Google Pixel 8 Review

Google Pixel 8 Review

Introduction and specs

Although the transition from the Pixel 6 to the Pixel 7 series was relatively modest, the launch of the 8 series is characterized by a plethora of new features and upgraded hardware. Additionally, there is a noteworthy shift in strategy, particularly with the smaller Pixel model, which will be the focus of this review. One of the standout alterations in this year's standard Pixel 8 is its reduced size. The Pixel 8 is now sensibly smaller compared to its predecessor, primarily due to the inclusion of a smaller 6.2-inch display. However, other design modifications have also contributed to a reduction in weight and overall dimensions.

At the core of the latest Pixel 8 series lies the cutting-edge Samsung-manufactured 4nm Google Tensor G3 chipset, which pledges superior efficiency and heightened performance when compared to its forerunners. Notably, it addresses a historical concern by significantly reducing heat generation, offering a more comfortable experience for users. Alongside this, the chip is complemented by Google's Titan M2 security chip and an enhanced NPU dedicated to handling AI-related tasks.

The spotlight also falls on the display department this year. While Google's Actua-branded LTPO OLED panel is exclusively reserved for the Pro variant, the standard Pixel 8 presents a substantial improvement over its predecessor. Although lacking LTPO technology, it elevates the refresh rate to 120Hz (a belated welcome to 2020, Google), and the display is promoted to achieve an impressive peak brightness of 2,000 nits.

Google Pixel 8 specs at a glance:

  • Body: 150.5x70.8x8.9mm, 187g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), aluminum frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min).
  • Display: 6.20" OLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1400 nits (HBM), 2000 nits (peak), 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 428ppi; Always-on display.
  • Chipset: Google Tensor G3 (4 nm): Nona-core (1x3.0 GHz Cortex-X3 & 4x2.45 GHz Cortex-A715 & 4x2.15 GHz Cortex-A510); Immortalis-G715s MC10.
  • Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
  • OS/Software: Android 14.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.7, 25mm, 1/1.31", 1.2µm, dual pixel PDAF, Laser AF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 126 , 1/2.9", 1.25µm, AF.
  • Front camera: 10.5 MP, f/2.2, 20mm (ultrawide), 1/3.1", 1.22µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps; gyro-EIS, OIS, 10-bit HDR; Front camera: 4K@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps.
  • Battery: 4575mAh; 27W wired, PD3.0, PPS, 50% in 30 min (advertised), 18W wireless, Reverse wireless.
  • Connectivity: 5G; eSIM; Wi-Fi 7; BT 5.3, aptX HD; NFC.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); stereo speakers.

The camera system has always been a centerpiece feature for Pixel phones, and the 8 series is no exception to the rule. While there's no change in the main camera, which isn't bad because the 50MP f/1.9, 1/1.31" shooter takes excellent stills, the ultrawide snapper is new. It's still 12MP and is not the 8 Pro's ultrawide level, but it now supports autofocus, enabling sharper overall photos and macro-level photography. Additionally, the lens offers a wider field of view.

There's also a modest increase in battery capacity, now standing at 4,575 mAh. The battery supports 27W of wired charging and 18W of wireless charging, presenting an interesting scenario with a notable improvement in wired charging but a slight reduction in wireless capabilities. To put it in perspective, the Pixel 7 from the previous year supported 20W wireless charging.

Moreover, Google is making significant strides in software support. With the debut of the Pixel 8 series, the company pledges an impressive 7 years of OS and security updates, surpassing the offerings of any other smartphone manufacturer. Notably, even Apple's latest iOS 17 is limited to iPhones that are no more than 5 years old.

While these specifications seem promising on paper, the real test lies in the details. To ascertain how the Pixel 8 performs in various scenarios and whether the 8 Pro justifies the additional cost over the standard 8, continue reading.

Unboxing the Google Pixel 8

The Google Pixel 8 arrives in a simple retail package, providing only the essential items. Inside, you'll find user manuals, a USB-C to USB-C cable ready for Power Delivery, and a USB-C to USB-A adapter, handy for charging or data transfers if needed.

As is common with many contemporary phones, the package does not include a charger. You'll need to procure a compatible 27W or faster PD-compliant charger separately.

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