The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro might still be hot off the assembly line, with both phones receiving kudos from us and other reviewers. But that's not stopping me from looking ahead to 2023 and wondering what Google can do to take its flagship smartphones up another level.
The Pixel 8 is inevitable, as Google has shown no signs of slowing down on the smartphone business — quite the opposite, in fact. So while the next Pixel is in development, I'm hopeful some of the following wishlist ideas will come to fruition.
Here's what I want to see from the Pixel 8.
Better battery life
Google seems to struggle with battery life, as evidenced by the lackluster longevity of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series. Even with a 5,000 mAh power pack, the Pixel 7 Pro barely lasts 8 hours on the Tom's Guide battery life test. That's pretty sad.
I suspect that Google needs to work on Tensor's power efficiency more. So for the Pixel 8 and Tensor G3, I want to see much better battery life. But then again, I said the same last year, and look at where that got me.
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro support up to 30W wired fast charging. That's better than Apple's 20W, but slower than Samsung's 45W and a heck of a lot slower than what the likes of OnePlus and Xiaomi offer for their phones.
For the Pixel 8, I'd love to see even 65W. If the battery life doesn't improve, at least Google could give us the option of recharging the phone lightning quick.
Tensor G2 is a large improvement over its predecessor. It offers much better performance, especially in gaming. But Tensor remains behind its Qualcomm and Apple Silicon counterparts — very far, in the latter's case. I want better performance from the Tensor G3's CPU and GPU.
The TPU, or Tensor Processing Unit, on Google's silicon is certainly a sight to behold, thanks to all of the cool stuff it can pull off. I hope Tensor G3 continues to up the ante on what a smartphone can do with AI and machine learning. Seriously, Photo Unblur and Magic Eraser (a carryover feature from the Pixel 6) are simply stunning capabilities. I expect the Pixel 8 to continue that trend.
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro bumped up the display brightness over the previous generation. Both phones exceeded 900 nits in our testing, which is very good. But when the likes of the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra push well over 1,000 nits — and closer to 1,500 — the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro look dim in comparison.
I'd like to see Google use an even brighter panel for the Pixel 8 to compete with Apple and Samsung.
Apple slapped on a 48MP main sensor for the iPhone 14 Pro, which also lets you shoot RAW photos in the full 48MP. That unlocks some excellent editing and cropping capabilities for some truly beautiful photos. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro both feature a 50MP Samsung GN1 main sensor, but their RAW photos are limited to pixel-binned 12.5MP shots.
I want the Pixel 8 to unlock the full 50MP in RAW. It's a feature I've had fun with on the iPhone 14 Pro and I'd love to see Google catch up to Apple in this photography regard.
Pixel 8 outlook
We're a year away from the Pixel 8, so there's plenty of time for Google to plot out how to improve upon the Pixel 7. For now, I really enjoy the Pixel 7 Pro — it's hard to choose between that phone and the Galaxy S22 Ultra for the title of best Android phone as you can see in my Pixel 7 Pro vs. Galaxy S22 Ultra face-offf. The Pixel is fantastic.
But battery life remains my biggest concern for the Pixel 8. Google has to figure this out. Whatever is the underlying cause, the Pixel 8 needs to last longer on a charge if people are going to take Google's flagship phones more seriously.
This is a wishlist for the time being, but perhaps Google will implement some of it. We'll just have to see.