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Google Pixel 8 & Pixel 8 Pro: The Essential Buyer’s Guide [2023]

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are here with updates aplenty and AI smarts across the board. Should you buy one in 2023? Here’s everything you need to know…



Key Takeaways: Google’s Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro Launch 🚀

Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you need to know about Google’s Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, including the main differences between the phones, their pricing, and all of the new features and AI smarts included in both models:

🖥️ Display:

  • Pixel 8: 6.2-inch Actua display, 42% brighter than before, available in Rose, Hazel, and Obsidian.
  • Pixel 8 Pro: 6.7-inch Super Actua, the brightest Google display to date, available in Porcelain, Bay, and Obsidian. Plus, a unique temperature sensor!

📸 Camera Capabilities:

  • Both models boast enhanced camera systems.
  • Pixel 8 Pro: Improved low-light shots, Macro Focus, better telephoto lens light capture, and front camera autofocus.
  • Pixel 8: Enhanced main camera and a new ultrawide lens with Macro Focus.
  • Unique features: “Best Take 1” for optimal image blending and a refreshed camera app interface.

🎨 Editing & Audio:

  • Magic Editor in Google Photos for superior AI-driven editing.
  • Audio Magic Eraser 1 to minimize background noise in videos.
  • Pixel 8 Pro gets Video Boost and Night Sight Video for enhanced video quality.

🧠 Features & AI:

  • “Summarize” for concise web page summaries.
  • Advanced speech recognition for natural conversation flow.
  • AI-driven reduction in spam calls by 50% and smarter call screening.

🔒 Security:

  • Powered by Tensor G3 and Titan M2 chips for top-tier security.
  • Pixel 8’s Face Unlock meets the highest Android biometric standards, compatible with apps like Google Wallet.

💰 Pricing & Availability:

  • Pixel 8: Starts at $699 / £608
  • Pixel 8 Pro: Starts at $999 / £908 with a bonus Pixel Watch 2 for pre-orders.

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are official. As two of the most leaked phones of all time, there weren’t too many surprises. But Google has rammed a lot of a lot of updates into its new phones for 2023. 

So, if you’re considering getting one, this post is for you because it will cover literally everything you need to know about both phones, including: 

  • New features and specs and why they matter
  • Updates to Google’s camera tech 
  • Pricing and availability
  • Android updates and support
  • How the two models are different

Let’s get stuck in… 

Design & Display

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The design philosophy for both phones leans towards softer silhouettes and metal finishes, with an added touch of sustainability through the use of recycled materials.

The Pixel 8 boasts a 6.2-inch Actua display, which is a whopping 42% brighter than its predecessor, and is available in elegant shades of Rose, Hazel, and Obsidian.

On the other hand, the Pixel 8 Pro, with its 6.7-inch Super Actua display, claims the title for the brightest display yet, and is available in Porcelain, Bay, and Obsidian colors.

A standout feature for the Pro model is its innovative temperature sensor, allowing users to measure the temperatures of objects.

Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s new Actua and Super Actua Display tech.

Camera Tech

Google Pixel 8 & Pixel 8 Pro: The Essential Buyer's Guide [2023]Pin

Google has always been a frontrunner in smartphone photography, and with the Pixel 8 series, they’ve upped the ante. Both phones promise enhanced camera systems for superior photo and video quality.

The Pixel 8 Pro, in particular, has received significant camera upgrades, including improved low-light performance, enhanced Macro Focus, increased light capture on the telephoto lens, and a groundbreaking autofocus feature for the front-facing camera.

The Pixel 8 isn’t far behind with its improved main camera and a new ultrawide lens equipped with Macro Focus.

But that’s not all. Google introduces “Best Take”, a feature that intelligently blends images to ensure everyone looks their best.

The camera app interface has also been revamped for a more intuitive user experience. The Magic Editor in Google Photos, powered by generative AI, promises a seamless editing experience, while the Audio Magic Eraser 1 is designed to reduce unwanted background noises in videos.

For the videography enthusiasts, the Pixel 8 Pro will soon support Video Boost and Night Sight Video, ensuring top-notch video quality even in low-light conditions.

Here’s a more detailed comparison of how the Pixel 8 camera compares to the Pixel 8 Pro’s.

Tensor G3 CPU

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The Tensor G3 is a marked improvement over its predecessor, the Tensor G2. It incorporates the latest 2022 ARMv9 cores. Instead of the previous 4+2+2 core layout, the G3 adopts a more efficient 4+4+1 layout.

In layman’s terms, this means the Pixel 8’s processing speed and multitasking capabilities are expected to be on par with other top-tier smartphones released in 2022.

  • Security Enhancements: Security is paramount in today’s digital age. The Pixel 8, with the Tensor G3, integrates Arm’s Memory Tagging Extensions (MTE), a feature designed to thwart certain memory-based cyberattacks. Additionally, the transition to ARMv9 signifies a move to a 64-bit-only code execution. This ensures that Pixel 8 users will benefit from a more streamlined and secure 64-bit computing experience.
  • A Focus on Graphics: Graphics performance is crucial for tasks like gaming, video playback, and augmented reality. The Tensor G3 doesn’t disappoint. It incorporates an advanced GPU model, the Mali-G715, which is rumored to support cutting-edge ray-tracing capabilities, offering more realistic visuals and lighting effects.
  • Revolutionizing Video Processing: For videophiles, the Tensor G3 introduces significant upgrades. It supports 8K30 video decoding and encoding in popular formats like H.264 and HEVC. A standout feature is the “BigWave” block, which supports AV1 encoding up to 4K30. This makes Google’s Pixel 8 the first mobile device to ship with an AV1 encoder, a format known for its efficiency and quality.
  • AI: The Core of Tensor: Tensor’s raison d’être has always been its focus on AI. The Tensor G3 continues this legacy with the new TPU named “Rio”, operating at 1.1GHz. This enhancement promises faster and more efficient AI operations, from voice recognition to image processing.

Is it faster than Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 GEN 3 CPU or Apple’s A17 platform? No. But that’s never been the point of Tensor. 

From the get-go, Google has harped on about Tensor being about more than just benchmark scores. Its focus has and remains to be machine learning and generally being very helpful and smart. 

And in this context, the Tensor G3 is a solid update over its predecessor being both more powerful in general and much, much smarter with respect to its machine learning derived capabilities. 

  • Image Processing: The GXP, a custom digital signal processor, is a new addition. It’s optimized for image processing tasks, often outperforming traditional GPUs in these functions.
  • Storage: Tensor G3 integrates a new version of Samsung’s UFS controller, paving the way for faster UFS 4.0 storage, ensuring quicker data access and app loading times.
  • Modem: While the Tensor G3 doesn’t introduce major modem upgrades, it’s worth noting for those keen on connectivity specifics.

Android OS Updates

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The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are set to receive an unprecedented 7 years of Android updates. This commitment ensures that a Pixel 8 purchased today will be updated until 2030, a promise unmatched by other Android manufacturers like Samsung, OnePlus, or Motorola.

For many potential users, this extended support could be the deciding factor in choosing a Google Pixel over other brands.

What’s surprising is the duration it took Google to offer this level of support. Given its control over Android and its in-house Pixel hardware design, one would expect such a move sooner. It’s taken eight iterations of the Pixel series to align with Apple’s support standard.

The Pixel brand has seen a steady rise in popularity over recent years. However, this extended support might be the game-changer, overshadowing specs, camera technology, or even pricing. It could be the catalyst that persuades a significant iPhone user base to consider the Pixel.

As Google embarks on this new journey, one can only hope that the quality control issues from previous Pixel models remain in the past.

Features

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Google Goes BIG on AI…

Google loves AI and machine learning. Over the years, it has invested billions and, by the end of this decade, it plans on ploughing around $800 billion into its AI endeavors. 

So, of course, the Pixel and Pixel 8 Pro were going to feature some AI-powered smarts. 

