Camera comparison: Google Pixel XL vs. Galaxy S7 edge

Though Google's new Pixel phones have seriously impressive imaging that put its previous Nexus phones to shame, we have to remember that before they arrived it was well-observed that Samsung led the pack with the camera on the Galaxy S7 edge (and of course Galaxy S7 and Note 7).

Now that we've had a Pixel for a little while, it was only natural to compare it head-to-head with the camera that is leading the pack among all Android phones. Here's how the camera experience on the Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 edge compare.

Performance and interface

Pixel XL (left) / Galaxy S7 edge (right)

Before you even get to looking at photo quality, it's important to have a camera that can open quickly, perform well and have an intuitive camera interface. Both phones have the speed part down, with a double press of the power button (Pixel XL) or home button (Galaxy S7 edge) taking you to the camera in about a second. Shot-to-shot performance is on par between the two, and extremely fast — even when shooting in HDR or taking burst shots. This is how every phone should perform.

Both UIs get the job done, but Samsung offers many more options.

Google's camera interface is still pretty simple. To many people that means it's lacking features, but it definitely hits on the points most people need. You can use tap to focus and now adjust exposure with a slide, as well as toggle on grid lines, switch between HDR modes and swap to the front camera with a double flick of your wrist. Google's implementation of switching to lens bur, slow-mo and panorama modes is super simple as well — I don't have any complaints there.

Samsung's main camera interface is just as simple as Google's, but wins hands-down when it comes to the ability to tweak your shots, offering a full Pro mode with complete manual control over the camera. That's a big differentiator for some who want to make changes to very specific parts of the camera or perhaps mount the phone to a tripod for interesting shots. Samsung also has a larger array of shooting modes available by default, with even more waiting to be downloaded — but nearly everyone will stick with the main modes in either camera.

Camera quality

Now let's look at the output. As I do with all of my camera comparisons, I keep things smple to help reflect how the cameras perform in the hands of the average user. I kept both the Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 edge with their respective "auto" HDR settings turned on — then I took out one, snapped a photo, took out the other, snapped a photo. No tripods or lighting or burst mode or editing; just the direct output from the camera as it shot it.

You'll also notice a variety of situations in the samples below; indoors, outdoors, dark, light, the whole spectrum. Here are my results, set side-by-side.

Pixel XL (left) / Galaxy S7 edge (right) — click images to view larger

In general, the Galaxy S7 edge still tends to take warmer and more saturated photos, which is something we've expressed in previous critiques of its camera and is just as apparent here next to the cooler, less-saturated and slightly more natural Pixel XL camera. The Galaxy S7 edge also tends to over-smooth certain parts of images, which comes across a bit more pleasing to the eye at a glance but isn't as impressive as the sharp lines the Pixel XL was able to produce. Most of the differences really aren't noticeable until you zoom way in on photos, though.

The biggest thing that stands out is how similar the photos are between the two.

When it comes to low-light performance, the Pixel XL seems to have jumped past the Galaxy S7 edge if only because of its consistency. The GS7 edge's tendency for warmer photos is more pronounced at night, and its smaller pixels don't take in as much light as the Pixel XL's, which leads to a bit more grain and chroma noise in really dark parts of photos. The Pixel XL isn't immune to grain and noise of its own, but the grain feels a bit more "natural" in these shots, rather than being over-processed and blotchy. Both phones were definitely still capable of taking a slightly blurry shot if you didn't keep your hands steady at night.

Across this variety of situations, the biggest thing that stands out to me is how similar the photos are between the Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 edge. I don't think there was a single photo I took in this comparison with either camera that wouldn't be considered a "good" (or better) photo if I had shown it to someone on its own. It's only when you start to set the photos side-by-side that you notice a few differences.

I'm personally a bigger fan of the way the Pixel XL tends to be a bit more natural, cooler and sharper, but the GS7 edge takes photos that are arguably more pleasing to the eye with their more-saturated and warmer colors. The only true "win" for the Pixel XL here is in its consistency of handling low-light photos with its HDR+ software ... everything else is basically a wash.

Bottom line

Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 edge

These are two expensive phones with impressive cameras worthy of the price, that much is clear. Both can launch the camera in the blink of an eye, take great photos in just about every situation and manage even the toughest scenes. They trade punches in certain areas of emphasis, but the end result in either one is a great photography experience.

Samsung has a slight advantage in terms of its camera interface when it comes to customizations, shooting modes and full manual controls. Google is catching up in this respect, and offers a slick experience for just about everyone — save for those who need those extra tweaks.

Each phone can take amazing photos, and you have to zoom in, analyze and nit-pick in order to find issues in either one. Google may have a slight advantage in its tendency to keep things looking more natural and sharper, but how much that matters is basically a personal preference at this point.

