As we ponder the zenith of smartphone innovation, Google takes the stage with the debut of the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, ushering in a new era of mobile technology.
Google Pixel 8 Pro and its AI revolution
Photography has always been the Pixel’s strong suit, but the latest version not only captures exceptional images but also molds the world through a unique lens, emphasizing artistry over pure representation. In contrast, Apple’s remarkable photographic capabilities cater to traditional photographers who prefer post-processing to the phone’s basic tools. While iPhones have supported RAW file capture for some time, it’s a fresh feature on the Pixel 8 Pro.
Then there’s the forthcoming “Magic Editor,” described by Google as an “experimental editing experience.” This evolution of the Magic Eraser tool introduced in the Pixel 7 phones doesn’t just remove photobombers; it allows you to reposition objects, transform cloudy skies into dramatic sunsets, and add creative flair to casual snapshots.
In addition, there’s a slightly gimmicky AI-generated wallpaper app, more AI-driven features like “Zoom Enhance” to sharpen details, a robust “Magic Eraser” tool, and “Audio Magic Eraser” to enhance audio quality in videos. Soon, Google’s conversational AI model, Bard, will generate descriptions, social media posts, and more.
The devices come with the new Android 14 operating system, a discreet upgrade that maintains familiarity for users. Additionally, the Google Pixel Watch 2 enters the market, emphasizing enhanced fitness and health tracking, improved speed, and extended battery life.
Surprisingly, the Pixel holds a modest share of the smartphone market, despite Google’s dominance of the Android OS. It offers a formidable combination of speed, power, and features, yet introduces generative AI to a broad audience, adding an extra layer of complexity in our increasingly saturated digital world.
What distinguishes the eighth iteration of Google’s flagship Android device is the deep integration of AI. Google’s AI has infiltrated search, generative systems for text and image creation, and notably, photography.
Remember, a smartphone is more than just a camera; it’s a sophisticated image processor. Both Pixel 8 phones boast a suite of AI-driven tools designed to enhance life’s nuances. The Pro version sports four cameras, including a powerful 50 MP main camera, an ultrawide, telephoto, and a 10.5 MP front camera. “Best Take” combines similar shots to ensure everyone appears at their best.
But what lies ahead? This feature is experimental and likely operates in the cloud, raising concerns about energy consumption. Google offers a warning: “We know there will be times when the result isn’t what you expected,” hinting at potential AI quirks.
Despite the growing influence of AI, the Pixel 8 Pro remains a premium device. Its sleek aluminum frame and matte back glass cradle a 6.7-inch screen, slightly larger than the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Its durability ensures longevity, and Google promises seven years of software support, extending until October 2030, in contrast to the Pixel 7 Pro’s support ending in October 2025.
This longevity prompts a fundamental question: Is the annual smartphone upgrade cycle too resource-intensive? While used phones circulate in the second-hand market for years, repairing the Pixel isn’t straightforward, although Google pledges to maintain spare parts for seven years. The extent to which users hold onto their Pixel devices into the 2030s will be intriguing.
Discover the Google Pixel 8 Pro, starting at €1 151 and embark on a transformative journey through mobile photography.