(Pocket-lint) - Google's latest pure Android smartphones are finally here in the form of the Pixel and the Pixel XL. Both bring a lovely premium design, flagship specs and some serious competition to the rest of the smartphone market, including both Samsung and Apple.
The Pixel is the smaller of the two new devices, going head-to-head with Samsung's Galaxy S7. How do they compare, what are the differences and which one should you choose? Read on to find out.
Google Pixel vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Design
- Pixel is slimmer and lighter
- Galaxy S7 is more water resistant
- Both have fingerprint sensors and premium designs
The Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S7 both offer premium, solid and lovely designs. The Pixel opts for a mostly aluminium build with a panel of glass featuring on the rear at the top, while the S7 has an aluminium frame with a completely glass rear.
The Pixel houses its circular fingerprint sensor and flush camera on the rear, offering a clean and fuss-free front with no physical buttons. It is IP53 water and dust resistant, which means it can handle a splash but not a dunk.
The Galaxy S7 has its fingerprint sensor built into the main button on the front, with the raised rear camera taking pride of place on the back. It has a higher water and dust resistance rating of IP68 though, which means dunking would be no problem.
The two devices are very similar in terms of physical size with the Pixel measuring 143.8 x 69.5 x 7.3mm, while the Galaxy S7 measures 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm. The Pixel is lighter though, hitting the scales at 143g compared to 152g.
Google Pixel vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Display
- Galaxy S7 has larger display
- Galaxy S7 has higher resolution display
- Both have Gorilla Glass 4 protection and AMOLED technology
Despite being very similar in terms of size, the Google Pixel has a slightly smaller display than the Samsung Galaxy S7. The Pixel offers a 5-inch screen compared to the 5.1-inch display found on the S7.
The Galaxy S7 also has a higher resolution with 2560 x 1440 pixels packed in for a pixel density of 577ppi. Meanwhile, the Pixel's 1920 x 1080 resolution results in a pixel density of 441ppi. Theoretically, the Galaxy S7 will therefore deliver crisper images over the Pixel, but in reality, both have excellent displays.
The Pixel and Galaxy S7 are both protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and they both use AMOLED technology, meaning punchy, vibrant colours and rich blacks.
Google Pixel vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Camera
- Galaxy S7 has OIS and wider aperture
- Pixel has higher resolution front camera and larger pixels on both
- Both provide excellent results
The Google Pixel has a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, featuring 1.55µm pixels and an aperture of f/2.0. There is phase detection autofocus and laser detection autofocus, but no optical image stabilisation.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a 12-megapixel rear snapper with 1.4µm pixels and an aperture of f/1.7. Phase detection autofocus is on board once again and while laser detection autofocus isn't, the S7 has optical image stabilisation.
The Pixel has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with 1.4µm pixels and an aperture of f/2.4, while the Galaxy S7 has a 5-megapixel front camera with 1.34µm pixels and an aperture of f/1.7.
Both devices offer excellent results in the camera department, with good and consistent images. The Pixel is very fast when it comes to focusing and it keeps it simple with settings, while the Galaxy S7 offers more control options providing more flexibility.
Google Pixel vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Hardware
- Pixel has newer processor and larger storage option
- Galaxy S7 has a larger battery and microSD expansion
- Pixel has USB Type-C, Galaxy S7 has wireless charging
The Google Pixel has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor under its hood, supported by 4GB of RAM and options of either 32GB or 128GB of internal storage, neither of which feature microSD.
There is a 2770mAh battery, charged via USB Type-C with Quick Charge supported for up to 7 hours of use in 15-minutes. The Pixel doesn't offer wireless charging.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 offers either the Qualcomm 820 processor or the Exynos 8890, depending on region. Both models have 4GB of RAM and they come in 32GB or 64GB storage options with microSD support for further expansion.
A 3000mAh battery keeps things ticking along in the Galaxy S7, charged via Micro-USB, and Quick Charge is also supported here, along with wireless charging.
Both of these handsets are very powerful and excellent performers. They will also both see you through the day. The Pixel has unlimited storage online for photos and videos through Google Photos while the S7 has microSD expansion, as we mentioned.
Google Pixel v Samsung Galaxy S7: Software
- Pixel has pure Android
- Pixel offers Google Assistant built into its core
- Galaxy S7 offers more settings and choices thanks to bloatware
Google's Pixel and Samsung's Galaxy S7 both run on Android but the Pixel arrives with Android 7.1 Nougat, along with a few exclusive features that won't appear elsewhere.
It also offers a pure Android experience, with no bloatware and the addition of a new launcher and built-in Google Assistant, all of which provides a slick, fast and powerful experience.
The Galaxy S7 currently runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Samsung's TouchWiz interface over the top, which provides an experience that is unique to Samsung. It offers more options than Pixel, as well as more settings and choices, and while this does mean a little software duplication, it is well executed.
We prefer the cleaner experience that comes with the Pixel and its vanilla Android approach, but that's our personal preference. Both the Pixel and the S7 offer excellent experiences.
Google Pixel vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Price
- Pixel is more expensive
- Galaxy S7 comes in more colours
The Google Pixel starts at £599 and comes in two colours comprising Quite Black and Very Silver.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 starts at £539 and it comes in five colour options, with black, gold, silver, white and pink gold all available.
Google Pixel vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Conclusion
The Samsung Galaxy S7 might sit in the shadow of the S7 edge, but it's a formidable smartphone in its own right. It's compact, yet powerful, offering Samsung's adaption of Android that's very sophisticated and packed full of features. The hardware is good, but the battery life is a little on the short side. The camera is great, however.
The Pixel punches hard in the performance department, offering a slick and fast Android experience, enhanced with extras like Google Assistant. It also offers a great camera, which, although not as fully-featured as the SGS7, offers great results.
The Pixel will last a little longer when you take it into battle however, with better battery life and it's newer, offering the latest hardware, compared to Samsung's slightly older device. With only £60 difference in price, the Pixel is likely to tempt you to open your wallet.
- Google Pixel review: Pure, wonderful, enhanced Android
- Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Samsung's unsung hero