At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsLuxurious build qualityIncredible cameras Useful software featuresSeven years of updatesConsSo-so battery lifeSlow chargingBig and heavyOur Verdict
Google has produced its most advanced Pixel phone yet with the Pixel 8 Pro, which has one of the most intuitive cameras you can get on a smartphone and plenty of other premium features – it’s just a shame that the battery life isn’t as impressive.
Price When Reviewed
Dès 1 099 €
Best Prices Today: Google Pixel 8 Pro
Google has released some of the most impressive features yet for its new 2023 Pixel smarphones, though those improvements do come with a price increase compared to the previous generation.
The flagship Pixel 8 Pro comes with a host of AI camera features thanks to the all-new Tensor G3 processor, and tweaks to the design compared to the previous generation. But are these changes worth the price hike?
I’ve spent some time with this high-end smartphone to help you decide whether it’s the next Android device for you.
Design & Build
Unless you’re a fellow tech journalist or a super Google fan, you’d be forgiven for not being able to tell the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 8 Pro apart.
Once again, there is a metal camera bar on the rear which houses the lenses, though this iteration now has a temperature sensor located beneath the flash. The cameras are also all housed together in one long pill shape, which has a more cohesive ‘visor’ look compared to the previous generation.
The rest of the phone is made from matt glass, which has a ceramic-like look and feel (the regular 8 is glossy). It’s very premium, though it does make me nervous to use without a case compared to those with more durable materials (note that a Google-branded case will cost you an extra $29/£29). That said, it does come with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.
The design is quite polarising amongst the Tech Advisor team. I’m personally a fan – the phone looks its price and has a distinctive design language that sets it apart from rivals. It comes in three shades: Obsidian, Bay and Porcelain – black, blue and cream for anyone confused by fluffy marketing lingo.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Whilst many will be comparing hardware specs between the 8 and 8 Pro, you should consider the size. This is a larger device, measuring 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8mm and weighing 213g. It’s great for watching videos on, but it’s not ideal if you have smaller hands and pockets (I’m looking at you, women’s jeans).
The chassis is made from polished aluminium, which is 100% recycled – mine had a pleasing champagne gold finish that added to that luxury feel.
To sum up, it feels high-end and is a pleasure to look at, but it may be bigger and heavier than what you’re used to.
…the phone looks its price and has a distinctive design language that sets it apart from rivals
Screen & Speakers
6.7in OLED display
Variable 120Hz display
Google has produced a knockout on the display of its flagship phone. The first big difference is that it comes with a flat display, rather than a curved one like on the 7 Pro. It is a 6.7in LPTO OLED Super Actua display, with a resolution of 2992 x 1344 at 489ppi. There is the option to turn the resolution down to 1080p, should you want to conserve the battery life.
In real terms, this is a great display for watching videos on and truly displays the phone’s camera wares in its full glory. It’s also bright enough to use under direct sunlight – I never struggled with glare or seeing details on the screen. It’s also got Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for your peace of mind and an anti-fingerprint coating.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
According to Google, the phone has a VRR refresh rate that, when toggled on, can change from anywhere from 1- to 120Hz depending on the task. However, my phone only showed Smooth Display as toggling between 60Hz and 120Hz. You also can’t pick a specific set refresh rate beyond 60Hz as you can on rivals.
The stereo speakers on the Pixel 8 Pro are loud and ideal for podcasts and YouTube videos. There’s even a bit of thump on the bass if you like to listen to music on your phone (though for the sake of everyone, please use headphones in public). No headphone jack, of course – RIP.
Haptics are clipped and responsive, and there is a sliding scale to adjust the level of touch feedback from your keyboard – this comes turned off by default.
Specs & Performance
Four storage options
Tensor G3 processor focused on AI capabilities
The phone comes with a generous 12GB RAM, and either 128-, 256-, 512GB or 1TB storage (the last figure is exclusive to the US). That’s perhaps a bit low for a Pro smartphone at just 128GB.
The Pixel 8 Pro comes with an all-new processor, the Tensor G3. According to Google, it’s the company’s biggest machine learning model so far, and is ten times more complex the Tensor G2.
Google has mainly focused on the AI capabilities of this chip, which the smartphone certainly delivers on. It doesn’t focus too much on powerful performance, and that’s because it doesn’t match up to other flagship rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, as proven by our benchmarking tests:
Google Pixel 8 Pro benchmarks
That said, unless you’re a massive mobile gamer, you shouldn’t notice these differences in day-to-day use. It’s smooth for browsing and multitasking, and swiping on social media is fast and responsive. I had one incident where Instagram took a little while to open, but this was solved by closing the app.
I even managed to play Genshin Impact on medium settings on this phone – though it took an age to install, and the handset got quite warm during this time. Graphics had some popping and a little lag, but the fact that I didn’t have to drop down to low settings on this demanding title was a welcome surprise.
