Google Pixel 8: What we want to see

Pixel 7 Pro back panel in leaves - 1
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Foldable phones notwithstanding, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro continue winning our hearts with their unique design and excellent software. While some of us are keeping our fingers crossed that Google finally enters the foldable market in 2023, there are others who are wondering what the company might have planned for its next slab phone.

After the plethora of bugs and issues faced by the Pixel 6 lineup, the Pixel 7 hasn't seen the same problems, at least for the most part. Google's continued refinement of its flagship device is a welcome sight to behold, and we can only hope this continues with the Pixel 8. Today, we're rounding up a few things that we hope to see come to fruition with the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. 

Increased performance and efficiency

Google Tensor G2

(Image credit: Google)

It should come as little surprise that Google has likely been working closely with Samsung, again, on the Tensor G3. The Tensor G2 represented a modest leap in performance, with more of a focus on efficiency. Performance hasn't suffered, though, as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro can keep up with the likes of the Galaxy S22 and the rest of the best Android phones from 2022.

What would like to see with the Tensor G3 is an attempt to bring Google's device up to par with the rest of the flagship smartphone market. For example, with Geekbench 6, the newly-released Galaxy S23 Ultra scores around 1850-1900 in single-core and 4900-5000 in multi-core performance. Granted, this is using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 "For Galaxy," whereas the Tensor G2 in the Pixel 7 Pro comes in with a 1051/3248 split in our most recent tests.

Considering how much praise Samsung is getting for releasing a device that is both powerful and has incredible battery life, it's a similar path the Pixel 8 should take.

Upgrade the ultrawide camera

Taking a photo with a Google Pixel 7

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

When Google launched the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, this marked the first major leap in camera performance, as the company ditched the 12MP main camera that has been a staple for years. Now, we have phones with even more powerful cameras thanks to Samsung's Isocell GN1. But there's always room for improvement.

While we can dream about Google adopting the same 200MP main lens from the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it's probably time to improve the secondary and tertiary lens. Primarily, the 12MP ultrawide sensor which is fine in most scenarios on the Pixel 7 Pro but a higher megapixel count, paired with the on-device image processing, would be quite impressive.

Hey Google, do a barrel roll

Magic Eraser camera feature on a Google Pixel 6

(Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

Now that Magic Eraser is available for pretty much every smartphone, as long as you're a Google One subscriber, it'll be interesting to see what "camera magic" the Pixel 8 can bring. Magic Eraser first was introduced with the Pixel 6, while Photo Unblur made its debut with the Pixel 7. 

If Google wants to capture and hold onto the "excitement" factor, it should bring more AI tricks to the market. What would that look like? We're not entirely sure, but if there's one company that would be able to figure out something awesome, it's Google.

Faster charging

Pixel 7 Pro attached to Belkin MagSafe charging stand

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

For years, we've "dealt with" slow charging speeds from Google and Samsung handsets, and it's long passed the time for that to change. The Pixel 7 Pro maxes out at 30W speeds when using a wire, or 23W when charging wirelessly. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 11 tops out at 100W if you have an international model or 80W for the U.S. variant. 

It's not like we expect the Pixel 8 Pro to reach 240W charging speeds, like the Realme GT Neo 5. But Google has to do something, even if it's just to match the 45W charging found in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It's all fine and dandy for a phone to go from 0-50% in 30 minutes, but if you need a full charge, the remaining 50% can take forever

120Hz everywhere

The Pixel 7 display, outdoors

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The Pixel 7 Pro already features a gorgeous AMOLED display with a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. But if Google really wants to make a splash, it would be wise to bring that same panel to the "regular" Pixel 8. For comparison, the Pixel 7 also features a display panel with a variable refresh rate, but it tops out at 90Hz.

Plenty of budget-friendly phones offer flagship-like performance in many different ways, including 120Hz (or higher) refresh rates while making cuts in other areas. The Pixel 8 is unlikely to provide much of a change in the frame or build of materials, so an upgraded display would be a welcome addition. 

Google has fallen behind

The Android 14 logo on a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

As our own Jerry Hildenbrand wrote back in August 2020, "it's now time to promise five years of Pixel updates." Almost three years later, that statement rings more true than ever. Samsung promises four years of major OS updates, along with five years of security patches. This is the same promise made with the OnePlus 11, with both the Galaxy S23 and OnePlus 11 set to receive Android 17. 

Google, on the other hand, limits its devices to three years of major OS updates, in addition to five years of security patches. So that brand new Pixel 7 Pro that you just got, which also launched with Android 13, will only receive security updates after 2026. 

With the company controlling the entire tech stack, you would've thought things might be different. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and instead, Google is lagging behind its biggest competitors in the worst facet of owning a smartphone.

No more in-display fingerprint scanners

The Pixel 7 fingerprint sensor

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

This is a personal plea after having the Pixel 7 Pro since launch.

Please, Google. For the love of everything that is sacred and holy, get rid of the in-display (or under-display) fingerprint scanner. It sucks, it's unreliable, and it hasn't gotten any better.

It's probably unrealistic, given the current design, that you would bring back the rear-mounted scanner. That's fine. Take a page out of Sony's playbook or the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and use integrate the scanner into the power button on the side. 

Trying to register multiple fingerprints doesn't fix the problem, and it makes no sense that using my left thumb works almost perfectly, while using my right thumb almost never unlocks the phone. The fingerprint scanner experience is so bad that I actually miss the Face Unlock from the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.

Build quality

Google Pixel 7 Pro volume rocker falling off

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What are you supposed to do when you go to turn up the volume on your phone, only to find that the volume rocker isn't there anymore? That's exactly what happened to our own Nick Sutrich before he discovered that he's not the only one who's dealt with this problem.

Then, there's the whole broken rear glass debacle, which has a good chance of affecting even more Pixel 7 owners. And that's not to mention how quickly the metal on the camera housing can get scratched up pretty quickly.

In many of those instances, Google has already provided a response of some sort, stating that it is "aware" of the situation. But you know how you can avoid this from happening? Do a bit more in the quality control aspect of building and releasing a smartphone. The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are gorgeous phones, and we expect the same to be true for the Pixel 8 lineup. It just sucks when parts start falling off or breaking, even if you take excellent care of your phone.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.