For a lot of folks, there’s an unexplainable thrill that usually comes alongside the act of buying a new smartphone. The joy of finally getting your hands on your new device, taking it home, and then unboxing it is something that a lot of smartphone enthusiasts can probably attest to. This is all the more true when it comes to phone upgrades, which for a lot of people has become a yearly tradition.
With that in mind, it would be very remiss of us not to mention the recently-launched Pixel 8 series – there’s little doubt that a lot of Pixel fans will want to get their hands on Google’s newest smartphones, which come with new hardware and software features. Speaking of the latter, Google has always promoted its phones as being ahead of the competition due to smarter software, and it’s always strived to bring a uniform experience across all its phones via updates and feature drops.
So is upgrading to this year’s new Pixels still a must, especially if Google will eventually bring newer software features to its pre-existing handsets?
The Pixel Experience
Having owned several Pixel phones from the 3a all the way to this year’s 7a, I’ve always had a fairly consistent user experience with different Pixel devices, especially when it comes to performance and software. Aside from some flagship-exclusive features on the more expensive Pixel phones, switching between Pixel phones was always an effortless affair, thanks to a very standardized experience that Google has developed.
…switching between Pixel phones was always an effortless affair, thanks to a very standardized experience that Google has developed.
Navigating through the user interface, accessing Pixel-exclusive features, and even using the camera felt very familiar – you can even say that once you’ve used a Pixel device, you’ve essentially used them all. It’s clear that Google put great emphasis on optimizing the Pixel’s software capabilities, something akin to using an iPhone for example.
The Power of Updates
With the arrival of Android 14 alongside the Pixel 8 series, older Pixels (from the 4a 5G up to the 7a) will get bumped up to the latest version of Android, and will end up with a lot of new software features. For people looking to keep their phones for a long time, this is certainly one big advantage, and serves as a major appeal of owning a Pixel phone.
This is also an ideal situation for discerning buyers, who are looking to make the most of their Pixel phone and aren’t likely to update often. After all, Google markets their phones with prolonged software support, and buyers who opted to go with a Pixel for this sole reason aren’t always likely to be swayed by the appeal of a new phone.
It’s all about keeping Pixel phones updated and users caught up with Google’s newest software offerings.
This basically means that even if you own an older model, you’ll most likely get access to new features including newer AI functions, battery optimizations, accessibility features, language-related improvements, and enhanced privacy and security features, to name a few. It’s all about keeping Pixel phones updated and users caught up with Google’s newest software offerings.
A Difference in Hardware
On the other hand, there are some things that Pixel users might miss out on – skipping the Pixel 8 means that you’ll be stuck on an older Tensor chipset (unless you use a Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5 series device), since the 8 and 8 Pro will come with the Tensor G3 inside, which Google says comes with better power efficiency, thermal management, and improvements to performance. Additionally, the Pixel 8 Pro comes with newer Pro camera controls, something that we don’t expect to see on older Pixel devices anytime soon.
While we did mention software support spanning several years, most Pixel devices will only be officially supported from three to five years – by comparison, Google announced that it will finally provide up to seven years’ worth of support for the new Pixel 8 models, rivalling the likes of Apple’s software support for its iPhone. If true, this means that users can hold onto their Pixel 8 phones for a much longer time, versus older models.
So Should You Upgrade?
If you’re really after the latest Pixel flagships, then it only makes sense that you’ll want to upgrade – after all, the Pixel 8 series packs the newest advancements that Google has to offer, including refinements to design, as well as a handful of exclusive apps and software functionality.
On the other hand, holding on to your current Pixel (or opting to buy a slightly older flagship) will no doubt cost a lot less, and you can expect Android 14 to arrive on those devices as well. After all, Google has bet a lot on its ability to fully optimize its phones via software, and it’s undeniably exciting to see newer Pixel features make their way to older Pixels.
So will you be holding onto your new Pixel, or will you be grabbing the Pixel 8 series? Let us know in the comments down below!
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