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Google Pixel 8 review: I make my world the way I like it

Google Pixel 8 featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2023 TechnikNews)

The new Google Pixel 8 is also available in Austria for the first time. I share my experiences with it in everyday life in this test report.

tl; dr: With the Google Pixel 8, the company relied on many tried and tested things, improved them and added a little AI magic in some corners. You can notice this, for example, in the camera, the operating system, which is pure Android 14, the improved facial recognition and the perfected design.

Unfortunately, not everything with the smartphone is as smooth as one would hope. At the time of testing there were still some stutters in the software and the built-in Tensor G3 Processor lags behind the competition in some respects. Furthermore, an LTPO display would have been desirable. Furthermore, I'm not sure to what extent AI functions like the Magic Editor are really useful.

Unboxing and initial setup

The Google Pixel 8 comes in Google-typical white packaging that has an image of the Proproducts, logos, the Proproduct name and several small texts. This includes the smartphone, a very robust double-sided USB-C cable, instructions, a SIM tool and a USB-C adapter for data transfer from a smartphone that is no longer in use. The Pixel 8 doesn't come with a power supply either.

Setting up the smartphone is extremely simple. At the beginning you have to choose the language and region and log in to your own Google account. You then have the option of importing backups from the cloud or via a cable connection. If you already own an older Pixel, it can even be completely mirrored to the new device, similar to switching between two iPhones. Finally, you have to configure an unlocking method and agree to various terms of use.

Design and workmanship

The days of major design changes for Pixel devices are now finally over. Once again, Google gave the smartphone the look that was first seen with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro introduced. For this generation, however, Google rounded the corners of the case a little and enlarged the camera hill. This year the device is available in three colors: Hazel (green, my test device), Obsidian (black) and Rose (rose gold).

The back of the Google Pixel 8 is made of glass, more precisely Gorilla Glass Victus. In my test sample I can't find any scratches from everyday use. The device never fell to the ground, so I can't say anything about its resistance to such strong influences. The back is not matte like the Pixel 8 Pro, which makes the device significantly more slippery. At 187 grams, it feels comfortable and soft in the hand. Fingerprints are of course visible in direct sunlight, but not as strong as previously assumed.

The back is divided into two parts by the camera hill. In principle, this is a matter of taste in terms of appearance, but it also has two decisive advantages. The first is that the device does not wobble when used at the table and the second is that the lenses do not protrude and are therefore better protected. One downside is that dust collects around the camera hill quite easily.

When it comes to the material for the frame and the camera hill, the manufacturer chose aluminum. So far it doesn't show any signs of wear. On the right there is the volume rocker and the power button. Both have a fairly firm pressure point, but feel very high quality. The SIM slot is on the left and offers space for a nano SIM. Of course, the Pixel 8 also supports an eSIM, while the memory cannot be expanded again. Next to the USB-C port on the bottom is one of the two stereo speakers, both of which sound quite good, and a microphone.

The Pixel 8 is protected against water and dust according to the IP68 standard.

Display

The display measures 6,2 inches diagonally, has a resolution of 1.080 x 2.400 pixels and is based on OLED. The maximum refresh rate is 120 Hertz, the maximum brightness is an incredible 2000 nits and the panel supports HDR10+. It is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.

I really liked the image quality. Everything is displayed realistically, nothing appears washed out and the contrast ratio is of course excellent thanks to OLED. Thanks to the maximum brightness of 2000 nits, you can view content without any problems even on very sunny days Proread problems. The display edges could be a little narrower, but that doesn't really bother you in everyday life. It's also noticeable that the bottom edge is a little wider, but that's something you quickly ignore in everyday life.

“Smooth Display”, i.e. the refresh rate of 120 Hertz, is deactivated at the factory, meaning that the display initially only updates its content at 60 Hertz. Unfortunately, the regular Pixel 8 does not have an LTPO panel, which means that the rate cannot be variably reduced to up to one hertz when using the always-on display, for example. And I actually noticed a significantly higher battery consumption after switching it on to “Smooth Display” – more on that later.

There is a fingerprint sensor in the display, which recognizes the finger very quickly, but not as quickly as the one in, for example Galaxy s23 ultra is. Alternatively, there is facial recognition, which has a higher security standard in the Pixel 8 than before, which is why you can even use it to unlock banking apps.

Google Pixel 8 display

Picture: TechnikNews

Specifications

The in-house Tensor G8 (four nanometers) was installed in the Google Pixel 3. It is supported by eight gigabytes of RAM and 128 gigabytes or 256 gigabytes of internal UFS 3.1 storage. It's a shame that there isn't at least one option with 512 gigabytes. Google justifies this by saying that you get free storage space in Google Photos when you buy it. Otherwise, the smartphone comes with Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6e.

When it comes to everyday things, there is of course nothing to complain about in the Pixel 8's performance. There are small glitches in places when Smooth Display is activated. But it was never as bad for me as in some other tests, as I probably already have a more recent update. And I'm sure that ProThe problem will be completely eliminated with further updates. Still, it's a shame that you have to deal with such difficulties at the beginning. Games then run again without any major problems; the device only tends to get noticeably warmer. When editing photos, the Pixel 8 occasionally sweats and also gets warmer.

