Google Pixel 8
Google’s latest Pixel 8 offers a ton of flagship features at a midrange price point. Compared to last year’s Pixel 7, the newer Pixel 8 has a better display, larger battery, and upgraded cameras. However, it doesn’t quite match the specs of the higher-priced Pixel 8 Pro variant.Pros
- Features new Tensor G3 processor
- Display is now brighter and 120Hz
- Upgraded camera system and slight redesign
- Pebble-shaped design isn’t for everyone
- Price increased by $100
- Can only be configured to up to 256GB of storage
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Biggest and most powerful
Google bumped up the price of the Pixel 8 Pro, matching similar models offered by its competitors. Even still, the Pixel 8 Pro looks to be a good value, offering what could be the best camera system in a smartphone. It also gets the upgrade to the Tensor G3 chip and improved battery life.Pros
- Features new Tensor G3 processor
- Upgraded 5,050 mAh battery
- New camera features
- Now starts at $999, which is a $100 increase
- Pebble-shaped design isn’t for everyone
Google announced the new Pixel 8 series, which is the company’s latest slab-style smartphones, and it shakes up the Pixel lineup quite a bit. For starters, both the flagship Pixel 8 Pro and the base-model Pixel 8 received a $100 price hike. That puts the Pixel 8 Pro up with other flagship smartphones, like the iPhone 15 Pro, and finds the Pixel 8 still undercutting the market. Both phones have received key upgrades this year, including a slight redesign. You can even make the argument that the Pixel 8 is closer to the Pixel 8 Pro than ever in terms of specs and performance, so you might be wondering whether the latter is worth an extra $300. To help you out, we’ve compared these devices, which look to be some of this year’s best phones.
Price, specs & availability
Google revealed both the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro at an event in New York City on Oct. 4. The standard Pixel 8 starts with 128GB of storage at $699, but you can upgrade it to 256GB for an additional fee. The smartphone comes in three colors: Obsidian, Hazel, and Rose. We’ve seen Obsidian and Hazel on previous Pixel phones, and they are basically black and grayish-green. New this year is the Rose colorway, which is a light pink hue. You can pre-order the Pixel 8 starting today, with availability in most regions starting Oct. 12. If you buy the Pixel 8 during the pre-order window, you’ll get a free pair of Pixel Buds Pro.
If you spring for the Pixel 8 Pro, it will start at $999 for the base model with 128GB of storage. You have more flexibility with storage upgrades on the higher-end model, as it can be configured with up to 1TB of storage in U.S. markets. However, models sold outside the U.S. are limited to 512GB of storage. The Pixel 8 Pro also features 12GB of LPDDR5X memory, while the standard Pixel 8 has 8GB memory. There are three colors of the Pixel 8 Pro: Obsidian, Porcelain, and Bay. We’ve seen Obsidian and Porcelain on the Pixel Fold, and the Bay colorway is a variation of the Sea color we saw on the Pixel 7a. If you buy the Pixel 8 Pro during the pre-order window, you’ll get a free Pixel Watch 2 included.
Google Pixel 8 Google Pixel 8 Pro SoC Google Tensor G3 Google Tensor G3 Display 6.2-inch OLED (1080×2400), 120Hz refresh rate, up to 2,000 nits peak brightness 6.7-inch LTPO OLED (1344×2992) LTPO OLED, 1-120Hz, up to 2400 nits peak brightness RAM 8GB LPDDR5X 12GB LPDDR5X RAM Storage 128GB / 256GB UFS 3.1 storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB UFS 3.1 Battery 4,575mAh 5,050mAh, fast wired & wireless charging Ports USB Type-C 3.2 USB Type-C 3.2 Front camera 10.5MP, f/2.2, 95 degree FoV 10.5MP f/2.2 Dual PD Rear camera 50MP, f/1.68 Octa PD wide camera, 12MP ultra-wide camera with Autofocus, 125.8-degree FoV 50MP f/1.68 Octa PD wide camera, 48MP f/1.95 quad PD ultrawide with 125.5-degree FoV, 48MP f/2.8 quad PD telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom Dimensions 5.9×2.8×0.4 inches (150.5×70.8×8.9mm) 6.4×3.0x0.35 inches (162.6×76.5×8.8mm) Weight 6.6 ounces (187g) 7.5 ounces (213g) IP Rating IP68 IP68
Google has made it a habit to tweak the design of Pixel phones between generations, which is something that Apple and Samsung should take note of. This year, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro feature a few neat design changes that should make them more comfortable and better looking. Both phones feature a pebble-shaped design with corners that are heavily rounded. The iconic Pixel bar remains, but now all the cameras are housed in a single oval-shaped window. While the sides of the phone are still fairly curved, the display on the Pixel 8 series is flat for the first time in years.
Overall, the design will be consistent between the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro, but the more expensive variant will feature more premium materials. The rails of the phone will be made of polished aluminum on the Pixel 8 Pro, but matte aluminum on the Pixel 8. Both phones include Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus on the back of the phone, but the Pixel 8 Pro features the second-generation version of it. The standard Pixel 8 has a glossy glass back, while the Pixel 8 Pro offers a matte back for the first time. On the front of the device, you’ll find Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus on the Pixel 8 and the newer Victus 2 on the Pixel 8 Pro. Like last year’s models, both are rated for IP68 dust and water-resistance.
Unlike Apple and Samsung, Google only offers each variant of its Pixel phones in a single size. That means if you want a larger screen, you have to go with the Pixel 8 Pro. Similarly, if you want a smaller screen, you need to choose the standard Pixel 8. This is the biggest difference between the two devices as far as the displays are concerned. The standard Pixel 8 features a 6.2-inch display, while the larger Pixel 8 Pro features a 6.7-inch screen. Both smartphones are on the larger side, but Pixel phones tend to feel smaller in the hand than their size would suggest due to their curved design.
