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Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel

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Interface and Functionality

Pure Android versus Samsung’s skin. You’d be surprised at the polish of Samsung’s skin, but we still find the cleaner Pixel interface more alluring, and it will be the first one with software updates.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel

Samsung has been hard at work fixing and improving its custom user interface on top of Android. In the S8 you see its latest and best efforts: with clean and well organized menu system, a new app drawer shortcut (swipe up or down on the home panel), and a new iconography that looks simple (even too simplistic in some cases).

The Google Pixel on the other hand has a pure version of the Android platform, a haven for that group of people looking for that clean stock experience. The beauty of the Pixel, however, is not just in the clean looks, but also in the smooth performance and fast updates. We have seen Samsung take nearly 5 months to deliver the Nougat update on the Galaxy S7, and we have no reason to believe that the S8 will be faster to get the Android O update when the time for it comes later this year. This is the Pixel advantage: you are guaranteed to get those updates on day one, and that is important.

The UI of the Google Pixel - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
The UI of the Google Pixel - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
The UI of the Google Pixel - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
The UI of the Google Pixel - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel

The UI of the Google Pixel


In terms of actual functionality, we don’t find a huge difference: power user features like the Android split-screen multitasking works great on both phones, for instance. Yet multitasking on the bigger screen makes so much more sense: Samsung itself pointed out that you can have a YouTube video playing with a second app with an on-screen keyboard running, and all of that fits on the tall S8 screen. You simply cannot fit so much content on the Pixel.

The taller S8 display gives it some advantages in some apps: for instance, we love how we can see all the weather app information right away, without having to scroll, while you cannot do this on the Pixel. Sure, that has to do with app design as well, but it’s telling.

Samsung Experience UI of the Galaxy S8 - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
Samsung Experience UI of the Galaxy S8 - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
Samsung Experience UI of the Galaxy S8 - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
Samsung Experience UI of the Galaxy S8 - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel

Samsung Experience UI of the Galaxy S8


Both phones come with their distinct voice assistants. The fast and excellent Google Assistant is actually available on both phones. Most of you are familiar with its speed and ability to understand the context of a sentence. Samsung, however, is preparing something on top of that, a new Bixby assistant, reserved for the Galaxy S8. Its bigger advantage is that it will be aware of the app and the context within the app, so that it can do specific things when a specific app is opened. There is even a dedicated physical key with the sole purpose of summoning Bixby. The feature will not be available at launch, but Samsung is working to bring this over the coming months and we will have full impressions then. Currently, the part of Bixby that is available reminds us of Google Now cards, but more colorful: you get to see colorful widgets with a summary of your day, news and notifications.

The keyboard typing experience is excellent on both phones: both have keyboards that are great, with nice vibration feedback and typing that is fast and accurate. The big advantage of having the tall screen on the S8 is that when you type, you can still see a ton of context, while an open keyboard on the Pixel shuts down most of your view in the current app.

Processor, Performance and Memory

The Galaxy S8’s 10nm Snapdragon 835 is the fastest chip on Android, but the Google Pixel still feels like the smoother performer.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel

Samsung is in a unique position among phone makers: it’s the biggest of them all and the most profitable one in the Android world, and that’s what gives it some special privileges. For example, the Galaxy S8 is the first phone to ship with the Snapdragon 835, the latest and most powerful system chip by Qualcomm (outside the United States, the S8 runs on the similarly powerful Exynos 8895, and we have the Exynos model for this comparison).

Google’s Pixel, on the other hand, was released earlier and features a less capable Snapdragon 821 system chip, that is manufactured on the 14nm technology, which makes it less power efficient than the newer 10nm tech used for the S8.

All of this is great, but start using the two devices, and you notice that – surprisingly – the Pixel is the phone that has more grace, finesse, and smoother daily performance. The S8 is fast, but it is also just a bit stuttery. Nope, it’s not a huge lag by any means, but still it cannot go unnoticed in a direct comparison. The Pixel has none of that: in fact, it is the smoothest Android performer that we have handled, and the S8 changes none of that.

Benchmarks are another story. The Galaxy S8 crushes them and beats the Pixel by the numbers. It has a more powerful processor that will load games faster. A side note for gamers: both the S8 and the Pixel support the Vulkan API for more advanced games and better performance, which is nice.

Samsung also offers the quite neat DeX dock. This dock allows you to hook up your S8 to an external monitor and have a full desktop experience using only your phone as the base. We have not tested that in depth yet, but initial tests confirm that you can play games on a big screen and multitask quite well using the DeX dock. The dock is not a new idea – Motorola did something similar a few years ago with much less powerful processors, but it makes a lot of sense with current technology on the S8. You don’t have anything similar with the Google Pixel.

Next up: storage. For years, Google has insisted on making Nexus phones without a microSD card slot for expandable storage and this tradition continues in the Google Pixel. The Pixel has a 32 GB storage base model, and for $100 more you can get a 128 gig version, but neither supports a microSD card. Avid 4K video shooters and file hoarders will find the lack of a microSD card a disadvantage, and the 128GB option seems like a better fit for those power users.

The Galaxy S8, on the other hand, ships in a single model with a much more sensible 64GB storage, but it also supports a microSD card slot, so that you can pop in a card to expand that storage at any time.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 166646.66
Google Pixel 140722
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 3074
Google Pixel 3068
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 6759
Google Pixel 5801
JetStream
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 55.503
Google Pixel 55.022
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 60
Google Pixel 58
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 41
Google Pixel 48
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 3201.66
Google Pixel 2425
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 2008.33
Google Pixel 1525
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 6575
Google Pixel 4148
View all

Internet and Connectivity

The larger screen on the S8 makes a difference in browsing.