In general, there is still room for improvement in terms of performance, which will definitely be improved with updates. Nevertheless, you are hardly slowed down at all in everyday life.

Operating system

The Google Pixel 8 runs pure Android 14, without any adjustments, such as those from Samsung.

My last Pixel test it's been a while. But I really liked the software back then and was therefore curious to see what was happening in the meantime. I particularly like the design again, more specifically the more widespread Google Sans font, the modern look, the playful animations and the large time on the lock screen when you don't have any notifications. I also really liked the AI ​​backgrounds and the integration with Fast Pair and other audio output devices.

Regarding the points of criticism: I just couldn't find them. I like the OS, Google made a lot of good decisions here and sets the right path for other manufacturers.

An interesting point this year is the promise of updates: the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro should be provided with software updates for seven years. So official support doesn't end until 2030. This not only means you can use a Pixel for longer, you can also resell it at a higher price. It will be exciting to see how this changes the useful life of Google smartphones. In addition, Google announced that updates will no longer appear on a specific day, but only when certain tests have been successfully completed.

Battery life

The Pixel 8's battery has a capacity of 4.575 milliamp hours and, according to the manufacturer, can reach 27 in 30 minutes with 50 watts Probe loaded centrally. The battery can be charged wirelessly with 18 watts. The device also supports reverse wireless charging.

With the battery you can get by without it ProI'll have to wait a day unless Smooth Display is activated. Things can get tight with Smooth Display, as I often have standby consumption of 10 Procent in two hours with the always-on display activated. But here again, the situation can improve drastically with a software update.

Camera

The Pixel 8 has two lenses on the back. The main sensor has a resolution of 50 megapixels, an aperture of f/1.7 and a focal length of 25 millimeters. It comes with dual pixel phase detection autofocus, laser autofocus and optical image stabilization. The second sensor, an ultra-wide-angle camera with 20 millimeters, has a resolution of 12 megapixels and an aperture of f/2.2. This sensor is equipped with autofocus.

A selfie camera with a 10,5 megapixel resolution was installed on the front. It has an aperture of f/2.2 and a focal length of 20 millimeters and no autofocus.

Videos can be front and back at 4K at 24, 30 or 60 frames pro second or with 1080p and 30 or 60 images pro second can be recorded. The rear camera also supports recordings at 1080p and 120 or 240 images pro Seconds and has electronic and optical image stabilization and is capable of recording clips with 10-bit HDR.

Recordings

For a daytime camera test, I took the Pixel 8 with me on a day across and around Lucerne. And I can say right away that the camera always produced usable and beautiful images. In addition, they were often more natural than those of a Galaxy S23 Ultra or iPhone 15 Pro Max. I was able to notice a few things in detail:

  • The day I took the photos was very sunny. Recordings, where the sun can be seen, had this more often than not ProThe problem is that the sky looks pale. If the sun can't be seen, it's nice and blue. What also quickly became apparent is this lens flare on several recordings.
  • Then I took photos in a backyard where there was little sunlight. The pixel was able to capture the scene very faithfully while the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy s23 ultra the white car on the right is a bit cool.
  • I also took the three smartphones with me on a boat trip on Lake Lucerne. I once photographed the green mainland from the water. Got here the pixel a very good level of saturation, while the colors in the image of the S23Ultra almost seem oversaturated and that iPhone the green areas are less visible. I noticed something similar when taking photos of the Rigi, a well-known mountain in the area, down into the valley.

Videos They also look nice and are well stabilized. However, the Pixel 8 cannot match the iPhone's action mode, which even jerky hand movements have no effect at all.

Also at night The results from the camera can still impress with a high level of detail. For my taste, the post-processing brightens photos a bit too much. At dusk I really liked the results again.

Last but not least proI used the selfie camera with portrait mode my new Profile picture out of. The result is largely satisfactory. The software only went a little wrong with my T-shirt and my hair.

AI features

Google implemented in the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro several AI-based functions with which you can artificially enhance and edit images and videos. There are three of them, but perhaps not all of them make that much sense.

The first feature is the Magic Editor. This allows you to erase disturbing elements from images and move individual elements. The AI proThen try as best as possible to trace the free areas based on the rest of the image. The Magic Editor can also change the mood of an image, for example by conjuring up a twilight image. The whole thing works quite accurately as long as there isn't a lot of light or shadow in the photo. In addition, you have to mask the areas that you want to delete or move very precisely, otherwise too much or too little will be included in the selection. However, I won't be using the Magic Editor as much anymore. When I take a photo, I want to capture real moments and not show off some fake fantasies. I became more aware of this when I saw the following video:

The next feature is called Best Shot and is used for group shots. If you want to capture several people in one picture, you often take several shots in a row, as the facial expressions of everyone involved rarely match right away. Best Shot recognizes these related images and then allows you to select the best facial expression of a person from all the images. The AI ​​then inserts this into the photo.

The final step is the Magic Audio Eraser. This can capture and block out disturbing noises, such as wind or passing cars, in a video.

Google Pixel 8: prices and availability

The RRP of the Google Pixel 8 is 799 euros. It is available here:

Google Pixel 8

Picture: TechnikNews

We would like to thank Google Austria for providing the Google Pixel 8!

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1220 articles and left 116 comments.

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