The Pixel 8’s display gets an upgrade this year, as it now features a 120Hz refresh rate for the first time. However, it isn’t the same type of high refresh rate panel we see on the Pixel 8 Pro. The standard Pixel 8’s display can only variate between 60Hz and 120Hz, which isn’t as good on battery life as the Pixel 8 Pro. The latter has a variable refresh rate display that can go as low as 1Hz or as high as 120Hz, so the display can draw less power when there isn’t constant motion. Regardless, it’s a good step forward for the standard Pixel 8 that makes it an even more competitive option.
Both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have displays that we expect to look great in person, but the Pixel 8 Pro definitely has the better-looking panel. The standard Pixel 8 has an OLED display with a 1080×2400 resolution and a pixel density of 428 pixels-per-inch (PPI). By comparison, the Pixel 8 Pro has an LTPO OLED panel with a 1344×2992 resolution and a pixel density of 489 PPI. Both displays get brighter this year, which should fix one of my biggest complaints about Pixel displays. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will feature a peak brightness of 2,000 nits and 2,400 nits, respectively. This will be lowered while playing HDR content, where the Pixel 8 can reach 1,400 nits and the Pixel 8 Pro can hit 1,600 nits.
Google debuted a new Tensor G3 chip alongside the Pixel 8 series, and the company unsurprisingly says that it’s the most powerful system-on-a-chip available on a Pixel phone. It powers new artificial intelligence features coming to Pixel 8 series, like Magic Editor and Audio Magic Eraser, which allows you to edit audio and video in new ways. However, Google has a lot to prove with the Tensor G3 chip, and we won’t know whether it has met our expectations until we can run our own benchmarks. The last-generation Tensor G2 was not only underpowered compared to its competitors, the chip also had a tendency to overheat. Aside from adding new features, the Tensor G3 needs to have improved thermal performance to be considered a flagship chip.
The Tensor G3 processor is also paired with a Titan M2 coprocessor, which is a security chip. Google says this adds multiple layers of security to your smartphone, and it’s paired with a free VPN included with Google One on the Pixel 8 series. More importantly, Google has guaranteed the Pixel 8 series to receive seven years of security updates. This is an unprecedented security guarantee and coming from Google, it has a chance to set a standard for the rest of the industry. If you’re looking for a smartphone that can last you half a decade or longer, you might find it with the Pixel 8 series.
Google also increased the size of the battery on both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, including 4,575 mAh and 5,050 mAh batteries respectively. Google still describes the Pixel 8 series to provide “beyond 24-hour battery life,” but our past testing has found that to be a bit exaggerated. With the Pixel 7 series, our testers routinely got a full day of battery life out of the smartphone, and we expect this to be the case with the Pixel 8 series. Stay tuned for our full review of the devices, and we’ll update this section once we’ve tested the smartphones for ourselves.
Both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro now feature the same main camera sensor, which is a 50MP Octa PD wide camera. It features an f/1.68 aperture, and an 82-degree field of view. Interestingly, this main sensor can provide Super Res Zoom up to 8x on the base model Pixel 8. The higher-end model can’t match this feature, because it provides up to 30x Super Res Zoom using its dedicated telephoto lens. While the main sensors on these two smartphones are identical, you start to notice the differences when the secondary and tertiary cameras are considered.
The Pixel 8 features a dual-camera system, while the Pixel 8 Pro includes a triple-camera system. The standard Pixel 8 has a 12MP ultra-wide camera with auto-focus and an f/2.2 aperture. The Pixel 8 Pro has a significantly better ultra-wide lens, featuring another Octa PD lens, this time with a 48MP sensor and an f/1.95 aperture. The higher-end model also has a telephoto lens, which is a third 48MP Octa PD sensor with an f/2.8 aperture and 5x optical zoom. Like with most Pixel phones, we expect the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro to perform better than their spec sheets due to Tensor’s artificial intelligence and machine learning prowess.
The Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro have the same front-facing camera hardware. It’s a 10.5 MP Dual PD selfie camera with an f/2.2 aperture, including auto-focus and a 95-degree ultra-wide field of view. We can’t say much about the Pixel 8 series camera performance until we get our hands on the devices, but we’ll update this section with camera samples when we have them.
Which one is right for you?
Despite the price hike this year, both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are still great value smartphones. Their value is even better when you consider the pre-order deals Google is offering for a limited time, when you can get a free pair Pixel Buds Pro or Pixel Watch 2 with your purchase. However, it’s undeniable that if you’re looking for the best Pixel phone in 2023, you should get the Pixel 8 Pro. It has superior cameras, a better display, and a more premium build.
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Google bumped up the price of the Pixel 8 Pro, matching similar models offered by its competitors. Even still, the Pixel 8 Pro looks to be a good value, offering what could be the best camera system in a smartphone. It also gets the upgrade to the Tensor G3 chip and improved battery life.
If you don’t need some of the higher-end Pixel 8 Pro, the standard Pixel 8 is a bargain at $700. It now has a 120Hz display, an improved main camera sensor, and the same Tensor G3 chip as the Pixel 8 Pro. For $300 less than the premium model, you aren’t losing a lot by going with the Pixel 8 instead. Plus, if you prefer a smaller form factor, the only way you can get it on a Pixel phone is by going with the Pixel 8.
Google Pixel 8
The Google Pixel 8 boasts of the company’s new Tensor G3 processor and features a refined glass and aluminum design. Compared to the Pixel 7, it has a brighter display, a larger battery with quicker charging, and upgraded cameras.