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The best Google Pixel 8 alternatives: 5 phones to consider before you buy
Google has officially launched the Google Pixel 8 series! These will undoubtedly be some of the most exciting devices of 2023. The vanilla Pixel 8, especially, will offer a lot of bang for your buck, especially in the camera department.
However, you might have been hoping for a bit more from Google this year. If you were excited about the Pixel 8 but decided it’s just not for you, we’ve got you covered. We’ve already detailed the main differences between the most obvious competitor — the Pixel 8 Pro — in our Pixel 8 vs Pixel 8 Pro comparison. In this article, we’ll tell you all about some great Google Pixel 8 alternatives from outside the Pixel 8 family.
Buying the right Google Pixel 8 alternative
The Google Pixel 8 is notable for a few reasons. First, it has a 120Hz AMOLED display and still costs under $700. It has a stellar camera system, a very compact size, Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back, and the longest software upgrade commitment in the world of Android: seven years of upgrades!
Simply put, there isn’t another Android phone out there that ticks off all the boxes the Pixel 8 ticks. The closest phone would probably be the Samsung Galaxy S23. It has a 120Hz AMOLED display, a compact size, and a great camera system (including a telephoto lens, which the Pixel 8 does not have). However, it will only get four Android upgrades and is $100 more expensive.
The Galaxy S23 is far from your only Google Pixel 8 alternative, though. For a quick rundown of our phone recommendations, see our summary below.
The best Google Pixel 8 alternatives
- Google Pixel 7: Last year’s phone is now this year’s bargain. At $100 less than the list price of the Pixel 8, you’re getting most of the Pixel 8 perks. Yopu miss out on the 120Hz display, the newer camera sensors, and the more compact size, but the Pixel 7 is an easy choice for someone who loves the Pixel 8 but thinks it’s just a little too expensive.
- Samsung Galaxy S23: In the world of Android, Samsung is king. As such, it should be unsurprising to see that the Galaxy S23 is our top alternative for the Pixel 8. It has a similar build, similar display specs, and is even more powerful when it comes to processing, thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside. It even has a telephoto lens, which is missing on the Pixel 8.
- Apple iPhone 15: You’ll need to leave Android for this one, but the Apple iPhone 15 shouldn’t be ignored as a good Google Pixel 8 alternative. Like the Pixel 8, the iPhone 15 has a stellar dual-lens rear camera system, a compact size, a solid build, and a very long software commitment. The iPhone 15 is more expensive and doesn’t have a 120Hz display, though, so it’s not all great.
- Google Pixel 7a: The Pixel 7a is significantly cheaper than the Pixel 8 while offering the same Pixel software (although not the same seven-year upgrade commitment). It has a good camera, a large battery, and a 90Hz display — not as good as 120Hz, but certainly better than 60Hz. If you’re looking to save money while still getting a good Pixel experience, don’t miss this option.
- OnePlus 11: The OnePlus 11 won’t have an IP rating, wireless charging, or a terrific camera system. However, it has the same price as the Pixel 8, offers a better display, a faster processor, and is much larger. This combo of upgrades and downgrades makes the OnePlus 11 a strange alternative, but if the display and processor are critical elements of a smartphone for you, this is absolutely a good option.
Google Pixel 7: A Google Pixel 8 but $100 cheaper
For the first time since the Pixel 6 series, Google increased the prices of the Pixel 8 phones by $100 each. That makes the Pixel 8 a little less easy to stomach when compared to the Pixel 7. Thankfully, the Pixel 7 is still available.
This makes the Pixel 7 the perfect Pixel 8 alternative if you love everything about the 2023 phone but can’t stomach that $699 MSRP. With an MSRP of $599, the Pixel 7 offers many of the same features and a similar design for significantly less money.
Of course, you are going to need to make some sacrifices. The Pixel 7 doesn’t have a 120Hz display refresh rate, for example (it’s at 90Hz). It will also have a weaker primary camera sensor, insecure face unlock, and slightly slower charging. However, as far as bang for your buck goes, it’s hard to beat the Pixel 7, especially if the only thing stopping you from going with a Pixel 8 is the price. Check out our Pixel 7 vs Pixel 8 article for more!
- Amazing price-to-value ratio
- Almost the same software and features as Pixel 8
- Good update commitment
- Terrific cameras
- 90Hz display refresh rate
- Slower charging
- Tensor G2 runs hot
- Won’t get seven years of updates like Pixel 8
Samsung Galaxy S23: The best all-around Google Pixel 8 alternative
The Samsung Galaxy S23 came out in February 2023. Despite being months old, it is still the best alternative to the Pixel 8.
