The Pixel 8 Pro, equipped with an infrared temperature sensor on its back, has introduced a new feature after four months of anticipation – body temperature measurement. While the idea seems promising, the execution faces criticism due to its intricate usage. Obtaining FDA approval was the primary reason for the delay, emphasizing the regulation of body temperature sensors as medical devices.
Most Pixel 8 Pro owners may have overlooked the existence of the infrared temperature sensor on their phones. However, the recent addition of body temperature measurement sheds light on its presence. Google’s blog post highlights the feature’s accuracy, stating, “In clinical trials, our software algorithm was able to calculate body temperature in the range of 96.9°F–104°F (36.1°C–40°C) to within ±0.3°C…” Yet, this feature is exclusive to the US.
The execution of the temperature sensor disappoints users, as outlined in Google’s support page. Users must slowly swipe the phone across their faces to measure body temperature for four seconds. The sensor must be extremely close, without touching the skin, making it inconvenient for glasses wearers. The temperature sensor, marked as a downside in reviews, lacks continuous measurement and struggles with user experience issues, rendering it forgettable.
The body temperature addition exacerbates existing problems, making it more suitable for a smartwatch than a phone. In addition to forehead measuring, the sensor can check object temperatures but with a limited two-inch range and no targeting system. The user interface offers a blank screen with a “measure” button, providing a single reading upon activation.
This feature is part of the January 2024 Pixel update, introducing “Circle to Search” and AI-powered “Magic compose” for the Google Messages app. Despite its potential, the body temperature measurement adds to the Pixel 8 Pro’s list of cumbersome features.
The update is expected to roll out gradually over the next few weeks, offering users a mix of enhancements and challenges.