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They are the smartphones that have seen the strongest growth in sales in 2023. In Japan, almost half of new buyers have abandoned their iPhone to switch. Them , these are the Pixels, “the only phones designed by Google” proudly recalls the brand.
Behind these thunderous announcements hides a harsher reality: Pixels are not selling that much. As the brand refuses to share market share figures, we consulted the global sales figures of the various most reputable firms. Google never appears in the top 5.
For now, Pixels are condemned to wandering in the “Others” category bringing together the rest of the manufacturers of smartphones not taking enough market share for their name to appear.
Nothing to discourage Google, which is counting on its Pixel 8 and 8 Pro to continue its progress. Like every year, the American offers two premium models compared to the latest iPhones. For once, the Pixel 8 Pro is the more advanced of the two.
We therefore logically chose to test it first, for almost a week . And we were not disappointed.
Like its competitors, Google is not reinventing the smartphone. At first glance, the Pixel 8 Pro looks exactly like the Pixel 7 Pro. Same lines, same rectangular photo block that stretches across the entire width of the device, same black pill camouflaging the photo optics, weight and dimensions almost identical. Everything is there.
The Pixel 8 Pro is therefore an imposing phone, the size of an iPhone 15 Pro Max or Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is used almost exclusively with two hands. However, the good weight distribution (with the optics across the entire top of the device) makes the Pixel 8 Pro pleasant to use on a daily basis. On the other hand, like its rivals, it remains difficult to slip into a pocket or bag.
Would Google have simply reproduced the same recipe as last year? Not really. Looking closer at this Pixel 8 Pro, we see some welcome adjustments. First, the back of the phone is no longer shiny but covers a slightly smoked matte glass with two advantages: it is more pleasant in the hands and it does not mark fingerprints. p>
© Lemon squeezer
At the front, Google has also corrected one of the most unsightly elements of the old Pixels. Bye bye the prominent chin, the borders of the screen are now of the same thickness. Let us note in passing that the Pixel 8 Pro has a flat and not curved screen, another very appreciable change, both for handling and viewing comfort.
What else? Nothing. No titanium, eco-friendly bullshit (despite a 100% recycled aluminum chassis), or other frills. Google does not play the card of one-upmanship and humbly focuses on what it knows how to do: phones with premium finishes, original design and shimmering colors (special mention to our blue version, magnificent). If it is not the flashiest, the Pixel 8 Pro is undoubtedly the coolest high-end smartphone on the market.
Yes, the terms are strong, but they remain no less true. The Pixel 8 Pro has the most beautiful screen we've ever seen on a smartphone. Google is launching a brand new 6.7' LTPO OLED panel (refresh rate 1-120 Hz). ' calledSuper Actua Display. Behind this name from the marketing department hides a screen brighter than ever (up to 2,400 nits in peak HDR), even more than that of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, already impressive.
You will therefore not be surprised to learn that the Pixel 8 Pro will be the ideal companion for fans of films, series and video games. Because beyond its incomparable brightness, it also stands out for its controlled colorimetry, its excellent contrasts and breathtaking image sharpness. You will be amazed by it, both for everyday use and multimedia. Pure pleasure.
A new Pixel, a new chip. Google had the good idea to align the number of its processors with their year of release. In 2023, the Pixel 8 Pro therefore inherits a Tensor G3 chip.
Let's end the suspense right away: on benchmarks, the G3 never competes with Apple's A17 Pro or Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Google accepts this choice and explains that it has designed its chips by focusing on the neural processor (NPU), a central element for the proper functioning of artificial intelligence.
And there is AI. A lot. Everywhere. This is also what makes up the entire software identity of the Pixel 8 Pro. If you like Google, its tools, its functionalities, its graphic charter, you will be served.
Beyond the aesthetic elements and numerous customization parameters, the Pixel 8 Pro stands out for its in-depth integration of Google Assistant. More efficient and faster, it is enhanced with new features.