One of the key elements of the Galaxy S23 is the overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor inside. This processor will beat the Pixel 8’s Tensor G3 in numerous respects, so if raw power is what you crave, this is a great option. You’re also going to have a telephoto lens on the back, which you won’t find on the Pixel 8.
There are some areas, however, in which the Galaxy S23 doesn’t measure up. It has a smaller battery, for one, and also doesn’t have as many Android upgrades in its future. It also is $100 more expensive than the Pixel 8, which could be a deal-breaker for budget-conscious shoppers. Still, if you can afford it, you almost certainly won’t be disappointed with the Galaxy S23. Check out our dedicated Pixel 8 vs Galaxy S23 comparison for more.
Want a similar experience but for less? The Galaxy S23 FE ($599.99 at Amazon) came out a day before the Pixel 8 and is a fine choice at its $599 price point, though its aging chipset and older-grade protective display glass mean the Pixel 8 is a little more future-proofed.
- Second-best commitment to updates on Android
- Top-notch performance
- Wide availability
- High-quality cameras with telephoto
- Wireless charging and water-resistant
- Battery capacity is low
- More expensive
- Not as many Android upgrades as Pixel 8
Apple iPhone 15: The best Google Pixel 8 alternative from Apple
If you’re not permanently attached to Android and are OK switching to iOS, the Apple iPhone 15 would be a good option in the world of Google Pixel 8 alternatives. The two phones are very similar. They both have two rear camera lenses (a primary and an ultrawide), compact builds, and a ton of software upgrades coming in the future.
The Pixel 8 does beat the iPhone 15 in a few areas, though. For one, it has a 120Hz display, while the iPhone 15 is still trapped with a 60Hz panel. The Pixel 8 also has more RAM than the iPhone 15, with 8GB for the former and only 6GB for the latter. The Pixel 8 also has a bigger battery.
Regardless, if you are done with Android and want something as similar as possible to the Pixel 8, the iPhone 15 is what you’re looking for.
- Compact size
- Terrific software and update commitment
- Great camera system
- Unbelievably fast processor
- Wireless charging
- 60Hz display
- Small battery
- Not as much RAM
- More expensive
Google Pixel 7a: The best Google-made alternative to the Pixel 8
If you love the Pixel ecosystem but can’t stomach the price of the Pixel 8 or even the Pixel 7, the Pixel 7a is worth a look. With an MSRP that’s $250 lower than the Pixel 8, the Pixel 7a gets you the Pixel camera experience, fast updates and upgrades, and all the cool AI-powered tricks of Pixel UI — all without breaking the bank.
Of course, to achieve that low price, Google needed to cut some corners. The camera hardware isn’t as good as the Pixel 8’s, the processor is a year older, the build is mostly plastic, and the display is of a lower quality. It’s not all bad news, though. The Pixel 7a has a 90Hz refresh rate, a large battery, and wireless charging. Wireless charging, in particular, isn’t something you see too often at this price point.
Alternatively, you might want to hold out for the Pixel 8a and see what Google’s next budget phone has in store.
- Plenty of Pixel-exclusive software features
- Strong update commitment
- Wireless charging
- 90Hz display refresh rate
- Good camera quality
- Low price
- Plastic build
- Slow charging
- Old processor
OnePlus 11: The best Google Pixel 8 alternative from OnePlus
The OnePlus 11 is a very different phone from the Pixel 8. It’s much larger, for one. It doesn’t have the greatest camera system, lacks wireless charging, and has no IP rating. So why are we recommending it?
This is a good Google Pixel 8 alternative because it has an incredible display, a super-fast processor, and lands at the exact same price as the Pixel 8. In other words, if the Pixel 8’s display and processor don’t work for you, the OnePlus 11 is the obvious alternative.
OnePlus also recently updated its Android upgrade commitment. It now meets Samsung by offering four Android upgrades for its devices. That means the OnePlus 11 will get Android 14 in 2023 and then go on to receive the newest Android through 2027. That’s not as good as the 2030 promise the Pixel 8 gets, but it ain’t bad.
- Great processor
- Awesome 120Hz display
- Strong upgrade commitment from OnePlus
- Ultra-fast wired charging
- Lots of cool and interesting features
- Same price as Pixel 8
- No water resistance
- No wireless charging
- So-so camera
That’s it for our list of the best Google Pixel 8 alternatives! Let us know via the comments if we missed any other picks.