Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel (Smartphone Showdown)

Which of these flagships should you be considering?

Google’s next-gen Pixel 2 will be out in a few months and if the rumors are true the phone will probably come equipped with a curved display just like the recently released Galaxy S8.

But while we wait for the Pixel 2 to become reality, we thought we’d show you how the new Samsung flagship stacks up against Google’s current Pixel model.

Design & Display

5.8-inch “Infinity Display” with 2960 x 1440 resolution vs 5-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution

570ppi vs 441ppi

18:5:9 ratio vs 16:9 ratio

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is a gorgeous looking phone – however, it is also extremely fragile. The phone is made almost entirely out of glass – aluminum frame aside – and despite the Gorilla Glass protection on the back, Galaxy S8 owners will probably have to opt for a protective cover to go with the device. As for the Pixel, the handset sports a sturdier aluminum unibody with rounded edges and 2.5D curved glass.

Moving on to screens, the Galaxy S8’s new Infinity Display offers increased screen size thanks to the edge-to-edge display and trimmed bezels on top/bottom. The phone also features an atypical 18:5:9 aspect ratio – which hasn’t been broadly accepted yet – but it’s designed to find a compromise between the competing widescreen aspect ratio of television (usually 16:9) and movie theaters (typically 2.20:1). Amazon Video and Netflix have already started shooting new shows using this aspect ratio, but we’re still far from seeing it go mainstream. Yet.

So for the time being, the new ratio is bound to give Galaxy S8 owners some headaches. Because many videos display at 16:9, the phone will just add vertical black bars on the left and right of the files viewed in this format. But don’t worry, things aren’t going to stay like this for ever. Google already gave a shout out to developers, urging them to start optimizing for the new aspect ratio.

As for Google’s own phone, the handset offers a pretty straightforward 5-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. One can’t help but notice how chunky the Pixel’s bezels are in comparison with the Galaxy S8’s, but this year Google will probably to make use of an edge-to-edge display for its Pixel 2, as well.

Computing power

Snapdragon 835 vs Snapdragon 821

Adreno 540 vs Adreno 530

4GB of RAM vs 4GB of RAM

64GB of internal storage vs 32GB/128GB of internal storage

The Google Pixel takes advantage of last year’s flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 821 just like the LG G6 which was released in February 2017. Despite not donning the Snapdragon 835, the Pixel is still a super-fast phone. But thanks to the 10nm SoC, the Galaxy S8 might benefit from improved battery life and smaller processing footprint. Both devices take advantage of 4GB of RAM, but the Galaxy S8 features a microSD card slot for memory expansion up to 256GB, while the Pixel does not.

Cameras

12MP main camera with f/1.7, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash vs 12.3MP main camera with f.20, phase detection & laser autofocus, dual-LED flash

8MP selfie camera with f/1.7, autofocus vs 8MP selfie camera with f/2.4

On the imaging front, the Galaxy S8 retains much of the features of the Galaxy S7. The secondary camera has been bumped from 5MP to 8MP and autofocus was added. Better yet, the main camera on the Galaxy S8 features dual-pixel camera technology which allows users to shoot images in poorly lit environments. But the Pixel camera doesn’t fall short of expectation either –  actually it’s one of the best shooters available on the smartphone market (the myriad of reviews seems to attest to that), as it brings forth features such as HDR+ (for improved image quality) and advanced stabilization.

Software

Android 7.1 Nougat vs Android 7.0 Nougat

Google’s Pixel launched with stock Android 7.1 Nougat which albeit not being vastly different from Android 7.0 does come with a host of nice improvements like Google’s stock launcher with Assistant integration and more. Since then the phone has been bumped to Android 7.1.2 and will continue to be among the first in line to get a new update, including Android O.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S8 runs on an optimized version of its TouchWiz interface re-named Samsung Experience. The UI onboard the new device has been cleaned up considerably and the icons and settings have changed too. There’s also a new software home button layout, since unlike its predecessors the Galaxy S8 does not have a physical home button anymore. After the Galaxy Note7, Samsung wanted to make absolutely sure the Galaxy S8 will not be associated with the problems of the past. A new look and a major UI overhaul are the pointers that the Galaxy S8 is an entirely different, new product.

Other features

The Galaxy S8 is Samsung’s first phone to come with the virtual assistant Bixby onboard, which at least on paper will allow you to do everything you need to do by virtue of vocal commands. The Pixel phone comes with the Google Assistant onboard, which will be available on the Galaxy S8 too.

The Galaxy S8 comes equipped with an iris scanner and facial recognition. It also has the ability to connect over a special dock called DeX to an external display, keyboard and mouse.

Pixel owners on the other hand, don’t have to worry about misplacing their photos or 4K video, as they benefit from free backup with Google Photos. Google’s flagship is Daydream compatible, while the Galaxy S8 also works with the new Gear VR headset.

It’s also worthy to note here that the Galaxy S8 comes with IP68 rating (can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in 5ft of water). By comparison, the Pixel has a IP53 rating, which means it can survive standing in the rain, but it’s not recommended to take it with you underwater. Also, the Galaxy S8 benefits from the Gorilla Glass 5, while the Pixel only has Gorilla Glass 4.

Battery

The Galaxy S8 includes a 3,000 mAh battery (just like the Galaxy S7), while the Pixel has a 2,770 mAh one. While Samsung hasn’t provided an estimate the Galaxy S8’s battery life, the predictions are grim. Given the power-hungry display onboard, we shouldn’t expect any miracles. Although the Snapdragon 835 does feature four cores devoted to preserving battery life during less-intensive tasks. But that’s just on paper.

As for the Google Pixel, well it can get you through the day without you having to pop in for a refill. From our review of the Pixel XL, so that we can demonstrate Pixel phones have really good battery lives:

I’ve been more than impressed with the battery life of the Pixel XL. Moreover, the speed at which it charges is incredible. I really appreciate that if I have to plug into a wall charger, it’s not for long. The claims of getting seven hours of usage from a 15-minute charge? I wish I could say.

Because I am able to get to a charger most of the day, I don’t ever find myself with seven-hour gaps. Whether it’s ten minutes on the way home from work, or on the counter while eating dinner, I find my phone is always well above half full. I don’t even bat an eye if I forget to charge at night.

Pricing

The Galaxy S8 is more expensive than the Google Pixel which starts at $649 for the 32GB storage model, while the 128GB one can take you up to $749. As for the Galaxy S8, it will be available for $720 (in-full) at Verizon, while AT&T and T-Mobile are giving it away for $750.

Verdict

Have money to spend? The Galaxy S8 is a gorgeous phone that brings forth, many-many compelling features. However, if you’re an Android purist who prefers getting his/her updates on time, the Google Pixel is the obvious choice.

Also before jumping onboard with the Galaxy S8, don’t forget to do a bit of research. There are other smartphones out there that boast curved screens (Samsung’s own Galaxy S7 edge which is probably sold with a heavily discounted price at this point), minimal bezels or virtual assistants, that come with more affordable price-tags.

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