The Pixel phones were supposed to be Android’s answer to the iPhone, the definitive hardware and software combo from the platform. However, unimpressive software support and troubled hardware meant they never achieved that goal.
Or perhaps just not until now. With the Pixel 8 series it finally feels that Google is serious about making phones. It’s a big commitment – 7 years of software support (both OS updates and security patches), longer than even Apple offers, which was so far the leader in the market (and nearly as long as Fairphone, which is a bit player). The phones themselves are more capable too, let’s take a look.
The Google Pixel 8 Pro brings predictable upgrades. Perhaps the biggest change is the Tensor G3, the new 4nm chipset. It jumps two generations ahead with Cortex-X3, A715 and A510 cores (compared to X1, A78 and A55 or the G2) and a switch to the top of the shelf Immortalis-G715s MC10 GPU (up from Mali-G710 MP7). We’re yet to see reliable benchmarks, so we can’t judge the performance uplift just yet.
The other upgrades are more incremental. Google switched to a 20:9 display, a bit taller than the 19.5:9 display of the 7 Pro, and boosted the brightness to 2,400 nits peak (up from 1,500 nits). Also, wired battery charging went up to 30W (from 23W).
The cameras got minor touch ups – a brighter aperture for the main module (f/1.7 vs. f/1.9) and better autofocus, more or less the same for the periscope, though with a shorter focal length (113mm f/2.8 vs. 120mm f/3.5). Also, this year the selfie camera has autofocus (PDAF).
The Google Pixel 8 is now smaller and a bit lighter, attracting the attention of people who want small phones. With a 0.2mm increase in thickness Google managed to squeeze in a larger battery (4,575mAh vs. 4,355mAh) and also increased wired charging speed by 7W to 27W. The main camera got a brighter aperture, the ultra wide lens is wider (matching the 8 Pro) and the selfie module has autofocus. The key differentiator between vanilla and Pro camera remains – there is no telephoto lens on board.
The Pixel 8 also gets the new Tensor G3 chipset, still paired with 8GB of RAM and no option for more. The Pixel 8a will get the same chip, though it might be under-clocked – Google is not making the same mistake that it did when the Pixel 7a made the Pixel 7 obsolete. But also this year the Pixel 8 is $100 more expensive than its predecessor, so it has more to prove than its upcoming a-sibling.
Here are the prices for the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro and the launch prices of their predecessors (for the base models). Of course, Pixel 7 models can be had for a lot less these days and this has been true for months – and it will be true for the 8-series soon enough.
|Pixel 7 Pro||$900||€900||₹85,000|
|Pixel 8 Pro||$1,000||€1,100||₹107,000|
|iPhone 15 Pro Max||$1,200||€1,450||₹160,000|
For completeness’ sake, we’re including the prices of the rival Apple and Samsung phones. Keep in mind that all three companies (well, mostly Samsung and to some extend Google) have extensive deals, bundles and trade-in offers, so the actual prices will be lower.
So, what are you going to do? Will you get a Pixel 8 Pro or do you think you should wait for the prices to fall a bit?
What about the Pixel 8 – get it now, wait and see what the Pixel 8a will be like or just skip the Pixel phones altogether?