Google's Pixel phones are some of the best smartphones on the market, at the very least when it comes to software and photos. However, while the Pixel's computational photography, generative AI, and bloat-free Android 14 OS are primary draws, its hardware design has carved out a unique silhouette in the smartphone landscape. A silhouette that could be set for a drastic change if recently leaked renders of the Pixel 9 Pro are anything to go by.
Carving out an identity is essential if you want to stand out in the tech world. A product you can instantly recognize won't just stand out, it'll work as an in-hand advertisement to people on the street, in the workplace, and everywhere else. With the Pixel 6, Google found that unique style and flair with a beveled frame, tight round corners, and a now iconic, visor-like camera bar.
Google Pixel 9 Pro: out with the old, in with the new
Take all of the design elements that made the Pixel 6 to the Pixel 8 stand out and throw them firmly out of the window. The Pixel 9 Pro is a near-complete overhaul that sees the beveled edges of phones previous replaced with a flat, iPhone-esque chromed rim, rounder corners, and a completely redesigned camera array that ditches the bar for an ovular island.
It's a radical shift in design, and without the Google "G" stamped on the back, you'd be forgiven for not recognizing this as a Pixel device at all. The new ultra-modern aesthetic is still pretty great to look at, though it loses all of the charm that the previous two generations of smartphone had delivered with its iconic design.
Is the new design terrible? Not at all, but it will take a moment for many to adjust to. Pixel smartphones are no stranger to shifts in design, and the introduction of the camera bar look was itself seen as quite a dramatic alteration. However, that feature would go on to become one of the most stand-out focal points of the device in recent years, allowing you to pick out a Pixel phone from a crowd at 100 paces.
Bear in mind, these leaks are, of course, unofficial – and based on leaked information. While the leakers have a solid track record of providing accurate information and renders in the past, they themselves admit that the final product could still look different to the one shown.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.