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Where does the Pixel 9 series need to improve compared to the Pixel 8 series? [Video]

Where does the Pixel 9 series need to improve compared to the Pixel 8 series? [Video]

We’re getting the Pixel sooner than ever. With so little time left, can the Pixel 9 improve on the Pixel 8? Here are some of the things we think the next iteration of Google’s flagship smartphone lineup could do better.

Suffering from Success: Pixels and Problems

Almost every Google Pixel phone has had some sort of issue, cause for concern, or compromise. Over the years, these issues have ranged in severity or complexity. From screen discoloration to screen gaps, battery life to overheating, slow modems to unreliable unlocks, we’ve seen a whole host of issues plague Pixel phones since the series was unveiled in 2016.

We all know that the Pixel was quietly relaunched with the Pixel 6, and for anyone with a modern phone (circa 2021 onwards), many of the common complaints stem from the move to the Tensor processor, which was developed in-house and produced by Samsung. For better or worse, Google He has publicly stated that That their work on the Tensor processor “was never about speed” or even “traditional performance metrics.”

Our work with Tensor wasn’t about speed, feeds, or traditional performance metrics. It was about pushing the mobile computing experience forward.

All three versions of the Tensor processor were lower-end flagships and based on the same core Exynos design. The Tensor G3 is actually less powerful than last year’s best Qualcomm processor or the best MediaTek processor of 2023. AI capabilities have always been a major selling point for the Tensor, but these aforementioned chips are more than enough to do many of its AI tricks. It’s easy to see why some hardcore hardware enthusiasts are disappointed so far after three reviews of the chips.

Many have called the Tensor series of processors disappointing, and it’s not just about performance capabilities. Building a new SoC is tough, and the first generation had a long list of complaints, from overheating to a modem that didn’t work as it should. Recording 4K video for more than a few minutes was enough to cause the Pixel 6 to overheat and shut down in some cases.

The first in-display fingerprint scanner was a disaster. For many people — myself included — it was just fine. Slow, but good. However, it was one of the biggest complaints, and Google even addressed the terrible scanning with a new in-display reader on the Pixel 6a. Possible CPU concerns are probably why the Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t get Face Unlock to alleviate the major biometric unlocking issues — another downside of the first-gen Tensor chip.

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Battery drain was something I personally experienced a lot with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. I’m not sure if that’s improved with software updates and new Android versions. The reason? Battery life is often subjective, but it’s something that a lot of owners have noticed since launch. The sticking point is that since the Pixel 6 Pro, the internal cell in the “Pro” category is around 5,000mAh.

This isn’t a small internal cell. Many Snapdragon-powered phones come with similar capacities but don’t suffer from the same longevity issues. The Pixel 7 helped improve efficiency, and the Pixel 8 series adds even more. The battery is now “reliable” but, in my own experience, it still has the occasional “bad” day. It will die faster one day but will be back to work for a long time the next. I know that’s not the case for everyone.

Cellular connectivity and stable connections are still an issue despite the many updates to the 2021 flagship. 5G speeds are often slow when you do manage to get a connection, which is one of the biggest issues. It’s even more confusing, given the use of Samsung’s Exynos modems. They’re usually among the best. Switching to the Exynos 5300 from the Pixel 7 onwards helped a lot, but it’s still not the fastest.

Where can the Pixel 9 improve over the Pixel 8?

If you read that list of complaints and issues, you might think that Google hasn’t made a decent device in the past few years. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are solid phones that have improved in every area where issues crop up. We want that to continue this year as well.

On the positive side, the Pixel 8 series has a lot of iterative changes that have addressed glaring issues. Is it perfect? ​​No, but it’s the best starting point for the Pixel 9 series before launch.

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Battery life and charging speed

If the new Tensor G4 chip is just another revision with a slight boost in efficiency, we’re hoping the Pixel 9 can improve its daily lifespan. Barring the addition of a larger battery, we’re unlikely to see any major gains in longevity this year. That’s not to say the Pixel 8 has “bad” battery life — far from it, in fact — but it’s not in the “excellent” category like the OnePlus 12 or Galaxy S24 Ultra.

We also hope to finally see another boost in charging speed. By modern standards, 30W wired charging and 21-23W wireless charging are both slow. Even a boost to around 45W using a wired charger would be a nice boost when you want to juice up your phone quickly. Charging habits vary from person to person, so this may narrow down the list of improvements you want from the Pixel 9 series.

Boost Zoom

Pixel-8-Pro Zoom Boost Sticker

Despite Google’s promises about the Zoom Enhance feature on the Pixel 8 Pro, we’ve been waiting for almost a year for Google to reveal more details about the feature. The silence and lack of further information could suggest that Google will keep the enhanced zoom option on the Pixel 9.

The camera zoom hasn’t changed much since the Pixel 6 Pro and knowing Google’s penchant for software optimization, Zoom Enhance could be a very big addition to the Pixel 9’s photography arsenal.

Improve camera performance

The camera on the Pixel 8 (and earlier) is generally solid. It’s easy to navigate, takes excellent photos, and is reliable. However, there’s one persistent issue: the camera UI can lag when you press the shutter button repeatedly.

While taking photos at a sporting event recently, I noticed that when taking photos like this, the camera can get a bit choppy and freeze. There’s also some lag when switching lenses or zooming in. If the Pixel 9 can improve on that, the experience will be much better than it is today. Autofocus can also be a bit finicky, and it would be great to see Google address that issue with the Pixel 9.

Fingerprint scanner is better

Pixel 9 improved fingerprint scanner

While the Pixel 8 series has great fingerprint scanners, a faster and more accurate in-display fingerprint scanner would improve the unlocking experience for the Pixel 9 series. The Pixel 9 Pro Fold is expected to get a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner that is likely to have fewer issues and more consistency…

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Improvements in device temperature

The Pixel 8 suffered from heat dissipation and management issues. Gaming and video editing exacerbate this issue, which can lead to slowdowns and performance degradation. With improved heat management, the Pixel 9 can maintain peak performance for longer, providing a smoother and more stable user experience, especially for users who use their phones to the max.

Consistent mobile data connections

There are a few things coming that will hopefully solve some of the connectivity issues people have had with previous Pixel phones. The Pixel 9 is expected to get an improved modem. The Samsung Exynos 5400 is expected to be integrated into the Tensor G4 chip, and satellite connectivity will be offered for emergency communications in remote areas. Even with an alternative, we need better connectivity because your phone is still, well, a phone after all.

Software suite improvements

We know that Android 15 won’t provide a complete overhaul of Android 14. It’s just a case of improvements and enhancements to the current OS, but we want the Pixel 9 to drive even more improvements.

I’d love to see better coverage of themed icons since this has been in beta for nearly three years. Google has been teasing “Magic” a lot in early marketing, which hopefully hints at more AI-powered features and functions. Maybe we’ll eventually see Gemini better integrated into the Pixel 9 and an improved experience using the improved voice assistant to control aspects of your phone.

What improvements do you want from the Pixel 9?

With the Pixel 9 launch approaching, many Pixel 8 users are eager to see Google address some of the weak points. What improvements do you see as the most important? Let us know in the comments section.

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