A slightly trimmed list of specifications here, where I will highlight details such as the upgraded Tensor G3 chip, and then of course the new camera setup.
A tour around the Google Pixel 8 Pro
If you are familiar with Google Pixel phones, then you will immediately recognize the design of the new Pixel 8 Pro. Nothing huge has happened, and the design is instantly recognisable. Our version has come in the color Obsidian, but there is also an option for the colors Bay (Blue) or Porcelain (White).
However, the recognizable does not mean that we will get exactly the same shell, because a little has happened. If we start on the back, then on the Pro model of the Pixel 8, we have a glass back with a nice matte satin finish. I personally think it's a big upgrade from the very shiny one that was on the last generation.
The new finish is MUCH better at repelling fingerprints and dirt in general, which is a big plus, and it just feels great to touch. However, I have discovered that even now, after a week of use, I have made a small scratch on the surface, despite the fact that I otherwise think I take good care of phones in my care. So that makes me a little worried about how the surface will hold up in the long run.
The design of the camera setup has also changed slightly. All three lenses have now been gathered in an oval cutout, where it was previously divided. It helps to create a slightly more harmonious and unified expression.
The camera lineup has also been upgraded with a new 50MP ƒ/1.68 main camera, along with a ƒ/1.95 48MP Quad PD ultra-wide camera and a ƒ/2.8 48MP Quad PD telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and Superzoom up to 30x.
Right next to the cameras we also find a new addition, on the Pro version of the Pixel 8, which is a temperature gauge. A small new feature that I will get into a little more later in the test.
The entire camera part is still mounted in a camera bump with a sharp angle, which means that dust and pocket lint easily collects at the edge here. It wasn't a super big issue on the Pixel 7, but if you're the very clean type, you might be annoyed by it.
If we jump to the front, this is where we find one of the personally biggest and best upgrades on the new Pixel 8 Pro, namely the screen.
To start with, I'm really happy to see that Google has now switched to a completely flat screen and gone away from the curved edges as before. That trend should be dead in my book, and it's great to see that Google is now on board too.
The screen is the same 6.72 size as the last generation and still LTPO OLED, which is nice to see. The resolution has been boosted, so that we now get 1344 x 2992 with the option of variable refresh from 1-120 Hz.
At the same time, it is also an incredibly bright screen, with a peak brightness of up to 2400 nits. This means that there is no problem viewing the content on the screen, even in strong sunlight.
The front camera has also been upgraded and is now a ƒ/2.2 10.5 MP Dual PD selfie camera with autofocus.
The internal hardware has of course also been upgraded with Google's latest Tensor G3 chip, along with the same Titan M2 security model as last year.
On paper, the battery has received a very small boost, but is practically the same approx. 5000 mAh battery, as in the Pixel 7 Pro.
Just as it has always been, it is not on the hardware front that Google takes the most points. It is of course on the software side. We'll look at that in a bit, but it's worth noting that Google has started some slightly questionable measures.
One of them is that they have, for example, closed apps like Geekbench, which provide the opportunity to test and benchmark the hardware on the phone. It simply cannot be downloaded on the Pixel 8 Pro. It's not an Android limitation, because I can, for example, download it just fine for OnePlus phones, which also run Android 14.
It is no secret that the Pixel phones do not win on pure raw hardware performance, but closing down access to apps such as Geekbench, I think is a strange approach to things. As I will get into later, you can still get a super good flagship phone out of it, even if you are not a chart-topper in terms of hardware.
So much for an open minded approach to things Google… Dad is disappointed!
As I touched on just above, it is clear on the software side that the Pixel 8 Pro takes cones and comes with the biggest developments. The watchword at the moment is of course AI, and it is also largely a common thread throughout the Pixel 8 Pro. A large part of it is expressed through images and video, which I deal with separately a little further down in the test.
However, the software experience on the Pixel 8 Pro is great right from the start. Android 14 has become a mature operating system to that extent, and in the pure Google version it is a pleasure to use.
The setup is easy and straightforward, and if you already have an Android phone, it's super easy to set up the new one based on an online backup. In my case, it pulled over all information about apps, connected networks, etc. without any problems. Even the app layout on the home screen was included, which is super nice when you're a creature of habit.
Navigation and general use of the phone is fast and responsive and generally went smoothly during my testing, despite being a pre-release version of the phone.
The options for customizing the phone are great, with a wealth of options to choose the style and Widgets on your Home Screen. It has even become possible to choose AI generated backgrounds, just to ride that wave.
You have the option to adapt certain parts of the AI images, but do not have free rein to write your own prompts, which would otherwise have been exciting to see.
The results are a bit variable, but it's still interesting enough to mess around with.
There are a number of smart functions built into Android 14 and the Pixel phones, which we don't quite get the opportunity to enjoy to the full yet, as we are limited by the Danish language. On English-language phones, it is, for example, possible to have your Google Assistant create an AI summary of a website you have open in the Chrome browser.
If you try the same thing in Danish, Google Assistant is just a big question. The same applies where in English you can get the phone to read content on a website, which cannot be done in Danish either.
We also miss opportunities such as automatic Call Screening, which is an option in, for example, the USA.
However, it may be that those functions eventually also become part of the Danish version. However, it is not something to bet on, as Google is notoriously slow in getting functions moved to Danish.
However, there are also a lot of smart things happening under the surface that you might not notice in Android 14. There are built-in functions that, if activated, follow your usage patterns and adapt continuously. These are things like dynamic charging, where the phone learns when you go to bed and when you get up, and then adapts the charging accordingly. That way, your phone doesn't lie there charging all night, but adapts so that it takes the last sprint, so it's ready when you get up. It helps improve battery life.
A final wrinkle on the software side is also that Google has promised seven years of security and OS updates on the Pixel 8 phones. So if that promise holds true, you can have an updated Pixel 8 Pro in your pocket right up to 2030.
The Pixel series of phones has always been known for their great pictures, and that hasn't changed with the Pixel 8 series.
The strong triple camera setup on the Pixel 8 Pro provides good opportunities for really good pictures. The combination of a strong primary camera supplemented by ultra wide and telephoto is, in my book, the best combination for the vast majority of images that you come across in your everyday life.
Google has really screwed up the camera hardware with the Pixel 8 Pro. All three options provide good images with really fine details and colors that are reasonably representative.
However, there is some software processing of the images. However, I think that Google has found a fine balance that in nine out of ten cases ends up giving better results.
These are details such as automatic adjustment of the light when there are faces in the image and a general adjustment of contrast and light on images to optimize the image. If you look at it completely soberly, the pictures may not be 1 to 1 representative of the subject you are taking a picture of, but an optimized version. It's not always that Google's adaptations hit the spot, but in 9 out of 10 cases I think the adapted version is better than the unedited one. However, it is ultimately a matter of taste.
However, there is also the possibility of much more software magic with the new Pixel series if you start editing your photos.
On the one hand, there is access to all the normal things that we see on most smartphones where light, contrast, etc. can be adjusted, or filters of different nature can be used.
With the Google Pixel 8, however, the software also allows for more extensive editing, which can change the images in quite extensive ways, or directly remove elements or move them around.
Via the Magic Eraser tool, you can select elements in an image and remove them, or even move them. It could, for example, be a person in the background of your nice girlfriend's picture from the beach, or an ugly trash can or seagull that has crept in. By selecting things, they can be completely removed from the image, or you can also choose to move, enlarge or reduce elements, thus completely changing the composition of an image.
After that, the software itself generates content to fill the gap left by the element you removed.
It seems quite reasonable in most cases, but the results can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the type of images and how complex the various objects and backgrounds are.
However, there is also the possibility of other AI options, where you can change things like light, style or even change the sky in an image.
The options available change slightly depending on what is in the image. As a rule of thumb, it seems that there are fewer options when there are people or animals in the picture. With landscapes or architecture, for example, it is possible to create AI-generated stylized versions of an image.
There are undoubtedly some underlying parameters and rules that Google has set up that govern which options are available.
One of the most practical options, however, is the one called "Best Picture", which can be used for e.g. group pictures with several people in the picture. Here, most people are probably familiar with the scenario where you line up the group and then take a lot of pictures to then be able to choose the best one, where hopefully no one has closed eyes, yawns or looks away. However, even with a whole series of photos, it is not always possible to capture one in which everyone looks great.
With the Best Picture tool, the software automatically recognizes when you have taken such a series of pictures and recognizes the individual faces in the pictures. After this, you can go in for each person and choose from the different faces that exist in the series. You can then choose for each person the face that you think is best and then the software combines it together in an image.
It works surprisingly well and can help create a better image. It may be a situation that never really took place, but nevertheless an optimal picture.
There may occasionally be a slight error in the image if you select a face that has rotated or moved too much in relation to the original image, or if several faces are very close to each other in the image.
