Google Pixel 8 and Pro – a deep-dive smartphone review

The highly anticipated Google Pixel 8 and Pro share the same basic internals but, as we found, offer different feature sets and user experiences. Are they worth the investment? Read on.

Google wants you to forgo the usual ‘speeds and feeds’ review and take its word that the future is all about AI and what it can do for you. The Google Pixel 8 and Pro certainly have some nice AI camera features, but we question if Joe and Jane Average are ready to use them. If not, they only need a decent phone with a great camera and many of the AI features are making their way into Android and the makers’ UIs.

And its desire to eschew ‘speeds and feeds’ means that it does not want to compete with other flagships like the Samsung Galaxy 23 Ultra (Qualcomm SD8 Gen 2), OPPO FindX6 Pro or N3 Fold (ditto), Motorola Edge+/40Pro (ditto) excellent SD8 Gen 1 flagship from Motorola like its iconic Razr or ThinkPhone.

Regrettably, for Google, CyberShack likes ‘speeds and feeds’, and we find precisely what Google eschews – that no features are flagship class leading.

This is a side-by-side review where we will break down the components and comment on each. If you are in a hurry, just read the comments. ‘Test’ means independently tested regardless of any Google claims.

We recommend that you read our review companion, which deep-dives into aspects of each. Google Pixel 8 Pro and 8 – which one? (review companion).

Australian Review: Google Pixel 8 and Pro

ModelGoogle Pixel 8 ProGoogle Pixel 8
Model NumberG1MNWGPJ41
Price Base12/128GB8/128GB
   Price base$1699
Bay, Obsidian, Porcelain
Cases from $44.95-$109.99
30W charger and 3W cable $45
Qi 23W Pixel Stand Gen 2 $119
Hazel, Obsidian, Rose
   Price 212/256GB $17998/256GB $1299
   Price 312/512GB $1999N/A
Warranty months24 monthsSame
 TierFlagshipEntry-level flagship
WebsiteProduct PageProduct Page
FromGoogle Online, Harvey Norman, JB H-Fi, Office Works.
Telcos offer monthly phone repayment and mobile data plans: Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone.
Country of OriginChinaSame
CompanyGoogle is a giant company that started with a search engine. It is now one of the largest advertising platforms in the world. It is behind the Android and Chrome operating systems.Same
MoreCyberShack Google news and reviews
CyberShack smartphone reviews
Test dateNovember 2023Same
Ambient temp20-25°Same
ReleaseOctober 2023Same
Other models not for Australia (Don’t buy)Warranty is only valid with genuine Australian stock. Wi-Fi 6E/7 requires Australian firmware for its bands.  A genuine phone has the R-NZ C-Tick About Phone>Regulatory Labels and the AU warranty under About>Phone>Limited Warranty.Same

We use Fail (below expectations), Passable (meets low expectations), Pass (meets expectations), Pass+ (near Exceed but not class-leading) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. You can click on most images for an enlargement. Where there are two columns the 8 Pro is on the left.

First impression – Pass+

If you like Google design cues, then you will love these. It is a typical Google Pixel with a rear metal camera bar and earthy colours. The 8 Pro has a Gorilla Glass Victus 2 (GGV2) back that seems more fingerprint-resistant than the 8 with a Gorilla Glass Victus (GGV) back.

Screen – Pass

It is a decent, bright, daylight readable colour screen, but at 8-bit colour is quite outclassed by other flagships.

This is an 8-bit/16.7m colour screen, whereas flagships (except for Samsung) have moved to 10-bit/1.07 billion colour screens. We can see the difference between photo and video image previews and the end result. The screen does not support Dolby Vision (it should), and there is colour banding/haloing on HDR10/+ videos.

Screen specs

Flat, Curve, 2D, 3DFlatSame
Resolution2992 x 1344
(Screen can run in ‘High Resolution’ – lower pixels 2244 x 1008)
2400 x 1080
Screen to Body %87.4%85.5%
Colours bits8-bit/16.7m colours
Google calls this 24-bit (3 x 8-bit RGB) – it is not.
Refresh Hz, adaptive1-120Hz AdaptiveFixed 60 or adaptive 60/120Hz
Response 120HzN/AN/A
Nits typical, testNot disclosed (Test 960)Not disclosed
(Test 923)
Nits max, test1600 nits HDR 100% screen (Test 1460)
2400 nits peak brightness in a 5% window (test 2323)
1400 nits HDR 100% screen (Test 1235)
2000 nits peak brightness in a 5% window (Test 1890)
ContrastInfinite 1,000,000:1Same
sRGBNot disclosed (Test Natural setting 100% sRGB)Same
DCI-P3This is an 8-bit/16.7m colour screen, whereas flagships (except for Samsung) have moved to 10-bit/1.07 billion colour screens. We can see the difference between photo and video image previews and the end result. The screen does not support Dolby Vision (it should), and there is colour banding/haloing on HDR10/+ videos.Test 87% of 16.7m colour gamut)
Rec.2020 or otherN/A
Note there are no calibration settings.
Delta E (<4 is excellent)<1Same
HDR LevelHDR10/HLG/HDR10+ (No Dolby Vision)Same
SDR UpscaleNoSame
Blue Light ControlNoSame
PWM if known120Hz <50% brightness
240Hz >50% Brightness
Quite a noticeable flicker that could cause issues for PWM-sensitive users.
Daylight readableYesSame
Always on DisplayYes, and At a GlanceSame
Edge displayNoSame
AccessibilityAll Android featuresAll Android features
DRML1 for FHD, SDR and HDR (1080p max)Same
Gaming<2ms GTGSame
Screen protectionGorilla Glass Victus 2Gorilla Glass Victus
CommentDisappointing screen preview and photo colour match. Same

Processor – Pass

The Google Tensor G3 falls well behind current flagships using the Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1, 2, or 3 System-on-a-Chip (40-60% in raw speed). In addition, its modem is only for city use, and you can’t mount a live storage external SSD.

Brand, ModelGoogle Tensor G3 (made by Samsung based on its older Exynos 4nm LPP technology)
Titan M2 security co-processor
Cores1×3.0GHz & 4×2.45GHz & 4×2.15GHz using older ARM designsSame
ModemSamsung Exynos 5300 modemSame
AI TOPSGoogle Tensor NPUSame
Geekbench 6 Single-core17641653
Geekbench 6 multi-core45844218
LikeSingle Core SD8 Gen 2
Muti-Core SD8 Gen 1
GPUMali-G715 (Ray tracing not supported)Same
GPU Test
Open CL52864972
LikeSD8+ Gen 1Same
Storage, free, type128GB UFS 3.1 (95GB Free)Same
CPDT internal seq. Read MBps972
(Jazz Diskbench 1293)
1060 (Jazz Diskbench 1355)
CPDT internal seq. write MBps206
(Jass Diskbench 207)
(Jazz Diskbench 137 – longer disk latency)
CPDT microSD read, write MBpsN/AN/A
CPDT external (mountable?) MBpsFiles finds it as an OTG for cut and paste but not as a mountable device and it will not speed test.Same
CommentWhat a waste! A USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 interface that does not support mountable drives or Alt DP audio/video/data/charging streams. It is like Google only wants you to use its Cloud and Chromecast.Same

Throttle test – Fail

We ran several tests on each phone at ambient temperatures from 20-25°. 40% throttling is not acceptable to gamers or power users.

Max GIPS290498 (258475)250533 (272569)
Average GIPS212063 (195924)167857 (202246)
Minimum GIPS154544 (177830)132782 (178260)
% Throttle40% (29%)42% (30%)
CPU Temp50° but case measured 43° (warm)Same
CommentWe ran several throttle tests and received wildly variable results. The two shown are the best and worst. We suspect the differences are due to firmware updates between tests and the fact that Google appears to have slowed the SoC from 290K to 258K GIPS.Same

Comms – Pass

We had issues with Wi-Fi auto-ranging between bands requiring disable/enable of Wi-Fi to change bands.

Wi-Fi Type, modelWi-Fi 7 BE Tri-band 2.4/5/6GhzSame
Test 2m -dBm, Mbps-22/2401 (good)-20/2401 (good)
Test 5m-44/2401-43/2401
Test 10m-51/1729 (15m -62/1297)-51/1921 (15m -60/1297)
BT Type5.35.3
GPS single, dualDual – accuracy to <2mSame
USB typeUSB-C 3.2 Gen 2 10Mbps is only partially implemented.Same
ALT DP, DeX, Ready ForNo
Supports Chromecast but not USB-C to HDMI or DP.
   GyroCombo with AcceleratorSame
   Ambient lightYesSame
   Hall sensor
   OtherTemperature – not for medical use – varies by up to 1°No
CommentWe are disappointed that Google persists in not using the USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port for video/audio/data. You cannot attach a UBS-C to USB-C/HDMI/DP cable and screen mirror, let alone use Android 14 Desktop mode (Beta). For many, this is a deal breaker.
Wi-Fi speeds varied wildly and required disable/enable Wi-Fi to change bands.

4/5G – Pass(able)

For city and suburbs use only – unacceptable for a flagship phone.

SIMSingle SIM and eSIM or dual eSIMSame
   ActiveSingle ActiveSame
Ring tone single, dualSingleSame
Wi-Fi callingYesYes
4G Bands1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/30/32/38/40/41/42/46/48/66/71Same
CommentWorld phoneSame
5G sub-6Ghz1/2/3/5/7/8/12/20/25/28/30/38/40/41/66/71/75/76/77/781/2/3/5/7/8/12/20/25/26/28/29/30/38/40/41/48/66/70/71/77/78
CommentWorld phoneWorld phone
mmWaveUS Market only n257/258/260/261No
Test Boost Mobile, Telstra
   UL, DL, msWould not runSame
   Tower 1 -dBm, fW or pW-87/2pWSame
   Tower 2NoSame
   Tower 3NoSame
   Tower 4NoSame
CommentFlagship phones should have good signal strength in all areas. It is disappointing that it is strictly a city and suburbs phone where there is good tower coverage.Same

Battery – Pass

Performs as expected, but no charger inbox, and fairly slow charging loses points.

Charger, type, suppliedNot supplied.
Claimed 30W chargeable
Test 9V/3A/27W
Not supplied.
Claimed 27W chargeable
Test 9V/2.7A/25W
 PD, QC level3 – any PD or PPS charger will workSame
Qi, wattage23W using Pixel stand; otherwise 15W18W using Pixel stand; otherwise 15W
Reverse Qi or cable.Yes – <5WSame
Test (60Hz or adaptive screen)AdaptiveSame
   Charge 0-100%1 hour 50 minutes1 hour 27 minutes
   Charge Qi, W
Using Belkin Boost Charge 15W fast wireless charge
6 hours6 hours
   Video loop 50%, aeroplane16 hours 56 minutes17 hours 12 minutes
   PC Mark 3 battery13 hours 52 minutes
Accubattery 15 hours
15 hours
Accubattery 16 hours 37 minutes
   GFX Bench Manhattan batteryHung – out of memorySame
   GFX Bench T-Rex352 minutes (5.87 hours) 6209 frames348.8 (5.81 hours) 6728 frames
   Drain 100-0% full load screen on4 hours 28 minutes6 hours 29 minutes
   mA full load2000-2200mA1800-2000mA
   mA Watt idle Screen on300-350mA250-300mA
   Estimate loss at max refreshTested on AdaptiveSame
   Estimate typical useGoogle advertises up to 24 hours of typical use. Heavy users (gamers) will get 4-5 hours screen on. We think it’s a retrograde step not to include a charger inbox. Although tests were done with a Google 30W charger, we found that other PD/PPS chargers did not charge a 9V/3A/27W, tending to charge at 9V/2A/18W.Same
CommentThe result is commensurate with a flagship phone, e.g., one day’s use.Same

Sound – Pass(able)

It has a very basic sound system with mismatched top and bottom speakers and no Dolby Atmos, 3D spatial sound or EQ.

SpeakersForward-firing earpiece and bottom-firing speakerSame
Dolby Atmos decodeNoSame
BT CodecsSBC, AAC, royalty-free aptX and HD, LDACSame
Dolby Atmos (DA)NoSame
MicsThree, including one for noise reductionSame
Test dB – all on EQ flat DA off
   Volume max8080
   Media (music)8080
   Hands-freeThree mics offer some noise reduction, and AI enhances that. Stereo video recording.Same
   BT headphonesExcellent BT signal but only supports a limited range of codecs.Same

Sound quality – Fail

What can we say? It is fine for clear voice, but that is it.

