The Made by Google event this year brought us a new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones as expected. For the first time since they launched them though, the divide between the two phones has never been greater. 

Google is positioning the Pixel 8 Pro as their flagship phone, with features exclusive to the device that its smaller stablemate won’t enjoy. Things like Video Boost and Night Sight Video, as well as Assistant with their Bard chatbot built-in and even the updated Magic Erase is destined for the Pixel 8 Pro only – though this may change. 

It’s not just these software features, some of which aren’t due to arrive until “later”. As with previous years there’s differences between the hardware, including the display size and type, Memory, as well as Storage options – and then there’s the camera and sensor stack, with the new Temperature Sensor a purely Pixel 8 Pro feature. 

For this year, we’ve grabbed both the phones to check out and while I’ll be taking the Pixel 8 Pro for a spin, Scott will be adding his thoughts and likewise I’ll be contributing to Scott’s Pixel 8 review.

We’ve had a short time with the Pixel 8 Pro, but we’ve used the heck out of it and checking out the differences and here’s how it went. 


The Pixel 8 Pro follows the same design as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series with the polished metal horizontal camera bar, which contains a larger window for the cameras and the addition of a temperature sensor below the flash. The camera bar makes the Pixel 8 very stable on a desk, though as usual it can accumulate dust along the edge – though the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have a great range of cases available to cover this gap, as well as protecting the phone.

Another change for the rear is the introduction of a soft touch, matte back glass, a departure from the glossy rear on the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro. The matte finish still feels slick, it’s not a textured matte like a sandstone, but rather won’t reflect light or show fingerprints as well.

The Pixel 8 Pro comes in three colour choices this year, a gorgeous Bay Blue which appears to be the theme of this year’s Pixel launch alongside the blue Pixel Watch. There’s also the usual Obsidian Black and the new Porcelain colour.

The Pixel 8 Pro is again a large phone, though it’s dimensions are slightly smaller all round and even a little thinner, and only a gram or two heavier than previous models, while still including a small update in the battery size. 

Pixel 6 Pro/Pixel 7 Pro/Pixel 8 Pro

There’s a 6.7” LTPO Super Actua Display packed in there. The Actua display launched by Google, offers the same 1-120Hz refresh rate we saw on Pixel 7 Pro, but with an insanely bright 2400 nits peak brightness which makes the display incredibly easy to see outdoors. 

That display and matte back are covered by scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and the phone comes with a fingerprint-resistant coating.  For those prone to accidents the Pixel 8 Pro has an IP68 dust and water resistance rating so you can get it a little wet without worry.

If there are mishaps along the way, Google is committed to helping you fix your Pixel 8. They’re leveraging their previously announced partnership with iFixit to supply parts for the phone for seven years. You’ll be able to buy batteries, displays and more, including tool kits through iFixit who will also have guides on replacing the parts. 

The Pixel 8 series phones have the same button layout of the previous Pixel phones with the volume rocker above the power button on the right, a SIM tray on the left hand side which takes a single SIM – though you can also bring in an eSIM to use as well.

There’s the USB-C 3.2 port on the base, which supports charging though unfortunately it looks like you still can’t connect it to an external display, or at least it didn’t work when I plugged it in.

It’s a Pixel phone in terms of looks, but it feels comfortable in the hand and while the camera bar used to be divisive it’s quite a good look – and I can spot a Pixel phone from a mile away now in public, identifying it like other brands by the distinctive camera bump. I like the design and the fact the whole package sits comfortably in the hand, even with a 


The Pixel 8 Pro essentially contains all the hardware and features that Google wants to showcase this year. 

Starting with the Tensor G3 SoC, the Pixel 8 Pro includes 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of on-board storage, a step above the Pixel 8 which has 8GB RAM and up to 256GB of on-board storage. 

Pixel 8 Pro

There’s a 5,050mAh battery on-board, capable of up to 72-hour battery life with Extreme Battery Saver, and I’ll get to real-world use in a minute. 

Of course the cameras got updated with this being another point of difference between the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. The Pixel 8 Pro getting the full suite of camera sensors including a 50MP main sensor, with 48MP ultrawide sensor and 48MP telephoto sensor with 5x optical zoom, 

There’s also a 10.5MP Dual PD front camera in a punch-hole notch in the display which has been upgraded with AutoFocus and now supports level 3 biometrics which means you can now login securely to banking, password apps and more with your face.

That 6.7” Super Actua Display on the front is now finally flat, with no curved edges and it’s gorgeous. Having struggled with the curved display on previous Pixel ‘Pro’ series handsets, the inclusion of a flat design is welcome, though obviously your mileage may vary.

That Super Actua display is simply a Google branded OLED panel offering the impressive 2400nits peak brightness. It’s hard to sell exactly how easy the Pixel 8 Pro is to read in bright daylight, but if you’ve ever struggled with this on other phones, fear not this solves the issue.

And if you’re looking to compare the hardware differences between them  it’s easier to show it in a spec table:

Pixel 8Pixel 8 Pro
SoCGoogle Tensor G3 with Titan M2 security coprocessorGoogle Tensor G3 with Titan M2 security coprocessor
128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 storage
Up to 1TB in US and 512GB rest of the world, UFS 3.1
Display6.2-inch FHD+ OLED display with 60Hz-120Hz refresh rate. Up to 2,000 nits peak brightness6.7-inch LTPO OLED display with 1Hz-120Hz refresh rate.
Up to 2,400 nits peak brightness
Camera50MP Octa PD wide camera
12MP ultrawide camera with autofocus
OIS and EIS on wide
10.5MP Dual PD front camera
50MP Octa PD wide camera
48MP Quad PD ultrawide camera with autofocus
48MP Quad PD telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and Super Res Zoom up to 30xOIS and EIS on wide and telephoto
10.5MP Dual PD front camera
ConnectivityWi-Fi 7
Bluetooth v
Wi-Fi 7
Bluetooth v
SecurityUnder-display fingerprint sensor, Face UnlockUnder-display fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock
Battery4,575mAh with up to 27W fast charging
Qi-certified wireless charging up to 18W
5,050mAh with up to 30W fast charging
Qi-certified wireless charging up to 23W
OSAndroid 14
7 years of OS and security updates
Android 14
7 years of OS and security updates
MaterialCorning Gorilla Glass Victus cover and back
IP68 rating
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 cover and matte back
IP68 rating

Temperature Sensor

One of the new inclusions exclusive to the Pixel 8 Pro is the Temperature Sensor. While it’s initially being touted for measuring the temperature of things like water, surfaces and more, Google has submitted it to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), their equivalent of the Theraputic Goods Administration (TGA) to have the sensor eventually registered for tracking and recording body temp. 

There’s no sign of the Pixel 8 Pro temperature sensor on the Australian Register of Theraputic Goods (ARTG), though the Fitbit registration for the ECG component of the Fitbit app related to the Pixel Watch is. I’ve not received a response from Google about any submissions to the ARTG but we’ll be keeping an eye out.

The Temperature app on the phone doesn’t have a setting to choose body temperature as yet, but you can choose from a wide variety of different surfaces and materials. 

I used a  Non-Contact Digital Laser thermometer and a SEEK thermal camera to compare with the Pixel 8 Pro Temperature sensor on a few items included in the list like water, walls and a frying pan. 

The only inconsistency I found was the Frying Pan with the sensor reaching it’s upper limits (150°C) it needed to be back a little further than the recommended 5cm. The rest of the measurements were pretty consistent, so we’ll have to see how the update to body temperature goes.


The talk for the Pixel 8 series is the Tensor G3, Google’s AI focused System on Chip (SoC). The Tensor G3 is paired with 12GB of DDR5 RAM and up to 512GB of on-board storage, but it’s UFS 3.1 which is slower than the UFS 4.0 storage we see on other flagship devices. 

The Tensor G3 is ‘Pixel’s most powerful chip yet’ says Google. The claim focuses on the AI capabilities of the Tensor G3, which along with improvements on CPU, GPU, ISP, DSP and more, has also seen an increase in AI, with larger machine learning models included that are up to 10x more complex than the Pixel 6.

All this drives the AI features included on the Pixel 8 Pro, as well as those coming soon, which we’ll get to shortly.

In terms of everyday use though, the Pixel 8 Pro flies, with buttery smooth performance. Apps load quickly and you can multi-task with no jerkiness. Google has previously proven how well they can really optimise Android for their phones and the Pixel 8 Pro shows this again. 

There’s previously been a lot of heat generated by Pixel phones, however I haven’t found the phone getting overly hot in the time I’ve been using it – and it’s been getting a fairly intense workout over the past few days.

Battery and Charging

Google has upped the battery capacity in the Pixel 8 Pro to 5050mAh, and spruiks up to 72 hours of battery life using their Extreme Battery Saver mode which effectively turns it into a feature phone, but with very long battery life. 

Realistically, I’ve only had three full days of use out of the Pixel 8 Pro and it’s managed around 15 hours a day, with around 6.5 – 7 hours of screen on time.  I’ve not used the Battery Saver, or Extreme Battery Saver modes this time, however they can eke out a little more life if you need them to.

More interesting is the charging on the Pixel 8 Pro, which for the first time actually supports the full 30W charging that the official Pixel charger offers – though, as with the past couple of Pixel phones you will need to purchase your own charger for $45 as there isn’t one included in the box.

If you need a top up, the 30W charger works fairly well, getting you to around 50% full in around 30 minutes, with a full charge taking around two

If you’re a wireless charging fan, the Pixel 8 Pro supports Qi at 23W, though there’s no support for the new Qi2 standard announced earlier this year

The phone charges relatively quickly, though it’s miles behind offerings from the likes of OPPO and their 80W SuperVOOC fast charge. 


As well as faster everything under the hood, the Pixel 8 Pro is also ‘Absolutely the best camera in a smartphone’ – and after using it for a while, it’s hard to argue.

On paper, the Pixel 8 Pro has top of the line hardware including a 50MP main sensor, 48MP ultrawide sensor with up to 125.5° field of view which also enables Macro mode, and a 48MP sensor with telephoto lens capable of up to 5x Optical Zoom.  

The front-facing camera has been updated as well, with a 10.5 MP Dual PD sensor, which now includes Auto-Focus. The camera takes a decent selfie and the new auto-focus makes it easier to get a crisper image with less fussing about than last years model.

The rest of the camera system shows some very good shots across all ranges of lighting, from a bright day to even low-light, with the Night Sight feature again offering up some simply impressive camera shots.  You’ll also find Magic Erase and the Unblur option back again to save you from any 

The camera includes a 5x telephoto option, which you can further zoom in to 30x which offers a pretty good shot. 

The Pixel 8 Pro Ultra Wide also offers some great options if you just need a little more to capture a full image.

There’s some new features included in the Pixel 8 Pro camera, and Pro mode is one of the big features. Accessible through the Camera app, you can switch to outputting the full 50MP shot including RAW data which you can then edit in apps like Lightroom, with all the data available to edit.

Full Resolution – Big Swoop by local artist Yanni Pounartzis

Some of the more impressive features are AI Powered in the Google Photos app, so you can do a lot of post processing with features including Best Take, Magic Editor and Audio Magic Eraser – which of course brings us to the AI portion of the Pixel 8 Pro.

AI, Tensor G3 and the Pixel 8 Pro

The Tensor G3 with the included Machine Learning Models on-board, power some truly stunning features on the Pixel 8 Pro. There’s improvements to Assistant voice typing including the ability to use multiple languages without stopping, an updated ‘At a Glance’ widget and of course photo features and the new AI Wallpapers.

Google Photos 

Added as ‘edit’ options when you select a photo in Google Photos, you can now see and make use of three new features: Best Take, Magic Editor and Audio Magic Eraser.  To access them, simply select your photo – or video in the case of Audio Magic Eraser – and select edit, or tap the new multi-coloured icon on the bottom left for Magic Editor. 

Best Take

Best Take is one of those magic features you wish you’d always had. If you have a few shots to choose from, you can mix and match faces, selecting ones where you’re both smiling, looking at the camera and everyone has their eyes open. It’s honestly one of the best features about the Pixel 8, and is definitely worth giving a shot.

Magic Editor

Magic Editor now appears in the bottom left corner in Google Photos after you select a photo. Using this new feature you can move and resize objects, or even simply remove them from your shot with Magic Erase.

The updated Magic Erase in the Pixel 8 Pro now uses AI to generate pixels to replace things removed from a photo, so you don’t get odd blurred backgrounds. It’s a pretty darn good feature to play around with.

Audio Magic Eraser

Of course Google has improved video on the Pixel 8 Pro with a new feature called Audio Magic Eraser. This one is pretty awesome for anyone who’s had to do a video in a noisy environment and offers you an option to simply remove music or noise in the background – and like everything I’ve seen here on the Pixel 8 Pro, it’s almost like magic.

AI Wallpapers

While it’s not revolutionary, and it’s still fairly limited in scope, the AI generated wallpapers on the Pixel 8 Pro are immensely fun. 

From the home-screen you can select your normal range of wallpapers, however there’s also a new AI Wallpaper option you can choose. You’re provided with a list of styles to choose from, then you can change a couple of the prompts and then swipe through some generated wallpapers.

Assistant voice typing across languages

The Assistant Voice Typing launched last year on the Pixel 7 is simply stunning in the way it can keep up with what you’re saying accurately. It’s back on the Pixel 8 series with the addition of cross-language support.  You can simply talk in multiple languages and the Google Assistant can automatically detect the language without missing a beat.

The Assistant Voice Typing language support includes the ability to use emojis, making edits and sending, all with your voice in  English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

While I’m not quite bilingual enough to try it out, the demos do look astonishing. 

AI Assisted Front Camera

The front-facing camera has also been upgraded with a Secure Face Unlock experience without needing to fit an additional sensor into the phone. Using AI assisted Machine Learning Models, the Pixel 8 series camera can now authenticate you using level 3 biometric security.

The end result is that your face unlock can now securely unlock your phone as well as secure apps which can require biometric login, which previously used fingerprint sensors, apps including your banking apps, password safe and more.

More AI to come

There’s also a lot more AI powered features to come to the Pixel 8 Pro specifically, though they aren’t on-board now so we can’t test them.

In December, Google will be launching a massive Pixel Drop for the Pixel 8 Pro bringing Video Boost that will utilise off-device processing in Google’s data centres to improve video across the board with more lifelike skin tones and balance, HDR+ Image Pipeline and even Night Sight Video!

There’s other features coming  as well, including Proofread in Gboard to help you check your spelling, grammar and punctuation, Recorder Summarise for your Pixel Recorder app to quickly summarise any recordings you have, and Zoom Enhance which will use AI to enhance pictures you pinch to zoom.

At a Glance Widget

The Pixel ‘At a Glance Widget’ is a big feature for me, I use it to keep track of appointments, weather and even packages seen being delivered on the Nest Doorbell. The Google Assistant powers the new At a Glance Widget, and can now show things like train information including disruptions if you’re travelling, 

I haven’t had cause to buy movie tickets, take a train trip or any of the other supported actions as yet, so I’m looking forward to trying it out further.


The Pixel 8 Pro was announced on the same day that Google announced Android 14 had gone official, rolling out to other Pixel phones. 

The Pixel 8 Pro runs Android 14 out of the box, and there’s an Over-The-Air (OTA) update available out of the box to update to the October security patch. There’s all the great features of Android 14 on-board including new security and privacy features, health connect hub and accessibility improvements

Google has been under fire for the past couple of years for their inability to match the market leader Samsung in their software update promise of 5 years. Google completely blew this out of the water for the Pixel 8 series, announcing the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will receive 7 years of Feature (OS) and Security updates, meaning you’ll get Android 20 on your Pixel 8 Pro.

The Pixel is about as stock as you can get it, with of course the Google enhancements that make a Pixel, well, a Pixel. This includes a fairly comprehensive set of pre-installed Google apps, but very little else if you like a clean install. 

Should you buy it?

The Pixel 8 Pro is simply the absolute pinnacle of what Google can do. The phone includes a stunning array of new features, as well as promising more to come in their Pixel Drops – though that’s never a great reason to buy a phone. 

What is good now on the Pixel 8 Pro is that amazing camera, the excellent AI features of Best Take, Magic Editor and Audio Magic Eraser, AI Wallpapers and even the ability to unlock secure apps with your face. There’s new hardware exclusives like the improved camera system and temperature sensor, and the increased memory helps smooth out any potential issues.

There’s some niggles, with limited battery life and slower fast charging than other flagship phones, but overall the Pixel 8 Pro offers a lot to like and promises to only get better over time with ongoing feature updates, security updates and OS updates for the next 7 years.