Google Pixel 8 Review: Pros and Cons

Google Pixel 8 Review: Pros and Cons

There are new smartphones announced during the Made By Google event held on 4 October 2023. These were the Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro. These devices are the successors of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro and represent the eighth generation of the Google Pixel line of smartphones. The specific Pixel 8 is the smaller and less feature-packed sibling of the Pixel 8 Pro but it still boasts notable improvements from the previous generation and flagship capabilities. This article reviews the pros and cons of Google Pixel 8.

Pros of Google Pixel 8: Notable Features and Capabilities

Google highlighted artificial intelligence as the main selling point of this device. This smartphone is built with AI at its center to deliver numerous functionalities. The Google Tensor G3 system-on-a-chip is also one of the highlights of this device that promises to deliver better performance from improved processing capabilities while the upgraded camera system remains aligned with the established camera-centric value proposition of the Pixel line. The following are the specific advantages or pros of Google Pixel 8:

1. Small Premium Device

The Pixel 8 looks similar to the previous Pixel 7. However, when it comes to its specific physical profile, it is a little bit smaller and more compact at 187 grams and a depth of 5.9 height x 2.8 width x 0.4 inches. The Always-On OLED screen with an adaptive refresh rate of 60 Hz to 120 Hz and peak brightness of 1200 nits has a diagonal measurement of 6.2 inches. This makes it appealing to consumers who want a premium but more compact phone.

2. Durable Built Quality

Adding to the overall aesthetic of this device is its IP68 rating which confers it with water and dust resistance. It is also interesting to note that the metal enclosure is made from 100 percent recycled aluminum and the entire device is made of 18 percent recycled materials based on weight. The back is protected with an Edgeless Corning Gorilla Glass Victus while the screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus and has a fingerprint-resistant coating.

3. Hardware Performance

The Google Tensor G3 is a chip with a 9-core CPU and 7-core integrated GPU based on the 4nm process of Samsung. It is also built with a custom Google Tensor Processing Unit for native acceleration of artificial intelligence and machine learning models and workloads along with other coprocessors and communication modules. This chip is designed for premium-level performance for running the most Android recent apps and mobile games.

4. Bigger Battery Capacity

Another advantage of the Google Pixel 8 is its large battery capacity which is enough for most average day-to-day usage. Google claims that its 4485 mAh lithium-ion battery can power the device beyond 24 hours. This estimation is based on the result of real-world benchmark tests involving data connection, phone calls, and idle usage. The overall battery capacity and performance of this smartphone mark an improvement from the Pixel 7.

5. Above-Average Camera

Located on the back is a two-camera system. The main camera has a 50-megapixel lens with 2x optical zoom and optical and electronic image stabilization. It is similar to the Pixel 8 Pro. The second camera is a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens designed for wide shots and macro shots. The overall camera performance is above-average and the images it produces can rival more expensive flagship Android smartphones and even the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

6. Generative AI Features

Part of the selling features of this device is its generative AI capabilities. Live Translate can interpret face-to-face conversations in 49 languages, transcribe messages back and forth, and translate texts using the camera. The camera software also demonstrates further the AI capabilities of this device through features such as the Best Take, Magic Editor, and Audio Magic Eraser for improving image quality and overall mobile photography experience.

7. Seven Years of Support

Another notable advantage of the Google Pixel 8 is its longer lifespan and value for bucks arising from the promised seven years of software support that includes operating system updates and upgrades, regular security patches, and Feature Drop inclusions. This is longer than the standard support offered for Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets that lasts for four years and is on par with the proven long-term software support of iPhone and iPad devices.

Cons of Google Pixel 8: Significant Issues and Drawbacks

The price point at the introduction might be a deal-breaker and potential customers might opt for other smartphones within the mid-range category. The raw performance of the supposedly improved Google Tensor G3 processor also does not provide best-in-class processing capabilities compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and Apple A17 Pro. It also falls short when compared to its bigger but more expensive sibling in terms of a slew of premium features. The following are the specific disadvantages or cons of Google Pixel 8:

1. Tensor G3 Limitations

It is true that the Google Tensor G3 is a flagship-level chip but it has some performance drawbacks for single-threaded and multi-threaded processes when compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It is also not on par with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and the Apple A17 Pro chip used in the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. The closest competitor of this chip is the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus and the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

2. Camera Drawbacks

Another disadvantage or one of the cons of the Google Pixel 8 is the absence of flagship-level features and capabilities in its camera system. The rear camera system lacks extended optical zoom, unlike mid-range Android smartphones. Image quality is good but it can feel artificial because of AI-based processing. Low-light photography is unimpressive. The front-facing camera uses two-dimensional facial recognition but it lacks advanced 3D scanners.

3. User-Reported Bugs

Those who have purchased and used this device, in addition to tech reviews, have noted several software bugs. These include unresponsiveness while using the Audio Magic Eraser feature in the Photos app that requires forced closing. There are also reports have inconsistencies in battery performance on top of noticeable struggles with fast charging in the first 1 to 30 minutes. Wired earphones via a digital-to-analog converter also tend to produce static noise.

4. Notable Price Increase

It is also worth mentioning that the price of this device at introduction is about USD 100.00 more expensive than the Pixel 7. This older generation remains a capable smartphone for average and even above-average users. The 256GB variant of this device retails for around USD 750.00 at introduction. This price range is closer to the price of the base model of the iPhone 15 and even more expensive than the older but more than capable iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 Pro.

Verdict and Takeaway: Pros and Cons of Google Pixel 8

The look and feel of the Google Pixel 8 remain within the realm of premium smartphones. It also has a decent main shooter for taking impressive images under adequate lighting. The overall performance of the chip is above average at best. However, when compared to other flagships, and even to devices within or around the price range, this device lacks best-of-class features and functionalities. It is still one of the best Android smartphones for 2023 under average use cases. The smaller physical dimension of this device makes it attractive for consumers who are tired of using large-screened devices that have been flooding the market.