Deep Bass 20-40HzNilSame
Middle Bass 40-100HzNilSame
High Bass 100-200HzAlmost nilSame
Low Mid 200-400HzAlmost nil – a long, slow buildSame
Mid 400-1000Hzstill slow buildingSame
High-Mid 1-2kHzFlat (at last)Same
Low Treble 2-4kHzflattishSame but clipping
Mid Treble 4-6kHzDecliningSame
High Treble 6-10kHzDecliningSame
Dog Whistle 10-20kHzFlat but too low to make any difference.Same
Sound Signature typeThis is one of the worst music sound signatures I have listened to. No low/mid/high-bass, clipped and slowly building mid (no vibrancy), 1-4kHz for clear voice is fine, almost no significant treble.Same
   SoundstageThere is a bias towards the bottom speaker. The sound stage is as wide as the device. DA content makes no difference at all.Same
CommentIf you like listening to audio or video on phone speakers, this is not for you.Same

Build – Pass+

If you like Google design, you will love this. It is just that bit different.

Size (H X W x D)162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9
Weight grams213187
Front glassGorilla Glass Victus 2Gorilla Glass Victus
Rear materialGorilla Glass Victus 2Gorilla Glass Victus
Frame100% recycled content in polished aluminium housing.100% recycled content in painted aluminium housing
IP ratingIP68Same
ColoursBay, Obsidian, PorcelainHazel, Obsidian, Rose
Pen, Stylus supportNot reallySame
In the box
   USB cable1m USB-C to USB-C 2.0 3W cableSame
   Bumper coverNoSame
CommentWell-made. No charger inbox loses points.Same

OS – Exceed

Google sets the bar extremely high, and it will be interesting to see if others follow suit.

Android14 Includes 7 years of feature drop updatesSame
Security patch date5 November 2023Same
UIPure Android with some Google modificationsSame
OS upgrade policy7 yearsSame
Security patch policy7 yearsSame
BloatwareGoPro Quik
OtherAll Google Suite appsSame
CommentPure Android and the best upgrade policy, bar none. I am still exploring Android 14, but it has many new features.Same

Security – Pass+

While Google has good security, it is expected in flagships – Samsung Knox, Motorola ThinkShield, OPPO’s private folders and more. Interestingly it uses AI to make 2D face ID secure.

Fingerprint sensor location, typeUnder glassSame
Face IDSecure Face unlock
Uses AI to allow a 2D image to meet security standards.
CommentVPN by Google One at no extra cost
End-to-end security designed by Google
Multi-layer hardware security: Tensor security core, Titan security chip and Trusty (Trusted Execution Environment)
Anti-malware and anti-phishing protection, including support for passkeys
Automatic security checks and privacy controls with Security and Privacy hub
Camera and mic toggles
Private Compute Core
Android System Intelligence
Android Messages end-to-end encryption and Android backup encryption

Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro rear camera – Exceed/Pass+

Both use the Samsung GN2 50MP2 sensor that bins to 12.5MP, producing pleasing day and night stills and videos. But three things diminish an otherwise excellent performance. Bokeh (background blur), artifacts (from AI processing) and particularly image preview (not matching the screen) need improvement.

The Google Pixel 8 uses the primary sensor for almost everything, so its weakness is zoom (8X digital) and no macro (if you need this). It extensively uses AI to post-process shots and scores well in DXOMark ratings. The 12MP ultra-wide is simply for wider shots, and these are competent. The single-point ToF sensor is for depth – bokeh. If it does not find a human face or a subject large enough to measure distance, bokeh is wrong.

The Google Pixel 8 Pro has three sensors, all of which bin to allow for AI post-processing. It scores very well in DXOMark as fifth best (at test time). While the 50/12.5MP primary sensor still does much of the work it mainly is for the ‘point-and-shoot capability’. The 48/12MP Telephoto takes over for any zoom (5X Optical and up to 30X digital). The 48/12MP ultrawide is for wider shots and doubles as an excellent macro. The ToF 8×8 point sensor allows for background and foreground blur.

The FIR thermometer is not medical grade, and our tests show it can vary by up to 4°C from a medical thermometer. It has a range of about 5cm, and Google says that it will likely use the feature in future AI applications. At the moment it is not the reason to buy.

Photos are presented in brackets to show differences. 8 Pro is the left column or as noted.

