phones out there.
The competition is getting pricier
Google’s Pixel phones have, since the Pixel 6 series, largely been a fair bit cheaper than the competition. The Pixel 6 Pro, for instance, started at $899 while stacking up against the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which demanded $1,199, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which ran $1,099 for its base model.
Going into 2024, it seems the competition is going to see even higher prices. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 – which Samsung is all but certain to use in the Galaxy S24 Ultra – is said to be considerably more expensive. And, with the iPhone 15 series, Apple is expected to increase prices across the board thanks to its new chip and the titanium construction.
Of course, we’ve also heard this week that the Pixel 8 series could be more expensive. Leaks from Europe suggest an increase of around 20%. It remains to be seen if that will come to pass, but the good news is that even if Google inflates pricing by $150-$200, it’d still be undercutting the competition slightly.
When does Pixel 8 come out?
Google has confirmed an October 4 launch event where the Pixel 8 series is expected to go official. Stay tuned, of course, for our full coverage.
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