Google Pixel 8 is official: release date news, price, features and specs

Google Pixel 8: release date news, price, features and spec leaks
(Image credit: Google)

It's official, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are Google's latest duo of Android smartphones and while it's a fairly light year when it comes to upgrades, there are a few new features that have caught our attention. Overall, we're looking at a spec bump, a few new design touches, an upgraded camera and, unfortunately, an inflated price tag.

Here's everything you need to know about the new handsets.

Pixel 8 at a glance

  • Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro 
  • Pixel 8 Pro remains at 6.7-inches
  • Pixel 8 will have a slightly smaller 6.2-inch display
  • Pixel 8 starts at £699 / $699 / AU$1199
  • Pixel 8 Pro starts at £999 / $999 / AU$1699
  • Powered by third-generation Google Tensor chip, Tensor G3
  • Flat display with a slightly updated design
  • New temperature sensor

Pixel 8 release date 

Pixel 8 in pink and Pixel 8 Pro in gold on beige background

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have officially launched today, with pre-orders already open. According to the Google Store, it will begin shipping next week, with a 12th October date for delivery.

Pixel 8 price

Initially, rumours suggested that the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro would avoid price hikes this year, but alas this is not the case. The Pixel 8 now starts at £699 / $699 / AU$1199, up from £599 / $599 / AU$999 for the Pixel 7, while the Pixel 8 Pro starts at £999 / $999 / AU$1699, an increase over the 7 Pro's £849 / $899 / AU$1299 starting price.  

This is somewhat to be expected considering the current economic climate and yearly rising costs of phone prices, but after Apple lowered the price of the iPhone 15 series this year, we were holding out hope that we'd get away with another year of level Pixel pricing. 

Pixel 8 design 

Pixel 8 Blue with sunset photography on screen and in the background

(Image credit: Google)

Unsurprisingly, the Google 8 looks a lot like its predecessor, with only a few notable changes to differentiate it. Namely, Google has switched to a satin finish on the fear glass this year, whereas the Pixel 7 had a glossy glass back panel. 

The camera bar comes back in full force, melting into the matte finish chassis on the 8 and glossy frame on the 8 Pro. This year all the camera lenses are housed under one pill-shaped lens cover accompanied by a flash on the Pixel 8, as well as a temperature sensor on the 8 Pro.

Overall, the sharper edges of the Pixel 7 Series have been smoothed out, with more rounded corners featuring this year. This isn't the case on the 8 Pro, however, which now has a flat display, ditching the subtle curved edges of the previous generation.

The Pixel 8 comes in three shades, two of which are a rather dull black and grey (or Obsidian and Hazel if we're being specific) as well as Rose, a rather pleasing shade of peachy pink with a hint of gold.

The Pixel 8 Pro, on the other hand, comes in Obsidian, Porcelain (an eggshell white and gold combination), as well as the striking Bay finish which happens to be a stunning shade of a blue (and our personal favourite).

Pixel 8 specs

Pixel 8 Pro render

(Image credit: Google)

Google began implementing its in-house developed Tensor chips with the Pixel 6, and debuted the Tensor G2 in the Pixel 7, so naturally we have the Tensor G3 powering 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 I/O event back in May. The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro's operating system 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 affect notifications and alarms.

As for screen specs, we've established that the Pixel 8 gets a slightly smaller 6.2-inch display than the Pixel 7, whereas the Pixel 8 Pro has a 6.7-inch screen, the same size as the Pixel 7 Pro. Both the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro get a boost in the brightness department, with the 8 hitting a peak of 2000 nits, while the 8 Pro gets a 2400 nit peak brightness. Another win for the Pixel 8 is a boost to 120Hz refresh rate, up from 90Hz on the 7.

Camera hardware is also 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. Google has also introduced a new camera feature that allows you to combine multiple of the same or similar shots in order to swap faces out in order to get the desired picture. 

The Pixel's Magic Eraser feature is getting a nifty audio upgrade. You can use the new Audio Magic Eraser feature to cut out background noise, like the rumble of a skateboard's wheels. Which could improve your videos no end.

The main camera on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro is expected to stay at 50MP, while the 8 Pro gets a new 64MP ultrawide. All other cameras such as the 12MP ultrawide on the Pixel 7 and 48MP telephoto on the Pixel 7 Pro return this year.

Finally, the Pixel 8 Pro will come in a new 512GB model as well as the existing 128/256GB options, while the Pixel 8 sticks to 128GB and 256GB.

Pixel 8 early thoughts

While there don't appear to be any game-changing, next-generation upgrades here, all the phones' key aspects 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. 

We're less sold on the temperature sensor. If it works as advertised, great. But how many times have you thought 'I wish I had a thermometer on me'? It sounds a bit gimmicky to us.

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 ASAP.


More Pixel news as Google unveils the Pixel 7a

Check out our full Google Pixel 7 review

And our picks for the best Android smartphones

Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.