Google Pixel 8 and Pro sensors

Rear PrimaryWideWide
  MP50MP bins to 12.5MPSame
   SensorSamsung 50MP Quad/Nona Bayer GN2
   FocusOcta PD
  FOV° (stated, actual)82
   StabilisationOIS and EIS
   Zoom1X (above this handled by Telepphoto)8X
Rear 2Ultrawide/MacroUltrawide
   MP48MP bins to 12MP12MP
   SensorSony IMX787Sony IMX386
   FocusQuad PDAF
   um0.8 bins to 1.61.25
  FOV (stated, actual)125.5°125.8°
Rear 3TelephotoN/A
   MP48MP bins to 12MP
   SensorSamsung GM5
   FocusQuad PD
   um0.7 bins to 1.4
  FOV (stated, actual)21.8°
   StabilisationOIS and EIS
   Zoom5X Optical and up to 30X digital
Rear 4Time of Flight sensor STM VL53L8 8×8 pointsTime Of Flight sensor STM VL53L1 single point measures depth between 4-10m
  MPFIR thermometer MLX90632
DXO Rating 153

DXO Rating 148
   Video max4K@60fps
4K@30fps HDR
4K@30fps HDR
   Auto-HDRAuto HDR still and videoStill
   QR code readerGoogle LensGoogle Lens
   Night modeAIAI

Features (supplied by Google)

Items in bold are 8 Pro only

Pro controls
High-resolution images
Ultra HDR
Magic Editor*
Best take*
Macro Focus
Magic Eraser*
Photo Unblur*
Motion mode
Real Tone
Face Unblur
Manual white balancing
Locked Folder
Night Sight
Top Shot
Portrait mode
Portrait Light
Super Res Zoom
Motion auto-focus
Frequent Faces
Dual exposure controls
Live HDR+
Audio Magic Eraser*
Stereo recording
Speech enhancement
Wind noise reduction
Audio zoom
Audio Magic Eraser*
Video Boost*
Night Sight Video*
Macro Focus Video
10-bit HDR video
Cinematic Blur
Cinematic Pan
Slo-mo video support up to 240 FPS
4K timelapse with stabilisation
Astrophotography timelapse
Optical image stabilisation
Fused Video Stabilisation
4K Cinematic Pan video stabilisation
4K locked video stabilisation
1080p active video stabilisation
Digital zoom up to 20×13
Video formats: HEVC (H.265), AVC (H.264)
* requires Google Photo cloud

Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro front camera – Pass

   SensorSamsung 3J1Samsung 3J1
  FOV (stated, actual)95°95°
   FlashScreen fillScreen fill
   Video max4K@60fps4K@60fps
CommentThe selfie is adequate and overall the true-tone skin colour matches well. It is a wide angle for small groups.

Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro ratings

This is hard. As a smartphone, it rates below other flagships. As an AI phone, it gains some points, but the question is, will you use these enough to warrant purchasing this over another flagship?Several software features (mainly the camera) are depreciated compared to the Pro, but overall, it’s a good, serviceable phone.
Ditto for Features – it does not stack up on speeds and feeds.Ditto for Features – it does not stack up on speeds and feeds.
The Tensor G3 throttles badly. The Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1/2 is 40-60% faster.The Tensor G3 throttles badly. The Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1/2 is 40-60% faster.
Ease of Use8080
A two-edged sword. Tech-savvy users will try the AI camera features, but I suspect most will simply point-and-shoot.A two-edged sword. Tech-savvy users will try the AI camera features, but I suspect most will simply point-and-shoot.
I don’t mind Google styling – it is different in a sea of glass slabs.I don’t mind Google styling – it is different in a sea of glass slabs.
Rating out of 1008382
Final commentWhile it is an evolution of the Pixel 7 Pro, it is more about the AI camera features and Google marketing. Regrettably, it is not a class leader in any category.While it is an evolution of the Pixel 7, it is more about the AI camera features and Google marketing. Regrettably, it is not a class leader in any category.

Google Pixel 8 and Pro – Pro and Con

1Great point-and-shoot camera with AI features if you need them.Great point-and-shoot camera with AI features if you need them.
2Bright screenBright screen
3Raises the bar on OS and security patch updatesRaises the bar on OS and security patch updates
1Camera preview is off due to 8-bit screenCamera preview is off due to 8-bit screen
2Throttles badlyThrottles badly
3Sound is not for musicSound is not for music
4Battery life is not as good as claimedBattery life is not as good as claimed
5Does not implement USB-C 3.2 Gen2 Alt DP audio/video streaming.Does not implement USB-C 3.2 Gen2 Alt DP audio/video streaming.