The good thing about all the smart features is that they are available for all the pictures you have in your Google Photos library. So you are not limited to the photos that are actually taken on your Pixel 8 Pro.
There are, however, certain functions that are locked to the Pixel 8 Pro, and thus can only be accessed through your phone and not through Google Photos on, for example, your PC.
On the Pixel 8 Pro, there is also the option to select Pro settings, where you have access to customize all aspects of the camera settings yourself. Then if you are not satisfied with Google's adaptations, you can control things yourself.
It is also the only way to use the full 50 MP that the main camera provides. Everywhere else, pixel binning down to around 12 MP is used.
However, the Pro access option is only on the Pixel 8 Pro and not available on the Pixel 8 even though they have the same main camera. Another software feature Google is locking away, in order to use it as a selling point for their Pro phones.
See examples of images taken with the Google Pixel 8 Pro in full resolution here.
I've been using the Google Pixel 8 Pro as my primary phone for a little over a week. As I touched on under the software, the setup and switch to the Pixel 8 pro was super easy and straightforward and was based on a backup of my previous Android phone.
All apps etc came along fine and I had the option to choose whether any should be sorted out along the way.
So in no time I had a phone with the same apps and locations that I knew from my previous phone.
Normal use and navigation went without problems and the Pixel 8 Pro and Android 14 are a sharp combination for all everyday normal smartphone tasks and SoMe pastimes.
The slightly higher resolution on the screen compared to the Pixel 7 Pro is nice to have, and makes e.g. web browsing somewhat easier and more manageable.
For heavier tasks, such as gaming, there were no problems either and even longer gaming sessions were not a problem. So even if the Pixel 8 Pro on paper does not beat the competition in terms of hardware, I am convinced that most people will find it difficult to feel the difference in everyday life.
The battery easily managed even long days without any major problems. Even in a test period like this, where I typically spend a lot more time on the phone than a normal weekday, I got through a whole day just fine with about 20% left on the really heavy days.
There is the option of up to 30W charging, so it wins no awards for speed on that front compared to many others on the market. Here I would have liked to see a little faster charging.
There is, however, the option of wireless charging, so it is easy and quick to get some power if you have a wireless charger or two at home.
Although it's a bit difficult to see how often I've needed it, I also tested the new temperature meter on the Pixel 8 Pro out of curiosity. You are well informed at the start that it is not intended to measure body temperature. So it is not the one you should use to check whether junior can come to school.
However, it is possible to choose between different objects or surfaces that you want to measure, and then you just have to hold the sensor about five centimeters from what you want to measure.
I tested it with water at various temperatures and generally the readings landed within about two degrees of deviation from the readings I got with a thermometer.
So maybe not 100% spot on, but still a nice indicator for a quick measurement or two.
At the time of writing, I can find the Google Pixel 8 Pro for an online price of just under 1200$ for the "basic" version with 128 GB of storage. This is an increase of around 200$ compared to last year's Pixel 7 Pro.
The prices for the 256 GB and 512 GB versions are 1300$ and 1800$, respectively.
The Google Pixel 8 Pro experience is definitely a pleasure. It's undoubtedly the best Pixel phone to date, and Google has squeezed a lot of smart features into a phone with a solid combination of hardware and software.
The hardware doesn't beat the competition on pure raw performance, but that's probably not the goal for Google either, which aims more at adding smart and more user-oriented functions through software and AI.
However, it leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth when Google then locks some of these completely obvious software, and not hardware based, options to their expensive Pro phones. The internal hardware of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro is largely the same, as is their primary camera, yet there are certain software options that are only available on the Pixel 8 Pro.
In my book, that's a pretty cool way to drive up sales on the more expensive phone.
It's a bit of the same thing that applies when Google closes access to benchmark apps, such as Geekbench, so you can't easily compare hardware directly.
Having said that, I am still left with a delicious experience after my time with the Google Pixel 8 Pro.
The smart functions and not least the pictures and camera are the main reason why I love the new Pixel 8 Pro.
If you can manage with the slightly smaller camera setup, and live without the software features that Google very unsympathetically excludes from the regular Pixel 8, then I would also recommend looking in the direction of the somewhat cheaper Pixel 8, which can can be found for 380$ cheaper, without compromising on much.
If you want the whole package and have a bigger budget, I have no problems recommending the Pixel 8 Pro either. We land with a final grade of 9 and a Great Product Award, for one of the best Android experiences on the market at the moment.