Google Pixel 8 vs Google Pixel 7: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel 8 vs Google Pixel 7: Design and screen

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Obsidian and Rose Pixel 8 lifestyle render

(Image credit: Google)

Google hasn't changed much on the design side of things, and that's a good move. I like the overall aesthetic of the Pixel 7, and the camera bar at the back that runs the width of the phone gives it a distinct look. You get the same pill-sized camera housing that includes the dual rear cameras, and the aluminum camera bar contrasts nicely with the design.

The Pixel 8 uses the same Gorilla Glass Victus protection at the front and back, so the phone should be just as resilient. And like the Pixel 7, the Pixel 8 gets IP68 dust and water resistance, so you can use it at the pool or in the bathtub without any issues. The buttons and ports are in the same location, and you get the usual SIM card slot along with the option of using an eSIM.

What I particularly like is the matte texture on the sides, and this makes the Pixel 8 a little easier to hold. The Pixel 7 has a similar matte coating, but the texture is different on the Pixel 8. On that note, Google is using a smaller 6.2-inch screen on the Pixel 8, and that makes the device ideally suited for one-handed use. 

The Pixel 7 display, outdoors

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The Pixel 8 is noticeably shorter and narrower than its predecessor, and coming in at 187g, it is 10g lighter as well. The Zenfone 10 and Galaxy S23 are even better for one-handed use, but if you prefer smaller devices, you may want to take a look at what Google's offering this year.

Another change is the screen itself — the Pixel 8 now offers 120Hz refresh as standard. I always felt that it was an arbitrary limitation by Google to limit the Pixel 7 to 90Hz when the rest of the field offered 120Hz panels, and I'm glad to see this remedied on the Pixel 8. There isn't LTPO tech here, but you can switch between 60Hz and 120Hz.

Google's calling the screen an Actua display (I don't get the naming either), and it now goes up to 2000 nits, putting it on par with the best Android phones. By contrast, the Pixel 7 is able to hit 1400 nits, and while that's more than adequate, the Pixel 8 is able to get brighter in short bursts, and that should make it a terrific option while streaming HDR content.

Google Pixel 8 vs Google Pixel 7: Hardware

Obsidian Pixel 8 lifestyle render

(Image credit: Google)

We're already in the third generation of Google's custom Tensor hardware, and the Pixel 8 gets a slew of upgrades in this area. The Tensor G3 features the latest Cortex X3, A715, and A510 cores, and this gives it a distinct edge over its predecessor. While the Tensor G2 held its own for the most part, it missed out on the latest Arm cores, and struggled while playing visually intensive games.

The upgrades on offer with the G3 should mitigate those problems, and as for gaming, Google is using Arm's flagship Immortalis-G715s GPU with ten cores, giving the Pixel 8 a huge advantage over the Mali-G710 that was a mainstay on the Pixel 7. I'll share real-world testing notes once I get started with the Pixel 8, but Google is definitely taking the right direction here.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryGoogle Pixel 8Google Pixel 7
OSAndroid 14Android 14
Display6.2-inch Actua display, 120Hz AMOLED (2400x1080), HDR10+, 2000 nits, Gorilla Glass Victus 6.3-inch 90Hz AMOLED (2400x1080), HDR10+, 1400 nits, Gorilla Glass Victus
ChipsetGoogle Tensor G3, Titan M2 security moduleGoogle Tensor G2, 2 x 2.85GHz Cortex X1, 2 x 2.35GHz Cortex A76, 4 x 1.80GHz Cortex A55, Mali-G710, 4nm
Storage128GB/256GB UFS 3.1128GB/256GB UFS 3.1
Rear camera 150MP f/1.68, 1.2um pixels, PDAF, OIS, 4K at 60fps50MP f/1.9, 1.2um pixels, PDAF, OIS, 4K at 60fps
Rear camera 212MP f/2.2, 1.25um pixels, 125-degree wide-angle12MP f/2.2, 1.25um pixels, 114-degree wide-angle
Front camera10.5MP f/2.2, 1.22um pixels, wide-angle10.8MP f/2.2, 1.22um pixels, wide-angle
Connectivity (US, CA, UK, AU)Wi-Fi 7, Sub-6 5G (mmWave in US), Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, AptX HD, USB-C 3.2Wi-Fi 6E, Sub-6 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, AptX HD
Connectivity (TW, SG, IN)Wi-Fi 6, Sub-6 5G, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, AptX HD, USB-C 3.2Wi-Fi 6E, Sub-6 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, AptX HD
Ingress ProtectionIP68 dust and water resistanceIP68 dust and water resistance
SecurityIn-screen fingerprint moduleIn-screen fingerprint module
AudioStereo sound, USB-CStereo sound, USB-C
Battery4575mAh, 30W wired charging, 20W wireless charging, 5W reverse wireless charging4355mAh, 30W wired charging, 20W wireless charging, 5W reverse wireless charging
Dimensions150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm, 187g155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm, 197g
ColorsObsidian, Hazel, RoseLemongrass, Obsidian, Snow

