7.5

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Like


  • Long software program assist interval

  • Excellent display

  • Good general digicam abilities

Don’t like


  • Underwhelming processor efficiency

  • Average battery life

  • Heavy-handed picture processing

  • Some new options really feel like gimmicks

I had a rocky begin with Google’s new flagship Pixel 8 Pro. My early testing discovered odd points with the digicam, particularly in high-contrast conditions, which we noticed replicated throughout a number of handsets. It was sufficient for me to postpone giving my ultimate verdict on the telephone till we carried out extra checks and spoke with Google in regards to the extent of those issues. 

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Andrew Lanxon/CNET

I’ve now spent many hours with the Pixel 8 Pro, as has my colleague Stephen Shankland within the US. Google pushed out a digicam replace that addresses some (although not all) of the problems we encountered. And after exhaustive testing of the telephone’s processor, battery, show and digicam setup, I’m lastly prepared to provide my conclusion. 

The Pixel 8 Pro is — drumroll please — respectable. 

If that appears anticlimactic, then it is fairly becoming, because it matches my very own impressions of the Pixel 8 Pro. The Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro have been excellent telephones, providing stable all-round efficiency and nice cameras. I awarded each handsets a coveted CNET Editors’ Choice award. 

As a outcome, I used to be excited for the Pixel 8 Pro and had excessive hopes for Google’s next-generation handset. But having spent a very long time with it, I’m left feeling underwhelmed. It’s not that there is something obviously improper with the telephone (excluding a number of the digicam points I discovered, which I’ll clarify later), it is that it does not particularly stand out in any main means. Its battery life is common, the processor efficiency is just OK, and I desire the design of the earlier mannequin. 

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

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Some of its main new options, together with AI instruments for creating wallpapers and enhancing pictures, together with a brand new temperature scanner on the again of the telephone, work effectively sufficient. But they do not carry sufficient to the desk to face out as killer new options. 

One of the most important factors it has in its favor is Google’s promise of seven years of software program updates. That’s an enormous enhance over Google’s earlier providing, and it is for much longer than what most different Android producers supply. It means the Pixel 8 Pro ought to nonetheless be going sturdy in 2030, and that longer life span might lead to fewer telephones ending up in landfill.

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The Pixel 8 Pro and its smaller sibling, the Pixel 8.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

And after numerous hours of hands-on testing, I’m assured Google’s new flagship telephone gives a stable all-round expertise that covers most individuals’s day-to-day wants. It’ll deal with your each day social media addictions with ease and take nice pictures of your youngsters within the park. And if you will discover a correct use for that temperature sensor, then good on you for persevering greater than I did. 

Is it price its $999 asking value? Overall, I’d say it nearly justifies it, because of the lengthy software program assist. Though it does not have the straight-line processor efficiency of its rivals, the Pixel 8 Pro remains to be a terrific telephone that I loved utilizing.

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Watch this: Review: Google’s Pixel 8 Pro Leaves Me Wanting More

Early digicam issues

In our early testing, we discovered unusual points with the digicam, which exhibited odd artifacts, particularly in high-contrast conditions. Several of our preliminary take a look at photos confirmed bizarre-looking picture noise and artifacts within the shadowy areas, together with extraordinarily aggressive software program smoothing on areas that ought to keep element. 

CNET reporter Stephen Shankland unpacked lots of the Pixel 8 Pro’s points and elaborated on what could be inflicting them. It primarily boils right down to how the software program tries to mix a number of picture exposures collectively (and does not do a very neat job of it). Google pushed out an replace to assist with the difficulty, which has definitely helped however hasn’t fully resolved the issue. 

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Even after Google’s digicam software program replace, I nonetheless discovered some photos with troubling quantities of picture noise.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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Cropping in shut, that picture noise turns into a lot clearer to see.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

As this indoor picture reveals, the Pixel 8 Pro has created a dramatic quantity of picture noise within the shadowy areas of the scene. 

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Andrew Lanxon/CNET

And although this extensive shot of an ice cream truck appears tremendous…

Notice how the menu is readable within the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s shot (left), however not within the Pixel 8 Pro’s shot (proper).

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

…cropping in shut reveals the muddiness attributable to the telephone’s digicam software program within the shadowy space contained in the van. It’s inconceivable to learn the menu on the Pixel’s shot, whereas it is clearly seen within the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s picture.

That’s disappointing to see, but it surely’s essential to notice that I’ve encountered this concern in solely a small variety of the various take a look at photos I’ve taken with the telephone. 

