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Google Pixel 8 preview: specs, price and release date rumours

Everything you actually need to know about Google's next phone

Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro angle

Yes, we know: the Pixel 7 is only a few months old and there are already whispers of its replacement? Well the phone world waits for no-one, which means the rumour mill has already got started on what we can expect from the Google Pixel 8.

This year’s Pixels were a refinement on the previous generation. Will the Pixel 8 be more of the same, or will Google go for an all-out redesign? Is home-grown Tensor silicon set to stay, or will Qualcomm/MediaTek be in charge of hardware? And can the firm’s computational camera tech stay ahead of the competition?

We might not have all the answers just yet, but there’s plenty we do know (or think we know) already. Here’s everything revealed about the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro so far.

Google Pixel 8 release date and price rumours

Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro white

Google isn’t going to set an official date for the Pixel 8’s reveal until a few weeks before the covers are due to come off, but we can say with some certainty it’ll be in the latter part of 2023. More specifically, we’re circling early October ’23 in our calendars. Take a look at Google’s history with phone launches and you’ll see why:

  • Pixel 7 / 7 Pro release date: October 6, 2022
  • Pixel 6 / 6 Pro release date: October 19, 2021
  • Pixel 5 release date: September 30, 2020
  • Pixel 4 release date: October 15, 2019
  • Pixel 3 / 3 XL release date: October 9, 2018
  • Google Pixel 2 / 2 XL release date: October 4, 2017
  • Pixel / Pixel XL release date: October 4, 2016

Barring an anomaly in 2020 when the world was mid-pandemic, Google has consistently released its new phones in October. Going even further back, the Nexus 5X also saw an October release. The smart money is definitely on things staying the same for this latest generation.

Pricing is far harder to nail down right now. Google managed to deliver the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro for exactly the same amount as the previous-gen Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, with the standard phone costing £599 and the flagship costing £850. It would be nice to think the same will happen again next year, but exchange rates are playing havok on the cost of materials. We’re betting you’ll need a little more cash in your wallet to be able to order a Pixel 8.

Latest Google Pixel 8 rumours and details

Google Pixel 7 in hand front

According to WinFuture, Google has been working on two new smartphones codenamed ‘Shiba’ and ‘Husky’ – a change to dog breeds from the big cats used before (Pixel 7 was ‘Cheetah’ and Pixel 7 Pro was ‘Panther’). Both devices are running Android 14, and are using an all-new CPU known as ‘Zuma’ internally. The chip uses the same modem as the one found in this year’s Tensor G2, so will likely be another Samsung-produced design. Both phones are being tested with 12GB of RAM, which would be a step up for the smaller of the two: this year’s Pixel 7 has 8GB, while the Pro is already packing 12GB.

But now, thanks to a major leak, we may know what the next three years will look like for the Google Pixel.

As first reported by Android Authority, an ‘anonymous but trustworthy source’, says Android Authority, gifted the publication a roadmap for the Pixel from 2023-2025.

According to the leak, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will launch in 2023. The source further confirmed to Android Authority that there will be few changes for these models compared to the Pixel 7 series, but the ‘shiba’ (Pixel 8) will have a smaller display and the ‘husky’ (Pixel 8 Pro) will have the same display and measurements as the Pixel 7 Pro.

Google also has a plan to release a Pixel 8a, codenamed ‘akita’, but according to Android Authority the phone could be shelved, depending on how well the Pixel 7a performs. Interestingly, Google is also allegedly thinking of moving away from yearly A series launches, in favour of biyearly launches. Android Authority stress, though, that ‘although we have vetted this information thoroughly, please note that this roadmap is not set in stone’, they say.

The other info available right now is potential screen resolution. Apparently the Pixel 8 will get a 2268×1080 panel, and the Pixel 8 Pro will have a 2822×1344 one – a drop compared to the Pixel 7 Pro’s 3120×1440.

When it comes to camera, there’s a good chance Google will stick with the same 50MP main sensor used in the Pixel 7 series. The firm tends to stick with one sensor for several generations, preferring to let its algorithms do the heavy lifting rather than chasing ever-higher pixel counts. Whether the Pro will continue to be the only phone offered with a dedicated zoom lens also remains to be seen.

In December, we got a further insight into the potential camera power of the Pixel 8. Serial leaker Kuba Wojciechowski was able to access a clean version of Google Camera Go, and in its code identified something called ‘staggered HDR’. This isn’t a feature the Google Pixel camera currently uses. Staggered HDR refers to camera technology that captures a long and short exposure image at the same time, then combines them into one individual image. Simply put, this produces better images, faster. If the Pixel 8 does indeed come with staggered HDR, then the phone will also include a new sensor.

Google Pixel 8 features: what we’d like to see

Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro Family

Screen parity between Pixel 8 and 8 Pro

We love the Pixel 7’s screen for its flat glass (which cuts down on distracting reflections), Full HD resolution (which doesn’t tax the GPU too heavily when playing games) and OLED tech (which delivers wonderfully impactful images with near-infinite contrast). What we don’t love is its 90Hz refresh rate. If you want the full 120Hz, you’ve got to step up to the Pixel 8 Pro.

Given rival handsets costing half the price manage to add 120Hz refresh rates, it feels like Google is purposely hobbling the regular phone in order to get people to step up to the Pro version. As long as the Pro keeps its extra camera lenses and bigger battery, we’re not convinced the move makes sense. Make them both 120Hz and let the camera image quality do the talking.

More colour options, please

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro each come with three colour options: Obsidian, Snow and Lemongrass for the smaller phone and Obsidian, Snow and Hazel for the larger one. Obsidian and Snow are basically black and white, leaving Lemongrass and Hazel as the only real “colours” to choose from. That’s not a lot of choice, is it?

Seeing how Apple offers the iPhone 14 with five different hues (three if you subscribe to the “black and white aren’t colours” argument), it would be great to see Google go down the same route. As more people pick up a Pixel, an opportunity to stand out from the crowd will surely go down well with customers.

Faster charging, with and without wires

Like Apple and Samsung, Google is pretty conservative when it comes to charging times. The Pixel 7 Pro tops out at 23W, either with a cable or wirelessly on a Qi charging pad, and the Pixel 7 only manages 20W. Rivals are able to top up at a much faster rate, with some topping out at a heady 125W.

We don’t need Google to go back to bundling power bricks in the box (anything to cut down on e-waste is a good move in our book) but being able to hit full capacity in under twenty minutes would be a game-changer.