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There are massive issues with the Google Pixel 8 Pro. With disappointing digicam efficiency, lacking options and irritating quirks, Google’s new flagship feels half-baked at greatest and it is actually not able to hit cabinets on Oct. 12. 

CNET editors have spent the previous few days testing a number of fashions of the 8 Pro within the UK and US, and we have been greatly surprised by what we have discovered. The largest points are with the digicam, which in some high-contrast conditions produced weird artifacts that wreck the picture. 

The cellphone’s DNG uncooked photos — which usually would come with all the element that the Pixel 8 Pro’s cameras can shoot — have been at first incompatible with any uncooked editors (together with Lightroom on the system and Photoshop on desktop). This was mounted with a last-minute replace from Google that applies solely to new photos taken (our early DNG exams are successfully useless). But DNG recordsdata stay fuzzy and noisy, past what we might anticipate from any uncooked file.


The Pixel 8 (proper) and the Pixel 8 Pro (left).

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Key new options such because the night time time video optimization aren’t out there at launch. New AI instruments together with the up to date Call Screen and article summarizing can be found within the US however not within the UK, the place I’m testing. Both options are mentioned at extra size in CNET’s Pixel 8 assessment.

It’s uncommon to see such evident issues from a serious producer so near the system occurring sale and it is disappointing to see it on a cellphone we had such excessive hopes for. Both the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro obtained CNET Editors’ Choice awards for his or her efficiency, neither of which suffered from these early issues, however proper now we do not advocate shopping for the Pixel 8 Pro till Google has addressed these points.

It’s probably that lots of the issues we have discovered could be resolved with software program updates, and Google has stated {that a} digicam replace that would assist a number of the points we have discovered will arrive in “a few weeks.”

But right here at CNET, we have determined that we’d like extra time to totally perceive the depth of the problems and we have opted to carry off on giving the Pixel 8 Pro a definitive rated verdict. Below you will discover my early assessment of the cellphone with my opinions on the design, show, processor and battery, knowledgeable by a number of editors’ testing. 


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We’ll be updating this assessment over the approaching days and retesting parts of the cellphone (particularly the digicam) as Google pushes out its software program replace. We want to observe that we have not discovered any of those points testing the common Pixel 8.

What does this imply for you? Well, should you’re sitting clutching your bank card trying to purchase the Pixel 8 Pro, we might advise you to attend. Keep your eye on this assessment because it develops and anticipate our remaining verdict.

6 days with the Pixel 8 Pro

The Pixel 8 Pro is the newest flagship from Google that packs a bunch of refinements over its predecessor together with a brand new processor, cameras and extra AI expertise. I beloved the older Pixel 7 Pro and believed it was probably the greatest Android telephones cash may purchase. The 8 Pro has quite a bit to stay as much as.

Putting apart the digicam issues I’ve skilled, the Pixel 8 Pro has lots going for it, from its stable gaming efficiency, its respectable battery life and its slick Android 14 interface. But crucial change is that Google is committing to seven years of software program updates for the cellphone, an enormous increase over what it beforehand provided and much more over most different Android producers. It means this factor will nonetheless be going robust in 2030. 

There’s quite a bit I like in regards to the cellphone and whereas I’ve had some success with the digicam, the problems it faces must be resolved earlier than we may think about recommending anybody purchase it. 


The vibrant show makes video games like Real Racing 3 look nice.

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Design and show

Physically, it is clear to see the Pixel 8 Pro’s household resemblance to its predecessors, with the large digicam bar throughout the again. It’s not a giant design departure from final 12 months’s mannequin, however that rear glass panel is now frosted moderately than shiny, which provides it a softer really feel to carry whereas making it rather less susceptible to fingerprints. I do not suppose it appears to be like fairly as premium or stylish because the Pixel 7 Pro’s sage and gold design, at the very least not within the plain black variant I’ve been given to check.

The digicam bar stands out a good distance — round 4 millimeters in actual fact, which is much more than on the 7 Pro. The 8 Pro is snug to carry, however I do typically discover it catches when I’m attempting to slip it into my denims pocket. I’m nitpicking right here, but it surely’s a type of issues that would change into extra annoying over time. With a case connected that reduces the peak distinction between the physique and the bar, the issue goes away. 


The blue mannequin appears to be like much more vibrant than the black mannequin.

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The body is made partially from recycled aluminum (similar to in older Pixel telephones) and the cellphone is IP68 rated for water-resistance, which is able to hold it protected from spilled drinks or when taking calls within the rain. The 6.7-inch show is identical dimension as on the Pixel 7 Pro. It’s vivid and vibrant and simply does justice to no matter colourful YouTube or Netflix video you need to watch on the bus. 

