Friday, May 24, 2024
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5 phones you should buy instead of the Google Pixel 8


A person holding the Google Pixel 8, showing the back of the phone.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 8 is a well-received Android-based smartphone. However, there are reasons why you might not choose it and opt for something else. Perhaps its 6.2-inch display does not meet your requirements, or its camera system does not match your expectations. It could also be possible that you would prefer a phone released in 2024 instead of one launched late last year.

If you’re not interested in buying the Google Pixel 8, several alternative phones may be more suitable for your needs. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S24 has the same-sized display as the Pixel 8 but with better internals. Alternatively, you could consider the OnePlus 12R, which offers a bigger display and better internals at a lower price. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Before you go off and buy the Pixel 8, here are five other phones you should consider buying instead.

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Someone holding the Google Pixel 8 Pro in front of a colorful mural.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 8 Pro is a great choice for those who prefer a larger and more advanced screen with additional features. The Pixel 8 Pro boasts a diagonal display of 6.8 inches, which is significantly bigger than the standard Pixel 8. Moreover, the Pixel 8 Pro offers 489 pixels per inch (ppi) compared to the Pixel 8’s 428 ppi. The display on the Pixel 8 Pro also provides a 1-120Hz refresh rate, unlike the 60-120Hz refresh rate of the Pixel 8.

Additionally, the Pixel 8 Pro includes a telephoto camera, which allows for better zoom capabilities, and a bigger battery, which means you can use your phone for a little bit longer without needing to charge it. The Pixel 8 Pro also has more RAM, meaning it can handle more apps and tasks simultaneously without slowing down.

If you are planning to buy a Pixel 8 Pro, it is important to consider that a newer model might be released in the fall, which could make your phone outdated sooner than you’d like. On the positive side, you might get a good discount due to its slightly older age. Plus, you can rest assured you’re getting seven years of software updates, ensuring you get the newest features and security patches for years to come.

A lot about what makes the Google Pixel 8 a great phone is found here. But if you want a more capable and powerful version of that smartphone experience, the Pixel 8 Pro is a very easy recommendation.

Samsung Galaxy S24

Samsung Galaxy S24 in Marble Gray leaning on post.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy S24 is an excellent option if you’re looking for a mainstream Android phone with a display that’s not too large. Yes, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is a better phone overall. However, that’s probably more than you’re looking for — and much more costly than the Galaxy S24, Pixel 8, and nearly every other smartphone on the market.

With the Galaxy S24, you’ll get a better chipset and screen than the Pixel 8. According to benchmarks, this phone’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip bests the Pixel 8’s Google Tensor G3 significantly. The former, for example, is roughly 68% faster than the Tensor G3 on multi-core and 32% faster in single-core. Additionally, the better efficiency of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 means you can expect better battery life out of the Galaxy S24.

Though both phones offer a 6.2-inch OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, Samsung provides a higher maximum peak brightness of 2,500 nits (versus 2,000 nits on the Pixel 8). The Galaxy S24 also offers a broader range of colors, allowing you to select a device that suits your style. And, unlike the Pixel 8, the Galaxy S24 has a dedicated telephoto camera for better zoomed-in photos.

While the Samsung Galaxy S24 may have a slightly higher price tag, it’s a worthwhile investment. Its processor is more reliable, the battery should last longer, the screen is higher quality, and you have a more robust camera system—all in a compact, easy-to-use package. If you ask us, that’s worth paying a little bit extra.

OnePlus 12R

A black OnePlus 12R laying face down on a table.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

OnePlus smartphones have become increasingly popular due to their affordability and high quality. While the newly launched OnePlus 12 has generated a lot of buzz in the market, the OnePlus 12R is also a fantastic option to consider — especially when compared to the Pixel 8.

The OnePlus 12R is equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which, despite being older, performs better than Google’s latest Tensor G3 chipset, according to benchmark tests. Additionally, the OnePlus 12R offers a larger display (6.78 inches compared to 6.2 inches), a bigger battery (5,500 mAh compared to 4,575 mAh), and an extra camera (macro lens). Choosing the OnePlus 12R does mean you have to give up wireless charging, but with significantly faster 80W wired charging speeds, it’s an extremely fair trade-off.

It is worth noting that the OnePlus 12R provides fewer software updates than the Pixel 8. The OnePlus 12R promises to receive Android version updates for up to three years and security updates for up to four years. In contrast, Google promises to provide Android OS and security updates for up to seven years.

What I haven’t mentioned yet is the price difference. By selecting the OnePlus 12R over the Pixel 8, you can save at least $200. The OnePlus 12R starts at just $499, and by trading in any phone in any condition — an offer that’s available for the life of the 12R — the OnePlus 12R can be yours for just $399. It’s an unbelievably good deal, and it makes it an incredibly tempting alternative to the Pixel 8.

Motorola Edge (2023)

Someone holding the Motorola Edge (2023), showing its backside.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Motorola Edge (2023) is a fantastic budget phone with a unique leather-back design. It’s one of the best budget phones available today, especially when you can get it on sale for as low as $350. Our team tested the Motorola phone against the Pixel 8 and discovered some interesting differences between the two devices. While the Pixel outperforms the Motorola Edge overall, there are some areas where Motorola’s phone actually performs better. Coupled with its much lower price, the Motorola Edge (2023) is at least worth considering.

Regarding the camera, the Pixel 8 is superior due to its 50MP primary camera and 12MP ultrawide camera. The Google camera is also faster and more reliable. Additionally, the Pixel 8 outshines the Motorola Edge (2023) regarding software and the number of software updates. The Pixel has seven years of software updates compared to Motorola’s three. Furthermore, the Google Pixel 8’s Tensor G3 processor is more capable than the MediaTek chip found in the Motorola Edge.

That said, the Motorola device has a few advantages. The 6.6-inch OLED display is larger and has a faster 144Hz refresh rate. Battery life is also great, often getting through a day and a half of normal use on a single charge. And speaking of charging, the 68W wired charging is a night and day difference compared to the Pixel 8’s paltry 27W speeds. You also still get 15W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.

Although the Google Pixel 8 has a clear lead with its cameras, chipsets, and software updates, it also costs quite a bit more. If you can find the Motorola Edge (2023) at a steep discount — which tends to be the norm these days — it’s an excellent cheaper option to have on your shopping list.

Nothing Phone 2

A person holding the Nothing Phone 2, showing the back panel.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Finally, there’s the Nothing Phone 2, a smartphone that goes beyond the ordinary thanks to its unique design. The Glyph lights seamlessly integrated into the back panel create a design bound to capture attention. And the user interface? It’s not just clean and intuitive; it’s a joy to use, making every interaction a delightful experience.

The Nothing Phone 2 boasts a very good display quality comparable to the Pixel 8. Its bright and vivid colors make images and videos look stunning. Furthermore, it offers more RAM and storage than Google’s phone, making it a good choice for those who require high storage capacity. Additionally, the Nothing Phone 2’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 tends to rate higher than the Pixel 8’s Google Tensor G3 — offering better horsepower and increased efficiency.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. The phone’s water resistance rating is IP54, lower than other phones. Additionally, the camera system needs improvement. Although the phone features a 50MP primary camera like the Pixel 8, its 13MP ultrawide camera doesn’t match the Pixel 8’s 50MP ultrawide camera.

Despite these drawbacks, the Nothing Phone 2’s unique design and lower price make it a sound Pixel 8 alternative.

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