Cameras & Video
Excellent main 50Mp camera
Superior image processing
AI editing tools are a mixed bag
This phone range is known for its fantastic camera set-up, and yet again, the Pixel 8 Pro lands a slam dunk.
The main camera is 50Mp, with a f/1.68 aperture and a very generous 1/1.31in image sensor size. This means that the camera can let in more light, allowing for more details to be captured and natural tones to be reflected.
The technology is massively impressive. Textures such as fur, hair, grass and brickwork are captured with extraordinary clarity. In dimmer environments, the Pixel accurately boosts shadows and colours extremely closely to how they appear to the eye. Even moving subjects such as birds and water are captured dynamically, with minimal blur in the air.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Portrait photos look artistic and have just the right amount of background blur – though you can alter this more in the editing process. Macro focus is also available on shots as close as 2cm, allowing you to capture minute details in things such as flowers with incredible clarity. Night sight is also impressive, keeping the sky a natural inky black whilst lifting tones just enough to look authentic.
The ultrawide camera has been upgraded from 12- to 48Mp with autofocus and a f/1.95 aperture. While the light captured isn’t quite as spellbinding as it is on the main camera, lots of details are still present, and there aren’t any washed-out colours as you’ll find on cheaper smartphones.
The telephoto lens from the Pixel 7 Pro remains the same 48Mp lens with a f/2.8 aperture and a 5x optical zoom. There’s also up to 30x digital with Super Res Zoom that counters hand shake during shooting.
Images taken up to 5x zoom are excellent on the Pixel 8 Pro. You can see below the level of detail is captured on the clock and the stained glass window. The digital zoom isn’t quite as impressive, but if you get good lighting conditions they aren’t as blurry as I’ve seen on rivals. The camera struggles more in darker environments with this.
On the front there is a 10.5Mp selfie camera, with a f/2.2 aperture and a 95-degree wide field of view meaning you have the option to get more in range for selfies. I was impressed by the image processing prowess on this, with selfies appearing natural, though a few errant strays of hair did blur into the background. The triple mic array also means it’s good for video calls.
On the editing side, there are the usual Pixel staples such as Astrophotography, Pro controls for manual shooting and Face Unblur. However, many users may be drawn to the new AI camera tools.
The Magic Editor allows you to change the composition of photos in a myriad of ways. You can combine things such as Magic Eraser and highlighting a person to change their size and position to suit your preferences. This can all be done manually, but the auto-generated tool worked well in my shot of my partner.
Magic Editor tool in action
The other headline feature is Best Take, which allows you to swap out different expressions of people when you take multiple photos. I’ve already expressed my moral quandaries with this feature (worries that were shared by my friends and family who agreed it was rather hellish). Putting that aside, I can say that Best Take is not 100% foolproof.
It certainly works better on the main rear camera. It’s hard to tell on some shots that my face has changed, with the AI wizardry moving my hair and neck extremely convincingly. If someone is facing completely away from the camera, then the tool doesn’t always recognise them as a subject for editing.
Best Take – spot the difference
On the front camera, some of the classic AI weirdness began to creep in, with facial features distorted in some shots. Any rogue arms in the way also sends the tool into a minor meltdown.
Video wise, the Pixel 8 Pro is capable of shooting both 4K and 1080p at 60-, 30- and 24fps. One of the most impressive features on this is the Audio Magic Eraser, which managed to cleanly muffle road noise underneath my speech, even when a massive smelly bus pulled up next to me. It couldn’t quite get rid of the traffic light beeps, but I was still happy with the results.
Night Sight on video also means that the smartphone can apply its low-light processing abilities to film recordings – I found that I was able to pick up more accurate shades on my nighttime stroll than other smartphones I’ve used.
I can say that Best Take is not 100% foolproof
Battery Life & Charging
Day-long battery life if used on lower settings
Supports 30W charging with Google’s brick
On paper, the Pixel 8 Pro has a slightly higher battery than the Pixel 7 Pro at 5050- compared to 5000mAh. However, that increased battery life didn’t make a marked improvement in testing.
I managed to make it last throughout the day by turning the resolution and refresh rate down. If I didn’t, then the Pixel 8 Pro would lose charge more rapidly. In our internal tests, the 8 Pro managed nine hours and 33 minutes. For a phone of this size, it’s a shame.
If you don’t have Google’s own 30W charging brick (not supplied as Google only gives you a USB-C to USB-C cable), then charging is also slow. A 30-minute juice took it to just 24 percent, and it takes around two hours to get it all the way to full using a 44W Vivo charger I had to hand.
