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According to Kamila Wojciechowska for Android Authority, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are both set to have smaller displays. The Pixel 8 is apparently set to measure 6.17 inches, down from 6.31 inches. This time around, the smaller device will also finally adopt a 120Hz refresh rate, but the resolution will stay the same at FHD+ (2400×1080).
The Pixel 8 Pro would also see a reduction in size, but not one anyone will notice. The display will still measure 6.7 inches but with the panel measuring just one millimeter narrower. Both phones will also apparently make drastic changes to the corners of the screen, perhaps as a result of the Pro adopting a flat glass cover.
Interestingly, though, Pixel 8 Pro will apparently drop some resolution, going from the 3120×1440 of the Pixel 6 Pro and 7 Pro down to 2992×1344. This also cuts the pixel-per-inch to 490, down from 512. The good trade-off, though, seems to be an enhanced refresh rate on the Pro. The phone is apparently capable of more refresh rate modes, at 5Hz, 10Hz, 30Hz, and then anything between 60Hz and 120Hz. Pixel 8, meanwhile, would support 10Hz, 30Hz, 60Hz, and 120Hz.
Perhaps the most welcome upgrade comes with the brightness. Pixel 8 will apparently top out at 1,400 nits, while Pixel 8 Pro hits 1,600 nits. That’s up from 1,000 nits on the Pixel 7 generation in this same scenario with HDR. These values are coming from code, though, not actual measurements. Google rated Pixel 7 Pro with a peak brightness of 1,500 nits.
The Pixel 8 series is expected to arrive later this year.
It takes a great display to make a brilliant smartphone. Google’s most recent Pixel phones have been good in this regard, especially in realistic color reproduction. However, they’ve never quite matched the very best in some important areas, such as peak brightness and dynamic refresh rates. Google has frequently used older generation panels, presumably to save some money to position their offerings more aggressively. The downside is that its last flagship, the Pixel 7 Pro, while well-calibrated, was just not bright enough in some scenarios.
Thanks to a source inside Google, we’ve gained a lot of insight into the display specs and features of the upcoming Google Pixel 8 series, and a lot looks set to change.
Finally, flat edges for the Pixel 8 Pro
The perfect phone size has been an ongoing debate for years, and it doesn’t seem likely to end anytime soon. Regardless of your opinion on the subject, Google’s Pixel series offers two distinct display sizes — a smaller one on the non-Pro models (6.3-inch on the Pixel 6 and 7) and a larger, curved one on the Pro models (6.7-inch on 6 Pro and 7 Pro). While other specs of the phones aren’t exactly identical, it still gave users a choice.
Brighter displays for HDR
This Pixel generation also changes the resolution of the Pro phone for the first time since the Pixel 6 series. Google has opted for a slightly smaller 2,992 x 1,344 resolution for the Pixel 8 Pro instead of the old 3,120 x 1,440 standard, giving it a pixel-per-inch (PPI) density of 490, down from 512.
The resolution of the Pixel 8 remains unchanged, which, combined with the smaller display, means its PPI is slightly higher: 427 instead of 417.
The brightness of both of the phones has also been substantially improved, at least according to the values declared in code (which, keep in mind, can differ from reality). The Pixel 8 can supposedly achieve up to 1,400 nits peak brightness in HDR content, up from 1,000 nits on the Pixel 7. The Pixel 8 Pro has also been upgraded and can now display up to 1,600 nits in HDR, up from 1,000 nits on the 7 Pro.
An enhanced variable refresh rate for the Pixel 8 Pro
Since the Pixel 6 series, Google has used display refresh rate as a differentiator between different product tiers. For example, in the Pixel 6 series, the Pixel 6a was 60Hz, the Pixel 6 was 90 Hz, and the Pixel 6 Pro had 120Hz.
The Pixel 7 series made a significant adjustment — the Pixel 7a now has a 90Hz panel to match the Pixel 7. This was an interesting move; what was previously the prime reason to pay more for the base phone over the Pixel A series unit was now gone.
However, Google will rewiden that gap between the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 8 series, as the regular Pixel 8 now gets a 120Hz display.
The Pixel 8 Pro also has a notable upgrade of its own; a more variable refresh rate. My source’s information on the topic was limited. Still, it appears that the Pixel 8 Pro will be able to smoothly change the refresh rate between 60 and 120Hz, unlike the previous generations, which could only use a few predefined rates (as listed in the table below).
The benefit of this approach is that the display refresh rate can more accurately match different content, reducing screen tearing. For example, 24fps content could now be shown at 72Hz, meaning each video frame is shown for precisely three display refresh cycles (rather than five at 120Hz). Another way this could be utilized is for games. If Google implements this functionality, the display could match a game’s higher frame rates, completely removing tearing, similar to AMD’s FreeSync or Qualcomm’s Q-SYNC. Also, the new displays clock down to as low as 5Hz, saving power when the screen is not actively refreshing content.
That’s everything there is to know about the display on the Pixel 8 series. It appears that Google’s upping its game to compete with the very best in yet another aspect. So far, all the Pixel 8 leaks suggest the phones will be a huge improvement, and the display is no different. I can’t wait to upgrade to the Pixel 8 Pro when it comes out.