The Google Pixel 8 is best than it needs to be in 2024

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Joe Maring / Digital Developments

The Google Pixel 8 was considered one of 2023’s finest smartphone releases. The compact dimension, wonderful digital camera, and top-notch software program made it a particularly tempting buy — particularly with a retail worth of simply $699.

However we’re now 5 months faraway from the Pixel 8’s launch, and a lot has modified. Samsung launched its Galaxy S24 sequence, OnePlus has been on a tear, and we’re rapidly getting a good suggestion of what the Google Pixel 9 will seem like. Given all that, I made a decision to pop my SIM card again into the Pixel 8 to see how the cellphone holds up in 2024.

What I nonetheless love in regards to the Google Pixel 8

Someone holding the Google Pixel 8, showing its home screen.
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

It had been some time since I final used the Google Pixel 8, however previously couple of weeks of revisiting the cellphone, I by no means as soon as felt out of step with it. The Pixel 8 is such a straightforward cellphone to stay with. There are not any steep studying curves, no bizarre software program hurdles to beat, and no game-breaking {hardware} points. Every thing in regards to the cellphone simply works, and it’s as easygoing in April 2024 as I bear in mind it being in October 2023.

The Pixel 8 has just a few specific strengths, considered one of which is its dimension. As somebody who repeatedly makes use of the iPhone 15 Professional Max, coming again to the Pixel 8 has been a deal with. It slides into my pocket with room to spare, and I can use it one-handed with out a drawback. However at 6.2 inches, the display screen by no means feels too cramped. I’ve watched quite a few YouTube movies and performed too many Marvel Snap matches on the cellphone during the last couple of weeks, and never as soon as have I felt like I wanted more room. It’s a extremely pretty dimension, and it’s considered one of my favourite issues in regards to the cellphone.

Another excuse the Pixel 8 has been really easy to revisit is its software program. Google’s taste of Android 14 stays considered one of my favorites. It’s clear, easy, and simply really easy to make use of. In contrast to Samsung’s One UI or OnePlus’ OxygenOS — which I really feel I’ve to fine-tune and tweak to work the way in which I need it to — Google’s Pixel software program is easy. I don’t have to cover duplicate apps, ignore dozens of options I’ll by no means use, or something of the type. It’s simply great.

Circle to Search on a Google Pixel 8.
Circle to Search Joe Maring / Digital Developments

For the reason that Pixel 8’s launch, one of many largest new software program options it’s obtained is Circle to Search. After launching on the Galaxy S24 first in January, Circle to Search has been a surprisingly useful software on the Pixel 8. It’s not one thing I exploit continually, however each time I do, it impresses me. It’s additionally my favourite sort of Pixel function. It’s helpful after I need to use it, however after I don’t want it, it disappears from sight.

And, in fact, there’s the digital camera. The 50-megapixel important digital camera remains to be a pleasure to shoot with. It’s removed from probably the most superior digital camera system on a cellphone at the moment, nevertheless it stays considered one of my favorites.

Is it the very best digital camera for zooming? Not likely. The 2x zoom shortcut within the digital camera works properly, and even at 8x zoom — the utmost zoom distance for the cellphone — photos are nonetheless usable. However if you wish to go any additional, you’re out of luck. The 12MP ultrawide digital camera additionally isn’t the perfect we’ve ever seen. However you realize what? None of that actually bothers me after I’m utilizing the Pixel 8. If I take an image with the cellphone, likelihood is I’m going to be proud of the tip consequence. The Pixel 8 handles nighttime photographs very properly; it handles shifting topics simply, and its colours are simply pretty — hanging an awesome steadiness of realism and vividness.

Lastly, Google’s Magic Editor continues to impress. Though I don’t care about shifting topics in my pictures or altering what the sky appears like (though these options are spectacular), its object eraser software is extremely highly effective. Whether or not it’s a plastic bag, a trash can, or another ugly object, Magic Editor nonetheless does an awesome job of eliminating these items and filling within the background with shocking accuracy. It isn’t at all times good, nevertheless it’s one AI function I actually do miss after I’m on my iPhone.

My largest points with the Pixel 8

The Google Pixel 8 laying face-down on a table.
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

That’s numerous reward for the Google Pixel 8! Does that imply it’s good? Not precisely. For as a lot as I get pleasure from utilizing the Pixel 8, there are some very obvious shortcomings with the cellphone.

Surprisingly, considered one of them is the design. As a lot as I really like the dimensions of the Pixel 8, I’m discovering different elements of the design irritating — particularly, the rounded corners. I feel they offer the Pixel 8 a really cute, mushy aesthetic. In follow, nonetheless, they will make holding onto the cellphone weirdly difficult. It’s a cushty cellphone that nestles into my palm, however I typically really feel like I’ve to readjust my grip.

Perhaps it’s as a result of I’ve grown used to flat edges on telephones just like the iPhone 15 Professional and Galaxy S24 Plus, however shifting again to the Pixel 8’s clean, rounded body hasn’t been utterly preferrred. Rumor on the road is that the Google Pixel 9 is adopting a really Apple and Samsung-like flat body, and I’m actually trying ahead to that.

Talking of points, let’s speak about battery life. It’s … effective. When Andy reviewed the Pixel 8 final October, he managed to get “deep right into a second day” of use on a single cost. In my expertise, the Google Pixel 8 lasts for a couple of day, and that’s it. It’s completely effective battery life, however in a world the place equally priced telephones just like the OnePlus 12R have significantly better endurance, it’s a little bit bit more durable to miss.

The Google Pixel 8 on a table showing the screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

Making it extra irritating is how slowly the Pixel 8 chargers. 27W wired charging is just not a formidable quantity in 2024. As soon as once more, when there are alternatives just like the OnePlus 12R with 80W cost speeds, going again to one thing this tepid will be irritating. I nonetheless love having the choice for wi-fi and reverse wi-fi charging, however I actually want I may juice up the Pixel 8 loads quicker than I’m capable of now.

Lastly, I’d like to speak in regards to the Tensor G3 chip powering the Google Pixel 8. It’s continued to be a considerable enchancment over its Tensor G2 predecessor. It typically runs easily, it doesn’t get uncomfortably scorching, and I’ve not had almost as many bugs/glitches as I did with my Pixel 7 Professional. Nevertheless, that’s to not say it’s good.

Whereas not as huge of a difficulty because it was for the Pixel 7 sequence, the Google Pixel 8 does nonetheless get heat — noticeably extra so than telephones with latest Qualcomm chips. Plug it in to cost for a couple of minutes or play a few rounds of Marvel Snap, and there’s no ignoring the Pixel 8 heating up. I’ve additionally encountered a handful of small software program points right here and there — equivalent to apps briefly locking up for a few seconds — and video games don’t really feel fairly as fluid as they do on a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered cellphone. It’s nothing game-breaking, however they’re all reminders that Google nonetheless has loads of room to develop with Tensor.

Is the Pixel 8 nonetheless price it in 2024?

Someone holding the Google Pixel 8 outside, showing the back of the phone.
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

Revisiting the Google Pixel 8 has been an fascinating expertise. The logical a part of my mind is aware of that if I have been recommending a cellphone to somebody at the moment, there are higher decisions on the market.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 prices simply $100 extra and has a extra succesful processor. It additionally provides a correct telephoto digital camera, higher battery life, a nicer display screen, and Samsung’s personal suite of AI tips. The OnePlus 12 shares the Pixel 8s’ $699 retail worth and has its personal slew of advantages — be it the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, 80W wired charging, or its personal wonderful digital camera system. For many individuals, both of these two telephones is probably going a wiser buy over the Pixel 8.

Besides, there’s one thing I discover so welcoming in regards to the Pixel 8. Perhaps it’s Google’s top-notch software program. Maybe it’s the tiny, lovable dimension that’s a real rarity in 2024. A part of it is perhaps the oh-so-good digital camera high quality. On a technical degree, the Google Pixel 8 has its flaws. However after I choose up the Pixel 8 and am reminded of all the great it does, these points fade into the background.

I must take away my SIM from the Pixel 8 to check one other cellphone, however I’m reluctant to take action. Merely put, I don’t need to cease utilizing the Pixel 8. And for all of the methods we will analyze and assessment a smartphone in 2024, I feel that’s among the finest indicators Google did one thing proper.

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