On that subject, AI is a core tenet of Google's phone ambitions, and the Tensor G3 is touted with 10x gains in AI-related tasks over the Tensor G1. Google's putting that to good use by rolling out an extensive suite of AI utilities on the Pixel 8, including camera features and nifty software additions that are exclusive to the latest generation.

One of these features is an Audio Magic Eraser tool that lets you cut out distractions from videos. You can isolate all the audio channels into individual layers, and if there are any traffic or wind noises, just delete those sections.

Of course, for every bold new AI feature introduced on the device, Google needs to make a totally arbitrary decision elsewhere. This time, that involves the Wi-Fi modem: the Pixel 8 gets a Wi-Fi 7 modem in the U.S. and most other global markets, but in India and other Asian countries, the phone defaults to Wi-Fi 6.

As for the battery, you get a marginally larger 4575mAh battery on the Pixel 8, and combined with the hardware changes, the phone should last a little longer than the Pixel 7. Charging is unchanged, and you get the same 30W wired charging and 20W wireless. Google doesn't bundle a charger in the box, so you'll need to buy one if you want to buy either device.

Google Pixel 8 vs Google Pixel 7: Cameras

Rose Pixel 8 lifestyle render

(Image credit: Google)

As with every new year, Google is rolling out a slew of upgrades to the cameras. The Pixel 8 has a new 50MP main camera with f/1.68 lens that can take 2x shots at "optical" quality — just like the iPhone 15 Pro. The phone uses a 12MP camera like last year, but it has a wider 125.5 degrees field of view, and you get autofocus.

You still don't get a zoom lens on the Pixel 8 — that's limited to the Pixel 8 Pro — and while the sensor resolution is the same as last year, the hardware has changed quite a bit. Photo Unblur was a major addition last year, and it is present in the Pixel 8 series, alongside Ultra HDR, Magic Editor, Best Take, and a whole lot more.

Google is heavily relying on AI to make the cameras on the Pixel 8 stand out against its predecessor. With the Pixel 7 already offering one of the best cameras in its class, it will be interesting to see how the Pixel 8 manages to hold up in real-world testing. I'll share images and additional notes shortly, so if you're interested in knowing more about the cameras, check back later.

Google Pixel 8 vs Google Pixel 7: Software

Android 14 logo on Pixel 7 against white background

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

The Pixel 8 runs Android 14 out of the box, and you get the usual slate of Google features that are exclusive to its devices. What's interesting this time is that Google is rolling out a lot of AI-backed features that leverage the Tensor G3, making them exclusive to the Pixel 8 series. Most of these revolve around the camera, but there are useful additions scattered throughout the interface.

And then there's the software update guarantee. The Pixel 8 will get seven years of software updates — including version updates, security updates, and Feature Drops — and that puts it on another level entirely when seen against other Pixels, the best Android phones, and the iPhone. 

The Pixel 7, meanwhile, will get three platform updates, and while that's one less than what you get with most major brands today, you get updates ahead of every other phone.

Google Pixel 8 vs Google Pixel 7: Which should you buy?

Hazel Pixel 8 lifestyle render

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 8 starts off at $699, $100 more than the Pixel 7. However, just the fact that you get seven years of software updates makes it a highly enticing option, and you get a faster 120Hz screen, upgraded hardware with a boatload of AI features, new cameras, and a slightly larger battery.

Google is also rolling out exciting pre-order bonuses where it's bundling the Pixel Buds Pro with every Pixel 8 purchase, so that should offset the increase in price. The Pixel 7 continues to be a brilliant phone, and if you can get it on a good deal, you should consider it. But if you want a phone that has all the latest Google software features and upgraded cameras, you should get the Pixel 8. Like I said above, the seven-year update cycle makes it worth the slender premium.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.