Google Pixel 8 duo this year, despite the reuse of the same design from a few generations, it brings a few improvements compared to its predecessors. The new generation offers new camera hardware, better displays, faster battery charging and a more powerful chipset with improved AI capabilities. They are the first Pixel phones to have seven years of full software support. In theory they should receive Android 21.
However, if you’re still deciding which of the two to get, we’re here to help. Besides the obvious differences in size and price, there are a few subtle differences between the two that require a deeper dive. The difference in behavior is bigger than you think.
details of the situation:
Let’s start by comparing the complete spec sheets here.
Size and weight are the main distinguishing features when looking at the Pixel 8 duo. Those looking for a compact flagship phone will obviously go for the vanilla Pixel 8 – it’s even smaller than its predecessors. On the other hand, full-size flagship users are better off with the Pixel 8 Pro.
In terms of size and weight, the two flagships are competitive in their respective categories without being too bulky or standing out.
However, there’s no denying that the Pixel 8 is more comfortable in the hand, fits every pocket and is a pleasure to use with one hand. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 Pro might not be worth it for some users.
Apart from the glaring difference in display size, there is also a technology gap. While both devices boast better displays than their predecessors, the Pixel 8 Pro definitely wins in this department.
While both phones now offer a 120Hz refresh rate, the 8 Pro sports an LTPO OLED panel that can adjust the refresh rate between 1 and 120Hz depending on the situation. This will help save battery life in the long run. The Pixel 8 Pro’s display reaches 1,600 nits as opposed to the vanilla 8’s 1,446 nits. But in the real world, this doesn’t matter much. Additionally, the 8 Pro has a slightly higher screen resolution to match the larger diagonal.
Their HDR capabilities are the same – HDR10+, but the level of protection is slightly better on the 8 Pro. It offers 2 sheets of Gorilla Glass Victus, while the 8 sits on the previous generation Victus.
Surprisingly, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro deliver the best overall battery life according to our active usage benchmark. Although some minor differences can be observed in individual experiments. The Pixel 8 is better at video playback, while the 8 Pro has higher call and web browsing times, which slightly boosts the active use score over vanilla.
You’d expect a big phone with a big battery, but this isn’t it. The Pixel 8 has a 4,575 mAh unit compared to the 5,050 mAh cell in the 8 Pro. In any case, the difference is small.
The Pixels’ battery charging capacity has always been the Achilles’ heel of the series, and while not great, this year’s upgrade to both handsets is a step in the right direction. The Pixel 8’s fast charging is rated at 27W, and the larger one can reach up to 30W. Wirelessly, the smaller Pixel is rated for 18W charging, while the 8 Pro offers 23W. Both phones, on the other hand, support wireless charging.
When it comes to real-world testing, the vanilla Pixel 8 outperforms its bigger sibling by a small margin at all checkpoints – 15 minutes, 30 minutes and a full charge. The difference is extremely small though, and probably won’t make a difference in normal use. The Pixel 8 took just 8 minutes to complete a charge and only managed 2-3 percent of the overall test.
Testing of speakers
In our speaker test, the two phones scored very similarly in terms of sound – 26.6 LUFS vs. 26.0 LUFS supporting the smallest pixel. However, their audio tuning couldn’t be more different. The Pixel 8 Pro leans towards the bass-heavy side, at least by smartphone standards. This ensures full-sounding music and a warm feel to most tracks.
The Pixel 8 produces a flat sound with clear tones but lacks depth. And while this is largely a subjective matter, we like the larger Pixel in this regard. Most tracks sound better on the Pixel 8 Pro.
Both the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro use the new Google Tensor G3 chipset based on Samsung’s 4nm manufacturing process. The chip boasts improved AI capabilities and higher raw performance compared to its predecessors.
Still, since both devices share the same hardware, performance is pretty similar, with a few caveats. For example, in screen benchmarks the Pixel 8 outperforms the 8 Pro at a lower resolution, so expect lower frame rates in some games on the 8 Pro. The off-screen GPU tests do not show any statistical differences as one would expect.
Pixel 8 Pro
Another thing to remember is memory. The Pixel 8 Pro offers a wide variety of storage configurations, going up to 1 TB and 12 GB of onboard memory. On the other hand, Pixel 8 has only two storage variants – 128 and 256 GB and only 8 GB of RAM, regardless of the configuration. And while that may seem adequate by today’s standards, with two versions of Android on the way, 8GB may not be enough. We can only hope that Google has thought of this.
This year, only the Pixel 8 Pro’s camera department gets a big boost, as the smaller Pixel settles for the same camera hardware as last year’s Pixel 8. In short, the overall camera experience will be a deciding factor for many buyers.
Of course, the main cameras of both phones are the same and offer the same quality; Even the 2x zoomed crop photos, which Google says are close to loss, are the same. In both cases, you get excellent photo and video quality, day and night.
Pixel 8 Pro: 0.5x • 1x • 2x • 5x
Pixel 8: 0.5x • 1x • 2x
What you’re paying extra for, though, are the 8 Pro’s secondary cameras. The larger Pixel boasts an even better camera thanks to the more powerful 48MP sensor, and the dedicated 48MP telephoto camera offers great 5x lossless stills. Something you can’t get from the smaller Pixel.
Low-light ultra-wide samples look nicer on the Pro, even if they’re taken from the main cameras.
Pixel 8 Pro: 0.5x • 1x • 2x • 5x
Pixel 8: 0.5x • 1x • 2x
But it doesn’t end there. For some reason, Google decided to leave some software-based features out of the smaller Pixel, which could boost demand for the larger Pixel. In any case, with the smaller flagship you can get Pro controls (meaning no continuous and manual controls on videos), the full 50 MP resolution of the main camera and night vision video recording.
Here’s a look at how the Pixel 8 Pro’s main camera compares to the Pixel 8 in terms of image quality in our photo comparison tool.
And here’s how the Pixel 8 Pro’s main camera compares to the Pixel 8 in terms of video quality in our video comparison tool.
As you can see, the specification sheet is not the be all and end all when it comes to choosing the right phone. Especially if you’re deciding between phones that are members of the same family, like the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. And if you’re still thinking here, maybe dimensions, weight, and display size aren’t the deciding factors, because if portability is what you’re after, you’d probably choose the Pixel 8. Conversely, the Pixel 8 Pro, if a big-screen experience is your thing.
But things are more complicated. For example, the Pixel 8 Pro has better speakers, the Pixel 8’s charging speed and battery life are comparable to its bigger sibling. Despite the limited memory choice of vanilla 8, performance remains the same.
When it comes to the camera, the Pixel 8 Pro is the clear winner here. Of course, the main camera and 2x zoom performance are the same, but you get a more capable ultra-wide camera and a precision 5x telephoto camera with the Pro.
With all that said, we also need to put our findings into perspective. The MSRP of the smaller Pixel is €800/$700, while the Pixel 8 Pro’s price tag is €1,100/$1,000. That’s a difference of Rs 300, which will probably sway you in one direction or the other.
Does the $300/$300 difference justify the Pixel 8 Pro’s extra hardware and software features? We’ll let you decide that for yourself, but if you’re strictly looking for that Pixel experience, one could argue that the vanilla Pixel 8 will get you there for less.
- The largest and most advanced display.
- 5x telephoto camera, better ultra-wide and more camera features.
- Better speakers.
- More RAM for future proofing.
Get Pixel 8 Pro for:
- A more compact and lightweight body.
- Very low price.
- Slightly longer battery life.
Find the Pixel 8 for: