Pixel 8 Professional Overview: Not the Google Cellphone I Hoped It Would Be

Pixel 8 Professional Overview: Not the Google Cellphone I Hoped It Would Be



Google Pixel 8 Professional


  • Lengthy software program assist interval

  • Glorious display

  • Good total digital camera abilities

Don’t love

  • Underwhelming processor efficiency

  • Common battery life

  • Heavy-handed picture processing

  • Some new options really feel like gimmicks

I had a rocky begin with Google’s new flagship Pixel 8 Professional. My early testing discovered odd points with the digital camera, particularly in high-contrast conditions, which we noticed replicated throughout a number of handsets. It was sufficient for me to postpone giving my ultimate verdict on the cellphone till we carried out extra checks and spoke with Google concerning the extent of those issues. 


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I’ve now spent many hours with the Pixel 8 Professional, as has my colleague Stephen Shankland within the US. Google pushed out a digital camera replace that addresses some (although not all) of the problems we encountered. And after exhaustive testing of the cellphone’s processor, battery, show and digital camera setup, I am lastly prepared to offer my conclusion. 

The Pixel 8 Professional is — drumroll, please — respectable. 

If that appears anticlimactic, it is reasonably becoming, because it matches my very own impressions of the Pixel 8 Professional. The Pixel 7 Professional and Pixel 6 Professional have been excellent telephones, providing stable all-round efficiency and nice cameras. I awarded each handsets a coveted CNET Editors’ Alternative award. 

In consequence, I used to be excited for the Pixel 8 Professional and had excessive hopes for Google’s next-generation handset. However having spent a very long time with it, I am left feeling underwhelmed. It is not that there is something manifestly flawed with the cellphone (excluding a number of the digital camera points I discovered, which I will clarify later), it is that it does not particularly stand out in any main method. Its battery life is common, the processor efficiency is simply OK, and I desire the design of the earlier mannequin. 


Android 14 is the most recent model of Google’s software program.

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A few of its main new options, together with AI instruments for creating wallpapers and modifying pictures, together with a brand new temperature scanner on the again of the cellphone, work nicely sufficient. However they do not convey sufficient to the desk to face out as killer new options. 

One of many main factors it has in its favor is Google’s promise of seven years of software program updates. That is an enormous increase over Google’s earlier providing, and it is for much longer than what most different Android producers provide. It means the Pixel 8 Professional ought to nonetheless be going robust in 2030, and that longer life span may lead to fewer telephones ending up in landfill.


The Pixel 8 Professional and its smaller sibling, the Pixel 8.

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And after numerous hours of hands-on testing, I am assured Google’s new flagship cellphone presents a stable all-round expertise that covers most individuals’s day-to-day wants. It’s going to deal with your day by day social media addictions with ease and take nice pictures of your youngsters within the park. And if yow will discover a correct use for that temperature sensor, then good on you for persevering greater than I did. 

Is it price its $999 asking value? General, I would say it nearly justifies it, due to the lengthy software program assist. Although it does not have the straight-line processor efficiency of its rivals, the Pixel 8 Professional remains to be a terrific cellphone that I loved utilizing.


Watch this: Overview: Google’s Pixel 8 Professional Leaves Me Wanting Extra

Early digital camera issues

In our early testing, we discovered unusual points with the digital camera, which exhibited odd artifacts, particularly in high-contrast conditions. A number of of our preliminary check photos confirmed bizarre-looking picture noise and artifacts within the shadowy areas, together with extraordinarily aggressive software program smoothing on areas that ought to preserve element. 

CNET reporter Stephen Shankland unpacked most of the Pixel 8 Professional’s points and elaborated on what may be inflicting them. It primarily boils all the way down to how the software program tries to mix a number of picture exposures collectively (and does not do a very neat job of it). Google pushed out an replace to assist with the problem, which has definitely helped however hasn’t totally resolved the issue. 


Even after Google’s digital camera software program replace, I nonetheless discovered some photos with troubling quantities of picture noise.

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Cropping in shut, that picture noise turns into a lot clearer to see.

