The new Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro double down on AI-powered features

The Pixel 8, 8 Pro, Watch 2, and Buds Pro
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • The Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are now official, powered by Google's custom Tensor G3 chipset, which doubles down on AI capabilities.
  • Google claims that its latest in-house processor improves the machine learning model of the Pixel 8 series tenfold over the Pixel 6.
  • One area that has benefited the most from Google's AI enhancements is the camera, with the Pixel 8 Pro's video capability set to receive Night Sight support and more new features.
  • The Pixel 8 starts at $699 and the Pro variant at $999, with both models shipping in three color options and getting seven years of major software and security updates.

Google has formally unveiled the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro at its fall Made by Google event, with a third-gen custom Tensor chipset and prices that are $100 higher than last year’s models.

The Pixel 8 starts at $699, and the Pixel 8 Pro starts at $999. Despite the price hike, both models are still worthy contenders for the best Android phones this year. The new Pixel phones use Google's new Tensor G3 chip to make existing features better and add a few new tricks. Under the hood, the base model has up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, while the Pro has up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

There are a few other hardware changes as well, including the Pixel 8 Pro's 48MP ultrawide shooter, a step up from its predecessor's 12MP. The rest of the camera sensors are similar to the Pixel 7 series, such as a 50MP main sensor for both models, a 48MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom for the Pro variant, and a 12MP ultrawide for the vanilla model. On the front, there's a 10.5MP snapper.

Pixel 8 Pro in Bay lifestyle render

(Image credit: Google)

The batteries got a minor bump, too, with a 4575mAh unit for the Pixel 8 and a 5050mAh battery for the Pro model. Both battery units are capable of up to 30W of fast charging speeds, with support for wireless methods. Like last year's models, the new Pixel phones boast a "beyond 24-hour battery life."

In terms of display, the Pixel 8 gets a slightly smaller 6.2-inch screen compared to the Pixel 7’s 6.3-inch display, though the improved 120Hz refresh rate is a nice touch. Its display also has a peak brightness of 2000 nits, and the screen is protected with Corning's Gorilla Glass Victus.

If you want a Pixel phone with a bit more punch, the Pixel 8 Pro is the way to go. It has a 6.7-inch 1344 x 2992 LTPO OLED display with up to a 120Hz refresh rate. Unlike its smaller sibling, its screen boasts Corning's Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection and 2400 nits of peak brightness.

Pixel 8 Pro in Porcelain lifestyle render

(Image credit: Google)

But more importantly, these phones are about Google's AI prowess, and the company says its new chip makes the Pixel 8 series' AI 10 times better than the Pixel 6 since the Tensor chip made its debut in 2021.

Google loves to tout how its Pixel phones use AI to make them better than other Android phones. The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will have some new AI-powered capabilities that won't be available on other Android phones, thanks to the Tensor G3. For example, the new Audio Magic Eraser tool can remove distracting sounds from videos.

The Pixel 8 Pro, in particular, has exclusive video features coming its way, such as the new Video Boost technology for improved dynamic range and color grading. Additionally, Google is bringing Night Sight to videos for the first time after traditionally limiting the feature to photos.

Video Boost on Pixel 8 Pro comparison

(Image credit: Google)

Another first for the Pixel phone lineup is the Pixel 8 Pro's built-in thermometer. You can use it to quickly check the temperature of things like drinks and food. The Pro also gets manual photo controls for the first time, giving users more control over how an image is shot.

As promised, Google is also introducing Magic Editor to the Pixel 8 series to take care of more complex edits, so you won't have to rely on premium photo editors like Photoshop. Meanwhile, Best Take is a new feature that can make your group photos even better. It combines the best parts of multiple photos to create one perfect shot where everyone looks their best.

The vanilla Pixel 8 now boasts Macro Focus, which promises to turn the smallest subjects into "spectacular images." The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are also some of the most secure phones on the market, thanks to Google's Titan M2 security chip.

The Google Pixel 8 Pro cameras and temperature sensor

(Image credit: Google)

Outside of the camera app, Tensor G3 is responsible for some other feature enhancements, like Google Assistant's ability to summarize, read aloud, and translate web pages. The voice assistant is also now capable of paraphrasing what’s on your screen into key takeaways. Plus, Pixel's Call Screen can now detect and filter out even more spam calls thanks to the latest custom chip.

As for software updates, Google now promises seven years of security updates and major OS upgrades for the life of these devices, which is unheard of in the industry, especially for an Android phone. As usual, Feature Drops will be released every few months.

The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are up for preorder starting today. They will be available in the U.S., Canada, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. 

The Pixel 8 will be available in Hazel, Rose, and Obsidian, while its Pro sibling comes in Bay, Porcelain, and Obsidian.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.