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Pixel 8 Night Sight for video might be Google’s killer feature

Published Sep 1st, 2023 3:09PM EDT
Google Pixel 7 Pro Front
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The iPhone 14 was the first iPhone in the world to ship without a SIM slot. But Apple restricted the design change to the US market. The future is eSIM, and the switch to eSIM-only iPhones has been rather frictionless. There are cases where some users might worry about the inability to pop a physical SIM into the iPhone. They’re mostly about traveling to other countries where eSIM support might not be readily available.

Since the transition went so well, it’s likely that other brands would follow, with Google’s Pixel 8 series being one potential candidate to replicate Apple’s big iPhone switch. However, Pixel fans need not worry, at least not for one more year. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will ship with physical SIMs. But the more intriguing piece of a new report about Night Sight mode coming to video on the Pixel 8 series.

After reports claimed that the Pixel 8 phones would copy the iPhone 14’s eSIM-only design, 9to5Google dispelled the rumors. The blog cites sources that have informed them that the Pixel 8 phones will come with built-in slots for physical SIMs.

I’d venture a guess that Google will eventually copy Apple’s move regarding eSIM adoption. That’s what Google’s strategy has been with the Pixel so far: follow in Apple’s footsteps. However, I also think Pixel sales aren’t meaningful enough to warrant the design change.

As a reminder, the US-bound iPhone 14 models have a piece of plastic inside instead of the SIM slot. That means Apple has different production lines for the two types of iPhones. Google would have to replicate that as well. And it might not make sense to manufacture different Pixel 8 designs if the economies of scale aren’t in your favor.

Not to mention that keeping physical SIMs around might win Google a few customers who aren’t loyal to iPhones and want the ability to swap SIMs with ease.

Google Pixel 7 Pro Camera
Google’s Pixel 7 Pro camera. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

An even better selling point for the Pixel 8 series is Night Sight video support. The same blog has learned that the Pixel 8 Pro will support better low-light video recording, which is exciting.

You may recall that Google Pixels’ Night Sight photography mode put pressure on Apple, Samsung, and everyone else to deliver better low-light photography. Night Sight for video could do the same thing. This would be a killer feature to have. Not necessarily for shooting videos at night but for capturing them in any low-light environments.

It’s unclear why the feature would be restricted to the Pixel 8 Pro, however. It might have something to do with the cameras, but that’s just speculation. 9to5Google doesn’t offer any details about how Night Sight for videos might work. But the blog reminds us that Google has been upgrading Night Sight photography in recent years, thanks to Google’s introduction of its custom Tensor chips.

The Pixel 8 series should feature third-gen Tensor processors. The chips could feature better image signal processors (ISPs) that can handle a Night Sight video mode.

We’ll learn everything about the new Pixel 8 phones in just over a month, as Google scheduled its fall launch event on October 4th.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.