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Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel

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Camera

The Galaxy S8 has one of the best cameras, but the Pixel has the best camera.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel

The Google Pixel was crowned by many to be the new camera champ of all phones: Google’s marvelous HDR+ trick in the camera really did a great job. Every image shot on the Pixel by default features this very subtle HDR+ effect for added dynamics. But now we have the Galaxy S8 with an improved camera module and we’re curious to see whether it can capture even better-looking photos.

First, the specs, though: we have 12 megapixel rear cameras on both phones and 8MP front cameras. The Pixel uses a 1/2.3" Sony IMX378 Exmor RS sensor with 1.55-micron pixels and an f/2.0 lens on top of that. The Galaxy S8 relies on a smaller, 1/2.6" Sony IMX260 or Samsung S5K2L1 with 1.4 micron pixels and an f/1.7 lens on top. Both record 4K video, but the Galaxy also has optical image stabilization (OIS) that the Pixel lacks.

The camera apps on both phones are rather clean and simplistic, but we find the one on the Galaxy more intuitive and easier to use. The Pixel has different settings in different places, and it’s a bit hard to find what you are looking for, plus it requires a swipe and a few second pause to switch between photo and video mode, which is a bit annoying. The Pixel does not have a pro mode, nor can it save RAW files via the native camera app. The Galaxy S8, on the other hand, does have a Pro mode with manual control over things like white balance, ISO, shutter speeds, etc, and you can save RAW files from it. You can also select lower resolution and different aspect ratios for your images in the S8 camera.

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

Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy S8

Camera interface of the Google Pixel - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
Camera interface of the Google Pixel - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
Camera interface of the Google Pixel - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel
Camera interface of the Google Pixel - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Google Pixel

Camera interface of the Google Pixel

Image Quality


Specs aside, what people really care about is the end result: do the actual pictures look great? The answer is a resounding yes, for both phones. Just after looking through a few images, it was clear that the camera performance on both phones is top notch. But there are differences, and camera geeks will notice them.

Here is the trend that we see: the Galaxy S8 captures images with slightly less contrast than the Pixel, and that have a little added saturation boost. The Google Pixel, on the other hand, has a very natural look – its images have a bit higher dynamics and a slightly more engaging look. The Pixel has more noise as well, though, and detail was smudged towards the edges of the picture, while the S8 delivered impressively noise-free images that were equally sharp across the full frame.

Subjectively, the Pixel is still the camera to beat, with pictures that capture the eye more and have a little more depth to them, but the Galaxy S8 definitely gets very, very close in terms of image quality.

These are also two of the best front cameras around. Both feature a very similar viewing angle, that is neither too wide, nor too narrow, so that you can capture your selfies with just enough context about the place you visit, or with a group of people. The Galaxy S8 front cam now features auto focus and delivers pictures with a slightly blurred out background that makes your subject pop, while the Pixel has no background blur and everything on it looks a bit more flat. In terms of colors, the Galaxy tends to burn the highlights, while the Pixel does better with dynamics and delivers a more balanced picture. The Pixel is also the sharper of the two, and we mean sharp in a good, natural way.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 1.2
1.3
281
261
Google Pixel 1.1
1.8
No data
No data
View all

Video quality


Both the S8 and the Pixel support 4K video, with similar quality as in images: the S8 has a little less contrast and saturation, but it’s also a little bit brighter and better for low light shooting.

Video stabilization is a key aspect of hand-held smartphone videography, and both phones offer stabilization, but in a different way. The S8 features optical stabilization that contributes to more stable videos but also comes with a typical jello effect to videos that is particularly noticeable at the edges and overall the stability of the videos is decent, but not great. The Pixel does a much better job stabilizing shots despite its lack of OIS. It uses an electronic stabilization feature that crops a bit in the frame, but delivers very solid, natural looking stability to your footage.

On a positive note, focus is extremely fast and reliable on both phones. Both phones adjust to varying exposure with a smooth, gradual response which is nice. Overall, we would give the Pixel the slight edge in terms of video recording prowess, but again, the S8 is very close behind.



Sound quality


You have a single bottom-firing loudspeaker on both phones and both sound above the average for a phone. That is to say they are fairly clean and louder than many others, with more definition and fuller sound profile. That’s great news for those who watch a lot of video on Facebook and/or YouTube without bothering to put headphones on. Which one is better? It’s hard to pick, so let’s just say they are on par.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 0.75
Google Pixel 0.433
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 78
Google Pixel 77.2
View all


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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