The Galaxy S8 and the Google Pixel are both flagship phones, and are offered with the full spectre of 4G LTE bands required for all major U.S. carriers. So you, you will naturally get full LTE compatibility on Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. The phones will also work across all major 4G LTE networks in Europe.

The actual browsing experience is one thing that benefits a lot from the taller screen on the Galaxy S8. You need to scroll less, and you see much more on this larger display, plus you can multitask easier as well.

In terms of additional connectivity options, you have NFC on board on both phones. The S8 support Samsung Pay for wireless payments (including support for older, magnetic terminals), while the Pixel only works with Android Pay. Dual-band Wi-Fi is also on board on both, a useful feature in congested urban areas where a single-channel Wi-Fi receiver would often result in reduced download and upload speeds.

18 Comments
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posted on 21 Apr 2017, 06:16

1. cozze02 (Posts: 54; Member since: 25 Nov 2012)


Dont get me wrong, I loved my Pixel XL for its battery life and speed, but Google could of done a much better job making an "iPhone Competitor" it just looks to much like an iPhone, especially with the bezels. Just got my S8+ and I'm happy with my decision to switch.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 09:20 3

9. adi90 (Posts: 554; Member since: 21 Dec 2015)


" the Pixel is still the camera to beat,"
That sums up the camera comparison between pixel and s8.
Though s8 is great but it could not outperform pixel as many would have thought.
Goigle really deserves credit for that.

posted on 22 Apr 2017, 13:23

15. WGACA (Posts: 79; Member since: 08 May 2015)


Yes it has.

https://youtu.be/NCAz7JE_8fA

This generally iPhoneArena and very biased again st Samsung. S8 has a better camera than Pixel. Not much, but is is better overall.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 10:40 1

14. PL2006 (Posts: 18; Member since: 16 Jun 2016)


Tell me, what is it that makes the iPhone and Pixel so similar?

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 06:37

2. epic_ninja420 (Posts: 103; Member since: 18 Nov 2014)


Off center charging port? looks pretty centered to me, considering the home button is right in the middle of it.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 07:41

3. Stranger (Posts: 62; Member since: 19 Jan 2017)


Wow the pixel is smoother than S8 ! I wasn't expecting that.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 09:01

8. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


stock android on a traditional aspect ration over a UI at a new aspect ratio that could likely use a bit more optimization?

Not really surprising.

give samsung & android a few updates and see where things lay.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 09:24 4

10. adi90 (Posts: 554; Member since: 21 Dec 2015)


Nexus devices were always smoother than other android mobiles including samsung. So it is not a surprise that pixel is smoother than s8.
Even future pixel would be more smoother than other galaxy devices.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 07:48 1

4. ithehappy (Posts: 48; Member since: 24 Apr 2014)


Pixel has best camera still, runs stock android, only an idiot will pick S8 over a Pixel. Though I do believe Pixel has hardware issues, but even with that the phone should be leaps and bounds ahead of S8, I simply don't know how people could prefer looks over functionality! Whatever.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 09:28 1

11. adi90 (Posts: 554; Member since: 21 Dec 2015)


If you are fan of stock android, obviously you will prefer pixel over s8. Pixel is great.
But it does not mean s8 is inferior.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 10:22 3

13. sissy246 (Posts: 4223; Member since: 04 Mar 2015)


"only an idiot will pick S8 over a Pixel"
Well not everyone​ like stock and there is not enough deference in the cameras to matter.
OMG those bezels on the Pixel are awful, but I am not going to call you a idiot for liking the Pixel.
Would I buy it , hell no, to me it's ugly as s**t, but we all like what we like so put the phone down all you want but, why call others idiots for what they like.

posted on 22 Apr 2017, 13:24

16. WGACA (Posts: 79; Member since: 08 May 2015)


Better camera than S8?

https://youtu.be/NCAz7JE_8fA

I don't think so. iPhoneArena is the most biased site on the Internet.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 07:56 3

5. PL2006 (Posts: 18; Member since: 16 Jun 2016)


HDR+ too intelligent, too ahead of its time. Pixel untouchable in camera department

posted on 22 Apr 2017, 13:26

17. WGACA (Posts: 79; Member since: 08 May 2015)


You mean too much lens flare, oversharpening and wrong exposures?

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 08:00 2

6. joeytaylor (Posts: 933; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


If I wanted an iPhone I would get an iphone..... Not a Google replica iphone

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 08:06 1

7. cmdacos (Posts: 867; Member since: 01 Nov 2016)


Yep. There is no match if you want stability and timely updates. iPhone is where it's at. If you want feature rich devices look elsewhere. Would never touch a pure Android phone myself.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 09:54 1

12. penguinbelly (Posts: 157; Member since: 27 Dec 2014)


You can see the S8's USB Type-C port is "misaligned" but not how the Pixel's DISPLAY is off-centered?

posted on 03 Jun 2017, 17:37

18. RianK2 (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Jun 2017)


The pixel got no chance to be better than the s8 in low light or worst situations....in strong light situation or so, the pixel and s8 can be tough and tie...there's nothing that makes the pixel better or should I say like they said "THE BEST"...
The s8 is more pleasing tough..

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