Review: Google’s Pixel 8 Pro Leaves Me Wanting More – Video

Speaker 1: Google’s flagship. Pixel eight Pro is on sale now, but is it worth the money? Let’s take a closer look. I had a rocky start with the Pixel eight Pro with weird camera issues, somewhat denting my first impressions, but after countless hours testing all parts of the phone, especially the camera, I am finally ready to give my verdict. The Pixel eight Pro is drum roll please. [00:00:30] Basically fine. If that seems like something of an anti-climax, then that’s quite fitting because the Pixel eight Pro has been rather an anti-climactic product for me. The Pixel seven Pro and six Pro, before it were superb all round phones with amazing camera systems. I gave both those phones coveted CNET Editors Choice Awards and as a result I had very high hopes for the Pixel eight Pro. But after having spent a long time testing it, I am left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.

Speaker 1: [00:01:00] It’s not that there’s anything especially wrong with the phone, it’s just that it doesn’t really bring anything major to the table or move the pixel line forwards in any meaningful way. It’s battery life is average. The processor performance really didn’t impress, and to be honest, I prefer the design of the previous model. Some of its key new features, including various AI tools and a new temperature scanner on the back of the phone. They work well enough, but they don’t really bring enough [00:01:30] to the table to stand out as killer new features. One of the major points it does have in its favor though is the seven years of software updates that Google has promised to deliver. That is a huge boost over the four years it used to offer and a big boost over most other Android competitors, and that means that this phone should still be going strong in 2030 and a longer lifespan for your phone means fewer phones in landfill. So let’s dive in and see what the Pixel eight Pro has to offer.

Speaker 1: [00:02:00] Physically it’s clear to see the family resemblance with this big camera bar running along the back. I don’t think it looks quite as classy or premium looking as the sage and gold of this Pixel seven Pro. Certainly not in the plain black version I initially reviewed. Although this light blue one does have a little bit more personality, the 6.7 inch display is the same size as the seven Pro and it looks glorious. Colors are punchy and vibrant and easily do justice to [00:02:30] whatever vibrant, colorful Netflix or YouTube video you’re watching. It supports H D R content. It’s bright enough to actually use outdoors and it has a maximum 120 hertz refresh rates for smooth scrolling and gaming. This small circle next to the camera flash houses a new feature, a temperature sensor now that allows the phone to take temperature readings from object source surfaces directly in front of it, and it’s easy enough to do you just fire up the temperature app [00:03:00] and hold the phone about five centimeters away from whatever it is you want to scan.

Speaker 1: Sort of like if you’re taking a closeup photo, tap the screen and it’ll give you a temperature reading of that object. The idea is that you can check the temperature of a drink before you take a big gulp or check that that piece of pie isn’t hotter than the sun before you shovel it into your face. It worked fairly well in my testing and I can imagine some examples where it might be quite useful. Maybe you’re a parent wanting to check the temperature of a baby’s bottle, but overall I [00:03:30] do think it’s real world use is quite limited. It kind feels like a feature that’s been shoehorned in just to act as a differentiator against the competition. And sure, the Pixel eight Pro now has a big feature that the iPhone 15 doesn’t, but is it a feature that you really care about? To be honest, I don’t.

Speaker 1: The phone runs the latest Android 14 software and Google has committed to seven years of software updates. That’s great because longer software support periods [00:04:00] extends the life of a phone. It’s often the case that older hardware is still going strong, but if the software is running isn’t still getting security updates, it’s simply not safe to use. Android 14 isn’t that much different from Android 13. It looks pretty much the same and it’s got various ways to customize the interface. Google has sprinkled some AI features throughout, however, including a new way to create generative AI wallpapers, the tool that’s used select from a variety of prompts including [00:04:30] colors, textures, objects and art styles, and then combine those to create a new backdrop. It’s pretty fun to play with and I have genuinely enjoyed playing around with the different prompts to try and create images that I like.

Speaker 1: And Google has woven some AI features elsewhere in the phone, including in the image editor. These tools that you do, things like selecting an object to make it larger or smaller within the frame or remove it completely. Results don’t always look amazing, but they can be quite fun ways of [00:05:00] playing around with snaps. That is if you can be bothered waiting, the excruciating 15 or so seconds it takes to actually render each edit. Running the software is Google’s latest homemade processor, the Tenser G three, which I generally found to be underwhelming. It didn’t impress at all in Benchmark tools, putting it closer in performance to cheaper mid-range phones rather than today’s flagships. And while benchmark tools certainly don’t tell the whole story of a processor, there are areas where I definitely [00:05:30] feel it’s lacking in power, especially those long wait times to create AI edits. In general use, though it does feel swift and responsive and demanding. Games like Genin Impact and PUBG all played with smooth frame rates even at high settings.

Speaker 1: So let’s talk about those cameras. The cameras were my biggest concern in my initial review due to various image processing problems I found under certain conditions, several of our [00:06:00] initial test images in high contrast situations showed bizarre looking artifacts in the shadowy areas along with extremely aggressive software noise reduction that smoothed out areas that should have had detail. Google pushed out an update to help resolve some of these issues and while it has gone a long way to rectifying them, they haven’t gone away completely, but it’s a much more minor issue now showing up very rarely and in very specific circumstances. For the most part, the camera is excellent, taking [00:06:30] vibrant, sharp, and well exposed images in a variety of conditions. In good conditions. The main ultra wide and five times telephoto Zoom camera all took beautiful shots that comfortably rivaled the same shots that I’ve seen on the iPhone 15 Pro at night.

Speaker 1: The iPhone generally performs better, but the Pixel eight Pro is still a huge step up in night skills over the Pixel seven Pro. The phone has other new camera features as well, including manual settings for adjusting [00:07:00] shutter speed and white balance, as well as a new 50 megapixel mode for taking high res photos. The extra resolution over the standard 12 megapixels is certainly noticeable when you zoom in on those details, but to be honest, most photographers won’t need to use it, especially as the one to two second delay required to take each photo means it’s only really suitable for static scenes like landscapes. Overall, the Pixel eight Pros camera is excellent. I am really glad that I’ve spent all this extra time [00:07:30] in testing it following Google’s update. It can take beautiful photos in all conditions and its night mode is a big step up over the predecessor. That heavy handed image processing though is still visible and dedicated. Photographers among you are still probably going to be better served with the iPhone 50 Pro.

Speaker 1: So what do I like about the Pixel eight Pro? Well, I like its gloriously vibrant display. I like its generally solid cameras [00:08:00] and I love that extended software support. What I don’t like is the underwhelming processor performance, the middling battery life, that heavy handed image processing in some photos and the fact that some of its key new features kind of feel like gimmicks. So is it a foam that you should buy Collectively, we’ve spent countless hours testing all the features of the Pixel eight Pro and taking hundreds of test photos with all of its cameras. [00:08:30] Despite my earlier concerns, I am confident that the Pixel eight Pro is a solid Android phone to consider, especially if you’re into nighttime photography. But overall, it doesn’t feel like a huge step up over the Pixel seven Pro and certainly if you’ve got a seven Pro, it’s absolutely not worth an upgrade. But those of you on older pixel phones or on other Android phones more than two or three years old will absolutely benefit from

Speaker 2: Of the key upgrades in this phone. What do you think to the Pixel eight pro? Is it the [00:09:00] phone for you or are your eyes set elsewhere? Do make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below and make sure to check out the video description for a lot more information.

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