Google Pixel 8 vs Pixel 7: will it be an upgrade?

Google Pixel 8 vs Pixel 7: will it be an upgrade?

Intro

We do expect to see a brand-new shiny duo of Pixel 8 phones some time this October. As is tradition, we will very probably have a non-Pro and Pro version — this has been Google’s strategy since the Pixel 6 series. And the “regular” model isn’t something to snark at — it’s still a full-fledged Google phone for only $600.

The Pixel 8 will very probably hover around that price. And, if history is something to go by, the Pixel 7 will probably drop by $200 down to $400 at most popular retailers. So, will it be better to buy a Pixel 7 or go for the new-and-shiny? Or… if you have a Pixel 7, should you even be worried about upgrading this year?

Well, let’s explore what we know so far and try to figure this out

Google Pixel 8 vs Pixel 7 expectations:

  • Pixel 8 will get slightly smaller
  • Same camera hardware, but Pixel 8 may have new “staggered HDR”
  • Tensor G3 vs Tensor G2 – meaningful upgrade?
  • Thermometer on the Pixel’s camera sensor?

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

The Pixel is leaning more towards the compact side

The regular Pixel 7 model is smaller than the Pro variant, but it’s not exactly “compact”. It still has a 6.32″ screen, which is still a bit on the “don’t use with one hand” side. Supposedly, the Pixel 8 will have a slightly smaller screen — down to 6.17″. This should be enough to get it closer to that “easy to pocket” format, provided the bezels and body around said screen shrinks in a meaningful way.

We fully assume the return of the vizor-shaped camera module on the back, all on top of a metal-and-glass sandwich construction. In fact, the Pixel 8 may be even closer in appearance to the Pixel 7 than the Pixel 7 was to the 6. But, we’ll see.

Again, on the front, the screens will be completely flat — no curved glass shenanigans on the non-Pro models.

Display Differences

Aside from having a slightly smaller panel, it seems the Pixel 8 will have the same screen specs as its predecessor — 120 Hz, Full HD, 20:9 aspect ratio, AMOLED technology. It’s very possible that the screens will look identical when it comes to colors and contrast.

Performance and Software

When will the Tensor get tense?

Google’s Tensor chips aren’t really working horses — they are not here to crush benchmark specs. Instead, they have cores dedicated to photo processing and AI works for the Google Assistant. Supposedly, this is what unlocks the exclusive features of the Google Photos app, Google’s excellent HDR processing, and the exclusive Assistant features like “direct my call”, voice transcribe, and many others.

And no, we haven’t heard anything that would make us believe that the Tensor G3 would be a huge leap in performance. The good news is that we have heard that the Pixels will make a jump to UFS 4.0 storage and LPDDR5X RAM. These are not just geeky numbers — UFS 4.0 is twice as fast as the previously-employed UFS 3.1 memory, so that’ll give us significant headroom in speed. LPDDR5X is also slightly faster than the non-X variant, but not to such a remarkable degree.

The Pixel 7, being of the last era, of course can’t get these hardware improvements. No, you can’t download more ram — don’t Google it.

Camera

Stagger HDR?

Supposedly, the Pixel 8 will have a slightly different 48 MP main sensor, as opposed to last year’s 50 MP one. This could make for slightly bigger individual pixels, but that’ll hardly be the main improvement here.

We will be getting a new “staggered HDR” algorithm, which will work differently than the plain ol’ HDR+ — it will take multiple exposure shots at the same time, instead of one after the other. The end goal is to eliminate typical HDR artifacts like ghosting or auras. Could this feature trickle down to the Pixel 7 via a software update? We’ll have to wait and see… maybe it’ll be locked to the new Tensor G3‘s capabilities.

Audio Quality and Haptics

The non-Pro Pixels haven’t been wowing us with impressive sound so far. Yeah, they are stereo and they sound good enough for talking head videos on YouTube. But they lack base, their mids are a bit muffled, and they can sound tinny when turned up. We don’t expect the Pixel 8 to be any better, especially considering that the phone’s size will be shrinking, leaving even less room for acoustics.

As for haptics — Pixels have been clicky and clacky for years now and we expect the same precise and sharp touch feedback that we’ve had before.

Battery Life and Charging

The Google Pixel 7 had a 4,355 mAh battery, and we can’t see the Pixel 8 getting anything bigger than that, considering its body is supposed to shrink. So far, no solid rumors on the exact battery capacity, though.

In terms of charging, we should be getting 24 W max power on the wire, a bit more than the 20 W that the Pixel 7 is rated for — probably a negligible difference in real world charging times.

Specs Comparison

So, here are some of the main specs we can speculate on, you can see more in our Google Pixel 8 vs Pixel 7 specs page, but more will become clearer as the launch date approaches:

Google Pixel 8 Google Pixel 7
Size, weight 5.93 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches (150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9 mm)* 6.13 x 2.88 x 0.34 inches ( 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7 mm)
6.95 oz (197.0 g)
Screen 6.17″ OLED
120Hz
6.3″ AMOLED
120Hz
Processor Google Tensor G3
4 nm*
Google Tensor G2
5 nm
RAM, Storage 8 / 128 GB UFS 3.1
8 / 256 GB UFS 4.0

LPDDR5X

8 / 128 GB UFS 3.1
8 / 256 GB UFS 3.1

LPDDR5

Cameras 48 MP main
12 MP ultra

10.8 MP front

50 MP main
12 MP ultra

10.8 MP front

Battery ~4,000 mAh* 4,355 mAh
Charging USB-C
24 W wired
7.5 W wireless
USB-C
20 W wired
7.5 W wireless

Summary

From what we can tell so far, the biggest deal about the Pixel 8 will be the jump to UFS 4.0 storage and the new Stagger HDR algorithm. If the latter comes to the Pixel 7 via a software update, we can’t think of a good reason to recommend the newer model over last year’s offering. Well… for now.

Admittedly, info on the Pixel 8 is still scarce, so we are eagerly waiting for Google to drop some official details on it!

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