Google has finally unveiled its latest flagship smartphones, the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. While many of the features and specs had already leaked prior to launch, there are some interesting additions that set these new models apart.
The phones go on pre-order now and will be available starting October 12th, 2023. They were announced alongside the Pixel Watch 2 and a new color variant of the Pixel Buds Pro from 2022. Pre-ordering either Pixel 8 model will get you the earbuds for free.
Google Pixel 8: Pricing and Availability
Some disappointing news is that both the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are getting price hikes this year. The base Pixel 8 is increasing by $100/£100 to $699/£699. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 Pro jumps up by $100/£150 to $999/£999 for the starting configuration.
Here’s a look at how the new pricing compares to previous Pixel models:
- Google Pixel 8: $699/£699 (formerly $599/£599)
- Google Pixel 8 Pro: $999/£999 (formerly $899/£849)
- Google Pixel 7: $599/£599
- Google Pixel 7 Pro: $899/£849
- Google Pixel 6: $599/£599
- Google Pixel 6 Pro: $899/£849
While Google’s pricing has been consistent over the past few years, inflationary pressures have likely forced its hand. Nonetheless, the increase particularly stings at a time when consumers are more cost-conscious.
The base Pixel 8 comes in 128GB and 256GB storage options. The Pixel 8 Pro is available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations, plus a 1TB version exclusive to the US.
Google Pixel 8: Design and Display
In terms of design, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro look very similar to their predecessors from the rear. However, they now have a flat display rather than the curved screens of the Pixel 7 series.
Here are the three colours for the Pixel 8: Rose, Hazel and Obsidian. The Pixel 8 Pro (pictured further down below) will come in Porcelain, Obsidian and Bay.
The Pixel 8 has a 6.2-inch screen, just barely smaller than the Pixel 7’s 6.3-inches. The Pixel 8 Pro retains the same 6.7-inch display as before. The back of the 8 Pro uses a matte glass finish, while the standard 8 has polished glass.
Here are the dimensions and weights:
- Google Pixel 8 – 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm, 187g
- Google Pixel 8 Pro – 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8mm, 213g
You may notice the camera module on the back now has a unified bar for all the lenses, unlike the separate cutout on the Pixel 7 Pro. Google has also added a temperature sensor, marketed for checking the heat of objects like coffee and walls. Five case colors will be available for each model, costing $29.99 apiece.
The Pixel 8 display is a 6.2-inch 2400 x 1080 OLED with smoother 120Hz refresh rate, up from 90Hz on the Pixel 7.
The Pixel 8 Pro steps up to a higher resolution 6.7-inch 2992 x 1344 LTPO OLED with 120Hz variable refresh rate. Both screens reach an impressive peak brightness of 2000 nits (Pixel 8) and 2600 nits (Pixel 8 Pro).
Gorilla Glass protection has also been upgraded, with Victus on the Pixel 8 and Victus 2 on the 8 Pro.
Google Pixel 8: Camera Upgrades
The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro rear cameras get major improvements this year. They both use an enlarged 1/1.31-inch main sensor with 50 megapixels, a big jump up from the 7 Pro’s 1/1.56-inch sensor. The larger size should allow more light capture and better low light performance.
The 8 Pro’s ultrawide camera goes up to 48 megapixels with autofocus and a 125.5-degree field of view. Unfortunately, the Pixel 8 sticks with the same 12MP, 125.8-degree ultrawide as before without upgrades.
For the 8 Pro’s telephoto, Google has oddly retained the 48MP sensor with 5x optical periscope from last year. And the front-facing selfie cameras have slightly decreased to 10.5MP from 11MP.
Some new computational photography features include Night Sight for videos, Photo Unblur to sharpen motion blur, and Audio Eraser to reduce background noise in videos. There’s also a Magic Eraser tool to remove objects from photos.
Google Pixel 8: Performance and Battery
At the heart of both phones is Google’s new Tensor G3 processor. While full details are still scarce, it reportedly uses an uncommon 9-core CPU design with one high-power Cortex X3 core paired with four mid-tier and four low-power cores.
This should deliver substantial gains over last year’s Tensor chips. But early benchmarks show it still lags behind the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and MediaTek Dimensity 9000 found in competing Android flagships.
Other upgrades include faster UFS 4.0 storage and a next-gen Titan M2 security chip. Google says the Tensor G3 powers advanced image processing, audio, video, and AI capabilities.
The Google Pixel 8 includes 8GB of RAM with 128/256GB storage options. The Pixel 8 Pro bumps this up to 12GB of RAM with 128/256/512GB storage plus a 1TB configuration exclusive to the US.
On the battery front, both models receive moderate capacity increases:
- Pixel 8 – 4485 mAh (up from 4270 mAh)
- Pixel 8 Pro – 4950 mAh (up slightly from 4926 mAh)
Charging speeds see more substantial improvements:
- Pixel 8 – 27W wired (up from 20W)
- Pixel 8 Pro – 30W wired (up from 23W)
Wireless charging is still supported as before. But Google’s charging tech remains behind much of the competition.
Software, AI and Security
A major highlight of the Google Pixel 8 series is Google’s industry-leading 7 years of software support. This covers OS updates, new features, and security patches all the way until 2030.
Previously, Pixel phones got 3 years of OS updates and 5 years of security patches. But this increase puts Google well ahead of other Android brands.
Several AI-powered software additions aim to improve the user experience:
- Updated Call Screen can better detect and filter spam calls using conversational AI.
- Live Translate and Live Caption can now translate phone calls in real-time.
- The Recorder app supports transcribing and translating voice memos.
- Google Assistant typing now supports more languages like Japanese and Spanish.
- Rear camera guides help blind users frame shots of people, objects, documents, etc using voice prompts.
- Magnifier can enlarge and clarify hard-to-read text.
For power users, Director Mode allows controlling the Pixel’s camera remotely from a tablet for advanced photography and videography.
The Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro bring nice improvements in areas like the display, cameras, performance and battery life. Software support has also taken a huge leap forward to industry-leading levels.
However, the price hikes make the value proposition less compelling, especially versus the impressive Pixel 7 and 7 Pro from last year. It remains to be seen if the upgrades truly justify the extra cost.
But for Android purists who want the latest from Google, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro look to be versatile flagships that keep the premium Pixel experience rolling. Their smarter AI features and computational photography chops help them stand out from the Android crowd.