Google Pixel 8 launched – still the best Android deal?

During the “Made by Google” event held on October 4, 2023, Google introduced a range of new additions to its Pixel hardware family. In this exploration, we will delve into the hardware enhancements and modifications Google has implemented in its compact flagship, the Google Pixel 8. With a history of being a beloved choice among Android enthusiasts, the improved hardware of this device has generated considerable excitement.

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The Google Pixel 8 enters the market with an accompanying price increase, justified by a range of significant improvements it brings to the table. These enhancements encompass a modernized design, an upgraded display, and enhanced internal hardware.

Starting with the design, it’s evident that the Pixel 8 has received a refreshing makeover. The rectangular chassis of its predecessor, the Pixel 7, while distinctive, appeared somewhat dated, particularly when viewed from the front. Therefore, the design evolution in this year’s compact Google flagship is a welcome change.

The introduction of curved edges at the corners imparts a more contemporary look to the device, while a similar treatment along the edges enhances its slim profile and usability. However, in terms of colour scheme and materials, there are minimal departures from the previous iteration. The single-tone glossy back and matte aluminium frame persist for another year. There’s hope that future iterations may introduce matte glass to the smaller Pixel, further enhancing its aesthetics.

Turning our attention to the display, the Google Pixel 8 introduces the most substantial upgrade to its front-facing screen since Google’s 2021 redesign of the smartphone lineup. This model boasts a generous 6.2-inch panel equipped with adaptive refresh rate capabilities, ranging from a minimum of 60Hz to a maximum of 120Hz. Additionally, it offers an impressive peak outdoor brightness of 2,000 nits.

In terms of durability, the device exhibits robust characteristics. It carries an IP68 rating, ensuring protection against dust and water, and features the resilient Gorilla Glass Victus on both the front and back surfaces of the device.

The camera hardware in the Google Pixel 8 remains relatively unchanged for yet another year. The primary camera maintains its familiarity, featuring the same 50MP Octa PD wide camera found in the previous two models. However, notable enhancements are observed in the ultrawide camera, where the addition of autofocus introduces Macro Focus capability. This inclusion significantly enhances the overall shooting experience, and we eagerly anticipate putting it to the test.

Further improvements in the photography experience are ushered in by AI-driven features powered by the Tensor G3. Among these, the standout features are Best Take and Audio Magic Eraser, promising an enriched and innovative user experience.

While the external changes to the device are commendable, let’s delve into the upgrades concealed beneath the surface of the Google Pixel 8. Nestled within this device lies the all-new Tensor G3 processor, ushering in a host of advanced AI features. These enhancements encompass both refined iterations of existing features and novel additions designed to elevate the camera experience and enhance productivity on the go.

During the event, Google highlighted several real-world advantages of the Tensor G3. The Pixel’s Call Screen feature, dedicated to detecting and filtering out spam calls, has now been extended to a broader spectrum of callers. Additionally, the Clear Calling feature has been fine-tuned to deliver even better audio quality, improving both what you hear and what you transmit to others.

In terms of algorithmic complexity, Google asserts that the Pixel 8’s most intricate imaging algorithm is ten times more sophisticated than its counterpart in the Pixel 6. Remarkably, this heightened complexity does not impede the user experience, as the device seamlessly manages these computational demands.

Our forthcoming internal testing will subject the Tensor G3 to rigorous evaluation, offering insights into its real-world performance.

Turning to battery life, the Google Pixel 8 maintains the “beyond 24-hour” battery life claim of its predecessor, thanks in part to a slightly larger 4,575 mAh battery housed within its aluminum chassis.

Wired charging speeds have also seen a modest boost, now reaching 27W for wired charging. Wireless charging, when paired with the second-generation Pixel Stand, achieves 18W of input, while Qi-compatible chargers can deliver up to 12W of power.