Google just unveiled its new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones, and I have to admit as a tech enthusiast I did find a lot to get excited about.
There are plenty of new AI-powered camera features, which will make it even easier to remove photo bombers from your shots and generally make them look nicer. There's more powerful hardware and of course a wealth of features designed to make the phones more like Iron Man’s Jarvis.
But, while the hardware nut side of me was nodding in approval, the hi-fi enthusiast in me was getting gradually more frustrated.
This wasn’t because Google did anything wrong. In fact, quite the opposite, the reason for my annoyance was that it did nothing. Zilch, nada, le rien...
Throughout the entire event, Google didn’t make any significant announcements about how it planned to improve its phones' audio or screen quality for music and movie fans.
The only vaguely relevant update in this area was that its existing Pixel Bud Pro wireless earbuds will be getting a smattering of AI upgrades and two new colour options. But even these didn’t really focus on audio quality.
Basically, Google’s AirPods Pro 2 rivals should offer better call quality in the near future. Will that make them a shoo-in for our best headphones with a mic guide? Maybe. Is it enough to get me excited? No.
It’s also a crying shame as it's yet another sign that Google seems to have no real interest in taking on Apple when it comes to music or home entertainment.
Though we’re still testing Apple’s new iPhone 15 line of handsets, if you jump over to our best smartphone guide, you’ll see it has a strong track record working to make sure its phones offer reliable audio – to the point they can take on some of the more affordable options in our best portable music player guide in some areas.
Outside of Sony, no other company seems to have cottoned on to the fact most people use their phones as their primary music player, and that’s a golden opportunity to win buyers over.
I can forgive the fact Google didn’t go all guns blazing and unveil a much-needed rival to Apple’s five-star over-ear AirPods Max. I can even understand why it didn’t talk more about its fabled Dolby Atmos and Apple Spatial Audio rival, Project Caviar – which I prayed it would in a previous opinion piece.
But no word whatsoever on either sound or picture quality feels like a wasted opportunity.
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