Both the Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 edge have fantastic cameras — you can't go wrong here.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Great comparison. Thanks. Happy the pixel phones have great cameras. That's the deciding factor for me. Looks like I'll be picking one up.
  • The s7 has the same camera as the s7edge.... and can be had for right at $500 (slightly less at Costco). You get the camera AND waterproofing with the S7....for much less.
  • Yeah pricing is kind of the Achilles heel for the pixel.
  • But, you get a newer chipset, newest Android for a few years, no bloat, unlocked, Android assistant, seamless updates, etc, etc, etc.
  • All depends on what you value in a smartphone. That differs by person.
  • Unlimited storage
  • VS SD Card.
  • So once you upload the picture or video in full resolution to photos, do they stay that way even if you do not have a pixel phone anymore if you sell it etc.
  • Google says they compress pics over 16 megapixels on the free tier. Since the pixel and s7 edge have 12 megapixel shooters, I'm guessing your s7 edge pics will be stored uncompressed.
  • Only for pictures and videos.
  • ...and no OIS with the Pixel.
    And that absolutely will affect image quality sharpness in low light.
  • Doesn't need it , get over it.
  • Yeah this is clearly proven in the reviews
  • Lol, read before you comment please
  • Yup. I've seen amazing low light pics from the pixel in some reviews, but they put the pixel on a tripod so it sat perfectly still. If you're just holding your phone in your hand in low light, the lack of physical OIS is going to severely degrade the photo quality.
  • I have the pixel xl and any movement at all and you have a crappy pic. It needs OIS seriously considering switching to the V20
  • Pixel got RAW mode? S7 definitely does.
  • And you get TouchWiz. Advantage Pixel.
  • This^^^
  • It's only an advantage if you don't like touchwizz and prefer pure android , not everyone likes pure android.
  • The Pixel is not pure Android. That's the whole point of the Pixel and what makes it different from a Nexus.
  • "Pure" Android is how Google defines it which is the Pixel today. #facepalm The Nexus line has ended so it's irrelevant now.
  • Pure Android was a boring os.
  • There's a large portion of Android consumers that don't like Samsung and could care less about the S7.
  • Not large enough to keep the S7 and S7 Edge from being the two best selling Android phones of the year
  • Well, the point of this thread isn't about "portion sizes of people" that like stuff.... even though Samsung sells tons more than almost any any phone..... it's about: Hey, if you aren't in the mood to drop $800 on a phone with almost no novel features, you can save a good bit of money with another phone (which actually has some advantages OVER that $800 phone).
    Speaking of weatherproofing: There is a youtube video in which a Pixel survives an extended soak in a bowl of water. Not bad.
  • And that is a good part of the reason after looking at both pixels i left the store mt handed, for sure these smart phones will appeal to some people, but for some some of us that already
  • Have flagship devices or even previous nexus models won't feel like buying the pixel devices.
  • I agree, I am no longer willing to drop that kind of money on a phone.
  • Water can be tricky stuff mate, he might well have gotten away with that, but there are times when water has a delayed effect ,
    as bloke that used to make living with gadgets and seals ,
    Personally I wouldn't be dunking the galaxy or the apple phone which have a higher water resistance rating.
  • loool!!!
    The majority of android consumers don't like stock android and could careless about Pixel or nexus.Could you remind me how many nexus were sold compared to Samsung androids smartphones like the S7? loooollll!!
  • "The majority of android consumers don't like stock android" That's quite a leap, the majority of customers love bloatware? Most Android customers go through carriers but the Nexus line was only available unlocked. I think the Pixel line will do quite well through Verizon and maybe the folks that are prisoners to there carriers will learn there's an alternative to bloat though Verizon may add some of there own
  • That's only in the US. Most outside are buying free of carriers. Guess what the percentage of 'google provided os update phones' vs samsung drops to there?
  • Not to mention either S7's SD card which is a definate plus if you're going to taking many pictures
  • I'm willing to spend a bit more to not have TouchWiz, slow updates, and bloat-ware. This is one case where less is definitely more.
  • What's so sad is the note 7 took better pics due to updated software
  • Hoping Samsung ports those features over to the S7 Edge I traded the BEST DARN PHONE EVER for.
  • I'm shocked how well the Pixel handles photography. When I watched the keynote, I was almost sure Google over estimated the camera. Now, I think they underestimated it...
  • In my opinion big difference between Pixel and 5X/6P camera is the general camera speed. Quality of the 2015 Nexus and 2016 Pixels are pretty much the same.But, as I said, the Experience, is the big difference between both cameras.
    Now in the quality, Pixel could have a bit more detail than the 6P/5X camera, specially when you see a photo of a city landscape with many details at far distance
  • I had a 5x and now an S7. Lag is only the beginning of the camera differences. In my experience the quality of photos all around were not comparable. It was immediately apparent from day 1 with my S7. I remember thinking, I can't believe how good these photos look. If the Pixel is neck to neck with an S7, then I can't see how the Pixel camera is comparable to a 5x in terms of quality. But then again, I'm basing that on my personal experience by owning both phones. Are you basing yours on your experiences with these devices?
