OnePlus 12 vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: Which Android flagship phone will win?

OnePlus 12 vs Google Pixel 8 Pro.
(Image credit: OnePlus / Tom's Guide)

Even though we won’t see it outside of China until next year, the OnePlus 12’s unveiling in its home country marks the last major flagship phone release of 2023. That’s why it’s worth spending time detailing a OnePlus 12 vs Google Pixel 8 Pro face-off to see which flagship phone could win.

OnePlus has been busy of late. In fact, the phone maker is still coming off from the successful launch of its first foldable device with the OnePlus Open, so needless to say that it’s a tough act to follow for the OnePlus 12. Now that the latter phone's specs are official, we have a better idea of how it stacks up against Google’s finest.

In our Pixel 8 Pro review, we applauded the Google phone's brighter display, charming  design, and excellent camera performance. However, we were most astounded by the many AI-assisted features, which we’d argue overshadowed the hardware in a tremendous way.

Of course, there are many other factors that can tilt the scale in favor of either phone. Let’s break it all down for you, so you can have a better idea about a OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro comparison.

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Specs

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OnePlus 12 specs
Launch dateOnePlus 12Google Pixel 8 Pro
Display6.82-inch 2K OLED6.7-inch Super Actua Display (OLED)
Refresh rate120Hz adaptive1 - 120Hz adaptive
Rear cameras50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 64MP 3x telephoto50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 48MP telephoto (5x zoom)
Front camera32MP selfie10.5MP selfie
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 3Google Tensor G3
Battery5,400 mAh5,050 mAh
Charging100W wired, 50W wireless30W wired, 23W wireless with Pixel Stand, 12W Qi wireless
ColorsGreen, white, blackObsidian, porcelain, bay
Water/dust resistanceIP65IP68

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Price and availability

OnePlus 12 renders

(Image credit: OnePlus)

At the moment, the OnePlus 12 is only available in China, but it's global launch event has been confirmed for January 23, 2024. The timing is important because it's looking to also go head-to-head against another upcoming flagship phone — the Samsung Galaxy S24

As for pricing, the OnePlus 12 starts at 4299 yuan, which comes out to about $601. That could very well change for the global version of the OnePlus 12 — phone makers tend to adjust prices for specific markets — but we suspect it would still be cheaper than the Pixel 8 Pro.

As for Google’s flagship Android phone? The Pixel 8 Pro is available right now with a starting price of $999. That said, Pixel 8 deals going on right now bring the price down to $799 at some places. 

You’ll have three color options to choose from with the Pixel 8 Pro, along with four storage options (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB). It’s worth pointing out that the OnePlus 12’s comes with 256GB of storage on its the base model.

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Design

Google Pixel 8 Pro held in hand.

(Image credit: Future)

Given their flagship status, both phones are crafted from premium material and solidly constructed, so any head-to-head comparison will most likely come down to personal preferences on which has a better design.

Take for example the patterned glass back of the OnePlus 12, which comes in black, white, or green. Its design is also distinguished mainly by the circular hump of its triple camera system; depending on your taste, that could be seen as a distracting quality. 

Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 Pro’s design consists of a glass matte back paired with a polished aluminum frame. We’re in love with the bay color option because of its matte-like finish, making it more resilient to smudges. 

There’s also better water resistance with the Google phone's construction due to its IP68 rating, whereas the OnePlus 12 offers an IP65 rating. That means you can dunk the Pixel 8 Pro in water, while the OnePlus 12 can only withstand splashes.

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Display

Google Pixel 8 Pro held in hand.

(Image credit: Future)

One thing that surprised us in our Pixel 8 Pro review was how Google substantially improved the brightness of its display. The Pixel's 6.7-inch Super Actua Display reached a peak brightness output of 1,526 nits in our testing — an improvement over the Pixel 7 Pro's peak rating of 927 nits.

The OnePlus 12’s 6.82-inch 2K OLED display could very well beat the Pixel 8 Pro if the OnePlus claim of 1,600 nits turn out true. While this sounds all nice, we’ll hold off from saying which has the better display until we can put it through some display benchmarking tests.

Beyond that, both phones have adaptive display refresh rates of up to 120Hz, which makes them ideal for watching video and gaming.

