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Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Still the definitive Android flagship?

Our Rating :
£930.36 from
Price when reviewed : £999
inc VAT

The Pixel 8 Pro gets all the upgrades, but they come at a cost


  • Clean Android installation
  • Gorgeous display
  • Astonishing cameras


  • Battery life is still a bit weak
  • Performance should be better
  • Another huge price increase

Get the Google Pixel 8 Pro at a discounted price

You can now save on the Google Pixel 8 Pro, a sure contender in Google’s Pixel line. Its price on Amazon is currently £649 for the 128GB model (£920 average) or £709 for the 256GB model (£954 average): a huge discount and the lowest price we’ve ever seen for the phone.

Another year, another pair of Google Pixel flagships. Officially unveiled during the company’s annual “Made by Google” event, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have arrived, and there’s plenty to sink our teeth into this year.

As expected, the Pixel 8 Pro is hoarding all of the most appealing upgrades, and it’s obvious this is where Google wants you to spend your money. However, with an unwelcome price rise and the iPhone 15 Pro recently hitting the market, is the Pixel 8 Pro starting out on the back foot?

Google Pixel 8 Pro review: What you need to know

Compared to its cheaper sibling, the Pixel 8 Pro benefits from a handful of exclusive features, including an additional 48MP 5x telephoto camera on the rear. This works alongside the same 50MP main camera as the Pixel 8, although it’s also worth mentioning that the 126-degree ultrawide has been upgraded from a 12MP sensor to a 48MP unit.

The usual differences between the two models are also in place here, including a bigger battery (5,050mAh vs 4,575mAh) and a larger 120Hz OLED display (6.7in vs 6.2in) with an increased resolution of 2,992 x 1,344.

A headline feature on both models is the introduction of the Google-made Tensor G3 chipset, which promises improved performance over last year’s Tensor G2. Various AI-based improvements are new for this year, too, including the option to remove background audio in videos and the ability to choose from a selection of the best faces in group portrait shots.

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Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Price and competition

As with the majority of flagship smartphones launched this year, the Pixel 8 Pro has received a hefty price jump compared to the previous model. The 128GB model now costs £150 more than the Pixel 7 Pro, at £999, and if you want more storage, you’re looking at an outlay of £1,059 for 256GB or £1,179 for 512GB of space.

That cost increase drops the Pixel 8 Pro into some dangerous waters. At that price, the iPhone 15 Pro is the most obvious rival, with other big-hitters such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (£1,100) and Xiaomi 13 Pro (£1,099) also doing the rounds.

google pixel 8 pro review

Of course, the Pixel 8 Pro has to contend with the rest of Google’s Pixel lineup as well. The regular Pixel 8 has also jumped in price, now starting at £699, and there’s also the mid-priced Pixel 7a, which is astonishing value for money at £449.

Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Design and key features

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first. The Pixel 8 Pro’s design hasn’t changed much, with the same horizontal Geordi La Forge-style camera housing making another appearance on the back. If anything, it’s perhaps even more pronounced than before, but I do like the more rounded style of this year’s phone, complete with some lovely curved corners.

The Pixel 8 Pro is available in a choice of three colours: Bay (light blue), Porcelain (white) and Obsidian (black) and possesses an IP68 rating that certifies it dust-tight and waterproof. The screen is also protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2.

As you might expect, the Pixel 8 Pro is quite a hefty handset, especially compared to the basic model. That larger screen and bigger battery has increased the overall weight to an arm-aching 213g, with an overall footprint of 163 x 8.8 x 77mm (WDH). It isn’t entirely unwieldy, but one-handed operation can be a bit laborious at times.

The good news is that face unlock returns, alongside the embedded fingerprint sensor located underneath the screen. Both of these unlock methods worked well in my tests, but I was disappointed by the lack of space for a microSD card. Though at least the phone does support the use of eSIMs, making it a decent option for travelling abroad.

Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Display

This is where the differences between the regular and Pro models really start to trickle in. The Pixel 8 Pro’s OLED display is not only bigger (6.7in vs 6.2in) and higher resolution (2,992 x 1,344), but it’s also capable of reaching higher brightness levels, at 1,600 vs 1,400 nits – numbers I recorded in our HDR video tests.

And unlike the regular Pixel 8, this also happens to be an LTPO display, which means it can automatically drop the refresh rate from 120Hz all the way down to 1Hz, depending on the content being displayed on screen. The normal model, by comparison, can only switch between 120Hz and 60Hz.

google pixel 8 pro review

The good news is that the Pixel 8 Pro’s screen is still one of the best around, delivering exceptional colour performance in the phone’s ‘Natural’ display setting. I recorded an average Delta E of 0.67 when tested against sRGB, with gamut coverage of 94.9% and a total volume of 95.1%. That’s as good as it gets – it really is a delightful display.

