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Living with the Google Pixel 8 Pro vs 7 Pro: Real World Impressions
As a tech reviewer, I get my hands on a lot of devices. But the Pixel 7 Pro has been my main phone for over a year, so I know its real-world plusses and minuses inside and out. When I received a review unit of the Pixel 8 Pro in early October, I swapped it in as my full-time device. After more than a month of intensive usage, here’s my analysis of how the two generations of Google Pixel phones compare.
Battery life – Winner: Pixel 8 Pro
The Pixel 7 Pro and the Pixel 8 Pro are specced with nearly identical 5000mAh and 5050mAh batteries, respectively. However, the new Tensor 3 processor on the Pixel 8 Pro clearly makes better use of that available juice. My Pixel 8 Pro consistently lasts me throughout a long day, no matter how much time I’m wasting playing games – even when I really should be doing something more productive. By contrast, my Pixel 7 Pro would often start gasping for air by around 9 pm.
Display – Winner: Pixel 8 Pro
Both the Pixel 8 Pro and 7 Pro have beautiful 6.7-inch OLED displays. The older Pixel 7 Pro is slightly higher resolution (1440 x 3120 at 512 PPI vs 1344 x 2992 at 489 PPI), but that isn’t noticeable to your eye. What was immediately noticeable to me was the significantly brighter display on the Pixel 8 Pro. At a peak brightness of 2400 nits vs 1500 nits, the Pixel 8 Pro is much easier to use in bright sunlight and other highly lit environments.
I also prefer the flat edges of the Pixel 8 Pro over the 7 Pro. Swipes and presses near the edge of the display work more consistently and just feel more natural.
Processor – Winner: Tie (for most people)
The new Tensor 3 chip in the Google Pixel 8 Pro is more powerful than the prior generation Tensor 2, but you won’t notice a difference in most real-world scenarios because, frankly, the old chip was already fast enough for most people. Every game I played or app I used ran smoothly on both devices. Sure, there will be edge cases where the processor difference may come into play. But if you’re “that person,” you might be leaning towards phones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, like the Samsung S23 Ultra.
Camera – Winner: Pixel 8 Pro
Comparing the two phones side-by-side, I found the camera performance to be pretty much identical in most scenarios. Oddly, sometimes the telephoto of the Pixel 8 Pro would offer more detailed shots, sometimes the Pixel 7 Pro would.
But where the Pixel 8 Pro really stood out is in low light. Using Night Sight mode, the Pixel 8 Pro delivers significantly more detail.
The Pixel 8 Pro also incorporates Google's newest AI technology for photo editing, which works very well for many situations (and less well for others). Want to remove people photobombing your vacation shots? Done. Want to move a subject around or make them larger/smaller for a better-composed shot? Done. The AI will automatically fill in the background to account for the changes.
Here’s an example from a press event we attended where I wanted to remove an errant body from a photo of our editor-in-chief testing out a product. A couple of quick touches in the Google AI photo editing feature and we have a perfectly acceptable result.
But the AI can’t adjust for every background, and more complex scenes would often result in weird artifacts. Also, since the AI adjustments are done in the cloud, not on the device, you need to have an internet connection to use the feature and processing time is a little slow at around 12-15 seconds per adjustment.
Thermometer – Winner: None
The Pixel 8 Pro has a new thermometer feature that can read surface temperatures using a sensor on the back next to the camera. I found the app to be clunky and the temperature readings to be inconsistent and inaccurate.
Rather than a continuous temperature display, the app requires you to hold the phone and tap a button every time you want to take a reading. This wouldn’t be such a big issue if the thermometer weren’t so finicky. Often, taking readings while aiming at the same spot, the temperature could vary by as much as 20F. And when testing side-by-side against my trusty Typhus Instant Read Thermometer, the Pixel 8 Pro would often read 10-15F lower.
In short, the thermometer is a useless feature that only adds to the cost of the device.
Design – Winner: Tie
Unless you really know what you’re looking for, you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the Pixel 8 Pro and the 7 Pro. The size is nearly identical, as are the button placements (with minor variations for the SIM card slot). The one main design change is that the Pixel 8 Pro uses a matte glass back that is more resistant to fingerprints than the glossy glass of the Pixel 7 Pro. Style-wise, you may still prefer the glossy back (I do), or it may make no difference because you’re sticking your phone in a case, anyway.
Cost – Winner: Pixel 7 Pro
The Pixel 8 Pro carries an MSRP of $999, versus $899 for the Pixel 7 Pro. Google has a sale going on at the time of this writing for $799 and $649, respectively.
Overall – Winner: Google Pixel 8 Pro
When comparing the relative value of the Google Pixel 8 Pro and the Pixel 7 Pro, there’s no question that the Pixel 8 Pro comes out the winner. It offers better battery life, a much brighter display, better low-light camera performance, and some useful (if occasionally wonky) AI photo editing features. Google is also supporting the Pixel 8 Pro with seven years of OS and security updates (until October 2030), while the Pixel 7 Pro is only guaranteed updates until October 2027.
If you’re deciding between the two models, the Google Pixel 8 Pro is my strong recommendation.
[Image credit: Josh Kirschner/Techlicious]