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As this indoor picture reveals, the Pixel 8 Professional has created a dramatic quantity of picture noise within the shadowy areas of the scene. 


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And although this large shot of an ice cream truck seems nice…

Discover how the menu is readable within the iPhone 15 Professional Max’s shot (left), however not within the Pixel 8 Professional’s shot (proper).

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

…cropping in shut reveals the muddiness attributable to the cellphone’s digital camera software program within the shadowy space contained in the van. It is not possible to learn the menu on the Pixel’s shot, whereas it is clearly seen within the iPhone 15 Professional Max’s picture.

That is disappointing to see, nevertheless it’s essential to notice that I’ve encountered this subject in solely a small variety of the numerous check photos I’ve taken with the cellphone. 

And we have additionally seen quite a few examples by which the Pixel 8 Professional carried out extraordinarily nicely, and I will dive deeper into these within the digital camera part under. We examined it in daylight, at evening, and in opposition to rivals together with the iPhone 15 Professional and the older Pixel 7 Professional. 

Different early points, similar to uncooked DNG picture recordsdata that regarded washed out when considered in Adobe Lightroom, can be resolved with higher assist from Adobe. However our gripe with the 1 to 2 second delay when taking 50-megapixel photos stays, as that is merely because of the processing required to create such giant recordsdata.


Each the Pixel 8 Professional and iPhone 15 Professional Max have great-looking shows.

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Have our preliminary issues been addressed? Principally, sure. Although they don’t seem to be totally resolved, greater issues have been minimized to the purpose of being negligible. We’re now pleased to maneuver on with the cellphone as we’d with every other. 

Design and show

Bodily, the Pixel 8 Professional resembles its predecessors, with a giant digital camera bar throughout the again. The rear glass panel is now frosted, although, reasonably than shiny. It is not a big design departure from final 12 months’s mannequin, nevertheless it does give the cellphone a softer really feel whenever you’re holding it, whereas making it rather less vulnerable to choosing up fingerprints. I do not assume the cellphone seems fairly as premium or elegant as a sage-and-gold Pixel 7 Professional — a minimum of not the plain black variant I have been testing, which, like most plain black telephones, seems boring and forgettable. The blue model has extra persona, with a vibrant and cheerful frosted-glass again and bluey-silver digital camera bar. 


The black model seems fairly glossy, nevertheless it lacks the enjoyable persona of the blue mannequin.

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The digital camera bar stands out a great distance from the again — round 4 millimeters in truth, which is greater than on the 7 Professional. The 8 Professional is snug to carry, however I discover that it catches once I’m attempting to slip it into my denims pocket. I am nitpicking right here, nevertheless it’s a type of issues that would develop into extra annoying over time. A case reduces the peak distinction between the physique and the bar and the issue goes away. 

The body is made partly from recycled aluminum (identical to in older Pixel telephones), and the cellphone is IP68 rated for water-resistance, which’ll preserve it protected from rain or spilled drinks. There is a fingerprint scanner hidden inside the show, which I discovered to be hit or miss. However the face unlock has been improved over that of the 7 Professional. It is extra correct, which suggests now you can use it to authenticate Google Pay funds.


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The 6.7-inch show, the identical dimension as on the Pixel 7 Professional, is superb. It is punchy and vibrant and simply does justice to no matter colourful YouTube or Netflix video you need to watch on the bus. It helps HDR content material, is vibrant sufficient to see open air and has a most 120Hz refresh charge for {smooth} scrolling and gaming. 

Temperature sensor

One tweak on the again is a small circle subsequent to the digital camera flash that homes a brand-new characteristic: a temperature sensor. It permits the cellphone to measure the temperature of objects or surfaces. It is easy sufficient to make use of; simply fireplace up the Temperature app and maintain the cellphone about 5 centimeters out of your object, as if you are taking a close-up photograph. Faucet the display, and it will present a readout of how sizzling that object is.


