The Google Pixel 8 Pro is the best Pixel that Google has ever made, and it represents Google’s vision for the future of mobile technology, though that vision does seem a bit clouded and unfocused at times. It has a fantastic display that’s bigger and brighter than its competitors at this price, and the photography features, bolstered by Google’s machine learning, are unmatched by any other phone maker. Some of the new AI features are cool and useful, but some are a bit weird, even off-putting, and the phone suffers from the worst Android tendencies. But Google is committed to this phone for seven years in terms of updates, longer than ever before, so there’s plenty of time for improvement, and the hardware gives Google a great platform to build up from.
Great materials and matte finish refresh the Pixel design
Call screening is natural and very useful
Incredible seven-year commitment from Google for major updates
Android settings and features are confusing and hard to find
Some AI features feel a bit creepy and impersonal
Cameras don’t beat the iPhone 15 Pro without editing help
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Google Pixel 8 Pro: Two-minute review
The Pixel 8 Pro is a sleek update to Google’s venerable Pixel lineup, and while I’ll be ready for a new look and feel next year, I’m happy to report that this is Google's best-looking Pixel yet.
This is also Google’s most ambitious Pixel yet, with some serious camera upgrades that will satisfy even pro photogs, and a Tensor G3 chipset custom built to run Google’s machine learning features. Google is so confident in this phone’s performance that it is promising an unprecedented seven years of major updates, longer than any other phone maker supports its phones, currently.
That said, this is a very, very odd device. If Google had simply released a generic smartphone with the Pixel 8 Pro’s cameras, display and design, it would have had a simple winner, capable of making an argument against not-quite-flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus or the Apple iPhone 15 Pro. Instead, Google is pushing deep into machine learning territory with generative AI features that will offer new experiences on your phone.
Some of these, like the amazing new call-screening assistant, work wonderfully, and are set to become an enduring part of our smartphone experience. Others, like the new photo editing features, border on frightening. Most, like AI wallpaper, seem like simple distractions and additions that could have been an app you download, but instead are now part of the Android-on-Pixel experience.
This is a decidedly Android phone, for better but mostly, these days, for worse. It’s a confusing mess. You’re faced with setup screens that never seem to end, notifications that never seem to disappear, and Settings menus that are layered deep enough to strike magma.
The good news is that Google has plenty of time to fix Android, and if it does so Pixel 8 Pro owners will benefit from those improvements for seven years, if Google lives up to its promise.
This is very good news indeed. In fact, it’s some of the best news I’ve heard from the Android camp in quite some time. If Google really delivers on seven years of major OS upgrades, Pixel feature drops, and Security updates, the Pixel 8 Pro will be the first Android phone to beat Apple in terms of longevity.
Will the Pixel 8 Pro be worth owning in seven years? Decidedly not, not if you’re buying one today. But, when it comes time to sell your Pixel 8 Pro in a year or two, the person you sell it to will know they aren’t buying an unsupported lemon. They’re buying a phone that could last them, and possibly someone else after them, for years.
If you’re firmly encamped with Google on Android territory, the Pixel 8 Pro is a great choice for your next phone. Software-wise, Google has a lot of catching up to do against iOS 17 before I’d recommend buying it over the iPhone 15 Pro, but Google’s phone is fun and unique enough that I’d consider this phone if you can’t spring for a truly fancy foldable or the mighty Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Of course, the real fun begins when Google starts slashing prices, and it can be liberal with discounts, especially around the sales season. More than with any other brand, I recommend waiting for a deal when you’re considering a Pixel phone, because as good as the phone is now, it feels like an even better buy for a few hundred dollars or pounds less.
Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Price and availability
- Starts at $999 / £999 / AU$1,699 for 128GB storage
- Available with up to 1TB of storage in the US, 512GB globally
- Costs $100 / £150 / AU$400 more than the 128GB Pixel 7 Pro
The Pixel 7 Pro costs a bit more than last year’s model, when I was expecting that Google would drop the price. That’s because, frankly, the Pixel 7 Pro didn’t age very well in terms of performance and value, and rumors suggested that the Pixel 8 Pro wouldn’t offer much benefit over its predecessor. However, as it turns out there’s much more value to be found in the Pixel 8 Pro, and it holds up nicely against competitors in its price range.
The most promising way Google has added value to the Pixel 8 Pro is with its promise to support the phone for seven years of major software upgrades, security updates, and Pixel feature drops. Android phones have traditionally been lacking in terms of longevity and long-term value, and no Android phone maker has ever offered this level of long-term support. Even Apple stops supporting iPhones with new OS upgrades after about five years.
The Pixel 8 Pro doesn’t have the best performance, so its prospects as a long-term device are questionable, but at least we know Google won’t ignore it and let it rot on the vine.
Of course, you probably won’t keep your phone for seven years, but when it comes time to trade or sell it, it should hold its value better because of Google’s support commitment. Time will tell; and there are other reasons why this phone is worth more than last year’s model.
The Pixel 8 Pro has a fantastic display, brighter and sharper than those on the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S23 Plus. The phone also has the largest battery of the bunch, and battery life lived up to Google's promises during my review period.
The cameras are better in many ways, but the specs can get a bit esoteric and hard to explain. Needless to say, they take much better photos than before, and the new AI editing tools are incredibly impressive. Scary, impressive, and I mean that sincerely.
|Storage||US price||UK price||AU price|
If you have this much to spend, I’d still recommend the iPhone 15 Pro; not for the cameras or the hardware, but because iOS 17 is leaps and bounds ahead of Android 14. Apple’s software experience isn’t just simplified, it’s elegant and polished. Android has gotten unwieldy again, and it’s hard to recommend even the best Android phone over a comparable iPhone.
That said, the Pixel 8 Pro offers great value against the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, although if you can spend more (or get a great contract deal), both Samsung and Apple have even fancier phones with more cameras to sell you, while Google hits its ceiling with the 8 Pro.
- Value score: 4 / 5
Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Specs
Check out the Google Pixel 8 Pro's full specs below:
|Header Cell - Column 1|
|Dimensions:||162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8mm|
|Screen size:||6.7 inches|
|Resolution:||1344 x 2992 pixels|
|Chipset:||Google Tensor G3|
|Storage:||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Rear Cameras:||50MP main; 48MP 5x tele; 48MP ultrawide (macro)|
Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Design
- Yup, it still looks like the Pixel 6
- Matte finish and nice color choices add some class
- Is this how every Pixel is going to look in the future?
What is there to say about a phone design that has barely changed in three years? Like this year’s iPhone 15 series, the Pixel 8 Pro is a bit more curvy than last year, with new colors and a matte finish. It is decidedly nicer than last year’s model, if you care about the fine details, which I do.
The Pixel 8 Pro is more rounded on the corners, and more flat on the display. This makes the phone easier to hold, while also giving you a better view of your content. The finish is lovely, and the colors are more classy and inviting than unusual and modern. Most folks love the Bay blue best, but I’m into these cream-colored phones this year, so I asked for a Porcelain sample from Google for my review.
This is the nicest Pixel phone Google has made so far, which is good because it has largely made the same phone three times now, with two more A-series models in between. I feel like these refinements could have come last year, and this year we could be looking at something even more evolved.
I don’t mind the Google Pixel camera bump. It adds a distinct touch of flair, and on my Porcelain model it has the slightest golden hue that gives it a nice glint in the sun. It’s a very pretty phone, especially if you’ve never held a Pixel before.
If you are a Pixel owner, especially if you own an older Pixel, you’re probably eyeing this phone for an upgrade. It’s too bad that Pixel 6 owners, ready to upgrade now, have only this slightly refreshed-looking version of their older phone to buy. I’d like to see something more novel next year, especially if the Pixel remains at this higher price level, on par with the titanium iPhone 15.
- Design score: 4 / 5