Wayfarer review: the Pixel 8 Pro is Google’s finest release to date

by James Wilkinson

With each new phone release, the Google Pixel continues its rise as one of the world’s finest smartphones and with the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, the offering has never been better.

When it comes to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, the first thing you’ll notice is the style has been refined – expect softer silhouettes, beautiful metal finishes and recycled materials, giving it a stylish look and feel.

While the 8 is smaller in size than Pixel 7, it gets a boost from the 6.2-inch Actua display, which is 42% brighter than Pixel 7’s display.

You’ll immediately notice the difference when you’re streaming a movie or watching rugby on Stan because the quality of the screen is exceptional and it makes watching on the go better than ever before.

When it comes to the Pixel 8 Pro, it is a 6.7-inch Super Actua display and you’ll notice the fantastic quality with how good ultra HDR images look as well, particularly if you are snapping them from the phone.

Where the new series of Pixel phones also standout well is the quality of the cameras and you’ll be blown away with how you can capture, people, places, food and more.

Every camera on the Pixel 8 Pro has been upgraded, starting with the main camera that captures better photos and videos in low-light settings.

The bigger ultrawide lens delivers even better Macro Focus, the telephoto lens captures 56% more light than Pixel 7 Pro and takes 10 times photos at optical quality, and the front-facing camera now has autofocus for the best selfies on a Pixel phone.

With the Pixel 8, you’ll find the same updated main camera, plus a new ultrawide lens that enables Macro Focus.

The camera app has an intuitive, redesigned interface, letting you quickly find and capture content in your favourite photo and video modes.

With the Pixel 8 Pro, you’ll have access to Pro Controls, giving you more creative control of the Pixel Camera with settings like shutter speed, ISO, 50 MP photos throughout the zoom range and more.

There are also a couple more fantastic features in the camera app that you likely didn’t expect to find.

With the Best Take feature, on-device algorithm creates a blended image from a series of photos to get the best look, particularly when it comes to group shots – so don’t worry if someone has their eyes closed or isn’t looking at the camera.

Magic Editor in Google Photos is a new experimental editing experience that uses generative AI to help you bring your photos in line with the essence of the moment you were trying to capture.

You can reposition and resize subjects or use presets to make the background pop — all with just a few taps.

Audio Magic Eraser lets you easily reduce distracting sounds in your video, like howling winds or noisy crowds.

This first-of-its-kind computational audio capability uses advanced machine learning models to sort sounds into distinct layers so you can control their levels.
A GIF demonstration of Audio Magic Eraser.

The Pixel 8 Pro also has a Video Boost, which pairs Tensor G3 with our powerful data centres to apply cutting-edge processing to your videos.

It adjusts colour, lighting, stabilisation and graininess, and the result is stunning videos that look true to life.

Video Boost also enables Night Sight Video on Pixel for better low-light smartphone video quality.

The new Pixel 8 phones also have speech recognition and language understanding models, so you can use your voice to quickly type, edit, and send messages, now in multiple languages seamlessly. And your Pixel can even read aloud and translate webpages for you so you can listen to articles on the go.

Pixel is even better at understanding the nuances of human speech, so you can talk to it more naturally to get things done. If you take a pause or say “um,” it will wait until you’re done before responding. Use your voice to quickly type, edit and send messages, even if you speak multiple languages.

Phone calls are easier with Pixel Call Assist, a set of features that helps with everything from making calls to avoiding spammers, including Call Screen, Hold for Me and more. With Call Screen, Google Assistant can answer unknown numbers and find out who’s calling and why – so you can decide whether to pick up.

Then there’s also the temperature check. On the back of the Pixel 8 Pro, a new object temperature sensor lets you quickly scan an object to get its temperature.

Use it to check if your pan is hot enough to start cooking or if the milk in your baby’s bottle is at the right temperature. Talk about taking technology to another level!

Google Tensor G3 works with the Titan M2 security chip to protect personal information and make your Pixel more resilient to sophisticated attacks.

And now, Face Unlock on Pixel 8 meets the highest Android biometric class, allowing you to access compatible banking and payment apps like Google Wallet.

With Pixel, you receive exclusive features and updates that keep your phone getting better over time. For the first time, we’re providing seven years of software support for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro — including OS upgrades, security updates and regular Feature Drops.

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are available now from the Google store.