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Google Pixel 8 review

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9Expert Score
Google Pixel 8 review: Compact power

The Google Pixel 8 may be the middle child of the Pixel family, but it performs remarkably well.

Design
9
Performance
9
Pros
  • Impressive camera performance
  • 7 years of software updates
  • Compact, stylish design
Cons
  • Camera bar isn't for everybody
  • No manual camera controls
  • Max of 256GB storage

While Google shoves all its best tech into the “Pro” version of its smartphones each year, that doesn’t mean that the Google Pixel 8 isn’t an impressive piece of tech. 

Powered by the Tensor G3 processor and offering many of the same software features as the Pixel 8 Pro, this model makes a few sacrifices to the camera, which makes it a significantly more affordable device.

In a saturated Android smartphone market, price is especially important, which makes the Pixel 8 a solid contender as one of the best Android devices of the year.

Google Pixel 8 review: Design

When it comes to mobile phone design, there’s definitely a philosophy of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. 

The Pixel 8 is remarkably similar to the Pixel 7 in its looks, which was remarkably similar to the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 8 (left) and Google Pixel 7 (right) showing the backs of the phones

From the front it’s just another slab of glass, while on the back you get the signature aluminium bar that houses the camera array. 

While the protruding bar does create a more balanced design that sits evenly on a table, I still don’t love it. Fortunately, I packed my review unit into the supplied case, which hides the bulk of the extra depth, but doesn’t add too much bulk. 

The screen on this year’s model is slightly smaller than the Pixel 7, measuring 6.2 inches rather than 6.3 inches. The screens have the same resolution of 2400 × 1080 pixels, which means the PPI is slightly higher for this year’s model.

That said, the screen has had a significant boost in the Pixel 8, boasting 120Hz refresh rate and 2000 nit brightness level.

Google Pixel 8 (left) next to Google Pixel 7 (right)

Features

While there’s not much noticeable visible difference in the dimensions, I’d argue that the Pixel 8 does feel a bit better to hold in the hand than the Pixel 7, though there’s not a lot in it. 

There are two options when it comes to the Pixel 8: a 128GB version and a 256GB version.

While that’s not an issue in and of itself, the fact there’s no expandable memory suddenly limits your options when it comes to keeping photos and videos on your phone. 256GB is a fair amount, but it’s easily filled when you film a lot of the key moments of your life for social media.

On the other hand, the fact Google has promised seven years worth of software updates means that this phone offers significant long-term value, even if it has seen a substantial price rise over the Pixel 7.

Google Pixel 8 review: Performance

Because Pixels always run the purest form of Android, there are absolutely no performance issues when it comes to using the phone.

Scrolling through YouTube videos or your favourite reviews website is smooth and responsive.

To be honest, in 2023, this is what you would expect from a new premium tier smartphone from a major brand. But I had to mention it anyway.

Looking at benchmarks, you can see that there’s a significant improvement over the Pixel 7 year on year. But it still can’t compete with Apple’s silicon, and sits slightly behind Samsung’s hardware as well.

Single-core:

Google Pixel 8
1562
Google Pixel 7
1038
Apple iPhone 15 Plus
2289
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
2098
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
1999
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
1967

Multi-core:

Google Pixel 8
4216
Google Pixel 7
3172
Apple iPhone 15 Plus
5388
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
5512
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
5286
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
5088

GPU:

Google Pixel 8
5071
Google Pixel 7
4528
Apple iPhone 15 Plus
22784
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
9343
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
9100
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
3568

Battery life is solid. I could easily push it to a day and half with moderate use, though I’d likely never go to bed without throwing it on the charger.

The secure face unlock feature works quite well, though compared to Face ID on the iPhone 15 Pro, it isn’t as fast.

Pixel 8 and Pixel 7 cameras together

Camera performance

The real reason you would want to pick up the Pixel 8 is its photography skills.

While Google packed the Pixel 8 Pro with a better camera array, it still gave the Pixel 8 the software advanced to help make your pictures look fantastic.

The shots you get from the 50MP wide camera and the 12MP ultra-wide camera are pretty solid. You’ll obviously end up with slightly better images from the Pro version of the phone, but colour reproduction is solid, and detail is great.

Adding to the feature list is the smart editing functions. From a usability standpoint, the Magic Editor tool is pretty great, particularly with simple things. I removed some trees from a landscape shot, and made the subjects in a photo larger in a couple of shots. 

At a distance, it’s quite impressive how it pieces together the various missing pieces to make this function work. But, when you zoom in, the artefacts are still there, and you won’t get the same result as intricately manipulating the image in Photoshop.

It can also take a bit of time to complete, though the fact it’s all being done on the device is impressive.

Google Pixel 8 review: Verdict

Looking at the current lineup of Pixel phones, you have the Pixel 7a at $749, the Pixel 8 for $1,199 and the Pixel 8 Pro for $1,699.

The Pixel 8 sits in the middle of the pack, and like many middle children, struggles to get the same level of attention as its siblings. 

You do get a lot of the software developments in Android 14, plus the Tensor G3 chip, but the Pixel 7a promises a lot of performance at a much more affordable price.

Taking out the comparison element though and judging the Pixel 8 as though it exists in a vacuum, this is a fantastic phone with a great camera that promises to last until the next decade. That’s an impressive set of features, and combined with the camera quality, definitely makes it worth your consideration.

Buy the Google Pixel 8 online

AU $999.00
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Mydeal.com.au
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AU $898.99
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Mydeal.com.au
AU $950.70
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Mydeal.com.au
AU $988.00
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Mydeal.com.au
AU $1,140.95
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Mydeal.com.au
AU $1,144.36
+ Delivery *
Mydeal.com.au
AU $1,399.00
+ Delivery *
Mydeal.com.au
* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
AU $998.00
+ Delivery *
Mydeal.com.au
* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
Product disclosure

Google supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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