Among them, voice dictation is undoubtedly the most impressive in French. Word recognition is impeccable even when speaking very naturally. No need to dictate anymore, just speak.
Although impressed by the software improvements of the Pixel 8 Pro, we can't help but feel the same frustration every year. For this generation as for previous ones, the best new features are initially reserved for the English language.
Thus, no summary of the articles in France but a simple voice reading. No anti-cold calling filter either, for the moment reserved for the English-speaking public.
So yes, French users can benefit from car accident detection with automatic emergency call or a increasingly stunning real-time translation. But the real killer featuresare absent. And that's a shame.
Historically, Pixels do not shine with their endurance. And if the arrival of in-house chips has improved things a little, Google has never really succeeded in raising its smartphones among the benchmarks in this area.
Up to Pixel 8 Pro. The 5,050 mAh battery combined with the Tensor G3 chip and software optimization allow the Pixel 8 Pro to establish itself as an endurance model.
In use intensive (photo, video, game, social networks, occasional connection sharing), we lasted two days without shaking. Allow two and a half days for standard use. A record for Pixels and one of the best performances on the market.
The copy would have been impeccable if Google had accompanied this excellent autonomy with a charging system worthy of the name. With a charging power limited to 30W, the Pixel 8 Pro regains all its energy in more than an hour and 50% in 30 minutes. Like the Apple and Samsung models, but far from the charging systems ultra-fast charging from Chinese competitors.
The Xiaomi 13T Pro, for example, can be fully recharged in just over 30 minutes. Far be it from us to ask Google and others for such performance, but going below the charging hour mark would not be a luxury.
For the rest, the Pixel 8 Pro is compatible with wireless and reverse charging. Like its competitors, it comes without charger (no small savings).
Known for not racing for megapixels, Google has built a solid reputation in digital image processing. For years, Pixels have been among the benchmarks in smartphone photography with fewer sensors, fewer megapixels and a lot of algorithms.
But in the face of increasingly threatening competition, Google pulled out all the stops this year. During the Pixel 8 Pro presentation conference, the brand announced “The biggest camera hardware improvement since the Pixel 6”. Reading the technical sheet, the American has indeed brought out the heavy artillery. See instead:
- a wide-angle lens (82° – f/1.68) with 50 MP sensor (21% more sensitive to light)
- an ultra-wide-angle lens (125.5° – f/1.95) with 48 MP sensor (105% more sensitive to light)
- a telephoto lens with optical zoom x5 (21.8° – f/2.8) and 48 MP sensor (56% more sensitive to light)
No need to prolong the suspense: the Pixel 8 Pro stands as the worthy heir of the previous versions and establishes itself as one of the best photophones on the market. From there to say that it is the best? Not really.
© Ultra wide-angle
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© Ultra wide-angle
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In some specific areas, the Pixel 8 Pro remains behind its competitors. This is the case for example for remote photography, an area in which Samsung remains the only master on board thanks to the x10 optical zoom of the Galaxy S23 Ultra. This is also the case in video, an exercise mastered to near perfection by Apple.
In these tasks, the Pixel 8 Pro does not stand out. He even appears to be quite good. But it is clear that its competitors are doing better in their preferred areas.
© Ultra wide-angle
© Zoom 2x
For everything else, the Pixel 8 Pro is either as good or better than its competitors. This year, Google has also taken care to improve the general rendering of photos, much more natural than before.
The portraits smell a lot less like artificial intelligence too. Moreover, the quality of the optics makes it possible to achieve a natural blur that is more convincing than the artificial blur generated by algorithms. Nothing to report on the clipping, generally clean.
More impressive, the ultra-wide-angle retains a level of detail never before seen on a smartphone. This progress is even more notable in low light, an environment in which the Pixel 8 Pro performs well.
If Google's latest addition appeals to us so much, it's also because it allows us to enjoy a complete photographic experience. The photo interface has been revised to separate the photo experience from the video experience, a pro mode as complete as it is well thought out is available and Google especially offers a host of post-editing options.
