The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are likely to be two of the best Android phones of 2023, but we've yet to hear any official news directly from the company on their existence. Leaks and rumors suggest we'll be seeing both phones appear in the second half of 2023. While we did expect to see a teaser of them at Google I/O 2023 alongside the reveal of the Pixel 7a, Pixel Fold, and Pixel Tablet, that didn't happen. The Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro were first teased at I/O 2022, but unfortunately, these phones remain a mystery — unless you follow the rumormill, that is.
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro saw Google take the lessons it learned from its first-gen Tensor-powered devices and offer a well-rounded package at affordable prices that undercut the competition. But with those phones now established as the rulers of the smartphone world, it's time to look at what's on the horizon for the Pixel series. No matter how much we love last year's flagships, there's always room for improvement. It's still early for lots of Pixel 8 details, but we know some key details about Google's next mainline phones.
Google's Pixel 8 won't shake up its design — but it can read your temperature
This year's phones have two codenames: Husky and Shiba. Based on leaked display information for both devices, Husky seems to be the Pixel 8 Pro, with a 2822x1344p resolution, while the smaller Pixel 8 — Shiba — sports a 2268x1080p resolution. Both are reduced from the current Pixel 7 models, suggesting some minor — ybut nonetheless welcome — improvements to Google's design chops.
The Pixel 7, which the Pixel 8 is likely to look a lot alike.
The Pixel 8 is smaller than its predecessor, coming in at 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm, or 12mm in thickness with the camera array included. That's down from the Pixel 7's footprint, which measured 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7 mm. At 6.17", the screen is just a bit smaller than the 6.3" panel on the Pixel 7, putting it within spitting distance of Samsung's smallest Galaxy S23.
The corners of the phones' screens seem far more rounded, more in line with a Galaxy S23+ than the squared-off corners of the S23 Ultra. This design tweak is seemingly confirmed by in-depth display rumors, with Google doubling the radius of its curves. That rumor also revealed that both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will see brightness bumps, up to 1,400 nits and 1,600 nits respectively when viewing HDR content. Meanwhile, it looks like the Pixel 8 is getting a 120Hz display, perhaps to differentiate it from the Pixel 7a and its 90Hz panel.
Google has also graced the Pro with a flat 6.7" display, matching the panel on its smaller devices. Allow me to be the first to say it: thank you, Google.
Unsurprisingly, Google isn't rocking the boat here. These renders, which come from noted leaker OnLeaks, show off a device that looks like a slightly modified Pixel 7 Pro. Basically, there are three basic changes here, and they all point to a minor upgrade.
These renders otherwise reveal the same dual camera setup on the back in a familiar visor-style camera array. What's interesting is that Google will seemingly switch to a polished metal frame rather than a brushed one, bringing the Pixel 8 right in line with the Pixel 8 Pro (or Pixel 7 Pro, for that matter). This might just be a stylistic decision for the renders, though. The power button and volume rocker remain in the same position, with Google one of only a few companies that put power above volume.
Our first prototype leak in July pointed to a couple of big improvements for the Pixel 8 Pro. In addition to utilizing flat display edges, Google seems to be swapping to a matte finish for this year's model, at least on the black variant. The Pixel Fold also featured matte glass that was a huge leap in quality above what the Pixel 7 series uses, so it's great to see that design trend being brought to the mainline series this year.
As far as its specs go, we know Google Tensor G3 is currently in testing. Codenamed Zuma, Google's third-gen custom chipset is rumored to be based on the unannounced Samsung Exynos 2300 processor. It's based on Samsung's 3nm node, which developer Kamila Wojciechowski says should be comparable to TSMC, the foundry currently relied on by Qualcomm and Apple. The current Google Tensor G2 remains a 5nm chipset, so this could improve efficiency and overall performance — both areas where the current chip is lacking. Expect it to be paired with 12GB of RAM on the Pro model, as spotted in the fastboot screen in July's prototype leak.
Likewise, we're also expecting Google Pixel 8 lineup to sport an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. It's still an under-display fingerprint sensor, but it should be faster than the Pixel 7's optical sensor. We're optimistic that the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor should be significantly faster than its predecessors but doubt it will keep pace with the one on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The flagship Pixel 8 Pro looks almost certain to come with a built-in thermometer that was shown off in a leaked video in mid-May. The feature is a contactless thermometer that monitors your skin's temperature to help you determine if you're unwell. It's not a brand-new feature for smartphones – we've seen Honor include similar in the past – but this is the first time we've seen this feature on a Pixel device. This appears to be exclusive to the Pixel 8 Pro and won't be seen on the cheaper model.
You can see the feature in action below, as these clips also give us the first footage of the Pixel 8 Pro's new design. It's largely similar to the Pixel 7 Pro. The most noticeable change is the new camera bar. Unlike with previous models, the camera lenses here are far more spread out across the device, giving each sensor some extra space and, potentially, helping to stop that nasty shattering issue we've seen on last year's phone. They all appear in one element this time, too. On the Pixel 7 Pro, two cameras were grouped together with the third camera on its own separately.
Further camera leaks in June revealed that the thermometer is just that — a thermometer. It won't be capable of performing thermal readings on anything but the human body.
Finally, on a disappointing note, the Pixel 8 series sounds set to miss out on one of the most anticipated advancements in wireless charging in years. Qi2 promises to bring MagSafe-style pucks and pads to Android phones, but it's unlikely to be included on this year's phones. The Pixel 8 recently passed through Qi certification, and its listing delivers the same Qi 1.2.4 version number alongside 12W power limits. It's possible, though still unlikely, that the Pixel 8 Pro gets this feature — only time will tell. You'll likely have to rely on third-party cases to take advantage of magnetic pucks. At least we're getting a minor boost in charging speed.
A complete camera overhaul for the Google Pixel 8 lineup
If you're discussing the Pixel series, you can't ignore the camera. Google built its successor to the Nexus program on its impressive photo capabilities, combining excellent hardware with cutting-edge software and AI-powered photo processing. In the past, we've seen Google stick with camera sensors for years at a time — it wasn't until the Pixel 6 that the company ditched the sensor it used in the Pixel 3. But with this year's lineup, that might change.
Developer Kamila Wojciechowski spotted support for Husky and Shinx in Google's Camera Go app, specifically referencing staggered HDR support. It's a fresh approach to HDR photography, simultaneously capturing short and long exposures to improve capture time. However, the GN1 sensor currently used on the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 6 before it doesn't support it on a hardware level, implying Google plans to shake up its camera tech on the Pixel 8.
For other manufacturers, switching to a new sensor after two generations isn't unheard of. Still, it displays a new, hardware-focused approach for the company.
In June, Wojciechowska returned with more information on the cameras found in the Pixel 8 series, giving us a full roundup of all of the sensors found on Google's next phones. The Pixel 8 Pro is using a 50MP Samsung ISOCELL GN2 main sensor alongside an ultrawide 64MP IMX787 (which, eagle eyed readers may note, is the same main sensor in the Pixel 7a) and a telephoto 58MP GM5 sensor. Also built into the camera array are the microphone, flash, an upgraded time-of-flight sensor for aiding with autofocus, and the thermometer you read all about at the top of this guide.
Breaking this down, the GN2 is an upgraded version of the GN1 found in the Pixel 7 series, which should be capable of capturing more light while improving shutter speed performance in low-light settings. It's also capable of 8K30 video recording, though Wojciechowska says it's not in testing on the Pixel 8 right now thanks to poor thermal performance. The ultrawide sensor is also all new, quadrupling its performance (presumably to allow for pixel binning when taking wide shots). It's both larger and wider than the current IMX386 used in the Pixel 7 Pro — a big year-over-year upgrade.
All that said, the telephoto sensor remains unchanged, as does the 11MP front-facing camera.
Let's also quickly touch on the smaller Pixel 8, which, in some ways, is getting left behind the main lens. It's upgrading to the same main GN2 sensor, but it'll keep the IMX386 ultrawide first used on the Pixel 6. At the very least, it's wider than last year's lens, which was one of our main complaints about the smaller Pixel 7.
Unsurprisingly, Google is also working hard to improve Night Sight on its next-gen smartphones. In the latest version of Google Camera, specific code changes made with the Pixel 8 series in mind points to better low-light photography when using Super Res Zoom. On the Pixel 7, Google's impressive digital zoom tool only works in good lighting — try to use it at night to your own peril. But with the Pixel 8, it looks like the company plans to expand Night Sight to Super Res Zoom shots, capturing a better image through some computational magic.
And speaking of software tricks, Google might bring some of its Photo Unblur magic to videos. There isn't much to this rumor — frankly, it's exactly what it sounds like. This tool, called Video Unblur, should aim to do what Photo Unblur does on the Pixel 7 series, cleaning up your old footage and making everything just a bit more visible.
The first phones to ship with Android 14
Google always drops its latest Android upgrade between August and October each year. In 2021, Android 12 and its visual overhaul arrived in October, in time for the Pixel 6 to launch. Last year, Android 13, which was a smaller update, landed in the first week of August, providing plenty of time for some last-minute bugs to be ironed out.
Like clockwork, Google kicked off its Android 14 developer previews in February of this year, with a beta program having launched in mid-April. This year's timeline looks awfully familiar, with an official launch seemingly planned for August. That should allow Android 14's first stable build to make its way out into the wild well before the Pixel 8 series launches, likely making Google's next pair of phones the first Android devices to launch running this year's upgrade.
Google may also include exclusive features for its latest Android phones, though we'll have to get closer to launch before any leaked demos start appearing. One rumor, however, has us plenty intrigued. It sounds like Google could be looking to match Samsung's DeX feature, one of our favorite productivity tools on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The Pixel 8 series might support DisplayPort Alternate mode, with full support for video output via USB-C. Mirroring Android on a larger desktop could make it a great portable computer, though we'll have to see what Google does with the feature before we get too excited.
Google Pixel 8: Release date and price
The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 release and pricing details are still a mystery, we can make some educated guesses based on info previous Pixel releases.
One of the biggest selling points of the Pixel series over its past two generations has been its pricing. While the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro are similarly priced to other top-tier flagships, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 provide buyers with some of the best value on the market. At $600, both phones managed to undercut the competition, but it wasn't close. It's unclear whether Google can maintain that pricing for another generation, but we certainly hope it can. The Pixel 7a costs $50 more than the Pixel 6a at $500, so that may suggest that all Pixel products are getting a price increase in 2023.
It's a theory bolstered by a recent leak from noted tipster Yogesh Brar. In listing out rumored specs for the Pixel 8 — many of which line up with previous rumors — we got our first hint at what the price point could be. $650 (or $700 for the 256GB variant) may not sound like a big boost in price, but it does match up with what Google did with the Pixel 7a in May. Whether the Pixel 8 Pro will also see a price bump remains to be seen, but don't be surprised if this year's lineup starts to kiss that $1,000 mark.
An October release date seems like a safe bet, Google has fallen into some predictable patterns when it comes to phone launches, announcing the devices early in the month before launching them a week or two later. If past Pixel release dates are an indicator, the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will hit store shelves in mid-to-late October.
Just because we're looking forward to an October launch doesn't mean we won't see an early reveal, of course. Last year, our first look at the Pixel 7 series happened during Google I/O. This year, Google decided to debut its new Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet during I/O, but there's still a slight chance we'll get a glimpse of the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro before the official announcement.
Google Pixel 8 & 8 Pro: A new generation of Pixel
Google's Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro might seem pretty far from launch, but it won't take long for news, rumors, and leaks to start swirling. Until then, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro remain excellent devices, especially considering their routine discounts. If you can't wait for a new generation of Pixel, both devices will serve you well. Thanks to the official Pixel 8 wallpapers already having leaked, you can even dress up your current smartphone to look like Google's next-gen models.
- Source: Google
Google did not reinvent the wheel with the Pixel 7, but there was no need to. With improved cameras, the next-gen Tensor G2 chipset, and Google's wonderfully feature-filled software, the Pixel 7 earns its price tag again this year.
- Source: Google
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Google's Pixel 7 Pro refines the Pixel experience after the 6 Pro's initial stumbles last year, improving stability and taking the camera prowess to new levels with image fusing and 4K60fps video on all cameras. 30W fast charging and Pixel's addictive features like automatic Call screening and Pixel recorder help make the Pixel 7 Pro an alluring phone even as an iterative update.