Google Pixel 9 preview: specs, release date and everything we know

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are still in their first few months of life, but the never-ending excitement for upcoming smartphones means the tech world has already started thinking about what will replace them. Naturally that means the Google Pixel 9 rumour wagon has hitched its horses and is galloping towards the horizon. But when can we expect Google’s next flagship phone to make an official appearance, and how will it differ from this year’s model?

There are only whispers doing the rounds right now, but they do help us start to picture what to expect from the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro. Here’s everything we’ve heard so far.

Google Pixel 9 expected release date

Google Pixel 8 Pro review in hand homescreenGoogle Pixel 8 Pro review in hand homescreen

Google’s smartphone line-up has never been more popular than it is right now, so there’s little doubt the firm will follow up the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro with a new Pixel 9 generation. It will almost certainly land in late 2024, in line with the wider industry trend for annual updates. We’re betting October, and a quick look at Google’s history with phone launches will show why:

  • Pixel 8 / 8 Pro release date: October 4, 2023
  • Pixel 7 / 7 Pro release date: October 6, 2022
  • Pixel 6 / 6 Pro release date: October 19, 2021
  • Pixel 5 release date: September 30, 2020
  • Pixel 4 release date: October 15, 2019
  • Pixel 3 / 3 XL release date: October 9, 2018
  • Google Pixel 2 / 2 XL release date: October 4, 2017
  • Pixel / Pixel XL release date: October 4, 2016

Barring an anomaly in 2020 when the world was mid-pandemic, Google has consistently released its new phones in October. Going even further back, the Nexus 5X also saw an October release. Google usually puts its phones up for pre-order on the day of reveal, with deliveries starting a few weeks later.

Google Pixel 9 rumoured pricing

Pricing is, as ever, much harder to nail down until Google makes anything official. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro both saw price rises compared to the last-gen Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, climbing from $599/£599 and and $899/£850 respectively to $699/£699 and $999/£999.

We have our fingers crossed there won’t be any further increases in 2024.

Google Pixel 9 hardware & design rumours

According to a leaked device roadmap reported by AndroidAuthority, Google is actually working on three Pixel 9 models – a mainstream Pixel 9, and two sizes of Pixel 9 Pro. We can apparently expect the Pixel 9 to have a 6.17in screen, while the two Pros will have a 6.3in and 6.7in display respectively. They’ll no doubt carry Google’s new Actua and Super Actua branding, indicating adaptive refresh rates and super high brightness. However, those figures were since challenged by display analyst Ross Young, who claims the Pixel 9 series will see larger screen sizes across the board.

It seems like Google-designed, Samsung-manufactured Tensor silicon will make a return, rather than the purely in-house chips Google was rumoured to be working on. According to The Information, missed internal deadlines mean it’ll be at least the next generation of phones before any such CPUs arrive. Tensor G4 is reportedly a minor bump on Tensor G3, similar to how Tensor G2 wasn’t a step change from the original Tensor.

Camera hardware may not change too dramatically from the Pixel 8 generation, as Google tends to go through two model years between big upgrades. The last pair to do that were the Pixel 6 and 7 series phones, so it would make sense for the Pixel 9 to reuse familiar sensors and lenses. We’re sure Google will have come up with some more clever AI-assisted editing tools by launch day, too.

There’s no word on battery sizes or charging speeds, but we do know a senior Google hardware engineer is on the board of the Wireless Power Consortium; that suggests the Qi2 wireless charging standard will be making an appearance for the Pixel 9 generation.

Google Pixel 9 feature wish list

Google Pixel 8 Pro review in hand lockscreenGoogle Pixel 8 Pro review in hand lockscreen

We’re huge fans of the Pixel line here at Stuff, having awarded the Pixel 8 Pro a full five star score – but despite high praise there are a still a few places we think Google could stand to improve. The following are our top wants for the sequel… whether Google will include any remain to be seen.

Faster charging, with Qi2

Google hasn’t properly increased its phones charging speeds in what feels like forever – or at least it does when rivals are regularly coming out with devices that can handle a triple-digit wattage. An official peak of 30W isn’t all that quick, and it’s debatable whether the latest Pixels actually charge at that rate. We’d love to see a jump to at least 65W, which seems to be what Samsung has lined up for the Galaxy S24 series. Qi2 wireless charging would also put Google on par with Apple for MagSafe-style accessory support.

A more power-efficient CPU

This year’s Tensor chips were a marked improvement on the previous gen, but it’s still fair to say they lag behind the latest Qualcomm silicon – for both performance and power efficiency. While we wouldn’t call the Pixel 8 Pro a slouch, it isn’t able to stretch its battery out nearly as far as Snapdragon-powered rivals. Seeing Google catch up here would be a real boon.

A zoom lens for the Pixel 9

Now that Google has nudged the price of the Pixel 8 closer to premium territory, we think a successor needs to match its closest rival – Samsung’s Galaxy S24 – on camera lens count. The Galaxy S23 has a 3x optical zoom lens in addition to a main and ultrawide, while the Pixel 8 makes do with the latter two only. Google might say its Super Res digital zoom is just as good as a dedicated lens, but adding one would help further separate the mainline Pixel and A-series devices. The Pixel 9 Pro could continue to offer greater optical zoom with a 5x telephoto, so there was still a reason to step up to the pricer model. Consider this one very unlikely.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart