So, you want the ultimate Android smartphone, a future-proof device with an exquisite build quality, the latest hardware specifications, and cutting-edge features? If that’s the case, “Samsung” used to be the default answer. But with the announcement of Google Pixel, a successor to the Nexus line of devices but made entirely by Google, things got a bit more complicated.
Google Pixel vs Galaxy S7
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This article is an epic face-off of two tech giants. In one corner, we have the creators of the Android operating system and technological trendsetters; in the other is Samsung, a company with an extensive portfolio of high-end Android smartphones and tablets under their belt.
Design and Build
With only minor differences in size and weight, both the Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S7 have all the hallmarks of flagship devices. Their shiny displays are protected using the Corning Gorilla Glass 4 technology, and their aluminum backs guarantee a sufficient level of durability.
The Galaxy S7 doesn’t depart far from the look Samsung has gotten known for over the years. The oval button located under the screen has several different functions, mainly serving as the home button. The back is glossy and has a unified finish that pleases the eye when clean and irritates one’s mind when it attracts fingerprints.
Google’s designers had a difficult task ahead of them: design a high-end smartphone that would bring something new to the table without resembling any of its competitors. They came up with a seamless glass-aluminum body with smooth surfaces and easy-to-grip curved edges. The bottom aluminum part has a small “G” logo on it, and the top glass panel houses a fingerprint sensor and a very special camera. But more on that later.
In terms of raw pixel density, the Galaxy S7 deals a crushing blow to the Pixel. Its Super AMOLED 5.1” capacitive touchscreen has 577 ppi pixel density (1440 x 2560 pixels), resulting in a remarkably clear, sharp, vivid image. The Pixel’s full HD resolution and 441 ppi pixel density is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, and some might even appreciate the 0.1” smaller screen size for more comfortable one-hand use.
The Google Pixel ships with the latest and greatest CPU from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 821. The processor is engineered to deliver a 10% performance increase over the Snapdragon 820, which is what the S7 ships within certain markets. However, the S7 is also available with Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 Octa processor, which delivers superior response times and multitasking experience, although the differences are only negligible and show up only in artificial tests and benchmarks that have nothing to do with the real-world experience.
Both devices have 4 GB RAM, so you won’t have to close your favorite mobile game just because your boss wants you to look a spreadsheet—the game will, instead, be patiently waiting in the background for you to start procrastinating again.
This is where things get a bit more interesting. The Galaxy S7 has a 12MP rear camera with Dual Pixel technology for remarkable low-light performance, sharp details, and snappy autofocus. Having a good deal of experience with previous devices from Samsung, we know that their products are often the default choice for avid Android mobile photographers.
The problem is that Google knows it too. The company was well-aware that the camera in the Pixel must be better than “great.” So, they created the highest-rated smartphone camera ever, scoring 89 out of 100 in DxOMark Mobile test. Mind you, that’s only a single point better than the S7, but there can be only one winner, can’t there? The Pixel’s 12.3MP sensor with f/2.0 Aperture takes striking pictures in any light and stores them in the unlimited cloud storage space provided by Google.
The Galaxy S7 has all the features that you would expect from a flagship device: a fingerprint sensor, fast battery charging, wireless charging, and even IP68 certification, making it dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 meters and 30 minutes. It supports Samsung’s wireless payment technology, Samsung Pay, and has a second SIM card slot, which can be used to extend the internal storage space with up to 256 GB microSD card.
So, why would one take a change with Google’s first own smartphone? Because it’s the first phone with the Google Assistant built in, and because it’s one of the first Daydream-Ready devices on the market. “Google Assistant is Google’s long-overdue response to Apple’s Siri virtual assistant,” describes the AI-backed digital assistant VentureBeat. Google has been investing huge sums of money in virtual reality, and Google Assistant is one of the first results of their efforts.
They have also been investing in virtual reality, creating Daydream, a spiritual successor to Google Cardboard. This time, however, Google wants to give us more than just a gimmicky glimpse of what the future could look like—they want to give us the future, and they want the Pixel, and other Daydream-Ready smartphones, to handle high computation needs of upcoming, immersive virtual reality apps. For just $79 more, your Pixel could transform into a personal cinema and put you at the center of the action with high-fidelity VR games.
Deciding which of the two smartphones is better based on specs alone would be splitting hairs. Both devices have ample processing power, excellent cameras, and top-of-the-line features. But what Google has is a vision of a much wider ecosystem that revolves around virtual reality and artificial intelligence. If their vision resonates with you, the Pixel is the better device for you. If you couldn’t care less about virtual reality and digital personal assistants, then decide based on your gut feeling.