  • The S7 camera is much faster but that's where it stops, for me anyways. The s7 sharpening and noise reduction is way over done, looks very muddy when you crop.
  • Maybe my experience is from the sharper amoled screen on the S7? I rarely view my photos outside of my device.
  • Pro mode.
  • The speed is absolutely the biggest part of it, but the processing is definitely better in terms of consistency. I was able to take some great pictures with the Nexus 6P, but it wasn't the same high quality on every shot in the same way the Pixel XL is.
  • Good job Google.
  • The Nexus 6p was the start of a good camera for Google, now it's official with the Pixel the camera can best the competition or just as good.
  • Glad the Pixels have good cameras because the phone itself is UGLY. I don't care for those huge bezels.
  • The bezels are a non-factor and I have the white front. In fact, I prefer it over when holding the phone in landscape. But seriously, dont let it be the only reason preventing you from picking up this phone.
  • Can't remember the last time I held a phone in landscape mode. For me the bezels are a huge deterrent. I don't want a phone that looks like it was made 4 years ago no matter what it can do.
  • ^^^This The design of the Pixel has deflated almost all of my interest in the phone despite all the great things it has to offer. So dissapointed. If I wanted a phone with a 3 year old, outdated design, I'd get an iPhone.
  • Can't remember the last time I didn't hold in landscape.
  • Yea umm you ever watch anything on your phone or view a picture? These guys, amiright? How do you not end up in landscape.
  • Strange, as popular youtuber, SuperSaf, found that the Galaxy S7 handily outclassed the Pixel in low light. It all depends on how people use it I guess.
  • Look at the pic of the clock in the subway (in this article); as far as low light photography goes, the Pixel wiped the floor with the GS7 there. But yeah, that's just one example. Still, lends a bit of weight to the argument that the Pixel outclasses Sammy's best in low light conditions. Pokegate: 07/14/16 - Never Forget...
  • Then again, take the Pixel outdoors in low light and see sharpness drop off because it doesn't have OIS.
  • So what's Samsung's excuse? This OIS thing is getting old. Google found a work around and works. All that matters.
  • I've never found OIS to make any appreciable difference (in phones anyway). It looks like Google worked it so they got the ISO, noise reduction, and shutter speed combo just right consistently.
  • Sorry, but the laws of physics prevent any 'workaround' for OIS in low light.
  • Not sure you understand physics then.
  • There is no getting around it. Especially with video (at night, the digital stabilization looks horrid, like a bad warp stabilizer plugin in Premiere or something.)
  • Agreed. How do they not include it? It seems negligent.
  • This is why it's good to read multiple reviews and look at as many camera comparisons as you can. Take it all in then make your decision.
  • I could take any two phones and create an outcome I wanted. Not saying the YouTube did that, but would trust AC more. And you know AC loves Samsung.
  • I'd love it if the Samsung OS offered a way to reduce the candy-land colors and over-sharpening. Just give us the flat reality of the shot and an option to make the shot "pop!" if we want.
  • Pro mode
  • Exactly. That's very basic in the Samsung phones. Pro mode allows for complete control of saturation and image control then edit RAW if you want to go further..
  • He probably had HDR+ disabled, this can make a huge difference. With HDR+ enabled you can have enormous boost in noise performance.
  • Great shots from both. I personally think the pixel performed better in the majority of the shots. Well done Google.
  • I used a Pixel XL for the first time today and the camera truly is awesome! Great in hand feel aswell and build quality. The front does look a bit like an iPhone but it really is very nice. Can't wait for my upgrade in Jan!
  • Glad it has a good camera. It'll just push Samsung that much harder for the S8. I think next year is gonna be a good year for phones. Interested to see what the Pixel 2 brings. I'm guessing they'll improve the design and add waterproofing.
  • This is what we should all be thinking. Rather than getting into measuring matches over who's phone is better, we should hope the competition does better than what we like, because it makes everyone step up their game.
  • The Pixel looks better in most pictures to me. Good job Google
  • Yeah, I'm a fan of its pictures, really like how they turned out.
    This is making me so tempted to have a Pixel.
  • i own S7 EDGE and galaxy s7 edge camera way better , look on the photo with Yellow flowers . s7 edge picture more clear!
  • It's almost like you might be a bit biased towards the phone you own.
  • True of about 98 percent of posters
  • True that. My parents have the GS7 and GS7E, both great phones. Something I've started to realize is it's very easy to post pictures or videos that show a certain phone excelling in a certain situation. As far as the camera goes I think anyone who says any phone is the clear winner is just deluding themselves.
  • Exactly. When you have to nitpick to declare a winner, that's a compliment to both cameras. I mean, we already knew the S7 was an excellent camera, so this is more about how the Pixel stacks up.
  • ok...yes, I've heard of that, but didn't know it allowed you to skip the pre-processing done to the photo. I do not have an S7. I require the stylus, so hoping to see Samsung do a quick turn around with a new Note in the spring. Either that, or create an phone that will accept a stylus similar to the note.
  • In fact, the example to which You're speaking of the yellow flowers, the Pixel actually blows the sgs7 away. Look at the full photo and the loss of detail with the SGS7. It actually blows out the yellow pedals whereas the pixel maintains the texture. There's no picture here where the SGS7 is the clear winner!
