One of the most anticipated questions about the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro prior to the phones' arrival on retail shelves today (October 12) revolved around their battery life. Would the new Pixels be able to last longer on a charge than their predecessors, after the Pixel 7 struggled to provide solid battery life?
We've got an answer now to that question now, and it's yes — though maybe it's not as emphatic a yes as we would have hoped.
For both our Pixel 8 review and Pixel 8 Pro review, we ran our battery test on each phone. And while the new models outperformed the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro by lasting longer on a charge, they didn't quite live up to the standard set by phones in their price range. While better than a lot of recent Pixels, the new Pixel 8 models have a long way to go if they want to land on our best phone battery life list.
Here's more on the Pixel 8 battery test results and how they compared to other devices.
How we test battery life
As part of the way Tom's Guide tests and reviews smartphones, we put each handset through a battery test. We'll set screen brightness to 150 nits for comparable results and then run a script that forces the phone to surf the web continuously over a cellular connection. We then time how long it takes for a phone to run out of power.
We'll run this test multiple times when possible and average out the results. If phones have displays with variable refresh rates, we'll test the device with the default refresh rate enabled and with the screen set to a standard of 60Hz. (Generally, higher refresh rates tend to lead to less battery life, as that can drain the phone of power, though some devices do a better job of managing that feature than others.)
The average result for smartphones on our test is to post a time that's just shy of 10 hours. A phone with exceptional battery life holds out for 11.5 hours or more.
Not only did the Pixel 7 phones fall well short of that 11.5-hour mark, they also failed to hit the average time for smartphones when we tested them last year. The Pixel 7 was particularly disappointing, with a result of 7 hours and 13 minutes when its display was set to a 90Hz refresh rate. The Pixel 7 Pro fared better, but its time of 8 hours and 4 minutes with its 120Hz refresh rate enabled still fell short of the average result for smartphones by well over 1.5 hours.
You can imagine why we were so obsessed with seeing if the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro could improve upon those test results. Google's Pixel phones have proven to be worthy alternatives to leading smartphones from Apple and Samsung in many ways, but battery life hasn't been among them, especially since the switch to Tensor chipsets. A better showing on our test would offer another reason to recommend these phones beyond their excellent cameras and AI-powered features.
Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro battery tests — the results
Google didn't give us much cause to expect big gains in battery life. The Pixel 8's 4,575 mAH was slightly larger than the 4,355 mAh cell in the Pixel 7. The battery size difference between the Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro was more modest — 5,050 mAh in the new phone compared to 5,000 mAh previously. So the new phones would also be reliant on improved power efficiency with the Tensor G3 to see any big gains in battery life.
|Phone||Chipset||Battery size||Battery life (Hrs:Mins)|
|Google Pixel 8||Tensor G3||4,575 mAh||9:50 (60Hz)|
|Google Pixel 7||Tensor G2||4,355 mAh||7:13|
|iPhone 15||A16 Bionic||3,349 mAh||11:05|
|Samsung Galaxy S23||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy||3,900 mAh||10:27|
|OnePlus 11||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||5,000 mAh||13:11|
Whatever the cause, something certainly improved between the Pixel 7 and Pixel 8. Google's standard flagship posted a time of 9 hours and 50 minutes on our test, which is more than two hours better than what we saw with the Pixel 7. That's still a few minutes shy of the average smartphone time, but it's close enough to consider the Pixel 8 an average smartphone in terms of longevity. (One caveat to that: we recorded that result with the Pixel 8's refresh rate set at 60Hz. We're still testing to see what happens when we go with the 120Hz setting.)
|Phone||Chipset||Battery size||Battery life (Hrs:Mins)|
|Google Pixel 8 Pro||Tensor G3||5,050 mAh||10:03|
|Google Pixel 7 Pro||Tensor G2||5,000 mAh||8:04|
|iPhone 15 Pro||A17 Pro||3,274 mAh||10:53|
|iPhone 15 Pro Max||A17 Pro||4,422 mAh||14:02|
|Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy||4,700 mAh||11:24|
|Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy||5,000 mAh||12:22|
The Pixel 8 Pro also saw a big improvement from its predecessor, with a time of 10 hours and 3 minutes, inching ahead of the average time for smartphones. More importantly, it's about 2 hours better than what the Pixel 7 Pro produced under similar circumstances.
So if we were looking for improvement in Pixel battery life from year to year, that's exactly what we got. The only problem is, there are other smartphones out there besides the Pixel 8 models — and they tend to last longer than Google's phone.
The iPhone 15, which is about the same size as the Pixel 8 while costing $100 more, made it to 11 hours and 5 minutes on our battery test. The Galaxy S23 didn't fare as well, but it's 10 hour and 27 minute time was still around half-an-hour better than what the Pixel 8 turned in. The Galaxy S23 also held out that long with its adaptive display turned on.
The OnePlus 11 has the same $699 starting price as the Pixel 8. Unfortunately from Google's perspective, the OnePlus phone also features a more power efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. And that silicon helped the OnePlus 11 turn in a time of 13 hours and 11 minutes on our battery test — an outstanding result.
The Pixel 8 Pro saw similar gaps with the flagship phones in its price range. The iPhone 15 Pro finished just shy of 11 hours on our test, while the Galaxy S23 Plus just missed our longest lasting smartphone list with a time of 11 hours and 24 minutes. Expand the comparison to include the top-of-the-line Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max, and you're talking about phones that produced times greater than 12 hours and 14 hours, respectively.
Google Pixel 8 battery life outlook
There's some encouraging battery news about the Pixel 8 lineup when compared to other phones. The 30W wireless charging speeds supported by both new Google phones fills up the battery very quickly. The Pixel 8 Pro hit 59% after 30 minutes of charging while the Pixel 8 reached 60%. The Galaxy S23 and iPhone 15 reached 55% and 53%, respectively, in that same amount of time.
And let's not lose sight of the bigger picture — Pixel endurance got better with the introduction of the new phones and their Tensor G3 silicon. That's a step in the right direction, though the Pixel 8 battery life times show that Google still has a long road ahead of it if it wants to match the longevity of other top phones.