An engineering prototype of Google’s upcoming Pixel 8 Pro smartphone has leaked, giving us an early glimpse at some of the hardware changes in store for the search giant’s next flagship device.
Most noticeably, the Pixel 8 Pro looks to be shaking up its rear camera design. Gone is the distinctive horizontal camera strip from the Pixel 7 series. Instead, the Pixel 8 Pro prototype has three camera lenses arranged in an oval housing.
The three rear cameras are speculated to consist of a 50MP main wide lens with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 64MP ultra-wide angle lens, and a 48MP telephoto lens. This versatile triple camera setup should enable high-quality photography across a range of focal lengths.
Intriguingly, the flash module on the Pixel 8 Pro prototype also houses what appears to be a red infrared temperature sensor. This type of sensor is more commonly found in specialized rugged or medical devices rather than mainstream flagships.
The specific chip spotted in the leaked images is the MLX90632, a tiny medical-grade thermal sensor made by Melexis. The inclusion of this infrared temperature sensor strongly suggests Google is looking to expand health and wellness monitoring features in the Pixel 8 series.
On the front, early information indicates the Pixel 8 Pro will have an 11MP selfie camera, housed in a hole-punch cutout rather than a thick top bezel.
The rest of the Pixel 8 Pro design changes appear to be relatively incremental. The display is expected to be a 6.7-inch QHD+ OLED with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Google seems to have opted for a flat display rather than curved edges.
Under the hood, the Pixel 8 Pro will likely feature Google’s next-gen Tensor G3 processor built on a 4nm manufacturing process, up to 12GB of RAM, and 128/256/512GB storage options.
One particular area of interest on the back is a prominent linear circuit pattern towards the bottom. This pattern hints at some internal hardware changes, the nature of which remains a mystery for now.
Based on the prototype, Google also looks to be refining the Pixel camera app interface. The leaked images show the photo and video modes now have dedicated buttons rather than a combined toggle. There’s also easier access to settings via a swipe-up menu.
With Google’s computational photography chops and some solid hardware upgrades, the Pixel 8 Pro could be a seriously enticing option when it launches later this year, likely alongside the vanilla Pixel 8. We’ll be keeping an eye out for more details on Google’s 2023 flagship phones as their release nears.