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Cameras

OnePlus 12 cameras

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Without question, this is the area that's captured our attention. We’ve been impressed by the Pixel 8 Pro’s triple camera arrangement (50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, and 48MP telephot), complete with an excellent 5x optical zoom lens that we found to be superior to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s much longer 10x telephoto camera. Additionally, Google's phone held up nicely in a low light competition against the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Yet, the best part about the Pixel 8 Pro’s camera isn’t the hardware. Instead, it's the handful of AI-assisted features you'll find when using Google's phone. From the sorcery behind Magic Editor, to picture perfect smiles with Best Take, the Pixel 8 Pro is like having your own personal photo and video editor. No other phone to date matches its editing abilities.

OnePlus loves to hype the cameras in its phones, but they’ve often underperformed when compared to rival devices. This time around, OnePlus is arming its new flagship with a 50MP main camera, 48MP ultrawide camera, and 64MP 3x telephoto camera. The latter’s going to be interesting because the OnePlus Open’s 3x zoom camera proved to be just as good as the Pixel Fold’s 5x one — so there’s still hope for the OnePlus 12 in the telephoto range.

Aside from that, OnePlus hasn’t disclosed any other camera specific features that could accompany the OnePlus 12. We’re hoping more concrete stuff will be announced for the global version, to perhaps keep pace with what Google’s been doing.

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Performance

OnePlus 12 renders

(Image credit: OnePlus)

We have a strong feeling that the OnePlus 12 will be setting new records in performance, mainly because it’s packing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip. We’re eager to run synthetic benchmark tests to see how it stacks up, especially in the areas of graphics processing.

There’s already a strong likelihood that the OnePlus 12 will outperform the Google Pixel 8 Pro because the Pixel's Tensor G3 chip trailed Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered phones in tests such as GeekBench, 3DMark, and Adobe Rush Premiere. Considering how the OnePlus 12 is running the newer chip, you can certainly believe it’s going to widen the gap.

Despite the lackluster benchmarking results of the Pixel 8 Pro, it still manages to deliver responsive performances with everyday tasks — while also proving to be adequate to handle all of its AI-assisted features. We also expect the same out of the OnePlus 12, given our experience using past OnePlus phones.

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Battery life and charging

Google Pixel 8 Pro held in hand.

(Image credit: Future)

Another area we’ll be keeping a close watch on is battery life because the OnePlus 12’s combination of having the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 paired with a 5,400 mAh cell could outlast what we’ve experienced with the Pixel 8 Pro. 

The 5,050 mAh battery inside of the Pixel 8 Pro managed to reach 10 hours and 3 minutes on Tom’s Guide’s battery benchmark test. That's just ahead of the category average for the smartphones we test.

Just for reference, the OnePlus 11 reached 13 hours and 10 minutes running the same battery test — which means the OnePlus 12 could make for a larger divide in this area. 

The same could be said for the OnePlus 12's recharging abilities too, seeing that OnePlus is arming its phone with 100W wired charging and 50W wireless charging — which are vastly better than the 30W wired charging and 23W wireless charging speeds of the Pixel 8 Pro.

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Software

GIF animation of Magic Editor.

(Image credit: Google)

Despite being announced abroad for China, we don’t know exactly what new software features will accompany the OnePlus 12 when it reaches the rest of the world. Considering how the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 was built with artificial intelligence in mind, we would hope to see AI-assisted features in some capacity with the latest version of OxygenOS.

We already know the Pixel 8 Pro is ripe with several AI-assisted features that we find invaluable. Take the upgraded Screen Call feature, where Google Assistant can take calls for you when you’re busy — and provide callers with contextual responses based on their messages. Some of the Pixel 8 Pro's other AI-assisted features include Summarize, which provides a TL;DR like summary for web pages and Google app searches, multiple language support with Google keyboard, and Audio Magic Eraser that removes background noise from videos.

OnePlus 12 vs. Google Pixel 8 Pro: Outlook

OnePlus 12 renders

(Image credit: OnePlus)

While the Pixel 8 Pro certainly entertained us with its valuable set of AI-assisted features, the OnePlus 12 has the opportunity to push ahead even further in this area. The hardware alone already makes it the more formidable phone, but all of that muscle is nothing if it’s not being put into good use. That’s why we’re eager to see what OnePlus could have in store for the global version of its flagship.

In contrast, the Google Pixel 8 Pro continues to impress the more we use it. We can’t stress enough about its AI-assisted features because they make some everyday interactions such as breeze: like phone calls and editing photos. Sure, the price of the Pixel 8 Pro might’ve gone up over last year’s model, but it’s still less expensive than some of its other chief rivals.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.