Google Pixel 8 Pro taps into the power of AI imagery with comfort of seven-year support

Tech review: The latest Pixel is a solid addition to the line-up and the prolonged life is to be welcomed

Google Pixel 8 Pro
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Google’s new Pixel phone has the iPhone firmly in its sights. The latest smartphone from the tech giant has improved the camera and the display, tweaked the design and added new artificial intelligence tools to try to win over customers to the Android flagship.

But will it be enough to sway users to upgrade from the earlier models, or even a rival Android phone brand? In short: maybe.

On one hand, there are many things that Google has kept the same. The display, which will adjust from 1Hz to 120Hz depending on what content you are viewing, is still 6.7 inches. But Google has made it brighter, up to 2,200 nits, a level it will sustain briefly in bright sunlight, for example, before returning to the standard level.

What about the AI tools? From the camera and photo-editing functions to the eventual integration of Bard – region dependent – the latest Pixels take Google’s technology and ramp it up another notch.


It is still powered by Google’s own silicon, the Tensor chip, although the Pixel 8 comes with the third-generation Tensor that fuels some of the better AI photo features. Portrait blur, unblur and colour focus sit alongside Magic Eraser, which allows you to remove unwanted objects from your photos.

Holiday photos taken with the Pixel 8 Pro are airbrushed to perfection. Unwanted interlopers in the background can be removed with Magic Eraser.

The new “best take” feature is particularly good for taking photos of the kids, none of whom look directly at the camera at the same time. Using the AI editing tool you can swap the faces from similar shots to create a perfect image.

Magic Editor uses the AI to help you move subjects around your photos and change the sky or the landscape with a few well-placed filters. That may prove a step too far for me, creating some scarily realistic photos from a very low-quality bar.

On videos, Audio Magic Eraser takes care of unwanted sound from videos, such as a siren or loud bang in the background. It is a useful tool although one I didn’t find much use for.

These features don’t just work with the photos taken on the Pixel 8 Pro; any images in your Photos app can get the AI treatment. The key thing here is that you do the editing on the Pixel 8 phones, using the power of the Tensor 3 to carry out the heavy lifting.

The sting in the tail is the price. The Google Pixel 7 Pro cost from €900; this year’s 8 Pro will set you back just shy of €1,100

The camera itself does a good job even without AI’s help. It is the same main camera as last year’s Pixel 7 Pro, but with a 48 megapixel ultrawide lens that has macro focus and better low-light capabilities. Alongside it is the same 48MP telephoto optical zoom lens, and the autofocus on the front-facing camera will make for decent selfies and video calls.

The key change that got everyone’s attention is the extension of Google’s support for the phones. Now you are guaranteed security and software updates for seven years, and while it is unlikely that most people will keep a phone that long, it does provide peace of mind for those who want to either hang on to their devices for longer, or pass them on to family members when they upgrade themselves.

Face Unlock has been extended, so now you can use it for apps. However, it is worth noting that the Google version is not quite Apple’s Face ID; it uses 2D rather than 3D imaging, making it in theory at least a little less secure than the iOS version. It’s a nice extra to the under-screen fingerprint reader, and another step towards eventually doing away with passwords if you want.

The sting in the tail is the price. The Google Pixel 7 Pro cost from €900; this year’s 8 Pro will set you back just shy of €1,100. It is still cheaper than many of the flagships out there, but the price hike makes the Pro version of the Pixel a slightly less attractive prospect.


Google keeps all the good bits of the Pixel 7 – a decent design, distinctive look, great screen – and improves them just enough. The design changes make the phone easier to handle, but still retain that unmistakable Pixel look.

The camera does a decent job, as you would expect from a Pixel, and any issues that were reported elsewhere seem to have been largely solved.

The artificial intelligence tools mean it is unlikely that you will take another bad photograph, and even if you do you can edit it to within an hair’s breadth of perfection.


While the AI tools are great, they also raise a few dilemmas. Some of my favourite photos have been the accidentally bad ones; do we want to live in a world where everything is airbrushed and AI-ed to perfection? Speaking of the AI tools, some of them, including Bard integrations that would prove useful for everyone, are only available in the US for now, including the ability to summarise web pages opened in Chrome.

The price hike makes the 8 Pro a little less attractive than last year’s phone.

Everything else

Battery life is okay, giving you more than a day of use, even if you are a very heavy user like me.

The temperature sensor is little more than a gimmick at the moment. Where it will come into its own is when it can be used with health applications, although that will also come with a range of caveats attached.


The Pixel 8 Pro may not be the leap that everyone hoped for, but it’s a solid addition to the Pixel line-up. And the extension of support to seven years makes this a winner for those hoping to eke more life out of their electronics.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist