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Google's $999 Pixel 8 Pro leans into high-end camera features

It has a new temperature sensor and a 6.7-inch Super Actua display, but also a higher price than last year's model.


On Wednesday at its Made by Google event, Google announced its next flagship phone: the Pixel 8 Pro. Starting at $999, it costs $100 more than its predecessor, so to make up for that increased price Google added a number of enhanced photo and video features, a new temperature sensor and seven years of software support.

Available in three colors (Bay, Porcelain and Obsidian), the Pixel 8 Pro sports a very similar design to last year's model with a large camera bar in back and polished metal sides. That said, Google has made some smaller changes, including adding a matte texture on the phone's Gorilla Glass Victus 2 rear panel. The display is flatter as well, and has less rounded edges. And, just like before, the phone packs an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, allowing it to withstand submersion in up to 5.5 feet of water for 30 minutes.

One interesting new feature on the Pixel 8 Pro is the addition of a temperature sensor.

The Pixel 8 Pro comes with a 6.7-inch Super Actua display that's based on an LTPO OLED panel with a 120Hz variable refresh rate. Additionally, it offers peak brightness of 2,400 nits. Google says its Super Actua branding is meant to call attention to the screen's colors and tuning, which have been engineered to be as accurate and realistic as possible. And, unlike the standard Pixel 8, the Pro also has a new 10.5-megapixel selfie camera with dual phase detection autofocus. Google also says that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro's face unlock employs a new algorithm alongside upgraded hardware to provide more precise facial recognition.

However, between its upgraded sensors (a 50MP main, 48MP ultra-wide and 48MP telephoto with a 5x optical zoom) and a range of improved photo and video features, it's the Pixel 8 Pro's cameras that are making the biggest leap. For the first time on a Pixel phone, users will be able to use Google's Night Sight Mode when recording videos. Meanwhile, the new Best Take feature makes it possible to choose the best reactions among a series of images so that every person in the shot is smiling. Also, by leveraging AI the Pixel's Magic Editor can better tweak things like lighting, the framing of a photo and more, while the new Audio Magic Eraser tool gives you the ability to remove distracting sounds and noise in your clips.

The Pixel 8 Pro's new rear cameras are posied to be the biggest photography upgrades in years.

But perhaps the biggest upgrade for photo enthusiasts is the addition of pro camera controls so you can adjust settings like shutter speed, ISO, white balance and more. There are even options for capturing images using the sensor's full 50 megapixels in either JPEG, RAW or RAW+JPEG modes. If you need even more help making clips look good, the new Video Boost feature can send recordings to the cloud so that Google's servers can apply more powerful computational algorithms to your footage. That said, it's important to note that this process can take multiple hours.

On the inside, the Pixel 8 Pro is powered by Google's Tensor G3 chip along with 12GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. Google claims the G3's improved performance helps support new abilities like enhanced spam filtering for the Pixel's Call Screener feature, Audio Magic Eraser and better image processing. In everyday situations, Google also is trying to improve the Pixel 8's ease of use with new software like the ability to read websites aloud while translating them, a proofreading tool in Gboard, Assistant voice typing in multiple languages and a magnifier app for increased accessibility.

The Pixel 8 Pro in graphite.

Finally, the more expensive Pixel 8 Pro is the only one with a temperature sensor located in the camera bar. Initially, you can use it to measure how hot or cold a nearby object is. However, Google says it's in talks with the FDA so that in the future you'll also be able use it as a thermometer for people. And just like the standard Pixel 8, Google is upping the length of the Pixel 8 Pro's software support (which includes both regular security patches and Android updates) to seven years. This is poised to be the longest commitment for any Android smartphone aside from the Fairphone 5.

The Pixel 8 Pro starts at $999 and goes on sale October 12, though you can pre-order it starting today.

Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.