Palms-On With the Google Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Professional, and Pixel Watch 2

I’m struggling to muster pleasure over the newest batch of Pixel gadgets. The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have improved in model and design and doubtless in efficiency, too (I can solely affirm all the pieces as soon as I check the specs myself). However the place’s the aptitude? The characteristic you’ll be able to’t reside with out? And I’m nonetheless ready for somebody in Android land to announce satellite connectivity that rivals Apple’s feature.

As a substitute, we now have a menial, iterative replace. I’ve solely gone hands-on with the brand new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional for lower than an hour, so I can’t communicate to how rather more “price it” they’re till I can put them by way of their paces. I wish to imagine the telephoto capabilities have improved and are higher than the iPhone 15 Pro Max provides. The Pixel 8 Professional can be able to 5x optical zoom, and this yr, it’s bumped as much as 30x for digital zoom. I’m additionally hoping that the Pixel 8 is a greater deal than what I obtained with the Pixel 7 final yr—six months in, I noticed it wasn’t as much as snuff.

I additionally obtained to strive on the Pixel Watch 2. It feels precisely just like the Pixel Watch 1, however it boasts some enhancements, together with a brand new processor and watchbands. We’ll have to attend for the evaluate to see if that coronary heart fee monitor and battery are any higher than earlier than.

The Pixel 8 vs. Pixel 8 Professional

The Pixel 8 is a smaller gadget and the one one out there in pink.
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Let’s sort out the Pixel 8 first since I’m attempting to find out if it’ll be price its barely smaller dimension. Google decreased the display screen dimension by a couple of tenth of an inch, so there’s a 6.2-inch show versus the Pixel 7’s 6.3 inches. It’s minor however pays off majorly in case you miss small telephones. I skipped out on the 7 Professional’s telephoto lens as a result of I wished one thing simpler to carry. The Pixel 8 shall be somewhat extra accommodating.

A photo of the Pixel 8 Pro

The entrance of the Pixel 8 Professional.
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I don’t significantly admire the Pixel 8’s distinctive colorway is rose, or pink. It looks like a gendered stereotype: blue is the particular shade for the Pixel 8 Professional, which is larger, so it’s for boys. Pink is reserved for the smaller variant that’s simpler on dainty arms. I’d have reasonably seen Google persist with the spectrum-of-blues motif I believed it could lean into with this era. I preferred the inexperienced factor it had going with the Pixel 7 and seven Professional. What occurred to that?

A photo of the Pixel 8 Pro

The Pixel 8 Professional in its three colorways, together with the brand new Bay blue.
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Pixel 8 Professional’s blue colorway, dubbed “bay,” is gorgeous in individual. When the daylight hits it, the blue brightens up. It additionally manages to take care of its vibrancy amongst on a regular basis fixtures. The 8 Professional’s chassis can be a tad extra bolstered than the Pixel 8—it options Gorilla Glass Victus 2 masking as a substitute of first-gen Victus on the common variant. The telephones stay IP68 rated for water- and mud resistance. It’s the usual for all flagship gadgets.

A photo of the PIxel 8 Pro

I believe this temperature sensor works like I need it to?
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Why did Google bundle a temperature sensor within the Pixel 8 Professional? I attempted to make use of the characteristic whereas pawing on the gadget, however I couldn’t fairly perceive what the studying was for—was it for the desk under the cellphone? Or was it measuring my arms that have been holding the gadget? The temperature sensor is meant that will help you get a relative measurement for issues like a sizzling beverage or meals proper off the range. Samsung already tried the temperature sensing factor with one among their older Galaxies, and it ended up being the butt of many blogger’s jokes. Will the Pixel 8 Professional’s temperature sensor endure the identical destiny?

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional have barely differing digicam techniques. The Pixel 8 has the identical 50-MP major digicam because the 8 Professional, although it’s dialed all the way down to a 12-MP sensor on the secondary ultra-wide lens. The 8 Professional’s wide-angle possibility has a fuller decision at 48 MP and a bigger aperture to seize extra mild for nighttime panorama photographs.

I’m involved about what I’d be giving up for the Pixel 8’s extra petite physique with regards to digicam efficiency. The Professional mannequin’s 48-MP telephoto lens is the very best decision in any Pixel gadget, it could possibly handle the identical 5x optical zoom distance because the iPhone 15 Professional Max. Google’s been in a position to zoom approach out earlier than, however most of that was digital with assist from AI.

At the least the Pixel 8 picks up on some items it let falter with the final launch. The display screen refresh fee is now a variable 60Hz to 120Hz, which suggests I can get smoother Poké ball throws in Pokémon Go now than I did with the Pixel 7’s 90Hz. I’ll be curious how the battery life additionally fares. The Pixel 8 and eight Professional have bigger battery packs than their predecessors. However Android has but to have the ability to maintain a candle to the iPhone’s lengthy battery life within the final two years.

The Pixel Watch 2: Redux

A photo of the Pixel Watch 2

The Pixel Watch 2—on a wrist!
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

There are some new options to the Pixel Watch 2, even when it doesn’t appear to be it from afar. Sure, the design is copy and paste, besides there’s a brighter show to take pleasure in on this second-gen reprise—as much as 1,000 nits peak brightness in direct daylight.

I didn’t get to strive any of the well being and wellness options of the Pixel Watch 2. I might solely put on the gadget and see the way it feels on the wrist. It feels identical to the final Pixel Watch! I nonetheless choose the design of the Galaxy Watch 6 by way of button providing—the Galaxy Watch 6 has two buttons in comparison with the Pixel Watch 2’s, although the Watch 2 additionally has a digital crown that acts as a button. On the very least, we’re now in an period of Android wearables the place you’ll be able to select from completely different designs and have a comparatively constant expertise.

A photo of the Pixel Watch 2

The Pixel Watch 2 has new watchbands this time round, together with this new steel mesh band proven right here.
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Pixel Watch 2 does purport to supply essentially the most correct heart-rate studying. This mannequin has a “multi-path” coronary heart fee sensor, switching between single and multi-path modes relying on how onerous you’re figuring out. It’ll be attention-grabbing to see the general efficiency of the Qualcomm SW5100 chip, which is the primary Pixel Watch to have Qualcomm-made silicon. Final yr’s launch used a Samsung Exynos processor.

General, the Pixel Watch 2 is extra of an extension of the Fitbit journey than the Android journey. It’s all concerning the improved health capabilities, the wellness stats, and the instruction you may get by way of Fitbit Premium. I’ve been happy with Samsung Well being these final many generations and the Galaxy Watch. However I’m able to make the leap again to Fitbit to see if it’s modified for the higher or only a bit extra Google-y than all the pieces else.

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