The Pixel 8 Speaker represents a leap forward in smartphone audio technology, redefining the standard for sound quality in the palm of your hand. In an era where every facet of our smartphones matters, Google’s engineering team has crafted a remarkable audio experience that promises to elevate your everyday interactions with your device.
A Legacy of Audio Challenges
For several years, Google’s Pixel line of smartphones has impressed users with its exceptional software, camera prowess, and clean Android experience. However, one recurring Achilles’ heel has been the audio output from the device’s speakers. Users have long lamented that the audio emanating from Pixel phones, such as the Pixel 7 Pro, felt lacking and feeble in comparison to its flagship competitors, including Apple and Samsung.
The journey into audio woes began with the Pixel 5, a turning point in the Pixel series. Google replaced the conventional earpiece speaker with an innovative, under-display alternative that utilized vibrations to produce sound. While this approach sufficed for voice calls, it left much to be desired for other multimedia applications. The experience was a noticeable downgrade from the perfectly adequate stereo speakers found on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.
A Short-Lived Experiment
Thankfully, the quirky speaker experiment didn’t last long. Google reverted to a more traditional setup with the Pixel 6. However, the sound quality never quite returned to the level expected from a flagship phone, at best earning a “fine” rating. Some users resorted to equalizing adjustments using an Android tool called Wavelet to mitigate the audio shortcomings, but it shouldn’t have come to that.
As someone whose primary focus is reviewing earbuds, smartphone speaker performance might not be a top priority. However, there’s an innate disappointment that arises when turning on a new phone and being greeted by tinny audio. We all want our smartphones to excel in every aspect, even if we don’t use their speakers frequently.
The Dawn of a New Audio Experience: Pixel 8
Enter the Pixel 8 lineup, where Google’s hardware team seems to have finally addressed this persistent audio issue. While our attention was largely focused on other aspects, an unsung hero within the Pixel team recognized the need for change. The result is a significant improvement in audio quality, particularly noticeable in the Pixel 8 Pro.
The Pixel 8 Pro stands as a testament to Google’s commitment to enhancing the user experience. With these new devices, you can now enjoy music through their loudspeakers and have a genuinely pleasant experience. While watching videos on platforms like YouTube, you won’t encounter the same ear-piercing audio quality that plagued the Pixel 7 Pro. It’s worth noting that Google didn’t explicitly mention any speaker improvements during its keynote, but rest assured, they are there.
The improvements may partly stem from the fact that the Pixel 8 Pro no longer features a curved display, which is a departure from its predecessor. This design change, along with other enhancements, has elevated the Pixel 8 Pro’s audio quality to a level we’ve been yearning for. Considering the $100 price increase, it’s a relief that the streak of mediocre speakers has finally been broken.
Competing with the Best
While the Pixel 8 Pro might not yet reach the pinnacle of audio quality achieved by the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it’s evident that Google is making strides in this realm. Apple has long been renowned for extracting exceptional sound quality from mobile devices. However, Google’s Pixel speakers now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of the Galaxy S23 Ultra in terms of fullness and tone.
This is a remarkable turnaround for Google’s audio capabilities. What was once a persistent downside has been firmly placed in the pros column. As users, let’s hope that this trend continues, and Google remains committed to delivering a holistic smartphone experience, including top-tier audio quality.
In conclusion, the Pixel 8 series represents a significant leap forward for Google’s audio capabilities, particularly in the Pixel 8 Pro. The days of lackluster speaker performance are behind us, and we can now relish an audio experience that’s on par with the best in the industry. Google has listened, learned, and delivered, setting a new standard for audio quality in the Pixel lineup.