Ahh yes, we've reached it – we are now at the part of a new Pixel phone's launch where the masses have had the new phones long enough to start pointing out flaws. And like no other group of consumers, Pixel owners are particular, loud, and influential when it comes to thoughts on the devices they've potentially spent $1,000 or more on, so we're starting to hear all about how bad google's Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are.
That's me clearly overstating this point in the story (I happen to think the Pixel 8 Pro is excellent and a great option for many), but it happens at this exact time every year with every single Pixel phone launch and so we feel the need to address it in a way that meets the moment. It's absurd that we (folks who share info) do this every year, yet also absurd that…well, we (owners of the phones) keep having to do this every year.
Pixel 8 Battery Drain
At the moment, the collective on reddit (more, more) and another handful on Google's own community forums has realized that the modems used in the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are hot garbage. We pointed this out in our Pixel 8 Pro review, noting that it struggles to hold a signal and is terrible at handing off, leading to the airplane mode toggle dance throughout a day if you leave the comfort of your home WiFi. Google appears to be using a very similar modem to the bad modems they used in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 lines, both of which were notorious for those issues I just ran through.
The thing is, only some are actually pointing out problems with the modem as they acknowledge excessive heat and poor battery life when not on WiFi. That's why I'm jumping to insist that the modem is to blame here. You see, like with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7, if you sit on WiFi all day every day, your experience on Google's Pixel phones will likely be excellent. The problems all start when you get brave enough to take a walk, a drive, a run, a bike ride, or stop at a pub who has WiFi but requires you to ask someone for the damn password so you just remain with your poor “5g” connection instead.
So to recap that, folks are finding poor battery life when on a cellular connection that often leads to their Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro feeling hot. There's probably nothing you can do about it. However, if you'd like to try, Google offers up an entire list of ideas to “Fix battery drain problems on a Pixel phone.”
Other Pixel 8 issues
The battery issues are the headline grabber of the moment, but we've also heard about scrolling issues, there was the pink tint to the always-on display bug (that Google is fixing), people are realizing again that the fingerprint reader is below-average (face unlock is great, though!), and there are probably others. These won't be the last either. Google's Pixel phones, while excellent in so many ways, are not perfect.
No phone is by the way, it's just that Google's phones always get dissected with a scalpel by the community. If a single display pixel is off, the temperature creeps up, or battery life doesn't extend to close to 10 hours of screen on time, we hear about it. That said, this early list of issues doesn't seem as extreme as in years past. Here's to hoping this is the worst of it and the camera cover glass doesn't start spontaneously cracking or something. Yeah, that happened.
How has your Pixel 8 experience been so far?