Google Pixel 8 review: full of surprises

Not a small Pixel 8 Pro, but a great phone in its own right

Google Pixel 8 review front angled 21:9
(Image: © Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

TechRadar Verdict

While it lacks a few of the Pixel 8 Pro's high-end features, the standard Pixel 8 shares a refreshed design, the company's latest Tensor G3 chipset, and a number of new AI features that the processor facilitates. The dual rear camera setup is impressively versatile, and backed by powerful new features like Magic Editor that let you manipulate your shots in ways not possible on any other phone. For the price, this is a particularly special blend of Google ingenuity that's well worth considering.


  • +

    New Tensor chip

  • +

    Refreshed design

  • +

    AI camera tricks


  • -

    Design changes are minor

  • -

    Minimal camera upgrades over Pixel 7

  • -

    No temperature sensor

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Google Pixel 8: Two-minute review

Ever since Google turned its Pixels 'Pro', the distinction between each year's standard and Pro model has always come down to more than a simple size difference, and that's especially true with the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

Beyond the same 50MP main camera and new Tensor G3 Google-made silicon, however, there's a clear distinction in what the standard Google Pixel 8 brings to the table compared to its Pro-branded sibling. The question is, does the absence of Pro features mean you should pass on this year's standard Pixel; or do the generational upgrades from Pixel 6 and 7 to the 8 make it the Pixel to pick for those looking to enjoy Android exactly as Google intended?

The standard Pixel continues to shrink, with another tenth of an inch off its display, compared to the Pixel 7, giving the Pixel 8 a 6.2-inch screen. If that's not an issue for you, the phone's newly-named 'Actua' OLED display finally enjoys a peak refresh rate of 120Hz, even if the refresh rate isn't dynamic like the 8 Pro's, and has to be manually switched on and off as desired.

Google Pixel 8 review front straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

As ever, the promise of Google's Tensor chipset isn't more power, so much as more room for AI-based wizardry, which is most tangible on the Pixel 8 in the camera experience, and the powerful tools integrated into the Photo app. The Pixel 7 took great pics from its main 50MP camera, and there was already a decent level of versatility, but the refinement of the photography experience on the Pixel 8 is evident.

On the hardware side, while that main snapper takes in more light, the 12MP ultra-wide that accompanies it now boasts autofocus, unlocking a macro shooting mode that, last year, was exclusive the Pixel 7 Pro. Paired with Google's top-tier image processing, even when zooming in and despite the lack of a true telephoto lens as found on the 8 Pro, the camera system on offer delivers impressive versatility that most users should be more than happy with.

Google being Google, you also get access to powerful new corrective tools, like Best Take, which helps you collate the right combination of faces from a burst of group shots, as well as Audio Magic Eraser, which as the name implies, leans on the Tensor G3's AI smarts to iron out unwanted background noise against the wanted audio of your video's subject. These are the kinds of features that help set the Pixel experience apart from the rest, and the number of features the standard model possesses isn't anything to be sniffed at.

Google Pixel 8 review back straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

A surprisingly large battery and decent all-day battery life round out an otherwise predictable but capable generational upgrade that's priced to light a match under both Apple's and Samsung's latest baseline flagship phones (check out our iPhone 15 review and Samsung Galaxy S23 review for more context).

So long as you don't prize a telephoto lens, and can live with fewer ultra-wide megapixels, you won't sacrifice too much if you choose the Pixel 8 over the Pixel 8 Pro.

Want more of our thoughts on the latest Pixel products? Check out our Google Pixel 8 Pro review and hands-on Google Pixel Watch 2 review too.

Google Pixel 8 review: Price and availability

  • Priced from $699 / £699 / AU$1,199
  • On sale from October 12
  • Pricier than its predecessor

Google unveiled the 6.2-inch Pixel 8 and 6.7-inch Pixel 8 Pro at its October 4 Made by Google event, at which it also launched the new Google Pixel Watch 2

The Pixel 8 starts at $699 / £699 / $1,199 for the 128GB model, which is similar to what you would have paid last year for the higher-capacity 256GB Pixel 7, marking a generational price increase that, admittedly, is far more noticeable with this year's Pixel 8 Pro. If you do want the top 256GB Pixel 8, that'll cost you $759 / £759 / $1,299, with the added quirk that this variant is only available in Obsidian (black) for those looking to buy the Pixel 8 in Australia (the 128GB version can be had in all three colorways).

Here's a full price breakdown for the Pixel 8:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Google Pixel 8 prices
StorageUS priceUK priceAU price
256GB$759£759AU$1,299 (only available in Obsidian)

Preorders opened following the phone's unveiling on October 4, with full availability from October 12.

If you've already heard enough, and are ready to snag yourself a new Google Pixel 8, you can check out our Google Pixel 8 preorders page, which we're constantly updating with the best offers available.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Google Pixel 8 review: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 1
Dimensions:150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm
Display:6.2-inch Full HD+ (1080 x 2400) 60Hz to 120Hz 'Actua' OLED
Chipset:Google Tensor G3
Storage:128GB / 256GB (UFS 3.1)
OS (at launch):Android 14
Primary camera:'New' 50MP, f/1.68, 82° FoV w/ OIS
Ultra-wide camera:12MP, f/2.2, 125.8º FoV
Front Camera:10.5MP, f/2.2, 95º FoV
Charging:27W wired, 18W wireless (2nd-gen Pixel Stand), 12W wireless (Qi)
Colors:Obsidian, Hazel, Rose

Google Pixel 8 review: Design

Google Pixel 8 review back angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • More rounded corners than predecessors
  • Pleasingly compact
  • Underwhelming choice of colors

This year, you get a familiar design across both models, with the now-iconic camera bar along the back (matte on the 8 and polished on the 8 Pro), as well as more rounded corners that make the design of both new Pixels softer and more approachable than their forebears.

The more rounded form and adjusted 20:9 aspect ratio combine to make the 8 a nicely compact and pocketable Android phone, and excluding the distinct camera bar (and the added thickness it brings), the 8's silhouette is very similar to that of a key rival, the Samsung Galaxy S23.

No only is there a greater generational disparity in screen sizes with the Pixel 8 line, the Pixel 8 sheds a noticeable amount of weight compared to its predecessor, dropping from 197g down to 187g, as well as being a little less tall and a touch narrower.