The latest of Google’s flagship smartphone is finally here as the company announces the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel Watch 2 will be available as soon as 12 October.

Pre-orders for the smartphones start today with the Pixel 8 coming in black, rose or hazel and starts at $1,199 – up $200 from its predecessor – while the Pixel 8 Pro is available in black, porcelain and light blue starting at $1,699 – up $400 from its predecessor.

The Pixel 8 comes in a smaller size than the Pixel 7 while boasting a 6.2-inch OLED display and a notable performance boost.

Powered by Google’s G3 Tensor processor, the Pixel 8 runs a 42 per cent increase in brightness at 2,000 nits and an upgraded 120Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 8 Pro retains the 6.7-inch display of the 7 Pro while implementing power-smart LTPO technology to enable Google’s “brightest display yet” at 2,400 nits.

The Pixel 8 Pro also has an unexpected temperature reader installed in its back, which Google says can quickly scan an object for an accurate measure of its temperature.

“Use it to check if your pan is hot enough to start cooking or if the milk in your baby’s bottle is at the right temperature,” said Google VP of Product Management Brian Rakowski.

Both include a 50 megapixel (MP) main wide camera with enhanced low-light performance. The Pixel 8 uses a dual-camera setup with a secondary 12MP ultra-wide lens, where the Pixel 8 Pro boasts a triple camera setup comprised of a secondary 48MP telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom camera and a third 48 MP ultrawide lens for close-up macro photography.

Both the pro and non-pro Pixel 8 use new AI-powered editing tools including Magic Editor, which can resize or reposition a subject and change the lighting or background of an image, and Best Take, which can take the “best expression” from faces in similar photos to forge the optimal photograph out of AI suggestions.

Furthermore the Pixel 8 Pro’s Zoom Enhance feature enables users to pinch in on already-captured photos and add detail to the preferred point of focus using generative AI.

Other AI capabilities include Google’s Assistant with Bard – an AI-enhanced personal assistant which will integrate other apps from the Google Suite, such as Gmail and Docs, to assist with life tasks such as creating grocery lists, finding key information in your email inbox or writing social media posts based on photo contents.

Google also announced the arrival of operating system Android 14 which brings added passkey support, improved customisation and accessibility features, a new health tracking feature, and a nifty AI wallpaper generator that can create backgrounds based on user descriptions.

The Pixel Watch 2 smartwatch also saw significant upgrades to the original Pixel Watch – including a Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 processor which allows up to 24 hours of battery life even with the display kept on, as well as new sensors for stress-detection and automatic recording of workout starts and stops.

The Pixel Watch 2 starts at $549, but comes complimentary with pre-orders of the Pixel 8 Pro.

Finally, a notable standout in Google’s launch event was the announcement of seven years of OS, security and Feature Drop updates for both phones – meaning Pixel 8 devices will get updates until 2030.