Pixel 9 Pro release date expectations, price estimates, and upgrades

What we know so far

The design will be the Pixel 9 Pro's most differentiating factor, as it is said to adopt a more blocky look with flat sides and back, following in the footsteps of its competitors. The same can very well be stated for the unexpected new addition to the typical Pixel series line: The Pixel 9 Pro XL

For context, you can go ahead and consider this a situation similar to that between the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus, for example. The Pixel 9 Pro and the Pixel 9 Pro XL are expected to be almost identical in everything, but size. But, given that size also means extra real estate, we're hoping to see upgrades to things like battery capacity for the XL model too.

That said, a key thing to keep in mind that the Pixel 9 Pro XL isn't sized-up model, added to the typical Pixel family line-up. Instead, the XL is expected to be factually equivalent to the Pixel 8 Pro's measurements, while the Pixel 9 Pro will retain the same size as the Pixel 9, and therefore: the Pixel 8 itself. 

Or, in other words: soon, you should be able to get a Pixel Pro-phone in a standard Pixel-phone size, if the Pixel 9 itself doesn't suffice for your needs. Neat! Oh, and if you can't wait for the Pixel 9a, that is.

Google is also rumored to have finally upgraded the fingerprint sensor with the Pixel 9 series, replacing the old optical one with an ultrasonic sensor that is much faster and more accurate.

Reports about the Pixel 9 Pro and its performance indicate only small improvements in terms of power, with the Tensor G4 chipset on board. Thankfully, the new chip should at least help with those pesky connectivity issues thanks to a new modem inside.

Google is also said to have increased the RAM to 16GB, supposedly to make the phone powerful enough for some of the new AI features planned to come with this new generation.

And speaking of new AI features coming with the Pixel 9 series, there have been leaks hinting at three new very cool features. One of them allows you to put people inside a photo that weren't there when it was being taken. Another one improves image generation. The Pixel 9 Pro's will also be able to sift through your screenshots to gain context and understanding.

But one of the biggest news for this year's high-end flagship phones from Google is that we will be getting more Pixel 9 Pro models! There will be a Pixel 9 Pro, but also a Pixel 9 Pro XL.

How is the Pixel 9 Pro different from the Pixel 9 Pro XL?

The Pixel 9 Pro XL will be Google's largest flagship phone when the company releases its latest lineup on August 13, 2024. It will be the direct successor to last year's Pixel 8 Pro, at least in terms where it stands in the lineup size-wize.

The only difference there will be between the Pixel 9 Pro and the Pixel 9 Pro XL (from what we know so far) is the size and everything it affects. In other words, we expect the Pixel 9 Pro to have smaller battery and display. In a way, the Pixel 9 Pro and 9 Pro XL are like Apple's iPhone and iPhone Plus: two sizes at two different prices.

Pixel 9 Pro release date

Google will break its usual release schedule with the Pixel 9 series and announce the Pixel 9 Pro on August 13. This comes straight from Google itself, which released a teaser for the Pixel 9 Pro in a video ahead of the August 13th "Made by Google" hardware event.

* - probable dates

Pixel 9 Pro price

Recent news about the Pixel 9 prices points at all models getting a $100 price hike. Even with the expected $100 price hike, though, Google would still undercut the competition's asking price for their top of the line flagship phones by about $100-$200

The good news is that Pixel phones tend to get some great discounts throughout the year, so expect lower prices for the Pixel 9 Pro after its launch. There might even be some good Pixel 9 Pro pre-order deals.

* - anticipated prices

Pixel 9 Pro camera

Not much is known about the Pixel 9 Pro's cameras at the moment. The only interesting leak we have had so far says that Google might place a variable aperture on the main (wide) camera, which is a feature that's extremely niche in modern flagship smartphones, especially those manufactured by western companies such as Google.

If this rumour about a variable aperture does end up being true, however, it would not only be a big surprise for us (and the phone industry), but also one that can aid the users control over light. The aperture is one of the three ways to control how much light a camera takes in, alongside the shutter speed and ISO; the camera settings holy trinity, if you will.

If we don't see any leaks indicating new camera hardware, though, we will most likely see the same 50MP main, 48MP ultrawide and 48MP 5x telephoto camera at the back, embedded in the redesigned visor. And, of course, the same 10.5MP front camera embedded in the display, which debuted with the Pixel 7 Pro.

