Just days ahead of the iPhone 15 announcement it looks like Google decided it was sick of all the attention Apple was getting and it has revealed its Pixel 8, 8 Pro, and Pixel Watch 2 almost a month ahead of its October 4 Made by Google event on October 4.
This isn’t the first time Google has pulled this particular trick, so it’s clear at this point that Google doesn’t like the typical dance we play as events draw near with virtually every angle of a device leaked already. It removes the last vestiges of mystery regarding the look of its devices but doesn’t give a full spec, feature, or price breakdown, so you’ll still want to watch along on October 4 for the full reveal.
Here’s the brief teaser video that Google released alongside the reveal on the Google Store, and we’ll dig into what else was revealed.
Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro
Let’s tackle the phones first, the images mirror what we’ve seen in the leaks precisely with the most apparent change being the size reduction for the Pixel 8. While again Google isn’t going into the specifics yet, according to the rumors it is going to feature a 6.2-inch display, down from 6.3 inches, and fulfilling one of our wishes since Google bumped the display size up for the Pixel 6.
The Pixel 8 Pro display will remain 6.7 inches, but the teaser seems to bear out the leaks suggesting it will now be a flat display rather than curved. Again, I’m thrilled to hear it as the curved display trend is one that I have railed against for years.
A close-up look at the rear camera array on the Pixel 8 Pro confirms that all three lenses are now grouped together in a single cutout, which isn’t likely to be the tipping point for anyone considering it, but it’s a more aesthetically pleasing look. This also gives us our best look yet at that new temperature sensor below the flash. But of course, there are no actual details or even confirmation that it is a temperature sensor, so whether Google has any grand plans for that sensor beyond doing the occasional thermometer reading will remain a mystery until October 4.
While the images officially confirm that many of the leaked photos we’ve seen before were accurate, they don’t give us anything on perhaps the biggest update to the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro; the Tensor G3. While day-to-day performance was solid with the G2, it remains miles behind the best from Apple or Qualcomm, so the question of whether Google can narrow that gap a bit looms large.
The Pixel 7a finally broke the Pixel battery life curse by eclipsing 10 hours in our testing, but here’s hoping that Pixel 8 and 8 Pro can push that even further.
Google didn’t post anything about pricing, but a leak by Deallabs Magazine suggests that the days of the affordable Pixel may be coming to an end. The site claims that in the EU the pricing for the Pixel 8 will start at 799 euros, while the Pixel 8 Pro will go to 1,099 euros. Typically we see this mirrored exactly in the U.S., so that would be a $200 jump for both phones. The Pixel 8 going from $599 to $799 and the 8 Pro bumped to $1,099 from $899.
The writing was on the wall for a Pixel price bump this year after the Pixel 7a rendered the Pixel 7 somewhat irrelevant, but we were hoping it would maybe only be a $100 increase. Google is going to need to really sell us on the upgrades that are justifying that big of an increase as the teaser and even the current rumors don’t fully explain an upcharge of nearly 33% for the Pixel 8 and 22% for the 8 Pro.
Google Pixel Watch 2
The Pixel Watch 2 doesn’t get the same video teaser treatment, just a still image saying that it is also coming on October 4 and that you can “Pair it with your new Pixel phone to get even more personalized help, safety features, and health insights.”
Unlike the Pixel 8 phones, Google has done a reasonable job of keeping the Pixel Watch 2 under wraps, so we don’t have much to go on beyond the images. Rumors suggest it will move to a lighter aluminum frame and that it could add a stress detection feature similar to the Fitbit Sense 2, but there’s little else to go on.
Our two biggest wishes for the Pixel Watch 2 are a second size option as the 41mm original is a little on the small side and for an increase in battery life, but the latter is true of almost every smartwatch.
Google remains something of an agent of chaos when it comes to the handling of its device launches. While we’re starting to get used to its shenanigans, it remains to be seen whether these tactics are working with consumers to bring more attention to the Pixel brand. There’s no question Google’s advertising push alongside the improvements to the phones has given them a meaningful boost in recent years, but they’ve got a long way to go before Apple or Samsung are feeling the pressure.
While Google’s release gave us confirmation of the look of its new devices, the devil is in the details and the teaser hasn’t given us any more to go on there. The software is a major part of the story for the Pixel phones and Google is only showing off existing software features on its teaser site.
So well played Google, you got us talking about the Pixel devices without really giving us anything new. While there’s this little iPhone 15 event coming next week, we’ll certainly be keeping our eyes out for anything new on the Pixel front and we’ll be there to cover the actual launch of the Pixel 8, 8 Pro, and Pixel Watch 2 on October 4.