Introduction and specs
While the jump from the Pixel 6 to the Pixel 7 series was somewhat modest, the 8 series’ launch is defined by a slew of new features and upgraded hardware. There’s also an interesting shift in strategy with the smaller Pixel, which is the subject of this review. One of the most notable changes in this year’s vanilla Pixel 8 is its size. The Pixel 8 is now sensibly smaller than the previous one, mainly thanks to the smaller 6.2-inch display, but other design changes have also helped bring down the weight and reduce dimensions.
The heart of the new Pixel 8 series is the new Samsung-made 4nm Google Tensor G3 chipset, promising better efficiency and higher performance compared to its predecessors. It’s also said to produce considerably less heat, which has been an issue in the past for some users. The chip is joined by Google’s Titan M2 security chip and improved NPU, responsible for AI-related tasks.
The display department also gets a lot of attention this year, and although Google’s Actua-branded LTPO OLED panel is reserved for the Pro, the vanilla 8 offers a substantial upgrade over its predecessor. It’s no LTPO but bumps up the refresh rate to 120Hz (welcome to 2020, Google), and the display is advertised as reaching 2,000 nits of peak brightness.
Google Pixel 8 specs at a glance:
Body: 150.5×70.8×8.9mm, 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 (1×3.0 GHz Cortex-X3 & 4×2.45 GHz Cortex-A715 & 4×2.15 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, multi-directional 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 uptick in battery capacity, now 4,575 mAh. The cell supports 27W of wired and 18W wireless charging, which is rather odd because that means a respectable upgrade in the wired charging and a small downgrade in the wireless. Last year, the Pixel 7 supported 20W wireless charging.
Last but not least, Google is stepping up its game when it comes to software support. Starting with the Pixel 8 series, Google is promising 7 years of OS and security updates. That’s more than any other smartphone maker right now, even Apple’s latest iOS 17 is only available to iPhones that are no more than 5-year-old.
While it all sounds good on paper, the devil is in the details, so keep reading to find out how the Pixel 8 fares against the competition in various scenarios and whether the 8 Pro is worth the extra bucks over the vanilla 8.
Unboxing the Google Pixel 8
The Google Pixel 8 ships in a modest retail box containing the bare essentials. It has the user manuals inside along with a USB-C to USB-C, Power Delivery-ready cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter, in case you need it for charging or data transfers.
As is usually the case with some of today’s phones, the charger isn’t included, so you’ll have to get a compatible 27W or faster PD-compliant charger.