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Yes, Google, please give me a smaller Pixel 9 Pro!

I've reluctantly used Google's giant Pixels. The rumored smaller Pixel 9 Pro could be just want I need.
By

Published onMarch 27, 2024

I don’t like big phones, yet, for the past three years or so, I’ve been carrying the Pixel 6 Pro, 7 Pro, and 8 Pro as my daily drivers. Three big and chunky phones that make my wrists uncomfortable and force me to juggle my fingers any time I want to reach the top or bottom corners of the display. But I pay the price because that’s how I get Google’s excellent telephoto camera. And that’s how I get access to all the cool Pro-only features, like the manual camera mode, Video Boost, and on-device Gemini.

But rumor has it that the Pixel 9 line-up will be different this time around. Instead of one small Pixel 9 and one larger Pixel 9 Pro with all the extra bells and whistles, Google could be releasing three different models: a basic 6.03-inch Pixel 9, a relatively small 6.1-inch Pixel 9 Pro (with a telephoto lens), and a larger 6.7-inch Pixel 9 Pro XL.

That middle one? That’s the one. That’s what I want. My Carpal Tunnel-riddled wrists and my small women’s jeans pockets want it too.

Ever since I used the Pixel 5 for a whole year, I’ve been yearning for a smaller, more comfortable, and more ergonomic Pixel without compromising on features. One I could slip into my jeans’ pockets without it sticking out. One I can hold and use, single-handed, for real, without any finger and palm acrobatics. And every time Google has released a smaller Pixel — the 6, 7, and 8 — I’ve loved their size and design, but couldn’t get myself to use them long-term.

See, I travel a lot. I also attend concerts and sports games on average once or twice a month. The telephoto lens isn’t a luxury for me anymore; it’s a necessity. And I can’t go back to a digital zoom — no matter how good Google claims it is. 5x is the beginning for me; it’s the 10x that I find myself using quite often, and if my phone’s camera can’t handle that, then it’s failing at capturing the memories I care about. So I’ve stacked up the Pixel 6, 7, and 8 in a drawer, and I pull them out every now and then, marvel at their design, test something on them, then put them right back in. I just can’t use them.

I want a smaller sized Pixel 9 Pro. My Carpal Tunnel-riddled wrists and my small women's jeans pockets want it too.

If the rumors are accurate, and we do believe they are because that’s what our leaked Google roadmap predicted, then the smaller Pixel 9 Pro could be the best of both worlds for me. A smaller Pixel with no camera compromise.

It doesn’t look like it’ll be as small as the Pixel 5 was but it might be similarly sized to the Pixel 8, making it significantly narrower and shorter than the Pixel 8 Pro and the bigger upcoming Pixel 9 Pro XL. That sounds like a win to me.

Google Pixel family with the Pixel 5, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 7 Pro next to each other
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

My two concerns about this are price and features.

We’ve already seen Google leave the smaller Pixel 8 behind the 8 Pro, and I wouldn’t want to invest in a phone that’ll be similarly mistreated compared to its bigger sibling. The Pixel 9 Pro, regardless of size, should carry its Pro moniker: all the features, all the updates, all the AI novelties. No “hardware limitation” mumbo-jumbo to excuse a lacking feature. I used to trust Google to do that in the Pixel 2 and 3 era, but I’m not sure how much I do that now. But we’ll only know for certain once the two phones are officially announced: If there are already differentiating features between them — besides display and battery size — then we may be looking at more letdowns for the smaller Pro in the future.

I'm still concerned about the Pixel 9 series. Will the XL cost even more, will the Pro have all the best XL bits?

The second issue is price. By adding one extra Pixel tier, Google could be upping the cost of its Pro line-up. There’s a fear that, instead of slotting between the existing non-Pro and Pro pricing, the smaller Pixel 9 Pro would be as expensive as the Pixel 8 Pro was, while the Pro XL would go further up, essentially emulating Apple’s iPhone strategy and aiming for the premium market. Pixels used to be the more affordable flagships; this would push them further into the high-end Galaxy and iPhone realm. Once again, we won’t know that until the phone is officially announced.

For now, what we do know is that a smaller Pixel 9 Pro is a possibility, and to that, I say: Yes. Make it happen, Google. I’ll be the first in line.

Are three flagship Pixels better than two?

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