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The concept is that you should utilize it to check the temperature of drinks earlier than you are taking a giant gulp, or to guarantee that piece of peach pie is not hotter than the solar earlier than you shovel it into your face and burn your mouth to cinders. It labored nicely in my testing, pretty precisely exhibiting the rise in temperature on my kettle as I boiled water for a cup of tea. 

Although I can think about it generally being useful — dad and mom may use it to verify the temperature of a child’s bottle, for instance — I feel its real-world utility is restricted. It looks like a characteristic that is been shoehorned in to behave as a differentiator from the competitors. Heck, it might’t even take your physique temperature, although Google is working with the US Meals and Drug Administration so it might ultimately be used for that goal. 

And certain, the Pixel 8 Professional now has a characteristic that the iPhone 15 does not, however is it actually a characteristic you care about? I am undecided I do. After having confirmed that it really works because it ought to, I mainly forgot it was there and I have never continued to utilize it.

Tensor G3 processor 

The Pixel 8 Professional comes with Google’s newest selfmade processor, the Tensor G3, which I discovered to be underwhelming. It did not impress on benchmarking apps, placing it nearer in efficiency to what’s present in cheaper midrange telephones than in right this moment’s flagship rivals. And although benchmarks do not inform the entire story, there are areas the place I really feel that lack of energy is noticeable. 

The 1 to 2 second delay when taking a 50-megapixel uncooked picture stems from the quantity of processing required to avoid wasting such large recordsdata. A stronger chip would possible require no such delay. For comparability, there is no noticeable delay when capturing 48-megapixel uncooked photos on Apple’s iPhone 15 Professional. 


The Pixel 8 Professional’s Tensor G3 processor is okay for on a regular basis use.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

I additionally discovered sluggish processing occasions utilizing the AI image-editing instruments. These instruments allow you to selectively edit the sky in a panorama photograph or modify the dimensions of objects (or take away them fully). I discovered that it took between 13 and 18 seconds for the cellphone to make every edit, which is a frustratingly very long time to attend and put me off desirous to mess around additional. Google says that these edits occur within the cloud, not on the system, so this is not essentially a criticism of the Tensor chip, nevertheless it nonetheless means an annoying wait time for you whenever you use these instruments. Google additionally advised me that it is dependent in your web connection — I used to be testing it at residence on a gigabit fiber connection, so your outcomes might differ. 

Normally use, nonetheless, the Pixel 8 Professional feels swift and responsive. Navigation across the Android 14 interface is nippy and lag-free, apps open at once and multitasking between open apps is a breeze. Graphically demanding video games like Genshin Impression, PUBG and Actual Racing 3 all play with buttery-smooth body charges at most graphics settings. 

Android 14 and AI options

Google dedicated to offering seven years of software program and safety updates for the Pixel 8 sequence (together with the cheaper $699 Pixel 8), which is a giant enchancment over the three years of Android OS upgrades the tech big beforehand provided. By comparability, Samsung presents 4 years of software program updates and 5 of safety updates. Longer security-support occasions are an enormous method of lowering the environmental affect of telephones, as a result of the {hardware} on older fashions is commonly nonetheless working nice nevertheless it merely is not protected to maintain utilizing units with outdated software program. 

Google’s software program dedication means the Pixel 8 Professional ought to nonetheless be going robust in 2030, which is the longest of any main Android producer and solely actually rivaled by Fairphone, which presents eight years of safety updates for its newest, the Fairphone 5. It is good to see Google extending its assist interval, and I hope it encourages extra producers to do the identical.

The Pixel 8 Professional launches with Android 14, which is not that completely different from Android 13. Each working programs look almost similar and provide numerous methods to customise components of the interface. Google has sprinkled some extra AI options all through, nonetheless, together with a brand new generative AI wallpaper creator. 


The AI wallpaper creator is enjoyable to play with.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The instrument lets you choose from a wide range of prompts, together with object phrases similar to “bicycle” or “lighthouse,” texture phrases like “wooden” or “bamboo,” and numerous shade and artwork type phrases to create a novel backdrop. It is enjoyable to play with, and I loved experimenting with completely different immediate mixtures to search out photos I appreciated. I did not at all times love the outcomes; generally the AI merely does not do a terrific job. And with the ability to select solely from a set of predefined prompts means the instrument is not open to the type of wild infinite customization you may anticipate from generative AI. 

Google has woven AI options into the cellphone elsewhere, together with name screening, the power to summarize articles in net pages (each of that are unique to the US at launch) and higher speech-to-text and translation instruments. However synthetic intelligence can be used for picture modifying, with AI instruments letting you selectively edit the sky in a panorama photograph and make objects or individuals greater or smaller within the body (or take away them fully). The outcomes do not at all times look nice — a minimum of to not my eye as an expert photographer — however it may be a enjoyable option to tweak informal snaps. You probably have the endurance to attend for them to course of, that’s.


We will want an even bigger boat.

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And with the magic of AI, right here we’re. 

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

There’s additionally a brand new instrument referred to as Finest Take, which is supposed to create pictures by which make everybody seems their greatest. It captures a burst of photos and blends them into one shot by robotically choosing the best facial features from a bunch of topics. I have never discovered this handy in my time with the cellphone, however my colleague Patrick Holland loved placing the characteristic to make use of in his evaluate of the smaller Pixel 8. Patrick discovered it labored nicely in his photographs, with a principally seamless alternative of individuals’s faces within the ultimate picture. 


When deciding on my favourite picture from a movement seize, I used to be baffled as to why there was a “ghost” of this runner (seen above the determine sitting on the wall). Nevertheless it did not find yourself being seen once I exported the body.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

I additionally discovered an odd quirk when deciding on a most well-liked body from a movement picture: A “ghost” of a determine was seen whereas I used to be modifying, nevertheless it did not present up within the ultimate exported body. It is minor, however once more, it highlights that some options do not feel fairly as polished as I would anticipate. 

Pixel 8 Professional cameras

General, the Pixel 8 Professional’s digital camera is stable, and I am glad I spent the additional time testing it following Google’s software program replace. It is able to taking stunning photos with all its lenses, and its evening mode is a giant step up over that of its predecessor. The heavy-handed picture processing remains to be seen although, and it is possible that passionate photographers can be higher served by the iPhone 15 Professional Max.


Pixel 8 Professional, important digital camera.

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Pixel 8 Professional, important digital camera.

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Pixel 8 Professional, important digital camera.

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Taken with the Pixel 8 Professional’s important digital camera, these photographs are vibrant, vibrant and pin sharp. I really like the colours and spot-on publicity.


Pixel 8 Professional, ultrawide lens.

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Pixel 8 Professional, ultrawide lens.

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And switching to the wide-angle lens, I am once more impressed by the publicity and colours the cellphone has been capable of obtain. 


Pixel 8 Professional, 5x optical zoom lens.

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Pixel 8 Professional, 5x optical zoom lens.

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Pixel 8 Professional, 5x optical zoom lens.

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Pixel 8 Professional, 5x optical zoom lens.

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The Pixel 8 Professional maintains the 5x optical zoom lens seen on each the Pixel 6 Professional and Pixel 7 Professional. And in good daytime circumstances, it might take some nice photographs which are full of element.

Normally daytime scenes, the Pixel 8 Professional is definitely capable of seize enticing photos. And for essentially the most half, it holds its personal in opposition to the iPhone 15 Professional Max. Although I’ve seen variations with shade steadiness between the 2 telephones (the Pixel tends to lean extra towards a magenta shade forged), there are few variations between them when it comes to publicity and distinction. 


Pixel 8 Professional, important digital camera.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET


iPhone 15 Professional Max, important digital camera.

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Pixel 8 Professional, important digital camera.

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iPhone 15 Professional Max, important digital camera.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The Pixel takes respectable evening photographs too, however the iPhone 15 Professional Max pulls forward on this space. It usually captures higher picture particulars, more-accurate colours and fewer picture noise with each the primary and ultrawide lenses. 


Pixel 8 Professional, evening mode, important digital camera.

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iPhone 15 Professional Max, evening mode, important digital camera.

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Pixel 8 Professional, evening mode, ultrawide lens.

