I’ve been using the Pixel 8 Pro for nearly 6 months — what I love and hate

Google Pixel 8 Pro held in hand.
(Image credit: Future)

My time with Pixel phones have been limited to short affairs, mainly because I’m often seduced by other, more attractive phones that come out a short time later. For most of 2023, I was rocking the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra as my daily driver, only to reluctantly replace it when I got my hands on the Pixel 8 Pro. I’m actually surprised that I’ve held on to Google's phone for nearly six months, which is the longest stretch I’ve had with a Google phone since the Nexus 6P almost a decade ago.

I often tell people that it’s difficult to assess a phone’s worth after using it for a couple of weeks. Instead, you really get to understand a phone’s worth when you use it for a much longer period. There's a good reason why the Pixel 8 Pro has a spot in our best phones guide, but after using it as my daily driver for this long, I have a newfound appreciation for Pixel phones.

Sure, the Pixel 8 Pro may not have the same bells and whistles of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, nor does it have the obnoxiously long battery life and fast charging of the OnePlus 12. But despite that, Google's phone packages everything I want and use without the pricier cost that comes with most top-of-the-line phones. 

Here’s everything I love and hate about the Pixel 8 Pro after using it long term.

Google Pixel 8 Pro: was $999 now $749 @ Amazon

Google Pixel 8 Pro: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FGoogle-Pixel-Pro-Smartphone-Telephoto%2Fdp%2FB0CGTJ12Z9%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">was $999 now $749 @ Amazon
Google's flagship delivers a bright screen and a number of AI improvements powered by its Tensor G3 chips. Photography remains the main lure of the Pixel 8 Pro, thanks to an excellent camera system and AI-driven photo processing. As of this writing, the Pixel 8 Pro is $250 off at Amazon.

It always looks clean

Google Pixel 8 Pro held in hand.

(Image credit: Future)

I love the premium feel of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but Apple's phone feels dense and a little sharp around the edges. In my opinion, Google has a more charming designwith the Pixel 8 Pro; it feels surprisingly lightweight for its size, easier to hold with its curved edges, and it always looks incredibly clean each time I take it out of my pocket.

That’s because of the matte back glass it’s rocking, which repels smudges much better than the polished or clear glass finishes used in many other phones. It also helps that I’m rocking the Bay color of the Pixel 8 Pro, which is a refreshing option over the muted black and white hues other phones stick with.

Access to all cameras while shooting video at 24 fps

Gif animation of Google Pixel 8 Pro video camera zoom.

(Image credit: Future)

Considering that I record a lot of acting reels with student actors and actresses, I lean on my phone as a backup to my mirrorless camera. Interestingly enough, the Pixel 8 Pro is the only phone I’ve come across that lets me record at the cinematic frame rate of 24 fps — while giving me access to all three cameras. The frame rate is important because other phones, like the newer Galaxy S24 Ultra, lets me switch to any camera when recording at 30 or 60 fps, but not at 24 fps when using its manual video mode.

This extra utility is important for a videographer like myself because it allows me to match the frame rate recording of my mirrorless camera — while giving me the ability to go near, far, and zoom with its three cameras.

Temperature sensor is still as novel as ever

How to use Pixel 8 Pro temperature sensor to measure body temperature animated gif.

(Image credit: Future)

When Google announced the Pixel 8 Pro, it was still waiting on FDA clearance for using it to measure your body temperature. Well, after a good while, that feature eventually got approved and the temperature sensor on the back of the phone could be used for that purpose.

While it can come in a pinch if you absolutely need to measure body temperature when you think you’re coming down with a cold or something, it’s one of those features that has practical applications elsewhere. As much as Google wants to convince me to use the temperature sensor to see if the asphalt outside is too hot for a dog to walk on it, I can just rely on common sense at that point.

Call Screen is my new assistant

Gif animation of Call Screen on Google Pixel 8 Pro.

(Image credit: Future)

Out of all the Google AI features introduced with the Pixel 8 Pro, I admit that the upgraded Call Screen feature is still my favorite. That’s because it works well for taking phone calls when I can’t. It’s sort of like having an actual assistant who picks up phone calls for you and relays the message.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve leaned on it to pick up unknown phone numbers that call me. Not only does the Google Assistant sound realistic — just like an actual person — but it listens to the conversation to provide contextual responses that I can select. It saves me a ton of time and frustration from dealing with unwanted solicitors.

Overlooked astrophotography

Low light photos from the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

(Image credit: Future)

Nearly every flagship phone can capture astrophotography. Yet, the Pixel 8 Pro has a trick up its sleeve that few other phones offer. I’m referring to a dedicated long exposure when using Night Mode. Other phones technically perform long exposures with their astrophotography, but they often top out at 6 seconds — that’s unless they have a manual mode that lets them go for much longer.

With the Pixel 8 Pro, I’ve captured crisp looking night skies filled with bright stars with Night Sight, which sometimes takes upwards of 4 minutes to complete. But it’s worth the wait because I’ve even managed to capture the faint burst of gasses coming from the Great Orion Nebula.

128GB starting storage is puzzling

Google Pixel 8 Pro showing how much phone storage is leftover.

(Image credit: Future)

As I’ve mentioned, I shoot a ton of acting reels — all of which are in 4K and can easily exceed 10 minutes with each clip. When you multiply that by 10, storage begins to be a major factor because the 128GB capacity of the Pixel 8 Pro is hilariously dated at this point. 

Yes, it could be a cost issue that allows the Pixel 8 Pro to meet its $999 starting rice, but it’s just unbelievable that Google thinks 128GB is a sufficient amount in 2024, a time when Samsung makes 256GB the starting storage point for both the Galaxy S24 Ultra and Galaxy S24 Plus. After each recording session, I’m forced to copy over video files to my laptop so that I still have some free room on my phone for other things.

Photo editing like a pro

Gif animation of Gogole Pixel 8 Pro Magic Editor feature.

(Image credit: Future)

And finally, I’ve come to rely on the Pixel 8 Pro to take the outstanding looking photos it captures straight from the camera and make them better with the help of editing. The built-in editing features in Google Photos are amazing, especially the Pixel exclusive stuff like Magic Editor and Magic Eraser.

It’s so easy to remove unwanted stuff in photos that it can make the average person seem like a seasoned photo editor with years of experience tweaking photos. I’m always impressed that it’s nearly impossible at times for me to notice that they’ve been tweaked in the first place.

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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.