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Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Performance and battery life

Moving back to shared features, both the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are powered by Google’s latest Tensor G3 chipset. Architecturally, we’re looking at a nona-core chip (that’s nine CPU cores) with boosted clock speeds of 3GHz compared to the previous 2.85GHz. Google has been shouting about all sorts of AI processing improvements, too, in particular that the machine learning model is ten times faster than the original Tensor found inside the Pixel 6.

google pixel 8 pro review

How does the Tensor G3 stack up in our benchmark tests? The answer is as predictable as it was last year, in that we have seen some gen-on-gen improvement but it doesn’t match up against the mighty iPhone 15 or its Qualcomm-based Android competition.

In the Geekbench 6 single- and multi-core tests, the Pixel 8 Pro scored 1,741 and 4,070 respectively, which is an uptick of up to 17%. However, it’s still a way off the Xiaomi 13 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra’s scores – and even further behind the iPhone 15 Pro’s unbeatable figures.

google pixel 8 pro - performance chart

That being said, it’s not like I ran into any issues in day-to-day operation, with my entire time spent with the phone feeling remarkably fluid and responsive, aided by that lovely 120Hz display. In gaming, we get another improvement, with an average frame rate of 79fps at default resolution in the on-screen portion of the GFXBench Car Chase test.

google pixel 8 pro - gaming chart

Battery life has also increased, though not by a huge amount, leaving plenty of room for improvement. In our video playback test, the Pixel 8 Pro lasted for 19hrs 32mins, beating the previous model by almost exactly one hour. That’s weaker than the Xiaomi 13 Pro, and a good deal less than the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s score of 28hrs 41mins.

Wired charging speeds have been increased slightly from 23W to 27W, but this didn’t make much of a difference in our tests. The Pixel 8 Pro went from empty to 50% in just over 30mins, while the 23W wireless charging remains the same as last year.

Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Cameras

The Pixel 8 Pro shares the main 50MP (f/1.68) sensor of the regular version, but the 12MP ultrawide has been swapped out with a 48MP (f/1.95) unit. There’s also an extra 48MP (f/2.8) 5x optical zoom sensor, just like last year. The same 10.5MP (f/2.2) selfie camera can be found on the front, too, stuffed inside a circular hole punch notch.

google pixel 8 pro review

It’s the new camera features that are most exciting, however, with the ability to remove pesky background noise in videos via Audio Magic Eraser, and a new Best Take setting, which uses AI to swap faces in group portrait shots using previously captured images of the same person. It’s a bit creepy, but it works remarkably well.

Camera performance is exceptional yet again, with a level of quality that can’t be matched by the Pixel’s rivals. Practically every image looked as good as can be, with accurate-looking colours being a particular highlight, especially in tricky lighting conditions.

The Pixel 8 Pro’s darkness-boosting low-light shots are an absolute dream, too. Just look at this nighttime picture taken in London’s Hyde Park at around 10pm – it looks like it was snapped at sunrise, with minimal visual noise throughout.

On a similar note, the Pixel 8 Pro is once more top of the class when it comes to portrait photography. Skin tones were captured with a pleasing level of accuracy and there was always a well-judged separation between my subject and the background.

Much like last year, the aspect I enjoyed most is the minimal effort it takes to capture these images. There’s absolutely no need for the user to tinker with the camera settings beforehand, and little need to edit them after the fact, either. You just point, shoot and end up with a frame-worthy result.

In fact, my only real criticism relates to the Pixel 8 Pro’s ultrawide sensor. It’s certainly an improvement on last year, with a nice bump in detail capture, but the image itself is still a bit weak in comparison with the main camera due to some lens distortion in the far corners of the frame.

Video-wise, the Pixel 8 Pro is capable of of recording up to 4K resolution at 60fps on both the front and back cameras. There’s nothing to worry about here, with rock-steady footage and loads of detail, even during rapid pans.

Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Software

Finally, the Pixel 8 Pro launches with Android 14 on board, which is a clean, bloat-free installation of Google’s mobile operating system. Admittedly, there’s not a lot new here, with little additions including the option to use Google’s AI-generated images for your wallpapers, more lock screen customisation options and new clocks.

google pixel 8 pro review

However, Google is also promising at least seven years of core Android updates and security patches, all the way up to 2030. That’s the biggest software commitement we’ve seen from any Android maker, beaten only by the repair-friendly Fairphone 5.

Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Verdict

Last year’s Pixel 7 Pro was the ultimate Android trendsetter, so it’s no surprise that its successor continues in the same vein. The Pixel 8 Pro makes heaps of improvements and refinements, and is quite clearly the Android flagship to aspire to as we head into 2024.

Yet that price increase dampens the mood somewhat. Matching the price of the iPhone 15 Pro, the Pixel’s days as a cutthroat flagship option are now over and we might perhaps see consumers defecting to iOS as a result.

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