After all, Google’s about to turn its beloved search engine into the world’s biggest plagiarism machine, so it stands to reason that its newest phones would get in on the action. 

The “Summarize” feature is a boon for those who want quick summaries of web pages. It’s not great for content producers and/or publishers which, ironically, are the lifeblood of Google’s business (adverts). But that’s the way Google’s going, so yeah…

The enhanced speech recognition is more intuitive than ever, understanding nuances and pausing for natural breaks. And if spam calls are a nuisance, the improved AI promises to reduce such calls by a staggering 50%.

The Call Screen feature can now discern between wanted and unwanted calls and even suggest responses.

Security Enhancements

With the integration of Tensor G3 and the Titan M2 security chip, users can be assured of top-tier security. The Pixel 8’s Face Unlock feature now aligns with the highest Android biometric standards, granting access to apps like Google Wallet.

Availability & Pricing

The Pixel 8 is priced at $699, while the Pixel 8 Pro will set you back $999. Those pre-ordering the Pixel 8 Pro will be treated to a free Pixel Watch 2.

Special deals are also up for grabs for those pre-ordering on Google Fi Wireless. Starting October 12, both devices, along with related accessories, will be available in the Google Store and other major retail outlets.

And if you do go with a Pixel 8 phone in 2023, make sure you get a decent case too – it’ll keep it looking good for longer.

Final Verdict – Should You Get One?

Google's Super Actua Display DETAILED...Pin

Given all the updates and features packed inside Google’s Pixel 8 series, I think anyone that is currently on the fence will be swayed by what’s on offer here. I know I’m tempted to buy one.

  • Google has improved the display quality and performance on both models, although the Pixel 8 Pro remains superior. 
  • The camera tech, again, on both models, has been massively improved (and it was already impressive on the Pixel 7 series). 
  • The machine learning capabilities and AI smarts on offer inside the Pixel 8 series are essentially unparalleled. No one else is doing what Google is doing with Tensor and AI. 
  • The pricing, while a little more expensive than last year, is still competitive when compared against the cost of a comparable iPhone or Samsung phone. 
  • And finally, the main point: you’ll get 7 years’ worth of Android updates. That’s as good as Apple’s iPhone, and it wipes the floor with every other Android phone brand. 

Of course, it remains to be seen whether these phones will suffer from the same, awful quality control issues as past Pixel devices. But if they hold up better, I reckon either of these phones are well worth a look in 2023. 

Pixel 8 & Pixel 8 Pro Deals

USA 🇺🇸

Mint Mobile

  • 📱 Get 6 months of free premium wireless service when purchasing select phones + a 6-month plan.
  • 🆕 Featured phones include the NEW Google Pixel 8, Google Pixel 8 Pro, Google Pixel 7a, Google Pixel 7 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S23, and NEW Apple iPhone 15.
  • 💵 Phone deals include price discounts and special offers like “$120 Off + Free Pixel Buds Pro” for the Google Pixel 8.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

VISIBLE

  • 🔄 Visible offers trade-in programs and even pays off up to 50% of eligible phones financed with Affirm when you upgrade.
  • 💰 Phones can be purchased through flexible payment plans.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

Amazon 

Amazon has both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro up for grabs. If you want to buy outright and get it the next day, Amazon’s the place to go.

UK 🇬🇧

Three 

  • ⌚ Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 Pro and claim a complimentary Pixel Watch 2.
  • 🎧 Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 and receive Pixel Buds Pro as a bonus.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

O2 

  • ⌚ Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 Pro and claim a complimentary Pixel Watch 2.
  • 🎧 Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 and receive Pixel Buds Pro as a bonus.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

Vodafone 

  • ⌚ Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 Pro and claim a complimentary Pixel Watch 2.
  • 🎧 Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 and receive Pixel Buds Pro as a bonus.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS
Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin is a leading UK technology journalist with a focus on consumer tech trends and data security. Renowned for his insightful analysis, Richard has contributed to Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, and CNBC, making complex tech issues accessible to a broad audience.

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