While the search giant highlighted the performance of its new Tensor G3 chip, camera improvements, Assistant with Bard and other AI features, there’s one big upgrade that was completely overlooked: Wi-Fi 7 support.
Yes, that’s right. Both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will ship with the latest wireless standard and preorders are live now. This is big news that wasn’t even touched on during Google's presentation. In fact, up until now, if you wanted one of the best Android phones with Wi-Fi 7 support, your only option was to pick up a OnePlus 11.
Things are even worse with the best iPhones as Apple just added Wi-Fi 6E to its phones this year. However, only the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max can take advantage of these faster Wi-Fi speeds since the iPhone 15 still ships with Wi-Fi 6. With Google’s latest Pixel phones though, you’ll be able to make use of the wider 320 MHz channels, Multi-Link capabilities, speed improvements and all of the other upgrades that Wi-Fi 7 offers.
There is a catch though as you’ll likely need to upgrade to one of the best Wi-Fi routers or one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems with Wi-Fi 7. While more Wi-Fi 7 routers are being released everyday and we’ve already reviewed a handful of them, Google has yet to join the fray with its own Nest routers.
Wi-Fi 7 comes to Pixel but not Nest
The most likely reason that Google glossed over the fact that the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro now support Wi-Fi 7 is due to the fact that the company hasn’t released a router that supports the latest wireless standard yet.
Last year, the search giant unveiled its new Nest Wifi Pro that added support for the Thread and Matter smart home standards along with Wi-Fi 6E. In our Nest Wifi Pro review, we praised the compact device’s design and its reasonable price. However, we just didn’t see the same kinds of speeds during testing that we’ve observed from some of the best Wi-Fi 6E routers.
In the time since though, Google has released a number of updates for the Nest Wifi Pro that improved its performance and fixed issues when running speed tests. At $399 for a three-pack and as it’s often on sale, the Nest Wifi Pro could be a good choice for your home network, especially if you’re upgrading from the original Nest Wifi.
As we’ve seen a three-year gap between the release of Google Wifi, Nest Wifi and now the Nest Wifi Pro, we won’t likely see a follow up to Google’s mesh routers until 2025. For this reason, you may not want to wait for the company’s next router if you get either the Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro. Fortunately, there are already some high-end Wi-Fi 7 routers available with more budget-friendly alternatives beginning to arrive towards the end of this year with more to follow next year.
Wi-Fi 7 routers for your new Pixel phone
As it stands right now, getting a Wi-Fi 7 router to make the most of your shiny new Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro is going to cost you almost as much as your phone.
If you live in a smaller house or an apartment, the TP-Link Archer BE800 can be had for $599. Besides blazing fast Wi-Fi 7 speeds, this router is a bit different as it features a 2.4-inch monochrome dot display that can show you the time, weather, date and even a few cartoons. While this may not be enough to replace one of the best smart displays, there’s enough useful info on the BE800’s display that you’ll want this router out in the open instead of tucked away on a bookshelf.
For those with larger homes, the TP-Link Deco BE85 is a Wi-Fi 7 powerhouse with more than enough ports for those with a multi-gig internet plan. In our review of the BE85 mesh router, we loved its quick setup process and the fact that we were able to reach speeds of 1.73 Gbps at a distance of 15 feet from the router.
Netgear also recently released its first mesh router with Wi-Fi 7 and the Orbi RBE973 even managed to surpass the BE85 with a top speed of just over 2 Gbps during our testing. Both of these Wi-Fi routers don't come cheap though as the BE85 starts at $1,000 for a two-pack ($1,500 for a three-pack) and the Orbi RBE973 comes in at $1,700 for a two-pack or a whopping $2,300 for a three pack. Amazon is entering the Wi-Fi 7 market soon too with its new eero Max 7 but like with these other mesh routers, it’s also quite expensive at $1,149 for a two-pack or $1,699 for a three-pack.
If you’re looking for a bargain-priced Wi-Fi 7 router to go along with your new Pixel phone, TP-Link is planning to release its new Archer BE550 for $299 soon. However, there will also be a cheaper version with fewer 2.5 Gbps ports for $249 exclusively at Walmart.
Getting the most out of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro
Even though we all have Wi-Fi, your router is one of the most overlooked devices in your home until something goes wrong. Even then, many people have yet to break free from their ISP and purchase their own networking equipment.
While upgrading to either the Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro will give you an improved experience when out and about, without the right Wi-Fi router, you won’t be able to take full advantage of their Wi-Fi 7 chips. A great thing about upgrading to a new router or even a mesh router is that your phone will feel a lot faster but so too will the other devices in your home. It’s also the kind of upgrade that everyone in your household can benefit from, not just you like when you get a new phone.
We’ll have to wait and see if Google decides to release an upgraded version of the Nest Wifi Pro to go along with its new Pixel phones but this is pretty unlikely. This is why upgrading to a different router from another manufacturer is your best bet in the meantime to get the most out of your new Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro.