Google’s new Pixel 8 has power and camera upgrades that come at a cost

Google has announced the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, its latest Android smartphones that the company said have its most advanced cameras ever. The phones rely heavily on Google’s clever software to give you the power to erase people from photos, noises from videos, and edit your snaps to look completely different from real life.

Hot on the heels of the recently launched iPhone 15 and Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, the Pixel 8 Pro in particular stands out for its £999 price – the most expensive Google Pixel phone ever, up £150 on last year’s Pixel 7 Pro.

The regular Pixel 8 has also seen a £100 price jump from the Pixel 7 to £699 – that’s still a competitive price but makes the Pixel less of a bargain than it used to be. Then again, both come with seven years of software support for the first time ever – so Google will keep them updated until 2030. That’s two years more than Samsung promises.

You get an incredibly capable 50Mp main camera on both models, interesting colour options including a striking ‘Bay’ blue, wireless charging, and the latest Android 14 software.

Both phones are powered by Google’s Tensor G3 chipset, which is designed with artificial intelligence (AI) in mind. It means the Pixel 8 phones can now do some crazy photo editing – new feature Best Take lets you snapp several shots of a group of people, and then pick the best face for each person from all the results to create the perfect shot.

This is ideal if there’s a big group where people are blurry, blinking, or looking the wrong way. Magic Editor, a feature not on the phones at launch, will use what’s known as generative AI to let you remove objects and people from photos and even click and drag people around the frame.

You can also unblur shots with a bit of AI magic to improve that nearly-great shot, and the feature even works on photos from older phones inside the Google Photos app.

Both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have flat AMOLED screens that measure 6.1-inches and 6.7-inches respectively, and both are the brightest we’ve yet seen on Google phones – the 8 Pro can shine at 2,400 nits in sunlight so you should have no problem seeing what’s on the screen when you’re on the Costa del Sol.

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As well as two new phones for you to consider, Google also launched its second smartwatch, the aptly named Pixel Watch 2. It looks very similar to last year’s first-generation model, with a circular screen and choice of black, silver, or gold casing. It runs the WearOS 4, the latest version of Google’s smartwatch software, but all its fitness features are run via Fitbit – this has been the case since Google bought Fitbit to get hold of its features and smartphone app.

The Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro, and Pixel Watch 2 are available to pre-order now in the UK from Google. If you pre-order the Pixel 8 you’ll get the excellent Pixel Buds Pro earbuds for free, and if you go for the Pixel 8 Pro you’ll get the new Pixel Watch 2 free of charge – the latter is a good deal that takes the edge off the phone’s £999 price tag.

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