We’re still months away from Google releasing the Pixel 8 Pro, but that hasn’t stopped the phone from showing up in a new hands-on video. On May 18, 91Mobiles and leaker Kuba Wojciechowski published a short video showcasing the Pixel 8 Pro.
This video provides our first look at the Pixel 8 Pro in the real world, confirming the design we saw in previously leaked Pixel 8 Pro renders. But even more interesting is that the video also highlights a very unusual feature that no one expected.
The Pixel 8 Pro has a … temperature sensor
That unusual feature is none other than a temperature sensor. The 40-second video shows that the sensor is a small circle on the back of the phone below the LED flash. We saw this before in the Pixel 8 Pro renders from March, but at the time, it was widely suspected to be a lidar sensor — similar to what the iPhone 14 Pro has.
To use the Pixel 8 Pro’s temperature sensor, it appears that you’ll need to remove any glasses and other accessories from your face so the sensor has an unobstructed view of your forehead and temple. You’ll then move the sensor as close to your forehead as possible (without actually touching your skin), tap a large button on the screen, and then move the sensor across your forehead and to your temple. The video shows the whole process takes about 4 seconds, and you’ll presumably see your temperature reading on the phone afterward.
What’s more, this temperature sensor will reportedly only show up on the Pixel 8 Pro and won’t be available on the regular Pixel 8. Considering leaked Pixel 8 renders from earlier this year didn’t show the extra sensor on the back, that checks out.
Google’s getting weird with the Pixel again
It’s safe to say that this is an interesting development for the Pixel 8 Pro. On the one hand, there are bound to be some practical use cases for a dedicated temperature sensor. There’s value in being able to quickly check your temperature if you’re worried you may be sick or starting to come down with something, and it’s unlike anything else available on any other phone today. Plus, it’ll almost certainly have some tie-in with Fitbit and other health data collected from the Google Pixel Watch.
But even so, this seems like it’ll have pretty limited mass appeal. The last time Google tried something so out-of-the-box on a Pixel phone was with the Pixel 4 in 2019. It was the first — and the last — Pixel to have Google’s Soli technology for face unlock and hands-free gesture controls. It was a neat idea that Google abandoned after one generation, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see something similar happen here.
While I don’t want to be too negative about Google trying something new with the Pixel, I’m also not sure this is the creativity I was hoping for. Weirdness in the smartphone world is good, but this may be a little too out there.
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