Among the most impressive, Best Takeis the one who created a buzz during her presentation. To avoid failed group photos, the AI analyzes the best profile of each subject over a series of photos. It then automatically modifies each face so that it appears in its best light. Eight times out of ten, the results are impeccable even if, upon closer inspection, the AI layer is noticeable. In 20% of cases, the result is more akin to a Picasso than to photography.
For its part, Magic Editor allows you to retouch photos a few clicks.You can erase objects, move subjects, change their size, review the contours, the color of the sky, etc. Photoshop in your pocket without any training.
Google also announced features adapted to video. Video Boost and Night Sight Video promise to improve image quality (colors, contrasts, etc.) day and night. Unfortunately, these new features will only be available in December 2023.
On the other hand, Audio Magic Eraserwhich allows you to adjust sounds on a video is there, and it is impressive. The AI detects the different audio sources and classifies them by categories (voice, wind, nature, etc.) and suggests adjusting the level of each track. Thus, we were able to isolate our voice in a very noisy urban environment in just a few seconds (see test video).
As you will have understood, if the Pixel 8 Pro is not necessarily the best camera phone in all areas, the general experience offered by Google is in our opinion the most complete.
© Presse-citron < p>We still have a small reservation about how Google will go about offering this experience over the years.
Indeed, during our few days of testing, we noticed that it still took a long time for the Pixel 8 Pro to get the AI running. Thus, the Best Take function requires patience, since it sometimes takes almost 20 to 30 seconds for it to identify faces. The same goes for video retouching or advanced photo editing, uses requiring a lot of computing power.
How will Google manage to maintain a fluid experience over the years? Will the G3 chip be able to accommodate the features that will be offered in the years to come? These questions are all the more legitimate since Google announced that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro would receive major OS updates for several years.
The information almost went unnoticed at the Google conference, yet it marks a big step forward in the smartphone industry.The Pixel 8 Pro (and Pixel 8) will receive major Android security and updates during 7 years. This therefore means that these two models will not be obsolete before 2030!
Until now, Apple held the record for longevity with 6 years of major updates for the iPhone 6S. On average, an iPhone receives major iOS updates for 5 years. In the Android universe, manufacturers work around 4 years of major updates and 5 years of security upgrades.
This longevity of the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro allows two things: firstly to save money by not renewing your smartphone too early, then (and above all) to have a more ecological approach. And we really like that!
This is the bad news of this generation: Google is increasing the prices of its Pixels. The Pixel 8 Pro is therefore offered from 1,099 euros or 200 euros more than the Pixel 7 Pro when it was released.
Google explains this increase by the integration of cutting-edge technologies (notably the brand new screen and three photo optics) as well as 7 years of updates reducing the number of renewals.
Despite this significant increase, the Pixel 8 Pro remains the most affordable smartphone in its category. Priced at 1,159 euros in the 256 GB version, it costs less than the Galaxy S23 Ultra (1,419 euros) and the iPhone 15 Pro Max ( 1,479 euros) upon release.
Like its rivals, the Pixel 8 Pro does not mark a clear evolution compared to its predecessor. Nevertheless, in small steps, Google is improving a recipe that it already mastered very well.
The American plays neither the one-upmanship nor the “have you seen me” card. The Pixel 8 Pro takes what the brand does best: an original and colorful design, a magnificent screen (the most beautiful we have ever used so far) and an interface full of AI.
It differs from its competitors in two aspects. First of all, the photographic experience it offers, the most complete on a phone to date. Then, excellent autonomy which surpasses that of its two main competitors (iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S23 Ultra).
If we deplore too slow charging (and a charger not supplied), it's is above all the price increase which could slow down Google's growth. The Pixel 8 Pro costs 1,099 euros, or 200 euros more than the Pixel 7 Pro when it was released. An increase that fans will have difficulty digesting but which should be put into perspective: the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Galaxy S23 Ultra cost much more than the Pixel 8 Pro. However, Google's model has nothing to envy them. Quite the contrary…