And we have additionally seen quite a few examples through which the Pixel 8 Pro carried out extraordinarily effectively, and I’ll dive deeper into these within the digicam part under. We examined it in daylight, at night time, and towards rivals together with the iPhone 15 Pro and the older Pixel 7 Pro

Other early points, equivalent to uncooked DNG picture information that regarded washed out when considered in Adobe Lightroom, shall be resolved with higher assist from Adobe. But our gripe with the 1 to 2 second delay when taking 50-megapixel photos stays, as that is merely as a result of processing required to create such giant information.

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Both the Pixel 8 Pro and that iPhone 15 Pro Max have great-looking shows.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Have our preliminary considerations been addressed? Mostly, sure. Though they don’t seem to be fully resolved, greater issues have been minimized to the purpose of being negligible. We’re now completely happy to maneuver on with the telephone as we’d with every other. 

Design and show

Physically, the Pixel 8 Pro resembles its predecessors, with an enormous digicam bar throughout the again. The rear glass panel is now frosted, although, fairly than shiny. It’s not a major design departure from final yr’s mannequin, but it surely does give the telephone a softer really feel whenever you’re holding it, whereas making it rather less susceptible to choosing up fingerprints. I do not suppose the telephone appears fairly as premium or elegant as a sage-and-gold Pixel 7 Pro — a minimum of not the plain black variant I’ve been testing, which, like most plain black telephones, appears boring and forgettable. The blue model has extra persona, with a vivid and cheerful frosted-glass again and bluey-silver digicam bar. 

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The black model appears fairly smooth, but it surely lacks the enjoyable persona of the blue mannequin.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The digicam bar stands out a great distance from the again — round 4 millimeters the truth is, which is greater than on the 7 Pro. The 8 Pro is snug to carry, however I discover that it catches when I’m making an attempt to slip it into my denims pocket. I’m nitpicking right here, but it surely’s a type of issues that would turn into extra annoying over time. A case reduces the peak distinction between the physique and the bar and the issue goes away. 

The body is made partially from recycled aluminum (identical to in older Pixel telephones), and the telephone is IP68 rated for water-resistance, which’ll preserve it secure from rain or spilled drinks. There’s a fingerprint scanner hidden inside the show, which I discovered to be hit or miss. But the face unlock has been improved over that of the 7 Pro. It’s extra correct, which implies now you can use it to authenticate Google Pay funds.

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Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The 6.7-inch show, the identical dimension as on the Pixel 7 Pro, is superb. It’s punchy and vibrant and simply does justice to no matter colourful YouTube or Netflix video you need to watch on the bus. It helps HDR content material, is vivid sufficient to see outdoor and has a most 120Hz refresh price for {smooth} scrolling and gaming. 

Temperature sensor

One tweak on the again is a small circle subsequent to the digicam flash that homes a brand-new function: a temperature sensor. It permits the telephone to measure the temperature of objects or surfaces. It’s straightforward sufficient to make use of; simply fireplace up the Temperature app and maintain the telephone about 5 centimeters out of your object, as if you take a close-up picture. Tap the display, and it will present a readout of how scorching that object is.

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Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The concept is that you need to use it to check the temperature of drinks earlier than you’re taking an enormous gulp, or to be sure 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 labored effectively in my testing, pretty precisely displaying the rise in temperature on my kettle as I boiled water for a cup of tea. 

Though I can think about it generally being useful — dad and mom might use it to examine the temperature of a child’s bottle, for instance — I believe its real-world utility is restricted. It seems like a function that is been shoehorned in to behave as a differentiator from the competitors. Heck, it might probably’t even take your physique temperature, although Google is working with the US Food and Drug Administration so it might probably finally be used for that objective. 

And certain, the Pixel 8 Pro now has a function that the iPhone 15 does not, however is it actually a function you care about? I’m unsure I do. After having confirmed that it really works because it ought to, I principally forgot it was there and I have never continued to utilize it.

Tensor G3 processor 

The Pixel 8 Pro comes with Google’s newest home made processor, the Tensor G3, which I discovered to be underwhelming. It did not impress on benchmarking apps, placing it nearer in efficiency to what’s present in cheaper midrange telephones than in right this moment’s flagship rivals. And although benchmarks do not inform the entire story, there are areas the place I really feel that lack of energy is noticeable. 

The 1 to 2 second delay when taking a 50-megapixel uncooked picture stems from the quantity of processing required to save lots of such massive information. A stronger chip would doubtless require no such delay. For comparability, there is not any noticeable delay when capturing 48-megapixel uncooked photos on Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro. 

