Google hasn't lifted the lid on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro quite yet, as we look towards October for the likely launch of the upcoming Android device. However, Google's reputation for phone leaks has been prolific, and the Pixel 8 is no exception, as we've already had glimpses of what the device could look like and some of its new features.
Looking back at the recent history of Pixel smartphones, Google's soft reboot looks to have paid off so far. With a refreshed design language and an in-house developed processor, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro signified a turning point for Google, which was then built upon with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. The Pixel 7 balanced affordability, performance and design well, and we commended its solid picture performance and extensive feature set in our four-star review.
So what can we expect from the Pixel 8 series of smartphones? Well, to get the basics out of the way, we're anticipating the usual combo of a standard and Pro model, likely the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, unless Google decides to shake up the naming convention. Here's what we know about these phones so far...
Pixel 8 rumours at a glance
- Two Pixel 8 models, codenamed "Husky" and "Shiba"
- Pixel 8 Pro remains at 6.7-inches
- Pixel 8 will have a slightly smaller 6.2-inch display
- Powered by third-generation Google Tensor chip
- Flat displays on both models with a slightly updated design
- Starting price is expected to be £599 / $599 / AU$999 (Pixel 8) and £849 / $899 / AU$1299 (Pixel 8 Pro)
Pixel 8 release date rumours
Historically, Google has launched its yearly selection of Pixel phones in October, and we expect that to be the case this year as well. The only outlier was the Pixel 5, which made an early debut on the 30th of September; however, October dates fluctuate between the 4th and 19th.
Therefore, it's likely that Google will announce its annual "Made by Google" event with an early to mid-October date to debut the new devices, with a release date set for around two weeks after the initial launch.
Pixel 8 price predictions
If 2022 smartphone prices had one consistent factor, it's that they were more expensive than their predecessors. Samsung, Apple and Sony all upped the price of their respective flagship devices. However, Google remained one of the few to keep its pricing the same as the previous year.
The Pixel 7 retailed for £599 / $599 / AU$999, the same price as the Pixel 6, and the Pixel 7 Pro launched at £849 / $899 / AU$1299, the same as the 6 Pro. Hopefully, we will see this pricing trend continue for the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, with prices remaining the same as last year; that being said, we wouldn't be confounded to see a price increase this year.
Pixel 8 design
The Pixel 8 looks to follow in its predecessor's footsteps with an updated design based on the overhaul seen with the Pixel 6 series. We've seen some potential renders of the Pixel 8 courtesy of OnLeaks and MySmartPrice, as well as the Pixel 8 Pro thanks to OnLeaks and Smartprix.
One of the key design motifs that's become synonymous with the Pixel series is the camera visor, and it's set to make its return this year with a very similar look to last year's Pixel 7 series. It'll house two cameras on the regular model, and three on the Pro like last year, although this time it looks like all three cameras will be housed in one big lens. There also appears to be an additional unidentified sensor on the renders which is speculated to be a LiDAR sensor, the same found on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Overall the device does appear to sport a slightly more rounded design on the rear, a departure from the boxier design of the 6 and 7 series Pixels. Up front is a different story though, with the Pro model ditching the curved sides seen on the 7 Pro and instead opting for a flat display. The Pixel 7 will supposedly feature a 6.2-inch display, whereas the Pro will apparently have a 6.7-inch screen.
Both will keep the USB-C port on the bottom of the device, with power and volume buttons on the right side, and a centred hole-punch style front camera cutout as seen on the Pixel 7 series. Overall, it's another refinement of an existing design; however, we have little to complain about as we like the current Pixel's styling and build.
Pixel 8 specs
Google began implementing its in-house developed Tensor chips with the Pixel 6, and debuted the Tensor G2 in the Pixel 7, so we're expecting the Tensor G3 to make its appearance with the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. Google has had a pretty successful run with the Tensor processors so far, after it switched from using Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors as seen in the previous Pixel models. The Pixel 7 is a strong performer so we look forward to seeing what the Tensor G3 is capable of.
We also got our first look at Android 14 at Google's recent I/O event, which we expect will be the software that the Pixel 8 ships with. It mostly features a few new quality-of-life improvements such as decluttering notifications and a password manager, additional lock screen customisation, some new health tracking features and security updates. The most interesting feature as far as we are concerned is the ability to play lossless audio over USB headphones without missing calls and alarms; you could do this before Android 14, however the system would give audio control to the headphones which would apparently affect notifications and alarms.
As for screen specs, we've established that the Pixel 8 gets a slightly smaller 6.2-inch than the Pixel 7, whereas the Pixel 8 Pro has a 6.7-inch screen, the same size as the Pixel 7 Pro. Specifics such as resolution, refresh rate and HDR support haven't been confirmed yet, although we wouldn't be surprised if Google stuck with its existing formula of 1080p/90Hz on the standard model and 1440p/120Hz on the Pro variant.
Camera hardware is expected to be upgraded on the Pixel 8 series with staggered HDR technology; a process that involves taking multiple exposures simultaneously with the same pixels. This should result in the same effect that traditional HDR offers without the need for increased capture time, according to SmartPrix.
Pixel 8 early thoughts
While we're still awaiting official Pixel 8 news, we're already gathering thoughts and opinions on these new Android smartphones. While there don't appear to be any game-changing, next-generation upgrades here, it appears that all the key aspects of the phone should get a healthy update. A more powerful processor, upgraded camera and refined design all sound like steps in the right direction to us, and the flat display on the Pixel 8 Pro is something we can get behind. Only time will tell if these Pixel phones live up to their predecessors – but stay posted for further leaks and rumours, and a Pixel 8 review sometime in the future.
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