*-probable specs

But even with no new camera hardware, the new Tensor G4 that will power the Pixel 9 Pro might bring image quality improvements. Google is well known for its camera software magic and has proven many times that adding new physical parts is not always necessary to improve the end result, so there's plenty of room for improvement from a software standpoint.

Not to mention that, since we are talking about a Pixel here, we will probably see upgrads related to some of the camera-related AI features, such as Best Take, Audio Magic Eraser, Zoom Enhance, Video Boost and more. We could even see some new "magical" camera features.

Pixel 9 Pro storage

There hasn't been any word about any storage upgrades coming with the Pixel 9 Pro. What will probably be different this time around, however, is that the 1TB storage option may be available only with the pricier Pixel 9 Pro XL. The regular (smaller) Pixel 9 Pro will likely get 128GB-512GB storage options.

Google can include newer, more capable storage, jumping from UFS 3.1 to UFS 4.0, which would reduce power consumption and increase read/write speeds. This means the phone would work faster while consuming less battery life in the meantime.

The memory Google uses for its high-end phone lineup is already very fast and top-notch, so no upgrades expected there. We HAVE, however, seen reports claiming that Google plans to equip the Pixel 9 Pro with with 16GB of RAM vs the 12GB on the Pixel 8 Pro. (via Rozetked)

Pixel 9 Pro expected storage capacity:

  • 128 GB
  • 256 GB
  • 512 GB
  • 1 TB (only for the Pixel 9 Pro XL)

Pixel 9 Pro design

The Pixel 9 series will adopt a new look for the camera bar at the back. Now it will look closer to that of the Pixel Fold from last year, meaning it will no longer reach the frame of the phone, but rather "hover" like a speech bubble at the top. Take a look for yourself:

A render of the Pixel 9 Pro also hints at some other small design changes, like a flat frame with curved edges that appears to be made out of stainless steel. The back is also flat and looks like it has a matte finish to it, just as some recent hands-on photos of a Pixel 9 Pro XL lead us to believe.

A first for Google's Pixel phones this year will be an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which is what flagship Galaxy phones from Samsung have been using for years. What sets the ultrasonic fingerprint scanners apart from the optical ones used in most other phones is their accuracy and speed, both of which are much greater.

Pixel 9 Pro vs. Pixel 9 Pro XL design

As for the "XL" part, yes, the Pixel 9 Pro XL will be the largest model. But before you start getting confused, keep in mind that the Pixel 9 Pro XL will actually be the same size as last year's Pixel 8 Pro. That means it should come in at about 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8 mm (6.40 x 3.01 x 0.35 in) and 213 g (7.51 oz).

It is the Pixel 9 Pro model that's new this year, as it will give buyers the Pro features in a smaller body for the first time ever.

Pixel 9 Pro display

We expect the Pixel 9 Pro to rock a 6.1-inch" display. There aren't any rumors to indicate any upgrades in the form of higher brightness levels or resolution, but there has been some talk about Google adding an "Adaptive Touch" feature.

Adaptive Touch adjusts the display sensitivity automatically based on your environment, activities, and screen protector. Simply put, it means the display will react to your input more accurately in situations when there is something that might impede it, such water, dirt, or a screen protector.

Otherwise, we expect the same OLED panel with 120Hz display refresh rate (so equally smooth as the predecessor), with a peak brightness of 2400 nits and nominal brightness (the more realistic one) of around 1600 nits.

Pixel 9 Pro vs. Pixel 9 Pro XL display

  • Pixel 9 Pro: 6.1-inch 
  • Pixel 9 Pro XL: 6.7-inch (rumored)

Pixel 9 Pro battery

Since it is a smaller phone that the larger XL variant, the Pixel 9 Pro will probably have a smaller battery. We expect it will be somewhere around 4,575 mAh, which is what the Pixel 8 has. 

  • Pixel 9 Pro: 4,575 mAh
  • Pixel 9 Pro XL: 5,050 mAh

Additionally, the Tensor G4 might come with better power efficiency, which can extend the battery life with this generation.

Charging-wise, there have been rumours hinting at the Pixel 9 Pro (and the rest of the Pixel 9 lineup) getting support for the Qi2 wireless charging standard. This upgraded version of Qi2 does not come with faster charging speeds, but it comes with magnets, which can help align wireless chargers more easily with your phone.

