There are many superb smartphone cameras you can choose from today, each with their own features that redefine how to take a photo when on the move. Google Pixel phones often find their way onto our recommendations for good reason, and the Pixel 8 Pro earns a place thanks to its outstanding camera performance.
There is a much bigger story to tell here however, with the Pixel 8 Pro offering some of the most impressive camera specs ever found on an Android handset. In this review, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the Pixel 8 Pro and assessing just how exciting its photography tools are, alongside the display and design features that make it stand out.
Check out the Pixel 8 Pro for yourself from 3 striking colours and up to 256GB of storage.
Release date and price
The Google Pixel 8 Pro released on 12th October 2023.
• Google Pixel 8 Pro 128GB - £999
• Google Pixel 8 Pro 256GB - £1059
The Pixel 8 impressed us with some small but sharp refinements to the Pixel design language. Its premium sibling, the Pixel 8 Pro, follows confidently in those footsteps.
What you’ll notice immediately when holding this phone is how much more comfortable it is to do so. Previous Pixel handsets came with a slickness to them thanks to their polished aluminium backs; they look fantastic, but could feel a bit slippery to hold. Google have reigned this in with the Pixel 8 Pro by giving its rear panel a matte, textured finish, which affords significantly more grip.
This isn’t the only update to the Pixel 8 Pro’s back plate. Its protective layer has been upgraded to Gorilla Glass Victus 2, granting the phone a greater level of durability and scratch-resistance. Combined with IP68 protection against dust and water damage, the Pixel 8 Pro is as tough as old nails and a dream travel companion.
Within the rear camera band, you’ll find one of the Pixel 8 Pro’s standout debut features: the thermometer sensor. Most phones have an internal sensor for monitoring processer and battery temperatures, but an external ambient sensor is something we’ve not seen before.
Using the Pixel 8 Pro thermometer is easy; simply open the Pixel Thermometer app and point the sensor at an area, leaving a gap of 2”. You can then quickly refresh the reading to test its accuracy.
The ubiquity of being able to check the ambient air temperature, without needing a separate device, really speaks for itself.
It’s fair to say that Google are on to a winner with the Pixel 8 Pro’s display. The screen here is based on the Actua technology that was introduced on the Pixel 8, which specialises in boosting brightness in a wide range of lighting conditions.
At its peak, the 6.7” Super Actua display on the Pixel 8 Pro can reach a brightness of 2400 nits; almost 1000 more than the preceding Pixel 7 Pro. This improvement has a monumental effect on screen clarity, with colours and intricate detail being far more visible. In direct sunlight this display really comes into its own; there’s no need to squint or adjust the brightness, everything is clear as day. If you’re someone who enjoys travelling in sunny climes, the Pixel 8 Pro is a must-have.
Even if its display didn’t have these dazzling brightness levels, the Pixel 8 Pro would still be mightily impressive. Being an OLED panel – and an LTPO one at that – the colour balance on the Pixel 8 Pro is staggeringly good; dark colours are inky and create true-to-life contrasts, whilst the brighter colours pop off the screen.
The inclusion of LTPO (low-temperature Polycrystalline oxide) technology ensures that the viewing experience on the Pixel 8 Pro is consistent with what you’re watching. It enables the device to dynamically adapt its refresh rate based on the content, so if you’re playing an action-heavy game, the Pixel 8 Pro will increase the refresh rate to keep the experience smooth. This has the added benefit of saving on battery life, by only using the higher 120Hz refresh rate when needed.
Powering the Pixel 8 Pro is the Tensor G3 chipset, and its inclusion coincides with Google’s focus on AI tools and features to enhance the user experience. This is evidenced very clearly in updates to existing apps like Call Screening, which have been given a new lease of life.
The Tensor G3 chip contains improvements to Google’s machine learning algorithms, which enable the Pixel 8 Pro to process tasks faster and run calculations that previous models weren’t equipped for. With Google Assistant, this means the Pixel 8 Pro can convert a website in a different language with ease, or quickly summarise a page if you only want the overarching context. When you’re on the move and need information fast, these AI-powered updates make all the difference.
We touched on Call Screening briefly, and it stands out as one of the best demonstrations of what the Tensor G3 chip can do. When receiving a call from someone, for example a delivery person, you can use the Call Screening AI to instruct the person who is calling while you’re away. Thanks to the Pixel 8 Pro’s improved machine learning, the voice that Call Screening provides is natural-sounding and believable.
On the software front, 7 years of updates have been put forward by Google to keep the Pixel 8 Pro relevant for the foreseeable future. This is the highest number of expected updates for any smartphone brand, surpassing that of Apple, Samsung and Honor.
The Pixel 8 Pro has Android 14 running under the hood, bringing with it some exciting ways to customise your Pixel. The big headline feature is AI Wallpapers, which leverages the power of the Tensor G3 chip to produce a bespoke background for your phone. AI Wallpapers are a great way to express your personality without needing to trawl the Internet for a background that appeals to you.
Personalising your lock screen is also much easier on the Pixel 8 Pro. Custom clock faces and shortcuts can be added via a simple picker; just tap and hold to swap in the design of your choosing.
The headline of our Pixel 8 Pro review centres on how impressive its cameras are. Google have very much turned the Pixel series up to 11 with the 8 Pro, equipping its camera array with some of the best tech in the industry.
The main camera on the Pixel 8 Pro is a 50MP wide camera, the same that is featured on the Pixel 8. The similarities stop here really, because once we reach the other cameras, things get very exciting indeed. The ultra-wide lens is a staggering 48MP behemoth with autofocus, up from 12MP on the Pixel 8. Due to this camera’s extremely high pixel count, capturing detailed landscape shots has never been easier.
Switching to the telephoto camera, the Pixel 8 Pro has a 48MP lens with Super Res Zoom up to 30x. This pixel count is identical to the telephoto camera found on the Pixel 7 Pro, but possesses a wider 21.8° field-of-view to snap more detail.
The bow on this offering is a crisp and clear 10.5MP selfie camera, complete with autofocus for taking clear shots in low-light conditions.
The Pixel 8 Pro’s camera array is nothing short of superb. From a hardware perspective it runs a bulldozer through what to expect from a smartphone camera, even on a premium device, and when combined with powerful additions like Video Boost to improve recordings via AI, you have a world-class photography suite right at your fingertips.
To power all of these camera tools and performance improvements, Google have continued their tradition of squeezing a large battery into their premium handset. Within the Pixel 8 Pro is a 5050mAh battery, with enough capacity to last a full 24 hours with no issues.
23W QI wireless charging is supported on the Pixel 8 Pro, alongside 30W wired charging when you need to connect to an outlet.
It’s important to note that you can get more power out of the Pixel 8 Pro, thanks to the efficient brightness technology in the Super Actua display and Tensor G3 processor. These features work in tandem to help you squeeze every possible drop out of your phone before needing to recharge.
If you need the absolute best of the best when it comes to smartphone photography, the Google Pixel 8 Pro is a top contender. The technology on offer makes it easy to elevate your photos to the next level, while also serving as one of the best entertainment devices around.
When your new Android phone arrives, easily move your data from the old handset stress-free with our expert guide.