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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

Reason and causes behind Pixel 8 turns out to be the best No-Nonsense android phone of the year

After spending a long time with Pixel 8, we think it’s one of the best Android phones for most people and if you want to buy one this Diwali, the phone wouldn’t disappoint

Mathures Paul Published 08.11.23, 10:31 AM
Pixel 8 shines because of its AIdriven features but how far can AI be your friend?

Pixel 8 shines because of its AIdriven features but how far can AI be your friend? Pictures: The Telegraph

What the last couple of years have done to smartphones is quite interesting — instead of choosing a smartphone brand, we now have to choose a smartphone philosophy. This means, Apple is for privacy and ease of use while Samsung is for all-round performance on Android. The third “school of phones” is represented by Pixel, which is all about software chops bringing out the best of hardware.

A few days ago we reviewed the Pixel 8 Pro, which is one of the year’s best phones but it could be expensive for many people. And that’s where the simple Pixel 8 comes in. Key differences include presence of temperature sensor on the Pro model, telephoto lens on the Pro and the upcoming Video Boost feature. There are a few other differences but nothing that would change your purchase decision.

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After spending a long time with Pixel 8, we think it’s one of the best Android phones for most people and if you want to buy one this Diwali, the phone wouldn’t disappoint.

FAMILIAR BUT EFFECTIVE DESIGN

There is a familiar design that Google has been doing for a few years now — the camera bar, the general size, the shape and even the materials. By sticking with that, the device is becoming easily recognisable, which should make the marketing department happy.

There is clarity in shots even beyond 2x zoom

There is clarity in shots even beyond 2x zoom

Pixel 8 has the flat screen that Pixel 7 did but the frame is a little bit more curved and it offers a good feeling when holding it. Something I particularly like is that they have made the Pixel 8 slightly smaller than the Pixel 7. If you dream of a smaller and smaller phone, this attempts to help with that.

There is 120Hz refresh rate to make scrolling and animations smoother. And the phone can drop it to 60Hz when 120Hz is not necessary, saving battery life. We also have a brighter display this time — 2,000 nits in direct sunlight. There is a glossy back compared to the matte glass back of the 8 Pro model and there is the familiar camera stripe on the back. The only thing that’s missing here is the temperature sensor. The camera bar ensures that the phone lies flat and doesn’t wobble at all.

AI POWER

In the camera section, there haven’t been major upgrades in terms of hardware. There is the same ultrawide camera of 12x but somehow it is wider than that on the Pixel 7. There is the same 50MP 1/1.31-inch main sensor. Pictures get binned in sets of four by default to offer 12.5MP images. It’s a lens that has f/1.68 aperture instead of f/1.85. The lower the number, the wider the aperture and more light can come in. We still have the same 2x option that crops out the middle 12MP of the 50MP sensor to give us 2x zoom. There is better light gathering no doubt.

But what matters on a Pixel phone is software magic. There is no shortage of that here. There are some interesting new editing features. We still have the Magic Eraser to “erase” objects and people from photographs but the 8 Pro gets an improved version because of on-device AI processing. On the Pixel 8 you get Magic Editor that allows you to tap or circle out objects or people but instead of deleting them, you can actually move them while filling out the background. You can also edit the sky, which is similar to Photoshop’s generative AI Fill feature. It’s impressive that it does this easily and on the phone.

There is a feature called Best Take that lets you take a succession of similar photos in a 10 second frame. Then it will give you the option — after the photo is taken — to choose the expression on each person’s face. For example, in a group photo you want everyone’s eyes to be seen. Night time videos have been improved quite a bit even without the Video Boost feature that is coming for Pixel 8 Pro. videos have been improved quite a bit even without the Video Boost feature that is coming for Pixel 8 Pro.

POWER OF TENSOR

There are a few other software features we need to talk about. There is one more eraser feature — audio eraser. You can record a video and then erase/reduce unwanted sounds in the background. The Recorder app, which has always been a good option, can transcribe things in real time and it even labels different speakers because the chipset can recognise different voices. Now you can also get a summary of the entire recording. Plus, voice to text has been improved. All this is happening because of Google’s Tensor G3 chip. Overall, the phone runs smoothly and you will rarely run into problems.

Colours are true-to-life and not saturated

Colours are true-to-life and not saturated

If that’s not enough, Google is promising seven years of OS and security upgrades, which is the highest on any Android phone.

A great Android phone should feel snappy whether you’re playing a game or just swiping through the interface. And it should be able to take pictures under all kinds of lighting conditions. Plus, battery should easily last you a day. All this is possible with the Pixel 8, which is the best no-nonsense phone of the year.

WHO SHOULD BUY PIXEL 8?

If you are someone who buys a phone every four-five years, this is a good option. Not that battery life will remain the best after three-odd years but you can always get it changed. Second, Pixel will always have the latest Android features. But remember, there is too much emphasis on AI to get things done.

AT A GLANCE

Device: Pixel 8

Price: Rs 75,999

HIGH NOTES

Packed with AI chops

Seven years of OS and security upgrades

Perfect size

Excellent camera

MUFFLED NOTES

Too much dependence on AI

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