Google Pixel 8 — what we know and what we'd like to see

Google Pixel 7 Pro back view
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The Google Pixel 8 is probably a ways off yet, especially with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro having debuted so recently. But that doesn't mean the rumors about Google's next flagship phone haven't started. Google has made serious strides toward producing excellent phones, and we expect to see that continue in 2023. 

So far, information about the Pixel 8 is rather scarce except for a few tidbits, but we have some thoughts on what we'd like to see Google add to its phone lineup. From better battery life to even stronger cameras, the Pixel family still has room to improve.

Here's what we know about the Pixel 8 so far.

Google Pixel 8 latest news (updated December 22)

Google Pixel 8: Possible release date

Google has stuck to a late autumn release cycle for the Pixel series for a few years now, so we expect the same to hold true for the Pixel 8. That means an October time frame, especially if you look to recent Pixel releases for guidance.

Google announced the Pixel 7 on October 6, 2022 and the Pixel 6 on October 19, 2021. We think it's safe to bet on an early to mid-October debut for the Pixel 8, though a lot can change between now and then.

Google Pixel 8: Specs

Pixel 7 Pro hands-on

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Right now, we only have a few things to go on about Google's Pixel 8 design plans. Thanks to a WinFuture Pixel 8 leak, we think we know the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro codenames: Shiba and Husky, respectively. 

It's all but certain that Google will use the new Tensor G3 chipset (codenamed Zuma) to power the new phones. Some speculate that Tensor G3 will be based on the Exynos 2300 with a G5300 5G modem.

The Pixel 7 came equipped with 8GB of RAM while the Pixel 7 Pro has 12GB of RAM. We expect Google will keep a similar configuration between the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. That said, the above leak claims both Shiba and Husky will have 12GB of RAM.

As for the displays, we think Google will stick with OLED panels for both phones. The Pixel 7 has a flat 6.3-inch FHD+ display. The Pixel 7 Pro is a much larger curved 6.7-inch QHD+. The latter sports a 120Hz refresh rate while the smaller Pixel has 90Hz. All of this to say, we think Google will keep a similar disparity between the two models.

But according to the same leak that spilled the beans on the codenames and RAM, we might know the screen resolutions. Husky is said to have a resolution of 2822 x 1344, while Shiba allegedly has 2268 x 1080.

Google Pixel 8: Cameras

Google Pixel 7 Pro cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As for cameras, we don't have a lot of information, except for leaked details of a pretty interesting upgrade. According to the same leaker who found the codename, Tensor G3, and screen resolution leak, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will supposedly use staggered HDR

Staggered HDR takes long and short exposure shots simultaneously instead of one after the other. This should supposedly help with photography inconsistencies like strobing or ghosting effects. It's much faster than the method that Google has perfected over the years.

With staggered HDR, the current 50MP Samsung GN1 camera sensor that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series use just can't handle it on a hardware level. That implies the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro might see an upgraded main sensor. One possible option is Samsung's GN2.

Google Pixel 8: What we want to see

Pixel 7 hands-on

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While we loved the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, there are a few things we want to see improved for the next generation.

Battery life

Simply put, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have rather subpar battery life. Given the battery capacities — 4,355 mAh and 5,000 mAh, respectively — the latest Pixels perform well under the 10-hour average we like to see in our battery life test. It's high time for Google to address battery life with the Pixel 8.

More years of updates

Google controls the Android software, and now it controls the Pixel hardware thanks to designing its own Tensor chips. And yet, the phone maker only promises three years of platform updates. Samsung is now better than Google at providing updates long-term with its four-year promise. Considering that the Pixel should be the Android equivalent of the iPhone, we want to see the Pixel 8 offer five years of Android upgrades and five years of security patches minimum.

Brighter displays

Don't get us wrong, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have nice displays, which we measured at 926 and 927 nits of brightness, respectively. They're pretty good, even outdoors. But when Samsung and Apple push the 1,500-nit mark, we want to see Google use brighter panels on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

Better Tensor performance

Tensor G2 made serious strides in all ways, especially performance. Yet, it still lags behind Qualcomm and especially Apple Silicon. Granted, Tensor isn't meant to be the most powerful chipset you can get. However, we'd like to see a performance boost in Tensor G3 to make the Pixel 8 more competitive on the performance front. 

Better telephoto colors

The Pixel 7 Pro got an upgrade to a 5x optical zoom on its telephoto lens, which is rather impressive in a world where the Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn't exist. Still, it's the highest zoom on a Pixel ever. However, we found the colors in telephoto shots to be rather lacking, especially when Super Res Zoom kicks in. Samsung struggles with this less, so we'd like to see the Pixel 8 Pro's telephoto images close the gap.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.