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We test a lot of phones at ZDNET -- enough to have a sixth sense of what's all marketing and hype and what's actually worth your money. The Google Pixel 8 falls in the latter group, with a fit and finish that checks off plenty of boxes, compromises that are easy to shoulder, and a price that's hard to beat.
While the phone came out just a month ago, the Obsidian and Rose versions are discounted during Cyber Monday by $150, bringing it down to an even more accessible $549 price point. That makes it a killer deal, no matter what phone you're upgrading from.
I reviewed both the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro back in October and commended the two for selling me on an AI-powered future. That's because AI, more than ever, is at the core of the Google Pixel experience, from the computational photography (and videography) features to the way you talk and text to how you browse the web.
Two standout features that are available on both models are Magic Editor and the enhanced Google Assistant. The former allows you to magically crop out, resize, and even move subjects around in an image -- as AI applies a generative fill in edited areas. The enhanced Google Assistant provides full-screen transcriptions in multiple languages, as well as snapshot summaries. Thanks to the improved Tensor G3 chipset, these tasks are done in a much more efficient manner than in previous years.
What sets the Pixel 8 apart from the competition is the power you get for the size. Rarely will you find a flagship phone with a 6.2-inch display in 2023, but that's exactly what the Pixel 8 is. It's much more comfortable to use one-handed, has a reliable processor and dual camera system, and doesn't skimp out on the build quality. (The colors this year, especially the Rose, are not as bland as competing devices, too.)
And the big seller for the Pixel 8, aside from this Cyber Monday offer, is Google's commitment to seven years of software updates. That includes operating system upgrades, making the Pixel 8 eligible to receive the latest Android features and security patches until 2030. At $549, you simply won't find a more future-proofed phone than this, making it my top recommendation for upgraders this holiday season.