With the Note 7 having died a death, there's a big hole in some people's smartphone choices. Fortunately there are some very strong candidates. But do you go with Samsung's Galaxy S7 edge, or embrace the new Google Phone, the Pixel XL?
We've lived with both, reviewed both and here's how the Pixel XL compares to the S7 edge in terms of both numbers and experience to help you work out which one to choose.
Google Pixel XL vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: Design
- Both beautiful premium designs
- S7 edge is smaller, lighter and a little more exciting
- S7 edge is more water resistant
The Google Pixel XL and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge offer beautiful, solid and premium designs. The Pixel XL opts for a mostly aluminium body, with a glass panel at the top of its rear, while the S7 edge has an aluminium frame with curved edges and an all-glass rear panel.
The Pixel is the slightly larger and heavier of the two devices, measuring 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5mm and weighing 168g, compared to the S7 edge's 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm build and 157g weight. Samsung manages to be more compact.
Both have a fingerprint sensor, but Google's is mounted on the rear, with no physical buttons on the front, while Samsung chooses to place it within the main button on the front of the S7 edge. Samsung's device is also IP68-rated for water and dust resistance, while Google's is only IP53.
Google Pixel XL vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: Display
- Both have same size and resolution AMOLED displays
- S7 edge has curved screen
- Both protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4
The Google Pixel XL and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge both feature 5.5-inch AMOLED displays with 2560 x 1440 pixel resolutions, putting the pixel density at 534ppi. They are both protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
The S7 edge does offer a curved display however, as we mentioned, meaning it looks more interesting from a design point of view. The curved display also offers a couple of extras when it comes to software features, though none of them are make or break features.
Samsung's display is a little more impactful. Both are bright and vibrant, the Pixel XL is perhaps more natural, but Samsung's is a little more vigorous.
Google Pixel XL vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: Camera
- Same resolution rear camera, but Pixel XL has higher resolution front snapper
- Pixel XL has larger pixels, S7 edge has wider aperture
- S7 edge has OIS, Pixel XL has both PDAF and LDAF
- Samsung has more control options
The Google Pixel XL has a 12-megapixel rear camera with 1.55µm pixels and an aperture of f/2.0. It has an LED flash, along with phase detection autofocus and laser autofocus.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge also offers a 12-megapixel rear camera, but its aperture is slightly wider at f/1.7. Pixels are a little smaller at 1.4µm and there is only phase detection autofocus on board. Samsung also includes optical image stabilisation, which the Pixel XL does not.
In terms of front camera, the Pixel XL offers an 8-megapixel sensor with 1.4µm pixels and an aperture of f/2.4 with fixed focus. The S7 edge on the other hand, has a 5-megapixel selfie camera with an f/1.7 aperture and 1.34µm pixels.
Both are excellent performers, giving good consistent results, but Samsung offers many more control options meaning more flexibility. The Pixel XL keeps it simple with fewer settings which will probably suffice for many and it's very fast to capture.
Google Pixel XL vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: Hardware
- Both have 4GB of RAM
- Pixel XL has more internal storage, but no microSD support
- S7 edge has larger battery, but Pixel XL uses USB Type-C
The Google Pixel XL features Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 821 processor under its hood, supported by 4GB of RAM. It comes in 32GB and 128GB storage options, with no support for microSD expansion and it offers a 3450mAh battery, charged via USB Type-C.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, or the Exynos 8890 processor, depending on region. Both are supported by 4GB of RAM, but storage options top out at 64GB. Samsung offers microSD however and it offers a larger battery capacity at 3600mAh, charged via Micro-USB.
Both the Pixel XL and the S7 edge have quick charge capabilities, the S7 edge offers wireless charging too.
Both devices are superbly powerful and both will get you through a busy day of use. The Pixel XL offers unlimited photo and video storage online through Google Photos.
Google Pixel XL vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: Software
Both the Pixel XL and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge run on Android. The Pixel XL launches with Android 7.1 Nougat, with exclusive software features that won't be appearing on other Android handsets.
Pure Nougat, enhanced with the Pixel Launcher and Google Assistant, brings a level of sophistication to this Google phone that surpasses Pixels. It has the bloat-free attitude of a pure Android handset, but supercharged. It's slick, fast and powerful.
Samsung takes Android 6.0 Marshmallow, adds TouchWiz and makes the experience completely unique to Samsung. There's the addition of more options, settings and choices galore. That brings some bloat and plenty of duplication, but there's so much on offer from Samsung and on the S7 edge it's very well executed.
Our preference is for the cleaner approach of the Pixel XL, but it's a tough call. Ultimately, the experience of both devices is very good.
Google Pixel XL vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: Price
- S7 edge is cheaper
- S7 edge has more colour options
The Google Pixel XL starts at £719 for the 32GB model, while the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge starts at £639 for the same storage.
The Pixel XL comes in two colours comprising Quite Black and Very Silver, compared to the S7 edge's five options that include Gold, Pink Gold and Silver.
Google Pixel XL vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: Conclusion
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has been one of our favourite devices of 2016. It's accomplished on so many levels, from the eye-catching design with the benefit of waterproofing, through to the wonderful curves of the display. We still think it is one of the nicest devices to use in the Android space right now.
The Pixel's appeal comes in its purer Android form. It's a very Google-y phone, putting your Google services at the heart and offering the very latest features from Android. Google Assistant is an enhancement, there are tweaks you'll not find anywhere else. You'll be first on the update list too.
Both devices offer a slick and fast experience so there's little to choose in terms of performance or quality. Samsung is tempting with a cheaper price, microSD card support and wonderful camera, but come February, it's likely to be replaced with something better, so the Pixel XL might be the one to choose.