Should you wait for Google Pixel 8 or buy the Pixel 7 now?

Google Pixel 7 Pro cameras
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The dog days of summer are a tricky time for smartphone shoppers. We're far enough away from the last round of big flagship updates to see some really significant deals on those phones. But at the same time, we're close enough to the looming fall launches to wonder if it makes sense just to wait and see what those new models might bring.

So do you jump on the discounted prices for the current Google Pixel models or do you wait for the inevitable Pixel 8 launch?  We can help you figure out whether it's wiser to buy now or hold off until later on in the fall, looking not only at the rumored features reportedly coming to the Pixel 8 lineup but also reminding you what you get should you to any of the latest Pixel 7 devices.

When is the Google Pixel 8 release date?

Google Pixel 7

(Image credit: Future)

First things first — to figure out it makes sense to wait for the Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro, you should have some idea of how long a wait you'll be in for. That way, you can make a more informed decision about whether you can get by with the phone you have now or if you need a new device pronto.

Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of firm rumors on the Pixel 8 release date just yet. And unlike with the Pixel 7, which got a preview at least year's Google I/O event months ahead of its launch, Google has been pretty stinting about details for this year's fall hardware event.

Nevertheless, we can look at Google's past performance to get a sense of what the company's future behavior may be like, at least in terms of rolling out the Pixel 8. Heres when each previous Pixel was announced, along with the date Google first shipped the phones.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Announcement DateRelease Date
Pixel 7October 6, 2022October 13, 2022
Pixel 6October 19, 2021October 28, 2021
Pixel 5September 30, 2020October 15, 2020
Pixel 4October 15, 2019October 24, 2019
Pixel 3October 9, 2018October 18, 2018
Pixel 2October 4, 2017October 19, 2017
PixelOctober 4, 2016October 20, 2016

As you can see, one month stands out as Google's favorite for fall hardware events. With the exception of the 2020 event that that gave us the Pixel 5, Google tends to hold its product launches in early to mid-October. The actual release of the phone typically follows a week to nine days later.

Given that tech companies seem to gravitate toward Tuesday for their product launches, we'd anticipate that the earliest you'd hear of a Pixel 8 would be on Tuesday, Oct. 3, with the latest possible date coming around Tuesday, Oct. 17. In either event, you can expect to have a Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro in hand by the time Halloween rolls around, if Google sticks to its normally schedule.

What new Pixel 8 features can I expect?

Google Pixel 8 render

(Image credit: OnLeaks/MySmartPrice)

Details about Pixel 8 features are nearly as sparse as release date info. But a few rumors have emerged to give us a basic idea of what Google could be planning for this year's phones. If any of the below improvements strike a chord with you, you'll want to find a way to hold off on your phone upgrade until the fall.

New Tensor chipset: It's almost certain that Google will introduce the Tensor G3 alongside the Pixel 8 models, with the new chip once again putting an emphasis on machine learning and AI-driven experiences. In the past, that's meant help with navigating phone directories, real-time transcription and translation and a host image-editing tools.

Tensor's been less about performance in its first few iterations, but that could be changing with the updated silicon. Reports point to a big performance boost thanks to architectural changes to the CPU; the GPU on the Tensor G3 figures to enable more impressive graphics. We also hope that the Tensor G3 gets better about power management, as battery life is one of the few areas where we've found fault with recent Pixels.

Some display changes: We wouldn't hold out for big design changes with the Pixel 8. Since 2021's Pixel 6, Google has seemed to settle on a design it likes, even adopting the look for its midrange Pixel A phones. That said, Pixel 8 Pro posts claim the phone offers a flat display instead of a curved panel.