Temperature sensor

One little tweak on the again is a small circle subsequent to the digicam flash that homes a model new function: a temperature sensor. It permits the cellphone to present temperature readings from objects or surfaces. It’s simple sufficient to do, simply hearth up the temperature app and maintain the cellphone about 5 centimeters out of your object, as if you are taking a close-up picture. Tap the display and it will offer you a readout on how scorching that object is.


The temperature sensor works nicely, however is it genuinely helpful? Time will inform.

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The concept is that you should utilize it to check the temperature of drinks earlier than you’re taking a giant gulp, or to ensure that piece of peach pie is not hotter than the solar earlier than you shovel it into your face and burn your mouth to cinders. It works nicely in my testing to date, with it pretty precisely exhibiting the rise in temperature on my kettle as I boiled water for a cup of tea. 

And whereas I can think about it typically being useful — dad and mom may use it to verify the temperature of a child’s bottle, for instance — I believe its real-world software is restricted. It appears like a function that is been shoehorned in to behave as a differentiator from the competitors. Heck, it could possibly’t even take your physique temperature, although Google is in search of clearance from the US FDA to make use of it for that objective. And certain, the Pixel 8 Pro now has a function that the iPhone 15 would not, however is it actually a function you care about? I’m undecided that I do. 

Processor and Android 14

The Pixel 8 Pro comes with Google’s newest selfmade processor, the Tensor G3, however we will not but inform you the way it performs. At the time of writing I’m unable to put in any form of benchmarking apps to immediately evaluate it to its rivals, however anecdotally it looks as if a succesful chip. Navigation across the Android 14 interface is swift: Apps open with none delays and multitasking between open apps is a breeze. 

Graphically demanding video games like Genshin Impact, PUBG and Real Racing 3 all play with buttery-smooth body charges at most graphics settings. I’ve but to search out something that basically slows the cellphone down. The Tensor G3 chipset additionally allows AI options, however their high quality is uneven, with some taking so lengthy to course of that I merely did not trouble (extra on these beneath).


Android 14 is the newest model of Google’s software program.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The massive development we are able to verify is longevity. Google dedicated to offering seven years of software program and safety updates to the Pixel 8 sequence, which is a giant enchancment over the 4 years it beforehand provided. By comparability, Samsung provides 4 years of software program and 5 of safety updates. Longer safety help occasions are an enormous manner of lowering the environmental affect of telephones, because the {hardware} on older fashions is commonly nonetheless working advantageous, however it is merely not protected to maintain utilizing gadgets with outdated software program. 

Google’s software program dedication means the Pixel 8 Pro ought to nonetheless be going robust in 2030, which is the longest of any main Android producer and solely actually rivaled by Fairphone, which provides eight years of safety updates on its newest Fairphone 5. It’s good to see Google extending its help interval and I hope it encourages extra producers to do the identical.

The Pixel 8 Pro launches with Android 14 which itself is not that totally different from Android 13, with a near-identical visible look that features numerous methods to customise parts of the interface. Google has sprinkled in some extra AI options all through although, together with a brand new generative AI wallpaper creator. 


The AI wallpaper creator is enjoyable to play with.

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The instrument lets you choose from quite a lot of prompts, together with object phrases comparable to “bicycle” or “lighthouse,” texture phrases like “wooden” or “bamboo” and numerous colour and artwork fashion phrases to create a singular backdrop. It’s enjoyable to play with and I’ve loved experimenting with totally different immediate mixtures to search out photos I like. I do not all the time love the outcomes — typically the AI hasn’t achieved an important job — and solely with the ability to select from a set of predefined prompts means it isn’t open to the form of wild infinite customization you would possibly anticipate from generative AI. 

Google has woven in AI options elsewhere into the cellphone, together with name screening, the flexibility to summarize articles in net pages (each of that are unique to the US at launch) and higher speech-to-text and translation instruments. But it is also used for picture modifying, with AI instruments letting you selectively edit the sky in a panorama picture, make objects or folks larger or smaller within the body or take away them fully. The outcomes do not all the time look nice — at the very least to not my eye as knowledgeable photographer — however they are often enjoyable methods of tweaking extra informal snaps.


We’re going to want an even bigger boat.

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And with the magic of AI, right here we’re. 

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

I discovered that it took between 13 and 18 seconds for the AI to make every edit, which felt like a frustratingly very long time to attend. It stays to be seen whether or not that is all the way down to the processor efficiency or if it is a software program challenge that may very well be remedied. In my time with the cellphone, I discovered these delays lengthy sufficient to place me off desirous to mess around additional. On the Pixel 8, nonetheless, these edits typically took round 5 seconds.

There’s additionally a brand new instrument known as Best Take, which takes a burst of photos and blends them into one shot the place everybody ought to look their greatest by mechanically selecting the most effective faces of a bunch of topics. I’ve not discovered this convenient in my time with the cellphone. It requires at the very least six totally different photos of a bunch of individuals for the AI to select from and I usually simply take one or two of my mates, which is not sufficient. To make use of it, I’d should be taught to start out utilizing burst mode extra typically when taking group pictures, which appears like I’m having to create an issue for this function to resolve. 

Then once more, my colleague Patrick Holland loved placing the function to make use of in his assessment of the smaller Pixel 8. Patrick discovered it labored nicely in his pictures, with a largely seamless alternative of individuals’s faces within the remaining picture. Your expertise with it could fluctuate relying on how you employ your cellphone’s digicam, so take my opinion right here with a grain of salt. 


Like the Pixel 7 Pro, the Pixel 8 Pro’s cameras are all organized throughout the rear digicam bar.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET


Speaking of the digicam although, the triple rear-camera setup has had some updates, together with wider apertures on each the primary and telephoto lenses and better decision for the ultrawide lens. 

But it is the digicam that is been most problematic for us in our testing to date. Several of our take a look at photos with excessive distinction scenes present bizarre-looking picture noise and artifacts within the shadowy areas, together with extraordinarily aggressive software program smoothing on areas that ought to keep element. I’ve discovered related points in night time mode pictures, too.


Taken with the primary digicam in a typically well-lit room, this picture suffers from some critically bizarre artifacts.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET


Zooming in makes it apparent to see the problems, with each overzealous element smoothing and bizarre noise issues changing into obvious.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET


This high-contrast scene from the primary digicam would not look too unhealthy at first.

Stephen Shankland/CNET


But no matter’s occurring over right here is simply… bizarre.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

While it could possibly shoot DNG uncooked recordsdata as I discussed earlier, these come out worse, with extra picture noise and a bizarre muddiness to the scene that may’t be corrected in put up. Shooting within the new high-resolution 50-megapixel mode made issues even worse. Taking high-res photos concerned a 1- to 2-second pause with a “maintain nonetheless” warning on display, which made taking the pictures really feel gradual and irritating. 

Google pushed out some massive updates to the digicam software program throughout our testing interval, but it surely’s clear that one thing remains to be improper. As the cameras are such an essential issue of any flagship cellphone, we’re eager to see an answer right here and we’ll proceed testing over the approaching days and weeks. 

It’s not all unhealthy, although. Some photos taken with the extensive, ultrawide or 5x zoom lens have come out completely nicely in good lighting and I’ve loved utilizing the lengthy publicity mode so as to add some ethereal blurred motion results to some pictures. 


This out of doors scene appears to be like good.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET


While this lengthy publicity impact has added a enjoyable dreaminess to this prepare station scene.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The Pixel 7 Pro had an outstanding digicam that was able to taking wonderful photos with any of its lenses. I do not know why Google is struggling to get the Pixel 8 Pro working because it ought to, but it surely’s clear that fixes are required.


Stuffed contained in the Pixel 8 Pro is a 5,050-mAh battery, which put in an honest efficiency on our numerous battery drain exams. After 1 hour of streaming a YouTube video at max brightness the cellphone had dropped from full to 97% remaining, which is nice. After the third hour it had dropped to 84% which is beneath what we have seen from the iPhone 15 sequence, however according to the Galaxy S23. 


We’ll be doing much more testing with the Pixel 8 Pro over the approaching days.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

It’s a demanding take a look at and in on a regular basis use you should not battle to get by way of a complete day of combined use. Just keep away from spending hours streaming video or enjoying demanding video games if you wish to have juice left to name a cab residence after your night time in town. As with most telephones, although, you will virtually actually need to give it a full cost if you go to mattress every night time. 

Should you purchase the Pixel 8 Pro?

The points we have discovered on a number of fashions of the Pixel 8 Pro recommend that there are software program points with the cellphone that are not merely restricted to 1 dud unit. And whereas we anticipate Google to rapidly roll out fixes to handle these, the very fact stays that proper now, Google needs $1,000 for a cellphone that has main issues. 


The Pixel 8 Pro’s largest competitors would be the iPhone 15 Pro. We’re trying ahead to seeing how they stack up.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

CNET’s recommendation is to carry on to your cash and verify again with us within the coming days as we proceed to check the 8 Pro and the updates it will probably obtain. 

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