Google shows off the Pixel 8 and Pixel Watch 2 ahead of launch

by owner

The Google Store has posted a promo page for the Pixel 8 and Pixel Watch 2 ahead of their October 4 launch, confirming the designs of both devices. Google accidentally leaked a bunch of 3D renders the other day, so now that the cat’s out of the bag, Google went ahead and made it official.

We saw live pictures of the Pixel 8 Pro in May, so there isn’t much to add about the device’s design. But still, the video confirms what’s coming next month. The biggest change is a switch to a flat screen instead of the distorted curved displays that flagship Android phones have been saddled with. There’s also a dubiously useful temperature sensor on the back, which in May was demonstrated as useful for taking a person’s body temperature by applying your phone directly to your forehead. The sides are still a shiny mirror finish on the Pro version.

We get a shot of the cheaper Pixel 8, too. This confirms it still has a satin finish instead of the mirror polish and continues to have only two cameras. It’s also not getting the temperature sensor.

Here you can see how some of the camera components got swapped around. The huge extra circle, below the LED flash, is the new temperature sensor.
Enlarge / Here you can see how some of the camera components got swapped around. The huge extra circle, below the LED flash, is the new temperature sensor.

The camera array on the Pixel 8 Pro is a bit different. All the major lenses—main, wide-angle, and the rectangular periscope zoom lens—live in one big cutout now. The camera sensors got swapped around a bit, too. Between the first and second camera lenses, those two matching circles are the laser autofocus system, and it looks like the Pixel 8 Pro has a microphone here, too. The small square chip is a color sensor, which now lives on the right side of the Pixel 8 Pro’s camera array. And, of course, there’s that big white temperature sensor below the LED flash.

The other big improvement we know is coming with the Pixel 8 is Google’s new “Tensor G3” chip. Unlike the Tensor 1 to 2 transition, Google is upgrading the Arm cores this year, and the rumor mill says Google is using an X3 core as the main CPU, which puts it on par with the other 2023 flagship chips.

Google’s teaser page includes a single picture of the Pixel Watch 2, which is also being announced on October 4. The design looks identical to the original watch, so there’s really not much to see. On the plus side, that means the watch bands for the old watch will work on the new one, which is great because a metal option only came out in June, eight months after the watch’s release. The Pixel Watch 2 will now hit the street with a more complete band selection. The downside is that the biggest complaints about the Pixel Watch, the small screen and giant bezels, aren’t getting fixed. You can crank up the contrast on Google’s image and see the same size screen as the old version.

This device is also getting a big CPU upgrade. The Pixel Watch 1 shipped with a 4-year-old Samsung chip, while the Pixel Watch 2 will ship with a 15-month-old Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon W5 SoC. That is certainly going to be an improvement for Google, but usually top-tier hardware uses a chip from the current year.

Update: There’s a video now, too.

We’re sure there will be more leaks between now and October 4. The big questions still to answer are price and exactly why someone would want a temperature sensor on a phone.

Leave a Comment