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The Pixel 8 Pro’s Tensor G3 processor is ok for on a regular basis use.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

I additionally discovered gradual processing instances utilizing the AI image-editing instruments. These instruments allow you to selectively edit the sky in a panorama picture or modify the scale of objects (or take away them utterly). I discovered that it took between 13 and 18 seconds for the telephone to make every edit, which is a frustratingly very long time to attend and put me off eager to mess around additional. Google says that these edits occur within the cloud, not on the system, so this is not essentially a criticism of the Tensor chip, but it surely nonetheless means an annoying wait time for you whenever you use these instruments. Google additionally instructed me that it is dependant in your web connection — I used to be testing it at dwelling on a gigabit fibre connection, so your outcomes could differ. 

In common use, nevertheless, the Pixel 8 Pro feels swift and responsive. Navigation across the Android 14 interface is nippy and lag-free, apps open at once, 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. 

Android 14 and AI options

Google dedicated to offering seven years of software program and safety updates for the Pixel 8 sequence (together with the cheaper $699 Pixel 8), which is an enormous enchancment over the three years of Android OS upgrades the tech big beforehand supplied. By comparability, Samsung gives 4 years of software program updates and 5 of safety updates. Longer security-support instances are an enormous means of decreasing the environmental impression of telephones, as a result of the {hardware} on older fashions is usually nonetheless working tremendous however it merely is not secure to maintain utilizing gadgets with outdated software program. 

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

The Pixel 8 Pro launches with Android 14, which is not that totally different from Android 13. Both working methods look almost similar and supply varied methods to customise components of the interface. Google has sprinkled some further AI options all through, nevertheless, together with a brand new generative AI wallpaper creator. 

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The AI wallpaper creator is enjoyable to play with.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The instrument lets you choose from a wide range of prompts, together with object phrases equivalent to “bicycle” or “lighthouse,” texture phrases like “wooden” or “bamboo,” and varied colour and artwork fashion phrases to create a novel backdrop. It’s enjoyable to play with, and I loved experimenting with totally different immediate mixtures to search out photos I favored. I did not all the time love the outcomes; generally the AI merely does not do a terrific job. And having the ability to select solely from a set of predefined prompts means the instrument is not open to the type of wild infinite customization you may count on from generative AI. 

Google has woven AI options into the telephone elsewhere, 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 synthetic intelligence can also be used for picture enhancing, with AI instruments letting you selectively edit the sky in a panorama picture and make objects or individuals greater or smaller within the body (or take away them utterly). The outcomes do not all the time look nice — a minimum of to not my eye as knowledgeable photographer — however it may be a enjoyable strategy to tweak informal snaps. If you’ve gotten the endurance to attend for them to course of, that’s.

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We’re going to wish a much bigger boat.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

There’s additionally a brand new instrument known as Best Take, which is supposed to create pictures through which make everybody appears their finest. It captures a burst of photos and blends them into one shot by routinely choosing the best facial features from a gaggle of topics. I have never discovered this handy in my time with the telephone, however my colleague Patrick Holland loved placing the function to make use of in his evaluation of the smaller Pixel 8. Patrick discovered it labored effectively in his photographs, with a principally seamless alternative of individuals’s faces within the ultimate picture. 

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When deciding on my favourite picture from a movement seize, I used to be baffled as to why there was a “ghost” of this runner (seen above the determine sitting on the wall). But it did not find yourself being seen once I exported the body.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

I additionally discovered an odd quirk when deciding on a most well-liked body from a movement picture: A “ghost” of a determine was seen whereas I used to be enhancing, but it surely did not present up within the ultimate exported body. It’s minor, however once more, it highlights that some options do not feel fairly as polished as I’d count on. 

Pixel 8 Pro cameras

Overall, the Pixel 8 Pro’s digicam is stable, and I’m glad I spent the additional time testing it following Google’s software program replace. It’s able to taking lovely photos with all its lenses, and its night time mode is an enormous step up over that of its predecessor. The heavy-handed picture processing remains to be seen although, and it is doubtless that passionate photographers shall be higher served by the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

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Pixel 8 Pro, principal digicam.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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Pixel 8 Pro, principal digicam.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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Pixel 8 Pro, principal digicam.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Taken with the Pixel 8 Pro’s principal digicam, these photographs are vivid, vibrant and pin sharp. I really like the colours and spot-on publicity.

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Pixel 8 Pro, ultrawide lens.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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Pixel 8 Pro, ultrawide lens.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

And switching to the wide-angle lens, I’m once more impressed by the publicity and colours the telephone has been capable of obtain. 

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Pixel 8 Pro, 5x optical zoom lens.

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Pixel 8 Pro, 5x optical zoom lens.

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Pixel 8 Pro, 5x optical zoom lens.

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Pixel 8 Pro, 5x optical zoom lens.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The Pixel 8 Pro maintains the 5x optical zoom lens seen on each the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro. And in good daytime situations, it might probably take some nice photographs which can be filled with element.

In common daytime scenes, the Pixel 8 Pro is definitely capable of seize engaging photos. And for essentially the most half, it holds its personal towards the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Though I’ve seen variations with colour stability between the 2 telephones (the Pixel tends to lean extra towards a magenta colour solid), there are few variations between them by way of publicity and distinction. 

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Pixel 8 Pro, principal digicam.

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iPhone 15 Pro Max, principal digicam.

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Pixel 8 Pro, principal digicam.

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iPhone 15 Pro Max, principal digicam.

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The Pixel takes respectable night time photographs too, however the iPhone 15 Pro Max pulls forward on this space. It typically captures higher picture particulars, more-accurate colours and fewer picture noise with each the principle and ultrawide lenses. 

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Pixel 8 Pro, night time mode, principal digicam.

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iPhone 15 Pro Max, night time mode, principal digicam.

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Pixel 8 Pro, night time mode, ultrawide lens.

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iPhone 15 Pro Max, night time mode, ultrawide lens.

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But it is particularly obvious when utilizing the 5x zooms, with the iPhone delivering sharper, extra detailed photos with higher distinction and colours. 

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Pixel 8 Pro, night time mode, 5x zoom.

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iPhone 15 Pro Max, night time mode, 5x zoom.

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Against the older Pixel 7 Pro, the 8 Pro’s daytime photographs aren’t an enormous step up. But at night time, the brand new telephone gives a dramatic enchancment over its predecessor, significantly when utilizing the ultrawide lens and with the 5x zoom too. 

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Pixel 7 Pro, night time mode, ultrawide lens.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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Pixel 7 Pro (left) vs Pixel 8 Pro (proper), night time mode, ultrawide lens, cropped in to point out element.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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Pixel 7 Pro (left) vs Pixel 8 Pro (proper), night time mode, 5x zoom lens, cropped in to point out element.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The Pixel 8 Pro has different new digicam options, together with handbook controls for adjusting shutter pace or white stability, together with a 50-megapixel mode for taking high-resolution pictures. The further decision over the 12-megapixels the digicam often makes use of is definitely noticeable when zooming in to take a look at the tremendous particulars. But most photographers will not profit from it — particularly because the delay in taking every picture slows down capturing to the purpose that this mode is appropriate just for static scenes like landscapes.

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Pixel 8 Pro, selfie digicam.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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iPhone 15 Pro Max, selfie digicam.

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The Pixel 8 Pro’s front-facing digicam takes respectable selfies in vivid situations, and I desire its common tone over the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s photographs. But I discovered the iPhone’s photos to be sharper and extra detailed. 

Battery 

Stuffed contained in the Pixel 8 Pro is a 5,050-mAh battery, which put in a good efficiency on our varied battery drain checks. After one hour of streaming a YouTube video at max brightness, the telephone had dropped from full to 97% remaining, which is sweet. After the third hour, it had dropped to 84%, which is under what we have seen from the iPhone 15 sequence, however according to the Galaxy S23. 

It’s a demanding take a look at, and in on a regular basis use you should not wrestle to get via an entire day of combined use. Just know that spending hours streaming video or taking part in demanding video games will go away little or no juice to name a cab dwelling after your night time in town. As with most telephones, although, you may virtually definitely need to give it a full cost whenever you go to mattress every night time. 

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The Pixel 8 Pro’s greatest competitors would be the iPhone 15 Pro.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Should you purchase the Pixel 8 Pro?

Collectively, we spent many hours testing the Pixel 8 Pro, placing all its options via their paces and taking tons of of take a look at photos in all situations. Despite my earlier considerations, I’m assured that the Pixel 8 Pro is a stable telephone to think about, particularly in the event you’re into nighttime picture taking. 

But general it does not really feel like an enormous step up over the Pixel 7 Pro, which Google nonetheless formally sells for $100 much less. That’s not a lot of a value distinction, but it surely’s price preserving in thoughts if you would like a terrific all-rounder for a little bit of a reduction. If you have already got a Pixel 7 Pro, it definitely is not price upgrading to the brand new mannequin.

But these of you on older Pixels, or different Android handsets quite a lot of years outdated, will completely profit from the nice cameras and fancy new AI options discovered on the Pixel 8 Pro. 

