With the big Black Friday bargains right around the corner, we know how important it is to have a good idea of what you’re after in the sales. And that means reading up on your favourite brands, their latest devices and the coolest new updates, right? Like the latest Pixel 8 Pro.
Yep, we’re at it again with our love for a good Google Pixel, and the Pixel 8 Pro is up there with the best (if not the best), so we’re going to break it down and make it nice and simple.
Spoiler alert: we think you’re going to love it.
What’s the lowdown on the Pixel 8 Pro’s design?
Much like Samsung and Apple, Google have found a design they love, and they’re sticking with it. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, and this year’s Pixel 8 Pro somehow takes the beauty of last year’s model and levels it up.
How does that translate to appearance and comfort, we hear you ask? Well, at a glance, the Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro are very similar – but Google have elevated the glossy black of the 7 Pro to a sleek, velvety-soft matt that feels incredibly luxurious to hold.
Elsewhere, the corners are a little more rounded (again, making for an undeniably comfortable hold) and the colour options have been updated for 2023. The Pixel 8 Pro comes in Obsidian (basically black), Porcelain (a chic off-white neutral) and Bay (think a clear blue sky on a cold winter day.)
It’s also worth mentioning that while the controversial camera bar is still around (we love it and won’t hear anything against it!), it too has been updated to showcase one single seamless camera cutout instead of last year’s dual cutout. It’s a small change, but visually it’s a nice one.
What sort of display does the Pixel 8 Pro have?
There haven’t been a ton of updates to the Pixel 8 Pro display since last year, but the few that Google have made manage to make a significant impact on usability regardless.
First of all, there’s the refresh rate, which stays at 120Hz as a max but is now capable of dropping all the way to 1Hz. For comparison, the Pixel 7 Pro could only drop to 10Hz, which while pretty good, still uses more energy than 1Hz – so this is a nice way of optimising the battery life, which we’re all for.
The physical size of the display itself stays at 6.7 inches with OLED technology and is just about as big as we like our smartphones – but would still be big enough to be called a phablet back in the day! We’re also loving the changes Google has made to the brightness of the Pixel 8 Pro, which can now reach 1600 nits (for HDR content) and 2400 nits at its peak. As you’d expect, this means you can expect to see your device clearly even in the brightest of sunlight, and at the other end of the spectrum the device also drops down to a super-duper dim state that’s perfect for scrolling in the dark (and not waking anyone else up.)
As for what you can see on this shiny, gorgeous display – it’s OLED tech, so it’s always going to be great. Colours are bright and crisp, and the slim, symmetrical bezels mean you’re getting just about as much display as the phone size can manage.
How does the Pixel 8 Pro perform?
Since the Pixel 8 Pro is packing the latest in Google silicone (namely the Google Tensor G3 chipset), it performs admirably. Seamlessly even – and significantly better than the Pixel 7 Pro, for a few key reasons.
Although the Pixel 7 Pro performs great, it isn’t without its issues. Some users reported issues like calls cutting out and overheating – so the Tensor G3 had a few things it could do to improve on its predecessor right from the start. What’s awesome is that this is Google, so they’ve delivered and brought us a chipset that genuinely addresses the earlier problems to offer a smart bit of kit that holds its own.
First, the overheating seems to be gone. While it wasn’t an issue with every Pixel 7 Pro, some users found it became a problem when running too many apps or playing mobile games over extensive periods – generally, with heavy usage. This time, the Tensor G3 has done away with all that. You might get a little warmth from some seriously heavy gaming (we’re looking at you, Call of Duty gamers) but otherwise you’re good to go.
Connectivity issues are now a thing of the past, with 5G connectivity and Wi-Fi 7 support performing beautifully. So far, we haven’t noticed any bugs or glitches, and other users don’t seem to be reporting any either.
The Pixel 8 Pro packs an impressive 5050mAh battery, and it performs well – but it’s not all about size, friends.
What’s significant here is that Google have done a lot with the software to keep battery usage on the lower side – like the new 1Hz refresh rate and dimmer screen capabilities – but that doesn’t mean that this battery is going to keep on going for days and days.
Like most Android devices on the market, the Pixel 8 Pro breezes along with a day’s worth of battery on one charge – depending on what your usage is like, of course. Heavy gaming might take a bit more out of it, especially over a data connection, but with a little social scrolling, messaging and chatting you’ll easily get a good 36 hours or more out of this handset. Even longer if you turn on Battery Saver or Extreme Battery Saver to take you to 72 hours of use (both of which the phone will switch on for you, in the right circumstances.)
Onto the juicy stuff… tell me about the camera on the Pixel 8 Pro.
*Rafiki voice* It is time.
The Pixel 8 Pro is aptly named like all Google devices – pixels are a priority, alongside the rest of the camera hardware and software, of course. Like the Pixel 7 Pro before it, this device has a triple camera setup consisting of a 50MP wide lens, a 48MP ultrawide lens and a 48MP telephoto lens.
Let’s take that triple whammy one at a time, shall we? The main, 50MP wide lens offers up a platter of 2x optical zoom and an f/1.68 aperture which basically equates to over 20% improved light sensitivity – perfect for lower-light shots. Moving on to the 48MP ultrawide lens, there’s even more light sensitivity (a 105% increase, in fact) alongside an f/1.95 aperture and a better-than-ever macro mode. Which, if you’ve ever used macro mode on a Pixel 7 Pro, is an impressive feat, now letting you shoot at a 2cm distance from your subject. Then there’s the 48MP telephoto lens and even more light sensitivity – 56% to be precise – as well as an f/2.8 aperture with 5x optical zoom.
What does all that mean? This is on fantastic phone camera. Seriously.
The enhanced light sensitivity on every lens means there’s no environment you can’t get a clear, grain-free image – from gigs to firework displays and dimly lit clubs right up to broad daylight and bright sunshine. Every shot is full of colour and detail even when you zoom right in, and image quality is never compromised – we’ve tried!
One of our favourite new additions to the Pixel 8 Pro is Pro (or Manual) mode. It’s a fantastic bit of extra control for both experienced photographers and rookies trying to get going – and something a lot of Pixel users have been after for years, now. On the surface, it might not seem like a big deal to be able to manage every tiny detail of your ISO, shadows, brightness and shutter speed – but for anyone into photography, it can be the difference between using a Pixel and picking up a very expensive alternative camera.
As for the front-facing lens, there’s a 105MP selfie cam with an f2.2 aperture with autofocus that delivers the goods even in a quick shot, thanks to an exceptional Portrait mode.
Let’s be honest – if you’ve got a great camera, there’s not a whole lot of editing that needs to happen for you to nail the pic. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be things you’ll want to tweak, like, say, someone sneezing right when you shoot.
The coolest (or scariest, depending on your opinion of AI) new tool the Pixel 8 Pro introduces is Best Take, which uses clever AI to take the best parts of multiple photos and combine them perfectly together to create the ideal shot. So, there’s no more sneezing, blinking, or forgetting to smile ruining your image, because Google fixes it for you. You can even choose your favourite take of each person in the photo’s face, so you get exactly what you want – not just want the software thinks you want.
Do we really need to summarise? Okay, we do. But you know what we’re going to say – the Pixel 8 Pro is a phenomenal phone that fixes bugs in earlier Pixels that we didn’t even know we needed fixing, and levels up in just about every area from design to performance.
It’s a powerhouse device, especially for photography lovers who can get so much more from the camera than the casual user – and it’s on offer now, with amazing Black Friday deals updating all the time from now until the big day hits on November 24th.
So, what are you waiting for, eh?