Behind the scenes Google is working on the next generation of Pixel phones and so far it has not given any official details on the upcoming devices. But Google usually does a pretty bad job of keeping things a secret. The phones will not be unveiled until later this year (likely in October), even so, plenty of details have leaked already.
There will be two flagship models – smaller vanilla and larger Pro. Like with previous generations, the Pro will have a superior display and camera. Interestingly, the vanilla phone will be smaller than its predecessor. Let’s look at those first.
The Pixel 8 display will finally be bumped up to 120Hz refresh rate after several generations of running at 90Hz. This doesn’t mean that Google is finally going with an LTPO panel for the vanilla flagship, but leaked info suggests that there will be new refresh modes, letting the phone choose between 10, 30, 60Hz for power saving.
The new display will be slightly smaller than before at 6.17”, down from 6.3”. The resolution will remain at FHD+ (20:9), on the plus side, Google has apparently chosen a brighter panel this year – 1,400 nits typical brightness, up from 1,000 nits.
The changes on the larger Pixel 8 Pro display will be less impactful. It will be basically the same size as on the 2022 model, however, its resolution will be reduced slightly, which will bring down the pixel density from 512ppi to 490ppi (that’s still higher than the vanilla Pixel, even accounting for its smaller diagonal). The minimum refresh rate will go down to 5Hz from the 10Hz minimum on the 7 Pro. This panel should be brighter too.
Google is sticking with the “visor” design for this generation. As you may have noticed in the section above, the new generation will round off the corners of the display more so than the 7-series.
More importantly, the Pixel 8 will measure 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm (based on CAD designs). This is noticeably smaller than the 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm measurements of the Pixel 7 and makes it closer in size to the Galaxy S23 (146.3 x 70.9 x 7.6mm) and smaller than the Pixel 7a (152 x 72.9 x 9mm).
The Google Pixel 8 Pro will measure 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.7mm, effectively the same as the 7 Pro (162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm).
By the way, hands-on photos of an early Pixel 8 Pro prototype confirm the design seen in the renders above.
Both models are getting a new sensor for their 50MP main cameras – the ISOCELL GN2 is replacing the GN1 found in the 7-series. This sensor is larger (1/1.12” vs. 1/1.31”) and it has bigger native pixels (1.4µm vs. 1.2µm). Binning down to 12.5MP (4-to-1) gives it an effective pixel size of 2.8µm.
The sensor can go the other way too, outputting 100MP images, since each pixel has two photo diodes instead of one. The GN1 was the same, the main difference here is that the GN2 has an improved AF method called Dual Pixel Pro. The two photodiodes on the GN1 split each pixel vertically, the GN2 has a diagonal split instead so that it can detect phase differences both vertically and horizontally.
The Pixel 8 Pro is also getting an upgraded ultra wide with the Sony IMX787 sensor – 64MP 1/1.37” with 0.8µm pixels and 4-to-1 binning support. For comparison, the 7 Pro has a tiny 12MP 1/2.9” sensor with 1.25µm pixels.
As for the vanilla model, that one is sticking with the 12MP IMX386 of its predecessor. The one upgrade here will be a wider lens (0.55x vs. 0.67x), but that will just put extra strain on the low-res sensor. And no, the Pixel 8 is not getting a dedicated zoom camera.
The one on the Pixel 8 Pro will remain the same with a 48MP GM5 sensor and a 5x periscope lens. A new 8×8 ToF depth sensor will assist with autofocus. Interestingly, there will be an additional sensor on the Pro, an infrared thermometer (just under the LED flash). In this time and age being able to measure your body temperature is a useful feature.
Finally, there will be nothing new on the selfie cameras, they will just use the 11MP Samsung 3J1 sensor from last year.
The Pixel flagships introduce new Tensor chipsets, which are later on reused for the a-series. The Pixel 8 duo will bring the third gen custom chip – once again coming from Samsung’s foundries and it be labeled as “4nm” (4LPP node).
More importantly, it will jump two generations forward from the G2 in terms of hardware. The Tensor G3 will feature a single Cortex-X3 at 3.0GHz, 4x A715 at 2.45GHz and 4x A510 at 2.15GHz. For comparison, the G2 had two prime cores, Cortex-X1 (2.85GHz), two A78 (2.35GHz) and four A55 (1.80GHz) cores.
We should see a big jump in performance and especially energy efficiency. That said, there are already A720 cores available and the Cortex-X4 is lurking around the corner, so the G3 will quickly fall behind the competition – just not as far behind as the G2 was.
As for the GPU, the G3 will jump to an Immortalis-G715 with 10 cores at 890MHz. This GPU has hardware support for ray tracing and is also a couple of generations newer than the Mali-G710 MC10 of the G2 chip. You can also expect a faster NPU for Google’s AI magic.
One potential upgrade for the small Pixel 8 is the extra RAM – 12GB, according to some rumors (previous generations had 8GB). This will bring it on par with the Pro model. The new Tensor G3 chipset should also support faster UFS 4.0 storage.
Battery and charging
Not much is known about the batteries at the moment. We think that it’s a safe bet that the Pixel 8 Pro battery will remain at the same capacity (5,000mAh), but given the smaller dimensions of the Pixel 8, its capacity will probably go down (from 4,355mAh).
The Pixel 8 appeared on WPC’s site, which lists it as supporting only 12W wireless charging. The Pixel 7 duo isn’t exactly fast, but it can do 20/23W wirelessly so this is a surprise. We guess that the main takeaway here is that the 8-series will not support the new Qi2 standard.
Again, no info has leaked so far, but we don’t expect any surprises – the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 had a base price of $600, the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro were $900 at launch. The 8-series should follow the same pricing strategy, especially given that the vanilla model is still lacking most of the Pro features (which justifies the $300 gulf in the pricing).