Google Pixel 8 Pro specs vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro, Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Google Pixel 8 Pro Google Pixel 7 Pro Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Display dimension, tech, decision, refresh price, brightness 6.7-inch OLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 1-120Hz adaptive refresh price 6.7-inch OLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh price 6.7-inch OLED; 2,796×1,290 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh price 6.8-inch AMOLED; 3,088×1,440 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh price
Pixel density 489 ppi 512 ppi 460 ppi 500 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.4x3x0.3 inches 6.4x3x0.3 inches 6.29×3.02×0.32 inches 6.43×3.07×0.35 inches
Dimensions (millimeters) 162.6×76.5×8.8mm 162.9×76.6×8.9mm 159.9×76.7×8.25mm 163.3x78x8.9mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 213 grams (7.5 ounces) 212 grams (7.5 ounces) 221 grams (7.81 ounces) 234 grams (8.25 ounces)
Mobile software program Android 14 Android 13 iOS 17 Android 13
Camera 50 megapixel (extensive), 48 megapixel (ultrawide), 48 megapixel (telephoto) 50 megapixel (extensive), 12 megapixel (ultrawide), 48 megapixel (telephoto) 48 megapixel (extensive), 12 megapixel (ultrawide), 12 megapixel (5x telephoto) 200 megapixel (extensive), 12 megapixel (ultrawide) 10 megapixel (3x telephoto) 10 megapixel (10x telephoto)
Front-facing digicam 10.5 megapixel 10.8 megapixel 12 megapixel 12 megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K 4K 8K
Processor Google Tensor G3 Google Tensor G2 A17 Pro Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Storage and RAM 12GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 12GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 256GB, 512GB, 1TB (RAM undisclosed) 8GB + 256GB; 12GB + 256GB; 12GB + 512GB; 12GB + 1TB
Expandable storage None None None None
Battery 5,050 mAh 5,000 mAh Undisclosed; Apple says as much as 29 hours of video playback (25 hours streamed) 5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Under show Under show None (Face ID) Under show
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack None None None None
Special options 5G (Sub 6 and mmWave); VPN by Google One; 7 years of OS, safety and Feature Drop updates; front-facing digicam has autofocus; 13W Qi wi-fi charging; 30W wired charging; USB-3.2 speeds through USB-C; IP68 mud and water resistance; Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on back and front 5G, Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Real Tone, Face Unblur, lengthy publicity mode, Action Pan; Hold for Me, Wait Times, Direct My Call, Live Translate 5G (Sub6, mmWave); Action Button, always-on show, IP68 water-resistant, MagSafe, Dynamic Island, 5x optical zoom (120mm equal), satellite tv for pc connectivity, eSIM, thread networking expertise 5G (Sub6, mmWave); IP68 water-resistant; wi-fi PowerShare to cost different gadgets; built-in S Pen; 100x Space Zoom; 10x optical zoom; UWB for locating different gadgets; 45W wired charging
US value off-contract $999 (128GB) $899 (128GB) $1,199 (256GB) $1,200 (256GB)
UK value Converts to £825 (128GB) £849 (128GB) £1,199 (256GB) £1,249 (256GB)
Australia value Converts to AU$1,575 (128GB) AU$1,299 (128GB) AU$2,199 (256GB) AU$1,949 (256GB)

How we take a look at telephones

Every telephone examined by CNET’s critiques group was truly utilized in the true world. We take a look at a telephone’s options, play video games, and take pictures. We study the show to see if it is vivid, sharp and vibrant. We analyze the design and construct to see how it’s to carry and whether or not it has an IP-rating for water-resistance. We push the processor’s efficiency to the extremes utilizing each standardized benchmark instruments like GeekBench and 3DMark, together with our personal anecdotal observations navigating the interface, recording high-resolution movies and taking part in graphically intense video games at excessive refresh charges.

All the cameras are examined in a wide range of situations from vivid daylight to darkish indoor scenes. We check out particular options like night time mode and portrait mode and evaluate our findings towards equally priced competing telephones. We additionally try the battery life through the use of the telephone each day in addition to working a sequence of battery drain checks.

We consider further options, like assist for 5G; satellite tv for pc connectivity; fingerprint and face sensors; stylus assist; quick charging speeds; and foldable shows, amongst others that may be helpful. And we stability all this towards the worth to provide the verdict on whether or not that telephone, no matter value it’s, truly represents good worth. Though these checks could not all the time be mirrored in CNET’s preliminary evaluation, we conduct follow-up and long-term testing in most circumstances.





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