Google’s Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are now available for pre-order in Canada with several intriguing pre-order options. But if you’re looking to buy one of Google’s Pixel 8 devices and spend the least amount possible, you might be surprised at your options.
First, it’s important to note that regardless of where you pre-order your Pixel 8 or 8 Pro, the pre-order bonuses are mostly the same. Pixel 8 pre-orders come with free Pixel Buds Pro, while Pixel 8 Pro pre-orders include a free Pixel Watch 2. However, some carriers are offering the Wi-Fi version of the watch, and others are offering the LTE version — if you’re going that route, I’d advise double-checking what your carrier of choice is offering to make sure you get the Pixel Watch 2 version you want (or check out our round-up of carrier pre-orders here).
Also of note is that if you order from Google, you have more flexibility with the pre-order bonus. You can opt for the free Pixel Buds Pro with either the Pixel 8 or 8 Pro. Likewise, you can get the Pixel Watch 2 (Wi-Fi) with a Pixel 8 pre-order, but instead of a free bonus, you’ll save $260 on the smartwatch.
Finally, keep in mind that Google raised the prices of its Pixel line this year. The company also doesn’t offer financing if you buy directly through Google’s store.
Calculate a foundation price with your current plan
Now, let’s lay out the foundation we’ll work from when considering pre-order options. In my experience, the most important thing to keep in mind is the cost of your monthly cellphone plan since, in most cases, the amount you pay for the smartphone won’t change significantly. Moreover, if you buy a phone from a carrier, most require you also to get specific plans, sometimes that cost way more than what you already pay.
The monthly cost of your phone plan will fluctuate depending on your needs and your carrier. Therefore, I recommend starting your search for a cheap Pixel by looking at your current plan and considering whether it covers your needs. If it doesn’t, you might want to consider changing your plan (which you can probably do alongside getting a new Pixel). If your plan offers more than what you currently need, it might be worth investigating cheaper options — start by looking at the bring-your-own-phone (BYOP) plans offered by various wireless providers in your region and pick the one that works best for you.
As an example, I currently pay $45/mo for 50GB of data with Rogers-owned Fido, thanks to the 2022 Black Friday special. There aren’t many similar offers available now that are similar to that, so I’d like to keep my plan, which likely means buying the Pixel 8 or 8 Pro outright. For example, the Pixel 8 starts at $949 in Canada, or about $39.54/mo if we split it over 24 months (like you would at a carrier). That works out to about $84.54/mo for the phone and my plan, and would be the foundation I would use to compare with other carriers when considering my options. I would recommend doing a similar calculation with your current plan and the Pixel 8 or 8 Pro model you want to get.
One other item to consider is trade-in value. I won’t touch on this throughout the rest of the article, but if you do have a device to trade in, I would recommend checking how much you’ll get for it from various carriers and retailers. I’ve seen several complaints about Google’s trade-in offers not being great in Canada, so make sure to compare options to get the best price.
Compare your foundation with carrier pricing
Now, let’s take a look at other carriers to see what their minimum plan options are for getting a Pixel 8. In Ontario, where I live, Telus was the priciest at $95/mo, followed by Rogers at $90 ($85 after a $5/mo discount), and Bell at $80/mo. Telus and Rogers are immediately out of the running since before considering the cost of buying the phone from them, their monthly plans are already more than my foundation price from above. Likewise, Bell isn’t an option since it charges $39.54/mo financing for the Pixel 8, or $31.63/mo if I agree to return the phone after two years — both options would take me above that $84.54/mo foundation price.
Next up were Koodo and Virgin Plus. Both offered a $65/mo plan with the Pixel 8. At Koodo, the Pixel 8 costs $188 down and $33/mo on Tab Plus, or $980 total. With the plan, it works out to about $105.84/mo, more than my foundation price. Similarly, Virgin charges $149 down and $33.34/mo financing for the Pixel 8, or $949.16 total. That works out to about $104.55/mo when you factor in the plan. Again, it’s higher than the foundation price.
“…think about whether you’re comfortable putting down $949 on a Pixel all at once, or if you’re more comfortable paying for it on a monthly basis.”
Fido and Freedom come next, both of which charge $45/mo for a plan with the Pixel 8. Fido charges $149 down and $33.33/mo financing, or $948.92 total. When you factor in the plan, it works out to about $84.54/mo — the same as my foundation plan! Before we get too excited, there are some things to consider. First, this Fido $45/mo plan is not the same as the Black Friday one I have — it only comes with 30GB of data. Moreover, it actually costs $50/mo before applying the auto-pay discount. Arguably, then, I’d be losing some value going this route (assuming Fido would make me change my plan since I’m already a Fido customer).
If you find yourself in a similar position with an option that costs about the same as your foundation plan, there are a few things to consider before picking one way or the other. First up, are there differences in what’s included in the plan compared to what you have now, and do those differences matter to you? Next, consider whether you’d prefer having the freedom to hop from carrier to carrier to capitalize on deals (Black Friday is around the corner!) or if you’re fine to lock into a price for 24 months. Finally, think about whether you’re comfortable putting down $949 on a Pixel all at once, or if you’re more comfortable paying for it on a monthly basis. Your answers to these questions will help guide you to the option that works best for you.
Freedom had a $45/mo plan and it also charges $39.54/mo for the Pixel 8. Again, that works out to $84.54/mo, making Freedom another option. Freedom’s $45/mo plan also includes 30GB of data (it also costs $50/mo before the auto-pay discount). Again, I’d be losing value on my plan compared to the foundation price.
It’s also worth noting Freedom offers a TradeUp option, which reduces the monthly cost of the Pixel 8 to $30/mo if you agree to return it after two years or pay the difference. You’d end up paying $75/mo going that route. While that would be less than my foundation price, I prefer to keep my phones and would rather not go this route — feel free to use these programs if you want.
If you follow the steps outlined above, you should arrive at one of a few conclusions. Most likely, you’ll find that it’s cheaper to buy the Pixel 8 or 8 Pro outright from Google and combine it with a cheap bring-your-own-phone (BYOP) plan, or keep your existing plan. Otherwise, you’ll have found a carrier offer that will get you the Pixel of your choosing for a total monthly price that, hopefully, is less than what you were paying before.
Before I let you go, there are a few other things worth considering. As mentioned up top, trade-in values can make a difference in these calculations, so make sure to check those. Also, consider factoring in the cost of device protection if you frequently break smartphones. Likewise, watch out for deals or offers that could help you get discounted or free accessories.
Finally, given the proximity to Black Friday, it might make more sense to just wait. At this point, you don’t know if the Pixel 8 or 8 Pro will be on sale, but it’s a safe bet that there will be discounts on plans. It might not make sense to lock into a 24-month contract if it means missing out on significant savings in November.