The Pixel 8 screen size may shrink somewhat from its Pixel 7 counterpart, with Google reportedly opting for a 6.17-inch panel instead of the Pixel 7's 6.3-inch screen. The current Pixel 7 also offers a 90Hz refresh rate for its display, and that could jump up to 120Hz, as Google looks for a way to separate the standard Pixel flagship from the Pixel 7a. (Both the Pixel 7 and 7a have 90Hz displays.)

google pixel 8 pro leaked video featuring temperatrure sensor

(Image credit: 91mobiles)

Camera hardware changes: The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro use 50MP sensors for their main cameras, and that's unlikely to change with the Pixel 8. However, the type of sensor the new phones use could be different from before. Google is reportedly switching to a larger Samsung ISOCELL GN2 sensor to allow those phone to capture more light when taking photos.

Another potential camera change concerns the Pixel 8 Pro's ultrawide lens, which could be jumping from 12MP to 64MP. At this time, we'd expect the telephoto lens to remain a Pixel 8 Pro-only feature.

Camera software changes: Hardware only tells half the story with the cameras on Google phones. There's also the photo-processing features and other capabilities that draw on the Tensor chip's smarts. 

A rumored improvement that could come to the Pixel 8 lineup is staggered HDR, which takes shots a different exposure simultaneously for more consistent photos. Reportedly, the Pixel 8 is also going to take the Photo Unblur capabilities that sharpen up old images on the Pixel 7 and apply it to videos as well. 

Which Pixel phone do you want to buy?

Whether to get a Pixel now or wait until October depends heavily on which model you're considering. If you're looking at one of Google's Pro models, it's simply a matter of deciding whether the features rumored for the Pixel 8 Pro will make for a better experience than what the Pixel 7 Pro already offers.

It's complicated if you're looking at the standard Pixel. Not only do you have to weigh a Pixel 8 vs. Pixel 7 comparison, there's also the matter of the Pixel 7a. Google's midrange phone added a 90Hz display and the ability to wirelessly charge, mirroring features you find on its entry-level flagship. A Pixel 7a vs. Pixel 7 comparison finds that the biggest difference boil down to screen size — the 7a has a 6.3-inch display — and capacity. The two phones take more or less identical-looking photos, too, at least in our testing.

Current Pixel 7a deals knock $50 off the phone's regular $499 price. Carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile are even offering free Pixel 7a models when you sign up for an eligible wireless plan at Verizon or add a new line of data at T-Mobile.

What Pixel 7 deals are available?

Of course, the best Pixel 7 deals also enable you to pick up a new phone on the cheap if you can't wait until the Pixel 8's arrival. And the fact that the deals are pretty aggressive at this point, suggests Google and wireless carriers alike are looking to clear out inventory ahead of the Pixel 8 launch.

You can potentially save big on your new phone if you have a current model to trade in. AT&T is giving away the Pixel 7 for free with a trade-in while it's cut the cost of the Pixel 7 Pro to $10 a month. Likewise, Verizon has trade-in offers for the Pixel 7 as well as for the Pixel 7 Pro, letting you enjoy either phone at little or no monthly cost.

Even if you've got a phone to trade in, you still may want to wait for the Pixel 8's launch, since carriers are all but certain to offer similar incentives for buying Google's upcoming devices. But if you do need a phone right now. trade-ins can at least help you save money on that purchase.

Google Pixel 8 — wait or buy the Pixel 7 now?

When you're this close to a new phone launch, we generally recommend you hold out for the month or two to see what new features show up in the latest handsets. But not everyone has the luxury of waiting.

If you do want to get a Pixel phone now, make sure to take advantage of the trade-in deals that are out there. Or maybe consider the Pixel 7a in lieu of the Pixel 7 since those phones are pretty evenly matched.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.

  • kep55
    Does your current cell phone work? Then why waste your money on something that offer no advantages other than bragging rights?
  • ZombietechSD
    I think that is generally a valid point. My rationale for getting a new phone every 2 years is for the camera. Since I have it with me at all times to capture friends, family, and nature, I want that camera to be the best possible at capturing those unplanned, low light, fast moving opportunities.