Review: Pixel 8 Pro vs. Pixel 8 vs. Pixel 7 – Which Smartphone Is The Best Buy?


The Pixel smartphone series has always been a favorite among tech enthusiasts, and the buzz around the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro is no exception. With a $300 price difference, the inevitable question arises: Which smartphone offers better value and is the best buy? Let’s dive in.

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Pixel 8 vs. Pixel 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Vs 8 Pro Review Compare Which Better

Left: Pixel 8 Pro; Right: Pixel 8

Price Point

The Pixel 8 (128GB) retails at $699, whereas its Pixel 8 Pro (128GB) is priced at $999 – both marking a $100 hike from last year’s models. The immediate question that arises is: what are we getting for that extra cost of $300?

Unboxing the Pixel 8 Pro, you get a USB-C cable and USB Type A adapter. Unfortunately it seems Google has been influenced by Apple and decided they no longer wanted to provide a power brick for a $1000 phone. Personally I like this power adapter from Anker: https://amzn.to/3VE3yro.

Google Pixel 8 Pro Smartphone Unbox

Size, Weight and Design

The Pixel 8 boasts a 6.2-inch screen, making it even marginally smaller than the Pixel 7’s 6.3-inch. Weighing just 187g, its lightweight design makes for a comfortable grip. Conversely, the 8 Pro, though heavier at 213g, doesn’t feel too heavy.

Google Pixel 8 Pro Smartphone Front Screen Display

Both phones have similar design: rounded corners that enhance the ergonomic feel and comfort; A flat screen design that eliminates the curves over the edge seen in many modern smartphones; And the bezels are uniform all around, and the chin, which was previously prominent in older Pixels, is barely noticeable.

Google Pixel 8 Pro Smartphone Side Edge

However the back material is different: while the Pixel 8 has a glossy finish on back, the 8 Pro features a slightly matte finish. Personally I prefer the matte finish on the 8 Pro, because the glossy finish on the 8 is more prone to scratches and smudges that might look worse over time if you are not using a case.

Google Pixel 8 Pro Smartphone Back

One of the first things that struck me was the pronounced camera bump. In fact, calling it a “bump” feels like an understatement. This hard-edged design, although visually striking, raised concerns about it catching on pockets.

Performance and Features

Powering both devices is Google’s latest 9-core Tensor G3 processor. While its predecessor, the Tensor G2, was decent, it wasn’t the most efficient, especially in terms of battery life. The hope with the G3 is to see significant improvements in battery efficiency, rather than raw power. Additionally, the Tensor G3 has an emphasis on AI and machine learning capabilities, which is one of the main selling points of the Pixel 8 series.

The Pixel 8 houses 8GB of RAM, while the Pro model offers a substantial 12GB. Gaming enthusiasts, especially, will appreciate the 7-core Mali G715 GPU.

Gaming on the Pixel 8 Pro is a delight, with games like Genshin Impact running smoothly. However, prolonged gaming sessions made the phone noticeably warm.

The Pixel 8 Pro introduces a thermometer feature that can detect temperature of objects. While it might be a niche feature, it seems to be accurate. The speakers are satisfactory, offering clear sound, although they do distort at maximum volume.

Display

Google claims the Pixel 8 Pro has the best display they’ve ever mounted on a device. Both models have seen significant upgrades in the display:

  • Resolution and Refresh Rate: The Pixel 8 comes with a 6.2-inch OLED display, retaining its 1080p resolution, but now introduces a 120Hz refresh rate. The 8 Pro, in contrast, has a higher resolution and an LTPO display that can range from 1Hz to 120Hz, offering adaptive refresh rates based on content.
  • Brightness: Both phones feature incredibly bright displays. The Pixel 8 reaches up to 2000 nits, while the Pixel 8 Pro can go up to 2400 nits. These are arguably among the brightest screens available in smartphones today, making outdoor viewing a pleasure.

Battery Life and Charging

Both the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro offer impressive battery life.

Although the battery sizes are marginally larger than their predecessors, the real game-changer is the Tensor G3’s efficiency, promising extended battery life.

The Pixel 8 houses a 4575mAh battery, whereas the 8 Pro comes with a 5050mAh cell. Expect similar battery life between the 8 and 8 Pro despite the larger battery in the latter due to its bigger screen. Preliminary usage indicates a decent battery life that should last a day’s constant use with some juice to spare. Charging speeds for both were commendable, reaching over 90% in just an hour.

Camera Capabilities

Google Pixel 8 Pro Smartphone Camera

The camera, as expected from Google, is impeccable, and this is where the two phones start to diverge:

  • Primary Shooter: Both phones share a primary 50MP sensor, captures sharp, vivid image.
  • Ultra-Wide: The Pixel 8 has a 12MP ultra-wide camera, while the Pixel 8 Pro features a superior 48MP ultra-wide with macro capabilities.
  • Telephoto: adds depth and clarity to zoomed-in shots. Only the 8 Pro is equipped with a 48-megapixel telephoto camera, enabling 5x optical zoom. The Pixel 8 doesn’t have this lens, and it compensates with an enhanced Super Res Zoom feature.

This differentiation in camera suite makes it evident that Google aims to create a distinct gap between the standard and Pro models. For camera enthusiasts, the Pixel 8 Pro is clearly the winner, with its advanced lens and capabilities. However, for everyday users, the Pixel 8’s camera should suffice.

Software Updates

Arguably, the most compelling aspect of the Pixel 8 series isn’t the hardware but the software. Google promises a whopping 7 years of updates, outshining even the iPhone. Both phones will ship with Android 14, and if Google stays true to its promise, Android 21 could be on the horizon by 2030.

Final Thoughts: Should you get the 8 or 8 Pro?

The Google Pixel 8 series are solid devices, offering a balance of performance, aesthetics, and features. While it has its quirks, like any tech product, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are undoubtedly top contenders in today’s smartphone market.

The Pixel 8 Pro, with its advanced camera features and added RAM, seems to be targeting photography enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8, with its competitive price, is tailored for the general consumer.

Google Pixel 8 Pro Smartphone Hand Hold Bottom Usb C

Google Pixel 8 Pro Smartphone Hand Hold Side Volume Power Buttons

In terms of sheer hardware numbers, Pixels might not stand out against the competitions, but for those who value software prowess and a seamless user experience, the Pixel series remains unbeatable.

For the average user, the Pixel 8, priced at $699, offers a balanced blend of features, smaller form factor, making it the go-to choice. The $999 Pixel 8 Pro, while catering to the power users, is not an absolute spec-beast but holds its own with a larger screen, enhanced camera controls, and greater 512GB storage option.

Pixel 8 vs. Pixel 7

Google Pixel 8 8pro 7 Smartphone Comparison

Design and Build

On the outside, the Pixel 8 is marginally smaller, making it slightly more comfortable to hold with one hand. While the Pixel 7 boasts a 6.3-inch display, the Pixel 8 comes in at 6.2 inches. However, the Pixel 8’s reduced bezels make it appear more contemporary. For me, the Pixel 8’s feel in the hand is noticeably superior.

Display Enhancements

The Pixel 8 shines in screen brightness, reaching at a remarkable 2000 nits, significantly outperforming the Pixel 7’s 1400 nits. This, combined with the HDR brightness, elevates the viewing experience. Another commendable feature is the Pixel 8’s 120Hz refresh rate, making interactions smoother compared to Pixel 7’s 90Hz.

Performance and Battery

While both phones share the same RAM and storage capacities, the new AI features are exclusive to the Pixel 8. Features like the secure face unlock and advanced AI-driven photo editing tools set the Pixel 8 apart. Regarding battery capacity, both phones are similar, but a new phone will naturally offer better battery life due to the newer batteries. Also the new G3 chip in the Pixel 8 promises better efficiency than the G2 chip in the Pixel 7.

Camera Capabilities

The Pixel 8’s camera is where significant upgrades are evident. From a wider aperture to autofocus in the ultra-wide camera for macro shots, the enhancements are noticeable. The ultra HDR mode, which makes photos pop with vibrancy, is genuinely game-changing. Viewing photos felt like watching an HDR movie – an experience hard to go back.

Software Updates

Google promises an ambitious 7 years of OS updates for the Pixel 8, dwarfing the Pixel 7’s 3 to 4 years. If delivered, this alone could be a compelling reason for many to upgrade, especially considering even Apple doesn’t offer such extended support.

Conclusion: Should you get the Pixel 8 or 7?

Weighing the pros and cons, the Pixel 8 emerges as a substantial upgrade from the Pixel 7. Whether it’s the enhanced camera, AI capabilities, or the promise of extended software updates, the Pixel 8 is compelling.

But remember, if you’re considering the upgrade, take advantage of the current deals and perhaps even profit from the free Pixel Buds Pro!

Tips and Tricks

I found the Pixel 8 Pro missing some user-friendly customizations present in the OnePlus 7 Pro I had been using, including:

  • Double-tap home screen to lock
  • Square app icons
  • Sound/vibrate/mute toggle button
  • Gesture control on the lock screen (for instance, turning on the camera and torch)

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