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Google's Pixel line has been around for many years now, but each year the brand pushes the limit with what their smartphone can do. This year's Pixel 8 Pro isn't just beautiful to look at - it packs the best camera features we've seen on an Android smartphone yet. I spent one month with the new Google Pixel 8 Pro, here's what I thought.
The Pixel 8 Pro has an aluminum frame and a 6.7-inch wide display - similar to its predecessor. It's also just as light and grippy as its previous gen, though now featuring a more matted build, compared to the 7 Pro's glossy design. There's still a camera bar that runs across the top, albeit the 8 Pro holds a 48 MP ultra-wide camera, compared to last year's 12 MP.
I like taking zoomed shots on the Pixel 8 Pro because I always get a detailed image, even if I'm standing quite a distance away. Every picture I take also feels true to life, meaning it's not over-saturated or overly lit, staying true to my background and surroundings. There are also manual controls, including adjustable shutter speed, aperture and even shooting in RAW format, trying to give you a more traditional camera experience. Of course, you don't have to fiddle with the manual controls - I rarely did - but it's nice to have on hand, especially if you're in low-light conditions.
Google's Pixel 8 Pro also introduced new editing tools that can send you down a rabbit hole in photo manipulation once you give them a try. Last year, Google introduced a Magic Eraser, which lets you erase the background around a picture to put your subject in focus. This year they took it a step further, allowing you to change how big or small the subject is in the background and even changing the color of the background itself. You do need to back up each picture you want to use Magic Editor on though, so keep that in mind.
The other new feature is called Best Take, which is a game-changer for group pictures. Essentially, you can take a bunch of pictures with your friends and eventually use Best Take to automatically select every person's 'best take.' (You can find this feature under tools in edit mode). No more worrying about that one friend who keeps ruining the shot! I tried taking a bunch of photos with my office coworkers, and was pretty pleased with the final result - the picture looked realistic. One last update comes to video with Audio Magic Eraser, which can reduce 'noise' or unwanted sounds in video to clarify dialogue in crowded places.
The myriad of camera features are definitely overwhelming at first but fun once you get the hang of it. I took some time just playing with the camera features to fully understand how they work, I suggest you do the same once you shop for your new smartphone.
Google phones run on the Tensor chip, the brand's flagship chipset. Tensor has a history of overheating in the past and I noticed this first while I was setting up my phone. I didn't have a lot of data to transfer to the 8 Pro but still felt my new device quickly heat up. The phone also sometimes heats up when you're out in high temperatures, which can be a con if you live in warmer temperatures. It's not a big deal, but something you want to keep in mind.
The other feature I was not the biggest fan of was the temperature sensor - you can access this through the new Thermometer app. You can't really use the temperature sensor to take your body temperature, and you obviously can't put your phone in the oven to see how your Thanksgiving turkey is doing. You can only use it to see if your coffee or tea is hot, so it's not the most intuitive feature. I genuinely only used the temperature sensor once to test it, and then promptly never had use for the feature again.
Again, these cons are not deal breakers, and we can expect to see more updates to how temperature sensor can be used in the future.
Google's Pixel 8 Pro is worth the upgrade, especially with Google promising up to seven years of software updates for the phone. Starting at $1,000, the phone really has everything you need, from a stellar camera, and editing features to a sleek design that easily fits in your pocket. Battery life could last me through a full day as well (depending on my usage) and having the option to use both fingerprint unlock and face unlock is always a benefit for me. If you're looking for an Android upgrade, the Pixel 8 Pro is worth the price.