I’ve owned every Pixel phone since the first generation, but I might skip the Pixel 8

Close up of Pixel 8 camera on blue background

Ever since the first Google Pixel smartphone showed up, I’ve been something of a superfan. The most important piece of tech I own might be my Pixel 7; for most people it’s one of the best smartphones you can buy. But I might not get the Pixel 8.

To explain why, first I should be clear why I rate the range so highly.

For me, a Pixel’s most compelling feature is its cameras. These phones are renowned for their phenomenal photographic abilities, with Google’s software processing being second to none. They might not have the most impressive sensor setups (to match something like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra), but the results are just as – if not more – impressive. And that’s before getting on to features like Night Sight and Google Photos’ AI-powered image editing.

Other reasons? Unlike most phones that run Android, Pixels have a completely clean UI with no bloatware. They get timely software and security updates, and for more years than most rivals. Subjectively I also think the non-Pro Pixel is the perfect size for a smartphone. And let’s not forget they are (usually) excellent value for money; you get flagship-grade features, design, and performance, at a price that undercuts the competition.

  • Related: the best Google Pixel 8 deals and prices

The Pixel 8 gets a lot of things right

Pixel 8 from Google site

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Google Pixel 8 gets a lot of things right. I’m a fan of the new Hazel and Rose colours, appreciate the boosted brightness that now nudges 2000 nits when you step outside, and Google has made this year’s model even smaller. There’s a 6.2in screen now, down from 6.32in on the Pixel 7, yet it keeps the same sharp 2400×1080 resolution.

Boosting the refresh rate from 90Hz to a smoother 120Hz is a welcome move, as is increasing the battery capacity – even if it’s only by a small amount. Features previously exclusive to the Pro model, like Macro Focus close-up photography, also make the cut.

But let’s be honest. If the Pixel 8 were an iPhone, it would be an S model. This is, on paper, a small update.

And while Google has added a lot of smart new software features, such as Audio Magic Eraser in video and Magic Editor for group photos, it’s likely that I’ll be trickled down to older Pixel models thanks to Pixel feature drops.

And then there’s the elephant in the room: the price. The Pixel 8 starts at $699/£699 – that’s $100/£100 more than last year’s model! In a time where budgets are tight, I just can’t justify spending that much on a relatively minor upgrade. Similarly, the $999/£999 Pixel 8 Pro is $100/£150 more than the outgoing Pixel 7 Pro. That exactly matches how much Apple wants for an iPhone 15 Pro.

For Pixel 7 owners like myself, it just doesn’t make sense to upgrade – even with some tempting trade-in offers currently doing the rounds.

If the price doesn’t put you off and you’re using a Pixel 6 or older, you can pre-order the Google Pixel 8 below: