Review of Google Pixel 8. A deeper dive

Diving Deep into the Google Pixel 8 - A Comprehensive Review

Pros

  • Durable battery
  • Gorgeous camera
  • Compact design
  • Excellent display

Cons

  • Performance trails another flagship
  • Some early bugs

The Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have taken smartphone innovation to the next level. Building upon the success of the Pixel 6, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro offer significant improvements that are highlighted in the 8 Pro review.

The Pixel 8’s standout features attract attention from people around me. The Best Take feature, which selects the best faces from a series of shots for improved group photos, impressed my colleagues. The device’s unique capabilities make it a compelling choice.

The Pixel 8 utilizes AI for various tasks, like noise removal, altering scenes, and object manipulation. These features eliminate the need for Photoshop and enhance photo and video editing capabilities. The device’s AI-driven enhancements provide convenient and powerful editing options.

Amid AI hype, Google delivers practical and fun Pixel 8 features, including a brighter display and extended battery life. The Pixel 8 also offers a remarkable seven years of software updates, making it one of the top Android phones.

With a $699 price tag, the Pixel 8 Pro is $100 more expensive than its predecessor. Additionally, the performance of the new Tensor G3 chip lags behind the competition. To determine if this “AI phone” belongs on the list of the best phones, a detailed Pixel 8 review analyzes its strengths and weaknesses.

Specs

RAM8GB
Storage128GB, 256GB
Display6.2 OLED, 120Hz
Rear cameras50MP main (f/1.68) with 8x Super Res Zoom, 12MP ultrawide
Front Camera10.5MP (f//2.2)
Video4K up to 60 fps
Battery4,575 mAh
Charging30W
Dimensions5.9 x 2.8 x 0.4 inches
Weight6.6 ounces
Price$699
OSAndroid 14
ProcessorTensor G3

Price and release date

The Google Pixel 8 pre-orders started on October 4, with the phone going on sale October 12. 

The base Google Pixel model, with 128GB storage, starts at $699, marking a $100 increase from the previous year. Nevertheless, it remains $100 cheaper than the iPhone 15 and Samsung Galaxy S23. Opting for 256GB storage will require an additional $60, totaling $759.

Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are currently the top contenders in the tech space. With higher prices than other contenders, the Pixel 8 Pro also boasts compelling features.

Colors and design

Carrying the Pixel 8 alongside the iPhone 15 and Galaxy S23, I appreciate some aspects of Google’s design. The rounded corners and contoured build add to the phone’s ergonomic comfort. Moreover, Google’s decision to reduce the screen size from 6.3 to 6.2 inches on the Pixel 8 results in a smaller, more manageable device.

The Pixel 8 has dimensions of 5.9 x 2.8 x 0.4 inches and weighs 6.6 ounces, whereas the Pixel 7 measured 6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches and weighed 6.9 ounces. The camera bar on the back contributes to its thickness, but the unique design unmistakably identifies it as a Pixel phone.

Pixel 8 color options include Rose, Hazel, and Obsidian. The Rose variant features a subtle pink shade. Unlike the Pixel 8 Pro’s matte finish, the Pixel 8 boasts polished back glass. While I prefer the latter, the Pixel 8 effectively resists fingerprints, offering a clean look.

Display

The Pixel 8’s Super Actua display is a significant upgrade with enhanced brightness, addressing previous visibility issues outdoors in direct sunlight. The improved display quality is a notable enhancement for the device.

The Pixel 8’s 6.2-inch screen boasts impressive specifications, with a rating of 1,400 nits for HDR content and 2,000 nits of peak brightness. In contrast, the Pixel 7 featured lower specifications, with ratings of 1,000 units for HDR content and 1,400 units for peak brightness. This upgrade in display capabilities is a significant improvement on the Pixel 8.

During lab testing, the Pixel 8 achieved 1,349 nits with HDR content and 1,224 nits with adaptive brightness. In contrast, the older Pixel 7 reached a significantly lower 961 nits with adaptive brightness. This substantial improvement in display brightness is noteworthy.

Compared to competitors, the iPhone 15 achieved slightly higher brightness at 1,401 nits, while the Galaxy S23 reached 1,340 nits. The Pixel 8’s OLED display outperformed the iPhone 15 in producing more of the DCI-P3 color space but fell slightly behind the Galaxy S23. The Pixel 8 also demonstrated very good color accuracy, although it didn’t quite reach the best-in-class level.

Cameras

In the world of Google devices, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have arrived with a splash, and the Pixel 8 Pro review highlights their remarkable features.

These smartphones have taken a giant leap from their predecessors, such as the Pixel 7 Pro, offering advanced technology and substantial improvements in camera capabilities.

Additionally, the Google Pixel Watch 2 complements these devices, creating a powerful ecosystem for users looking for seamless integration and top-notch performance.

Whether you opt for the Pixel 8 or the Google Pixel 8 Pro, you can expect an outstanding user experience that showcases the very best in cutting-edge technology.

The Google Pixel 8 retains dual rear cameras but introduces a new macro close-up mode using the ultrawide camera. It also offers a range of AI camera features, which, while impressive, may occasionally encounter minor issues.

The Pixel 8 boasts a 50MP main wide camera with advanced image processing for vibrant colors and details. It is complemented by a 12MP ultrawide camera featuring a wider field of view than the Pixel 7, expanding from 114° to 125.8°. This camera setup enhances photographic capabilities.

The Pixel 8’s front camera offers a marginally lower resolution of 10.5MP, down from 10.8MP. However, it compensates with a wider field of view, expanding from 92.8° to 95°, enhancing selfie capabilities.

The Pixel 8’s cameras stand out for post-shooting capabilities. Features like Best Take use generative AI to analyze group photos and generate the best shot, addressing issues like blinking or awkward expressions. These enhancements make photography more convenient and versatile.

Users can select individual faces in the shot and choose alternative poses, though the process may take some time, and face superimposition may occur in certain instances. Despite some minor quirks, Best Take demonstrates clever functionality for post-shooting adjustments.

Magic Editor offers entertaining ways to manipulate subjects within photos. For example, you can adjust the position of objects in the shot. While the results may display a faint outline and occasional imperfections, the tool adds a fun aspect to photo editing.

In unaltered photos, the Pixel 8 performs admirably, exemplified in this vibrant shot of flowers. The Galaxy S23 produces a vivid, slightly oversaturated image, appealing to some. However, I favor the iPhone 15’s shot for its color gradation and contrast, with the Pixel 8’s image ranking second in my preference.

The Pixel 8 excels in this ultrawide shot of the Manasquan River shoreline, showcasing clear details in the blue sky, sand, and water. In comparison, the iPhone 15’s image gains a slight edge due to its warmer sand tone. The Galaxy S23’s picture exhibits overly punchy colors, particularly in the sky, detracting from its overall appeal.

Indoors, the iPhone 15 takes the lead in this image of a fruit tart, with sharper-looking strawberries and raspberries compared to the Pixel 8, which appears slightly fuzzier.

Although Google pioneered Night mode on camera phones, the Pixel 8 lags in this Halloween decoration photo. Its shot appears dimmer, while the iPhone 15 and Galaxy S23 produce more vibrant pumpkins, mums, and scarecrows, highlighting the Pixel 8’s lower performance in low-light conditions.

Indoors, the Pixel 8 produces a noisy image with the skull and magic books. The iPhone 15’s photo is slightly dark, particularly on the book spine text, while the Galaxy S23’s image is the brightest among them.

The selfie comparison between the Pixel 8 and iPhone 15 is a close call. Both capture plenty of detail in the black shirt and offer convincing bokeh effects. However, the iPhone 15’s image highlights the eyes more and features a preferred warmer skin tone.

The Google Pixel 8 boasts significant camera app improvements that rival even the iPhone 15 Pro Max. With its enhanced main camera, Google says the Pixel 8 captures stunning shots with vivid colors and intricate details.

Additionally, managing your photos is a breeze with Google Photos, making the Pixel 8 a top choice for photography enthusiasts.

The pixel Camera has one of the best telephoto cameras in addition to its selfie camera. The regular Pixel 8 is more advanced than its predecessors like Pixel 6 and 7.

Video

The Pixel 8’s impressive video feature is Audio Magic Eraser, which can eliminate background noise from your clips. This function allows you to focus on the desired audio, whether it’s music or dialogue.

While panning around, I find the Pixel 8 footage more appealing than the iPhone 15’s. The water, sky, and dock appear more vibrant, and the green trees in the background stand out. The Galaxy S23, on the other hand, tends to overdo it, creating an artificial Caribbean-like atmosphere, despite excelling in zooming capabilities.

The Pixel 8’s Blur video mode falls short in comparison to the iPhone 15’s Cinematic mode, which excels at separating the subject from the background. In the footage, the Pixel 8 displays some blurry artifacts around the subject, while the iPhone 15 performs more effectively.

Performance 

The Google Pixel 8 boasts the Tensor G3 chip, offering improved CPU and graphics performance. However, the real innovation lies in the Pixel 8’s advanced AI capabilities, as it runs twice as many on-device machine learning models compared to the Pixel 6’s Tensor silicon.

The G3’s enhanced intelligence is evident in features like Call Screen, where Google Assistant now answers calls with a more natural-sounding voice, providing a lifelike interaction.

During testing, the experience felt remarkably human, with the Assistant politely inquiring about the call’s purpose. Additionally, a forthcoming Google Pixel Feature Drop will allow users to interact with on-screen options and confirm appointments without picking up the phone.

The Pixel 8’s intelligence extends to its ability to quickly summarize web pages. By long-pressing the power button and selecting or vocalizing “summarize,” you’ll receive a concise set of bullet points summarizing the content.

The Pixel 8’s keyboard now includes a proofread button for AI-assisted corrections. This feature highlights suggestions for you to accept, addressing common errors like “they’re” vs. “There.”

Google Pixel 8iPhone 15Galaxy S23
Geekbench (single/multi-core)1,569 / 3,7442,518 / 6,1791,881 / 4,972
3DMark Wild Life Unlimited / Extreme54 fps / 14.6 fps72 fps / 15 fps87 fps / 23 fps
Adobe Premiere rush (video editing)1:1225 seconds39 seconds
Geekbench ML (NPU)1,7913,301624

The Pixel 8’s Tensor G3 chip offers improved performance over the Pixel 7’s G2 but lags behind other flagship phones. It outperformed the Galaxy S23 in single-core performance but fell short in multi-core tests against the Samsung and iPhone 15.

The Pixel 8 ranks third in graphics performance with 54 frames per second in the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark. Despite this, gameplay on the Pixel 8 remains smooth, offering good performance in games like Asphalt 9 and Diablo Immortal.

Charging and battery life

While the Google Pixel 8 demonstrates significant battery life improvement over the Pixel 7, it lags behind top flagship phones. In our battery test, involving continuous web surfing at 150 nits screen brightness, the Pixel 8 achieved a runtime of 9 hours and 50 minutes when operating at 60Hz.

Google Pixel 8iPhone 15Galaxy S23
Battery size4,575 mAh3,349 mAh3,900 mAh
Battery life (hrs: mins)9:5011:0510:27 (adaptive) / 11:20 (60Hz)

However, it’s worth noting that other flagship phones outlast the Pixel 8. In our testing, both the Galaxy S23 and iPhone 15 lasted for over 11 hours, putting the Pixel 8 approximately an hour behind its competitors in terms of battery life.

Software and Android

Google’s commitment to providing seven years of OS and security updates, along with regular Feature Drops, makes the Pixel 8 a nearly future-proof device. This level of support ensures that the phone will remain up-to-date and secure for a long time.

The Pixel 8’s extended support of seven years surpasses the Pixel 7’s three-year OS and five-year security updates. In comparison, Samsung provides four years of full Android updates, while iPhones generally receive five years of updates. This makes the Pixel 8 a compelling choice for long-term software support.

The Google Pixel 8 runs Android 14, bringing notable enhancements like a custom lock screen picker and generative AI wallpapers for personalization. A Health Connect tool centralizes fitness and 

Pixel Pro Vs Pixel 8

The Pixel 8 Pro boasts a spacious 6.7-inch display with a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, coupled with a matte glass rear for better grip. Additionally, it packs a higher RAM capacity compared to the standard Pixel 8, featuring 12GB instead of 8 GB.

The Pixel 8 Pro enhances your photography experience with professional camera controls that allow adjustments to ISO, white balance, and more. Moreover, it offers a dedicated telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom, whereas the Pixel 8 relies on digital zoom. Additionally, the Pixel 8 Pro exclusively supports Video Boost, a forthcoming feature designed to optimize cloud-uploaded videos.

Verdict

The Google Pixel 8 offers an antidote to smartphone monotony, showcasing the potential of seamless hardware-software integration with the power of AI. Notably, the Audio Magic Eraser and Best Take features stand out, even if they may require some fine-tuning for perfection.

The Pixel 8 shines with its brighter display, handy camera features like the macro mode, and impressive HDR video capabilities. Despite a sizable camera bump, it boasts a polished and ergonomic design, fitting comfortably in one hand. While the Photos app occasionally exhibits instability, future updates are expected to address these issues.