Apart from that, for now we expect the same 30W of wired and 23W of wireless charging speeds.

We don't expect to see a charger in the Pixel 9 Pro box, and neither should you. 

Pixel 9 Pro features and software

The Pixel 9 Pro will be the first Android phone to come out with Android 15, Google's next big software update. Google already revealed quite a bit of features we can look forward to with Android 15 during the Google I/O 2024 developer conference.

Here are a few of the new features coming with Android 15:

  • A more capable version of Circle to Search
  • AI-generated overviews for search queries
  • Context-aware prompts for detailed image searches in your gallery
  • Imagen 3 and Veo: Advanced media creation tools

Of course, we also expect to see on-device AI features with the Pixel 9 Pro, such as text-to-image conversions, a more comprehensive version of the Magic Compose feature, generating more complex auto-reply suggestions as well as text categorization and embedding.

One new Pixel 9 AI feature that is said to come with the Pixel 9 Pro (and the rest of the Pixel 9 series) is a feature called the "Studio," which was formerly known as "Creative Assistant." It will allow users to create custom stickers and emojis with the help of artificial intelligence, which sounds very similar to Apple's Genmoji.

Another very exciting one is "Add Me," which will likely function as an extension or improvement on the "Best Take" function that came with last generation. Given the name of the feature, we expect it will allow users to add people inside a photo that weren't there when the it was being taken. Kind of freaky, but exciting if it works well!

And then we have "Pixel Screenshots," which is a function where the phone's AI searches through your screenshot to use them as an extended library for information and context. We are not quite sure how well this will play in terms of security and privacy though...

As for software support, you can expect the same 7 years that Google started to guarantee with last year's Pixel 8 lineup.

Pixel 9 Pro hardware and specs

At this time, we're still not 100% clear on the exact specs of the Pixel 9 Pro XL or it's smaller sibling. 

Like we said earlier, it is almost certain that the Pixel 9 Pro will debut with the Tensor G4 chipset, which should offer some better performance, especially in the graphics department. That being said, it won't be a major leap in terms of power and most likely won't rival the likes of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 that other Android phones like the Galaxy S24 Ultra come with.

Expected specs for the Pixel 9 Pro:

  • CPU: Tensor G4
  • RAM: 14GB
  • Display: 6.1". 6.5" for the XL
  • Battery: 4,575 mAh, 5,050 mAh for the XL
  • Charging speed: 65W

That's about the extent of the logical deductions we can make about the Pixel 9 Pro's specs

Thankfully, even if it is not that much more powerful, the Tensor G4 should fair significantly better in terms of connectivity thanks to the new Samsung Modem 5400. The predecessor was infamous for bad reception, which is what this new modem is meant to improve.

Pixel 9 Pro benchmark tests indicate that the Tensor G4 will feature faster clock speeds with one Cortex-X4 core at 3.1GHz, three Cortex-A720 cores at 2.6GHz, and four Cortex-A520 cores at 1.95GHz. Notably, the Tensor G4 has eight cores, compared to the Tensor G3's nine cores in the Pixel 8 series.

The leak shows the Pixel 9 Pro scoring 1176410 in the AnTuTu benchmark, which is an overall marginal improvement over the Pixel 8 Pro's score of around 1142984.

Pixel 9 Pro Preliminary Comparisons

Should you wait for the Pixel 9 Pro?

  • You should wait for the Pixel 9 Pro if you really want a high-end Google Pixel phone and are overdue for an upgrade. You will get the best Pixel experience Google has to offer as soon as possible, including all of the new AI features. As we see it, the two best parts about the Pixel 9 Pro is that it has a new design and, more importantly, now comes in a smaller form factor.

  • You should not wait for the Pixel 9 Pro if you already have a flagship-grade phone from recent years. For those of you gunning for a Pixel phone specifically, keep in mind that the Pixel 10 Pro will also get released in a year or two. The 10th generation of Google phones is expected to be equipped with Google's fully self-designed Tensor chipset: the G5, made with TSMC's 3nm process. This means more power, better AI capabilities and even improved power efficiency. All in all, if you're not in a rush to upgrade: waiting out seems like the better option. 

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