Google’s one should allegedly give better results, with the brand claiming a 50% charge in 30 minutes. Regardless, even that number is lagging behind some rivals such as Xiaomi and Oppo. The phone also supports 23W wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Software & Apps
Handy AI features for accessibility
Thermometer for object temperature
Seven years of updates
I still mourn my smashed Pixel 3 (always pack your phone in a backpack when cycling, kids), so I was excited to return to Google’s smooth and satisfying UI with the Pixel 8 Pro.
If you’ve been wanting to get your hands on Android 14, then the Pixel 8 phones are the first phones to ship with the full version. The layout of apps is clean and concise, and there is a wide choice of widgets available. The At A Glance feature shows the weather, date and can display other information such as timers, suggested commute times and more. Whilst handy, it can’t be removed, nor can the design be altered – which may be annoying for some.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Generative AI wallpapers mean that you can create something completely unique by combining a range of phrases. For example, I asked for an impressionist style background involving volcanoes and ice cream cones and got some bonkers results. Some prompts only produce one suggestion, meaning that this is a feature that will likely develop over time.
AI extends into other areas, too. Google claims that dictation on messages now supports more natural language. The phone was able to translate my pauses into commas, and even pick up on some slang. It’s not completely accurate, but it’s certainly better than what I’ve seen in the past. Google Assistant can now read aloud webpages using commands such as ‘read this article’, which is great for accessibility – it can even translate them into other languages.
The thermometer (not available on the regular 8) on the phone can currently only be used for objects. You can choose from different materials, such as food, beverages and cast iron, for allegedly more accurate readings. You then should hold the phone 2cm away from the surface and tap the button for a reading.
Despite the IP68 reading, I did have minor palpitations clutching this £1,000 phone tantalising close to my piping hot mocha, plus I’m not the sort of person who cares about the exact temperature of my food and drink. There may be people who get use out of this feature, but it does feel a little niche and gimmicky.
If the sensor could take a user’s temperature, then that would be much more game-changing. The good news is that this is on the way, but Google is just waiting for FDA approval before releasing it to the wider public. I’m glad to see the company is going through the proper due process, it’s just a shame that it’s not available at launch.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons to buy the Pixel 8 Pro is Google’s monster promise of seven years of OS updates, feature drops and security updates – meaning that the phone is covered all the way to 2030. This is a slap in the face to rivals like Samsung, which offers four years of OS updates and five years of security updates, though that was previously the leading promise.
…one of the biggest reasons to buy the Pixel 8 Pro is Google’s monster promise of seven years of OS updates
Phones should be built to last, and it’s good to see Google providing an industry leading figure in this area.
Price & Availability
The Pixel 8 Pro is the smartphone for you if you’re on a premium budget, with prices starting from $999/£999 for the base 128GB model. It goes on sale 12 October, and US readers can get it from Google, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, whilst those in the UK can get it from Google, Amazon, Currys, and Argos. You can find more contract deals in our buying guide for the Pixel 8 series.
Let’s not beat around the bush – the Pixel 8 Pro has had a $100/£150 price increase compared to previous generations. Google has cited all the new features as a reason for the increase, but it’s more likely due to market inflation. After all, the last few models have stayed at the same price.
Nonetheless, this does mean that this year’s models are nowhere near as competitive as the Pixel 7 line… upfront, that is. That seven-year promise of updates mean that this is a future-proofed smartphone. You could hang onto it for years to come, and not worry about it losing support from Google (assuming it keeps the promise).
If camera is king when it comes to your smartphone, then this is one of the best you can get on the market right now. However, the performance isn’t quite up to the same level as other premium rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Check out our chart of the best phones for more options.
There is also the vanilla Pixel 8, which still includes all the AI camera tools, but comes with a less impressive camera spec and a smaller build. For a further breakdown of the differences, check out our Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro comparison.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Should you buy the Google Pixel 8 Pro?
The Google Pixel 8 Pro has a lot of what you’d expect from a premium flagship phone. It looks and feels luxurious, has some of the most intuitive features on a Pixel yet, and the cameras are sublime.
For such a big phone though, the battery life isn’t great. It will get you through the day, but not if you’re a super user. Charging is also painfully slow compared to many phones (often cheaper ones) on the market. Plus, some AI features such as Best Take are just plain creepy.
All that said, the seven-year OS support means that this smartphone should last longer any rival, which could make the steep price tag worthwhile if similarly-priced rivals don’t catch your eye more.
6.7in QHD+ 120Hz LTPO OLED
Google Tensor G3 chipset
128/256/512GB and 1TB non-expandable UFS 3.1 storage
30W wired charging
50Mp f/1.68 main camera
48Mp f/1.95 ultrawide camera.
48Mp f/2.8 telephoto camera
5x optical zoom
Super Res Zoom up to 30x
10.5Mp f/2.2 front camera
Gorilla Glass Victus 2
162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8mm