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iPhone 15 Professional Max, evening mode, ultrawide lens.

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Nevertheless it’s particularly obvious when utilizing the 5x zooms, with the iPhone delivering sharper, extra detailed photos with higher distinction and colours. 


Pixel 8 Professional, evening mode, 5x zoom.

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iPhone 15 Professional Max, evening mode, 5x zoom.

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In opposition to the older Pixel 7 Professional, the 8 Professional’s daytime photographs aren’t an enormous step up. However at evening, the brand new cellphone presents a dramatic enchancment over its predecessor, significantly when utilizing the ultrawide lens and with the 5x zoom too. 


Pixel 7 Professional, evening mode, ultrawide lens.

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Pixel 7 Professional (left) vs Pixel 8 Professional (proper), evening mode, ultrawide lens, cropped in to point out element.

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Pixel 7 Professional (left) vs Pixel 8 Professional (proper), evening mode, 5x zoom lens, cropped in to point out element.

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The Pixel 8 Professional has different new digital camera options, together with handbook controls for adjusting shutter velocity or white steadiness, together with a 50-megapixel mode for taking high-resolution pictures. The additional decision over the 12-megapixels the digital camera normally makes use of is definitely noticeable when zooming in to have a look at the nice particulars. However most photographers will not profit from it — particularly for the reason that delay in taking every picture slows down capturing to the purpose that this mode is appropriate just for static scenes like landscapes.


Pixel 8 Professional, selfie digital camera.

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iPhone 15 Professional Max, selfie digital camera.

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The Pixel 8 Professional’s front-facing digital camera takes respectable selfies in vibrant circumstances, and I desire its common tone over the iPhone 15 Professional Max’s photographs. However I discovered the iPhone’s photos to be sharper and extra detailed. 


Stuffed contained in the Pixel 8 Professional is a 5,050-mAh battery, which put in an honest efficiency on our numerous battery drain checks. After one hour of streaming a YouTube video at max brightness, the cellphone had dropped from full to 97% remaining, which is nice. After the third hour, it had dropped to 84%, which is under what we have seen from the iPhone 15 sequence, however according to the Galaxy S23. 

It is a demanding check, and in on a regular basis use you should not battle to get via an entire day of combined use. Simply know that spending hours streaming video or enjoying demanding video games will go away little or no juice to name a cab residence after your evening in town. As with most telephones, although, you will nearly definitely need to give it a full cost whenever you go to mattress every evening. 


The Pixel 8 Professional’s greatest competitors would be the iPhone 15 Professional.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Do you have to purchase the Pixel 8 Professional?

Collectively, we spent many hours testing the Pixel 8 Professional, placing all its options via their paces and taking a whole bunch of check photos in all circumstances. Regardless of my earlier issues, I am assured that the Pixel 8 Professional is a stable cellphone to contemplate, particularly when you’re into nighttime photograph taking. 

General it does not really feel like an enormous step up over the Pixel 7 Professional, which Google nonetheless formally sells for $100 much less. That is not a lot of a value distinction, nevertheless it’s price protecting in thoughts if you’d like a terrific all-rounder for a little bit of a reduction. If you have already got a Pixel 7 Professional, it definitely is not price upgrading to the brand new mannequin.

However these of you on older Pixels, or different Android handsets various years outdated, will completely profit from the good cameras and fancy new AI options discovered on the Pixel 8 Professional. 

Google Pixel 8 Professional specs vs. Google Pixel 7 Professional, Apple iPhone 15 Professional Max, Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely

Google Pixel 8 Professional Google Pixel 7 Professional Apple iPhone 15 Professional Max Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely
Show dimension, tech, decision, refresh charge, brightness 6.7-inch OLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 1-120Hz adaptive refresh charge 6.7-inch OLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh charge 6.7-inch OLED; 2,796×1,290 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh charge 6.8-inch AMOLED; 3,088×1,440 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh charge
Pixel density 489 ppi 512 ppi 460 ppi 500 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.4x3x0.3 inches 6.4x3x0.3 inches 6.29×3.02×0.32 inches 6.43×3.07×0.35 inches
Dimensions (millimeters) 162.6×76.5×8.8mm 162.9×76.6×8.9mm 159.9×76.7×8.25mm 163.3x78x8.9mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 213 grams (7.5 ounces) 212 grams (7.5 ounces) 221 grams (7.81 ounces) 234 grams (8.25 ounces)
Cellular software program Android 14 Android 13 iOS 17 Android 13
Digicam 50 megapixel (large), 48 megapixel (ultrawide), 48 megapixel (telephoto) 50 megapixel (large), 12 megapixel (ultrawide), 48 megapixel (telephoto) 48 megapixel (large), 12 megapixel (ultrawide), 12 megapixel (5x telephoto) 200 megapixel (large), 12 megapixel (ultrawide) 10 megapixel (3x telephoto) 10 megapixel (10x telephoto)
Entrance-facing digital camera 10.5 megapixel 10.8 megapixel 12 megapixel 12 megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K 4K 8K
Processor Google Tensor G3 Google Tensor G2 A17 Professional Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Storage and RAM 12GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 12GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 256GB, 512GB, 1TB (RAM undisclosed) 8GB + 256GB; 12GB + 256GB; 12GB + 512GB; 12GB + 1TB
Expandable storage None None None None
Battery 5,050 mAh 5,000 mAh Undisclosed; Apple says as much as 29 hours of video playback (25 hours streamed) 5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Below show Below show None (Face ID) Below show
Headphone jack None None None None
Particular options 5G (Sub 6 and mmWave); VPN by Google One; 7 years of OS, safety and Function Drop updates; front-facing digital camera has autofocus; 13W Qi wi-fi charging; 30W wired charging; USB-3.2 speeds through USB-C; IP68 mud and water resistance; Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on back and front 5G, Magic Eraser, Picture Unblur, Actual Tone, Face Unblur, lengthy publicity mode, Motion Pan; Maintain for Me, Wait Instances, Direct My Name, Reside Translate 5G (Sub6, mmWave); Motion Button, always-on show, IP68 water-resistant, MagSafe, Dynamic Island, 5x optical zoom (120mm equal), satellite tv for pc connectivity, eSIM, thread networking know-how 5G (Sub6, mmWave); IP68 water-resistant; wi-fi PowerShare to cost different units; built-in S Pen; 100x Area Zoom; 10x optical zoom; UWB for locating different units; 45W wired charging
US value off-contract $999 (128GB) $899 (128GB) $1,199 (256GB) $1,200 (256GB)
UK value Converts to £825 (128GB) £849 (128GB) £1,199 (256GB) £1,249 (256GB)
Australia value Converts to AU$1,575 (128GB) AU$1,299 (128GB) AU$2,199 (256GB) AU$1,949 (256GB)

How we check telephones

Each cellphone examined by CNET’s evaluations workforce was really utilized in the true world. We check a cellphone’s options, play video games, and take pictures. We look at the show to see if it is vibrant, sharp and vibrant. We analyze the design and construct to see how it’s to carry and whether or not it has an IP-rating for water-resistance. We push the processor’s efficiency to the extremes utilizing each standardized benchmark instruments like GeekBench and 3DMark, together with our personal anecdotal observations navigating the interface, recording high-resolution movies and enjoying graphically intense video games at excessive refresh charges.

All of the cameras are examined in a wide range of circumstances from vibrant daylight to darkish indoor scenes. We check out particular options like evening mode and portrait mode and evaluate our findings in opposition to equally priced competing telephones. We additionally try the battery life by utilizing the cellphone day by day in addition to working a sequence of battery drain checks.

We bear in mind extra options, like assist for 5G; satellite tv for pc connectivity; fingerprint and face sensors; stylus assist; quick charging speeds; and foldable shows, amongst others that may be helpful. And we steadiness all this in opposition to the worth to provide the verdict on whether or not that cellphone, no matter value it’s, really represents good worth. Although these checks might not at all times be mirrored in CNET’s preliminary evaluate, we conduct follow-up and long-term testing in most circumstances.

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