  • Agreed the over saturation of the leaves reduces detail. Pixel in my opinion is better. Mine came yesterday and I'm truly amazed.. and they haven't event began to compare the 4k video. The stabilization is insane, I didn't realize EIS could be so good
  • Too bad most people will never get a chance to experience the great camera on the pixel because the only carrier that sells it is Verizon. And oh yea, that chin though!
  • Ever hear of the Google Play Store and Financing?
  • No wifi calling or volte on att
  • Yea, I am considering Google Fi for this reason and to save a few bucks. I don't use data or travel like I used too so it should be a great switch for me.
  • Ever hear of 29% interest through the Play Store?
  • No I haven't. I have great credit. I believe if the payments are spread over 24 months in equal payments interest is zero.
  • That's not too bad then, if you (general you) can pay it off in time.
  • ...whoa seriously? OMG, I didn't know it was that high. I'm wondering if you can avoid it sooner.
  • Um, if you pay it off in 2 years, the interest is 0%. It's almost as if LegalAmerican somehow skipped the entire body of text and went to the very last line
    "* Google Store Financing is a credit card account issued and serviced solely by Synchrony Bank and can be used only for purchases at Credit card application decisions are made solely by Synchrony Bank. This offer is subject to credit approval. This purchase (and all other items purchased in the same sales transaction) qualifies for a 24 month equal pay financing offer with 0% APR. 24 monthly payments required. No interest will be charged on the total promotional purchase (including shipping and handling and taxes) and equal monthly payments are required equal to the total promotional purchase (including shipping and handling and taxes) divided by 24 until paid in full. The equal monthly payment will be rounded to the whole cent and may be higher or lower than the minimum payment that would be required if the purchase was a non-promotional purchase. The monthly payment shown on this purchase is equal to the purchase price (excluding taxes and shipping) divided by 24, rounded to the whole cent and only applies with the use of a Google Store Financing credit card account. If you make your payments by the due date each month, the monthly payment shown (adjusted for taxes, shipping and any other items purchased in the same sales transaction) should allow you to pay off this purchase within 24 months if this balance is the only balance on your account during that time period. If you have other balances on your account, this monthly payment will be added to the monthly payment applicable to those balances. Regular account terms apply to non-promotional purchases. For new accounts: Standard purchase APR is 29.99%. Minimum interest charge is $2.00. APR is accurate as of 10/04/16."
  • Maybe you should work on your credit and quit worrying about buying phones.
  • Lol, yea it's 0% if you pay off in 24 months same as carriers
  • Dang. Way harsh dude. Isn't this suppose to be fun?
  • Nothing about the AF speed in photo and video mode and different lighting conditions?
  • Looks like they're now able to compete with the big leagues. Great job, Google.
  • Android win, we need more phones with great cameras, features etc...
    It'll only improve Android strength
  • I agree. Excellence in camera performance & photo quality should be standard in all Android phones. It should never be the variable differentiator between handsets.
  • So the lack of OIS on the pixel doesn't make it harder to take good pictures at night?
  • Hasn't been an issue at all for me. Both phones can definitely take blurry shots at night if you're not stable, but the Pixel was no more susceptible to blur than the GS7 edge was.
  • This is surprising. Did the Pixel seem to favor a faster shutter speed in your experience? I wonder what the shutter speed threshold is before lack of OIS starts to become a problem. Incidentally, I'd be interested to see more articles that explore things like that. I'd like to think AC readers are a step above "leave on auto all the time and press the button."
  • Andrew, is this because it's not completely EIS? Isn't the gyroscope used instead of a separate OIS component? I thought that's how Jerry explained it at some point.
  • Only for video.
  • Interesting. This has not been the results of some other reviewers. Perhaps you should consider moonlighting as a sniper (super steady hands) lol
  • Congrats and great job Google. No more have to buy high end galaxy phones just because they have great camera anymore. Thank God.
  • That is the only reason you bought Samsung, because of a camera? To each their own but that was never number one on my list.
  • That is one of the main reasons I stuck with Samsung actually. Not the only reason, but I use the camera on my phone all the time so it's a pretty important feature.
  • Fair enough
  • LG's G3 and G4 (plus V10) also had pretty darn good cameras - so there was no reason to "have to buy" a Galaxy. Even now I'm seeing some reviews saying that the V20 can hold it's own with the S7, and occasionally outdo it. That said, the S7 is supposed to be a quicker camera and better for those "point and shoot" moments. And before you accuse me of being a brain dead LG fan - I own an S7 Edge at the moment, (the G5 was just too awful)
  • both are high end ....
  • Too bad I can't buy one. It sucks that they went out of stock that quickly. I just sit on the waiting list but who knows when I'll be able to order one.
  • I went into my local EE shop in the UK yesterday. I was the only person in the shop looking at the Pixel phones. Everyone else was either round the iPhones or the Samsung phones.
  • Yeah i see little adverts on the London underground i really thought I would see a big push from Google in advertising. I will be going to their pop up store in Tottenham Court Road to check them out.
  • Quick crosswhite17 - maybe if everyone is ignoring the Pixel's you'll have a stronger argument to get a discount! rofl.
    Just don't try that with CPW though - as you'll not be popular, (or be ignored like I get most times I try and buy anything from my local CPW, but then again that's because they're too concerned with gossip than serving customers).
  • why you didn't check which one is faster getting on focus? With the Galaxy S7 edge you get a
    Beautiful phone
    Sd card slot
    Better Water resistant
    Rapid charge also wireless
    Battery that works full day
  • It's simple really, they're not targeting those people that want that stuff.
  • Yea... I'm not sure why lol keep comparing in that way... This phone is awesome
  • This comment becomes funny when you actually read everything on that list lol
  • Don't forget slow, out of date software!
  • I have the XL, heavy use I go from 8 am to 10 pm and have 30% left. Also, beauty is a personal preference.
  • Which phone takes better pictures
    when you're in the rain? Pixel or S7 edge? (trick question)
  • Pixel, under water no.
  • I'm not worried about using the Pixel in the rain.
  • Pixel
  • Good review. Seems like Pixel is the only 2016 phone that can beat S7's camera. Samples show that Pixel's camera doesn't oversaturate like S7's. Same goes with warm tones(in s7) and exposure. I know a lot of people would like the colors from S7's pictures, but i'm one of those few who love to see natural colors in a picture.
  • If you like natural colors, iPhone beats them both.
  • Have used S7 edge, Note 7, iPhone 7 plus and just got Pixel. Liking Pixel the best followed by Samsung camera over iPhone. The 2x zoom on the iPhone 7 plus is cool though, fun to use and works great.
  • What are you smoking? I've tried two ip7+ in the Apple store and took pictures of the display table and they come out with a greyish tone added in. First one I thought it was a bad unit. Second time I knew the camera was bad at color in some scenarios.
  • Not always. iPhone often produces an unnatural green or yellow tint, and sometimes it's greatly under-saturated. Recall the blind picture test done on AC... The reviewer said in some cases his face looked 'ashen' because it was so lacking in color in iPhone 7 shots. He insisted that he was not a zombie and that his face actually had color lol
  • Seriously dude - you come on an Android website and go all iFan? (wall-bash-time). Actually I've seen a lot of reviews saying that while the iPhone produces better consistency of shots when you just go-auto-mode, the Pixel and S7's (and even G4) can actually produce better images if you take a bit more care. Samsung's consistently been hit for cartoony colors, heck that's one of the reasons I went LG G3 rather than S4/S5. And my kids G4 can sometimes outpoint her dad's S7.
  • The quality of the images in the Pixel are... "Realistic" 11/10
  • More photos???
  • Great comparison, even though I don't agree with your comments. Those two smartphones seem to take almost the same pictures in auto mode (the similarity is impressive), but the S7 offers many more settings, modes and options, which enable it to outclass the Pixel for someone who knows how to use it. In SupersafTV's comparison, the S7 was vastly superior, in low light.
  • Well for the price it better be up there in terms of camera performance. This isn't a $400 phone anymore, those shortcomings from previous nexus devices are unacceptable with the flagship type pricing. Good to see Google stepping their camera game up.
  • Something even more impressive about this pixel phone is.... taking pictures in low light with a flash.. Insane how superior it is to the Iphone 7 Plus and S7....Google these type reviews. This picture shows know sign of a flash it looks like an insane low light shot by a DSLR
  • Very small sample. Is there a set of DSLR reference images available?
  • No, because nobody legitimately thinks the Pixel XL and GS7 edge can outdo a professional DSLR. They want to know which of these two phones takes better photos, not how well they stand up to a DSLR.
  • +1000000000000000
  • I think it's less about how they stack up to a DSLR camera, but more about having a reference to judge which comes closest to the reference. Say the DSLR shows the reds in a picture a certain way, which phone comes closest to that? So it's more about seeing how accurate they are rather than if they can beat or come close to a DSLR.
  • Exactly this. The comparison to a picture that is as true to life is absolutely necessary to say which colors are accurate or not.
  • Exactly! In the blind shootout that they recently did it's impossible to pick which picture looks most like the original scene that they shot because we weren't there, and don't have an accurate reference to go by. So the best we can do is pick which picture we like the best (which is not the same thing).
  • There are videos or there though, that do compare phones to DSLR cameras. Here is one from fstoppers:
  • Thanks - that was an informative comparison, and I'll have to check them out in the future. Unfortunately that's not what I'm asking for - I'm asking for a photo shootout that uses a DSLR as the 'gold standard' (reference) and then the various phones showing what they bring to the table. It's only then that you can tell which phone is oversaturated, grainy, etc. Because only the person who took the original pictures really knows exactly what the scenes looked like unless you have a reference to go by.
  • I actually did a set of comparison photos and posted a few of them here : I also did the same photos with a DSLR as a reference although I didn't post them for the same reason Andrew just said. However, I did notice that, using the DSLR as a reference, in most of the pictures the pixel was closest, edged out by the iPhone 7 in a few, and mostly only in color accuracy/white balance.
  • I cannot get over just how great the camera on this phone is. Easily takes better pictures than my S6 and is so damn fast. My favorite part is I don't have to fiddle with settings to get an amazing picture, point, shoot, and move on. I could usually get good lowlight shots with my S6 but I had to click it over to manual and fiddle around with settings, no longer.
  • Very impressive, the pixel has covered all the essential parts of a desirable phone. I guess the only two things that are annoying are the price tag and the lack of original design. This is a great entry for Google, can't wait to see this flagship evolve over the years.
  • Just looking at these shots, and then checking out which phone took what, the Pixel wins out to me. Only 2 of the GS7 shots were better. Wow.
  • Good to know... I have even less reason to overpay for a pixel, confirms my plans to keep my unlocked GS7 Edge for another year.
  • Wow. I like Pixel so much better.
    Clear pics with natural colors is all I need.
  • The butthurt in Sammy hardcore fanboys is always entertaining... "the pixel camera quality sucks, because the phone isn't waterproof" I have neither of these phones, and agree the pixel photos are excellent. I'm glad the pixel is as good or better in a lot of the photos...pretty sure competition will inspire progress and innovation here.
  • Yep, competition is always good. Things will only be better next year.
  • The fact that the S7 which is already over half a year old is on par with a brand new phone means the S8's camera is probably going to be pretty hard to beat next year.
  • And again the next year Pixel will beat or match it, cycle repeats.
  • The Pixel will never truly beat the Galaxy camera until they introduce a Pro mode where you can capture RAW, and manually adjust for ISO / Shutter Speed. Next year should be quite exciting for smartphone cameras, with the hotly anticipated iPhone 10th anniversary model, Galaxy S8, and Pixel 2.
  • There's a app for that
  • I will never understand why people get overly sensitive over a PHONE
  • Some people identify entirely too strongly with their phones, so they take any possibly negative criticism of their phone as a criticism of their person. I know. It's weird.
  • It happens with most anything you buy or even the shows you watch. Cars are a great example. The Ford and Chevy guys have been arguing since the companies were founded over a century ago.
  • Personally as long as I'm happy with the product I purchase others opinions are irrelevant to me.
  • That's how it should be, and that's how it is outside the phone nerd world.
  • Like I said above, this isn't limited to phone nerds. Ford vs Chevy vs Mopar, Marvel vs DC, Yankees vs Red Sox, Lamborghini vs Ferrari, Lincoln Electric vs Miller Welding, Coke vs Pepsi, Mac vs PC, etc, etc, etc. There is no end to things people go fanboy over, qnd in pretty much every case the companies involved like it because it will most likely net them or their competition more money.
  • Right. But most people do not care. Otherwise how do you explain the blind Apple devotion?
  • I'm one of those people that don't care. I don't get over sensitive over material things or even my sports teams. I care about the revelant things in life like my girlfriend, friends and family. If people have negative things to say about the important people in your life then I understand getting sensitive about that. But I was speaking solely about phones. To get sensitive when someone has something negative to say about such a irrelevant thing like a phone is really very sad.
  • Do you guys even use the AC app? Everyone of these articles tell you which phone took which picture and they're called out as left and right but the app puts one beneath the other leaving you to guess.
  • The top picture equates to the left photo in the app.
  • Thanks for the help.
  • I'm not interested in either phone right at the moment but if I had to select one because of the pictures they take I'd go with the Pixel. I like them much better. I am very familiar with some of the locations and the Pixel rendered a more life like quality.
  • Samsung has big advantage because it has OIS which is a crucial feature in smartphone camera (which usually operates with small sensor and not so much light). OIS means longer exposure in low light which means lower ISO which means less noise.
  • Pictures say otherwise
  • This is physics, and there's only 1 low light photo here to compare. And the Pixel won't compensate shaking hands.
  • Don't know what to tell you. There are comparisons all over the Internet. Pixel holds its own. I would still buy the phone if it didn't come with a camera. If you have a Samsung great, enjoy.
  • I call BS on you buying a $800 phone with no camera. You can't be serious.
  • Lol. Probably not, but even if the camera was middle of the pack I would. Camera is never number one factor in my decision. OS and overall experience is. If camera is great, fine, icing on the cake. You called my bluff.
  • Pixes uses the EIS perfectly in video mode but it is useless in photo mode. But still - it takes good quality pictures, it's true, I just think it could be even better with OIS. And I'm rather HTC fan.
  • Maybe, but good point.
  • tom5: The iPixel suffers of the same problem as the Sony Xperia line. Xperia phones also have great EIS for video (Sony's SteadyShot which I wouldn't be surprised if it was what is being used by Google considering Sony already provided the sensor for the iPixels).
    However, when you turn over to pictures (which is what most people use their phones for), EIS is always terrible because you have to capture a single frame. EIS works on video as there's a constant rate of frames being captured that the phone can use to read the image and stabilise it. On a photograph there's no such thing. It's that one frame and that's it.
    And while in daylight you might get away with it (as the iPixel does), when you turn to low light, the all camera falls apart. The shutter speed has to be slower to take in more light and as the lens has no stabilisation, the slightest of shakes will ruin the sharpness and clarity of the photo. And if you don't provide a full manual control option - as the iPixels don't (and neither does the Xperia line, actually) - the lack of hardware can't be compensated with software tricks (like playing with shutter speed and ISO values). If the iPixels were Nexus-priced phones, this wouldn't be a problem.
    But when you ask for 800€ to 1000€ for a phone as Google is doing with the iPixels (again, convinced they are Apple), you better throw everything AND the kitchen sink into the phone.
    And in 2016, launching a flagship without OIS - when even Apple, who's always late for everything has already added it - is a major sin which can NOT be overlook. (And neither can the lack of waterproofing, expandable storage, wireless charging etc. But for now I'm just talking camera here.)
  • Woooowwww... Nexus/Pixel fanboy much?
  • There are ways to compensate for this, I'll take results over internet experts any day.
  • Have you seen the videos? The EIS on the Pixel is just as good, no it's better than OIS
  • EIS IS INSANELY GOOD! So good makes videos almost look fake because you want to anticipate the shaking and it's just not there
  • it seems both are similar. there is a little bit difference . pixel shows a little bit sharpeness
  • Honestly, both cameras can take awesome pictures. There's no reason to criticize either phone. This is a win for everyone.
  • True, except HTC.
  • Do you think HTC is making the phones for free?
  • Lol stop with this already, Google made an agreement with HTC and they are paying them to make this phones. In a way of pixel is successful it's guaranteed revenue for HTC to make the phones without having to worry about the software, marketing etc. The way their phones are selling this will definitely help them.
  • I disagree. This money from Google will only be a life raft to keep them afloat. It will keep them alive, but won't help them grow or get out of the position they're in right now. What they need is a better way of marketing their phones and actual sales.
  • Very impressed with the Pixel camera.
  • So far the pixel phones look like winners
  • Great job. They weren't kidding when they said the Pixel had a good camera.
  • I read this article only for reference. Because over 75% of world population would never be able to buy Pixel phones without importing. And the final price will absolutely waaay above S7 edge. Maybe still over S8 tomorrow, who knows ?
  • I guess if you are in mainland/Red China, you are in the only place where these phones aren't imported?
  • What would be more interesting is comparing RAW quality between the 2 cameras.
  • I think the S6 I had before I swapped it for the S7 takes better photos than these two
  • The S6 had higher megapixels. It was unfortunate that Samsung downgraded the S7 camera.
  • The S6 also took crappy low light photos.
  • My old S6 edge plus took similar night but superior day photos. My 7 edge takes great night photos and that is what most phones are being optimised for these days because of the number of people taking the majority of their photos in darker situations as well as enhancing the quality of the "selfie" cam. Not my preference though as I would take the 6edge plus cam over either of these. I don't take many photos at night or in bars with my phone. I do use pro mode so I have never had any issue with image saturation, exposure or focus which I have 100 % control of in my 7 edge
  • I think it's very good that a phone like the edge that's 8 mos. old can still compete with newest release's. Go's to show how good the edge really is! I really don't care what anybody says my vote goes to the edge for the best phone of 2016!!
  • I think so too mate , from where i sit there is not a lot of difference in the cameras on the S7/Edge and pixel devices , they are both very good , but to me it is the whole package of features and the device , clearly the S7 edge has lots going for it and imo the Pixels come up short , being fast and having a good camera is just not enough .
    when i was in store looking at pixels trying weigh up what was better with the pixel devices over my 64 gb 6p or LG G5 , in some ways it actually looked like the pixels where a downgrade from my perspective , and i`ll say it again , thats why i left the shop mt handed ..
  • Let's see a moon test..... it is so tough for any smart phone to get a good picture of the moon at night. Any phone which can do this easily will have leaped to the head of the pack.
  • How many HDR+ shots and how many 4k minutes can a Pixel do with a full battery? What about the Pixel XL?
    I have a 6p and notice a very high battery impact recording 4k video with cinema FV-5 ( that I use to adjust exposure during video) so in the case of the Pixel maybe the extra screen resolution of the XL will also draw more power from battery, nor sure how it would compare...
  • Pixel wins. But both phones don't offer 16hours SOT as my moto z play :(
  • Love those HUGE bezels of the Pixel, very old school. Looks like my old BlackBerry Z10
  • I do like the colors of the Pixel better. If there's one thing I could change on my S7 Active camera, it would be less saturation/more natural color. Isn't that just in the post-processing and, if so, why don't they allow you to tweak that?
  • Pro mode
  • The note 7 was a huge improvments on s7 edge....down to software......
  • All the low light pictures I've seen taken by the iPixels are an absolute disaster of grain and blur. Proving one again any phone with a camera without OIS is not worthy of a flagship price. The lack of manual controls on the iPixel just make matters worse, with photos invariably washed out without salvation. Its photos are on the Xperia level, as expected. Nowhere near S7 quality.
  • I'm not sure what pics you are talking about. Whatever, pics are seen differently by people. Some just want to bad mouth just for the hell of it.
  • Some, like me, pointed out exactly the problems with the iPixel cameras. But others, like you, are too dumb to understand the written word. That's your problem though, not mine. Get an education, it will help a lot.
  • No, you have never said one positive thing about the Nexus line and now the Pixel. You do not like them I get it . This is all your opinion but you are trying to pass it off as fact. iPixel , whatever, grow up.
  • Eat some carrots.
  • I just canceled my order for the pixel the price is crazy and they only give you two options 32 and 128 what happen to 64gb at least I'll be getting the v20 try somthing different
  • I'm pretty particular about color casts in photos and I didn't notice a material difference between the two phones. Without the benefit of a side by side comparison, I think it's fair to say the shooters on these devices will make both sets of owners happy. S7 Edge here.
  • I watched several good youtube reviews on this and clearly S7 wins on rear camera video quality and low light shots. EIS is no match for OIS in low light. Also auto focus on far object was faster on S7 because laser focus can't work well for far objects as duel pixel focus. The only thing going for Pixel is front facing camera quality and a little better dynamic range.
  • do comparison for the front facing camera....for selfie lovers
  • I still prefer Samsung's use of color and saturation.
  • Pixel white balance looks the worst I've seen it so far in these samples.
  • Depending on scene I go back and forth as to which is better, and a few images are so close in appearance might as well toss a coin.
  • These reviews provide a positive result. All new flag ship phones take great and similar photos in auto mode which is how most people use their phones. When in pro-mode, the results are different. Each phone will again have advantages. The 7edge saturation/white balance/colour temp/shutter speed and focus are 100 user controlable and in use you can set profiles so that you can effectively use pro mode with the speed of "auto" which keeps it from being fidely.
  • I have the GS7E and I'm pretty happy with it. Is it perfect? No! I could do without the curved edges, Touchwiz interface, and some of the bloat. I use a different launcher, of course and have disabled most of the unnecessary apps, but the rest of the interface still is 'Samsungized'. Still, the one thing I'm not going to complain about is the camera. In most situations it's just brilliant! Not perfect, but for something included with my phone it's great. The Pixel sounds attractive, but I don't consider it to be enough of an upgrade to actually switch for the near future. Maybe by the time the Pixel 2.0 comes out I will be ready. Until then my GS7E suits me fine.
  • I try to understand when people speak of bloat.. I turn on my phone, fonger print unlocks, I open an application using a short cut or voice. It opens. I double click on the power button take a photo with the button or volume button or voice if I want no shake from pressing anything. I listen to music and play a game using the game launcher.. I have 64 gig card and 32 internal. My 7 edge has not lagged or stuttered since I swapped from 6edge plus/note 4 . Updates regular (but im not bothered by this as the phone works fine as is/was). would have loved the Note 5 but alas I'm in Europe. I played with a pixel yesterday. Pretty cool but feels in use exactly the same as all the other flag ship phones (minus water proofing and wireless charging) but with a massive price jump. I suppose if a feature is not baked into the os people will call it bloat until it's adopted by all.
    For me implementation is key and it all works fine. Themes and good old launchers are here but i guess if people don't like customised phones..
  • Ditto......Don't stress...what people mean by bloat is functions....
  • Indeed
  • As far as I'm concerned, there are two types of bloat:
    1) Manufacturer bloat - Stuff I don't use, but cannot remove. Some of this I can remove, of course. Some of it I cannot remove. Samsung Pay, Gear VR, etc. I know it's nice for people who use these services, but I don't and I'd like to be able to remove them. 2) Carrier bloat - You may not have this in Europe, but my phone is saddled with a bunch of useless apps from AT&T. Does this affect the performance of the phone? Most of the time, no! The one point at which I see stuttering without fail is when I open the 'apps list' in Settings. It always takes a few moments to scroll smoothly then. Is this caused by the 'bloat'? I don't know, but it seems unnecessary.
  • Still disappointed that the Pixel doesn't give you manual controls for the camera...
  • Pixel camera probably aimed at those looking for a point and shoot solution more than control. Like the iPhone crowd who value simple one press solutions above the control afforded to a Pro-mode like Samsung phones. If you want control like on that then you can still install camera apps.
  • I had originally nexus app hasn't changed...
  • According to google you can access the raw image taken with the pixel using snapseed to edit it and save. Am waiting to actually see if this is true.
  • I have to say that I prefer the pics taken by the Pixel. But the camera is not why I buy a phone. My Note 4 takes fantastic pics but I bought it mainly for the size as I have very large hands and the size of the screen is easier for my aging eyes. Plus I like the stylus. If my Note 4 dies in the near future, knock wood, I think the Pixel XL would be replacement contender.
  • The fact that I can't see any difference in any of the photos speaks volumes for what Google has done for the camera.
  • Strange question.
    Does anyone know how loud either the G7Edge or the Pixel are.
    I went from a Galaxy S5 to the Note7 and the Note 7 was noticeably lower when I connected it to the audio jack in my car than the S5 was.
    Not a big deal to most but it bugged me.
  • Meh, still waiting on the V20 vs S7 Edge comparo.
  • My V20 arrives on the 27th. I'll update with thoughts when I have it.
  • Can someone please explain whether lack of OIS on the pixel will degrade a real life photo taking experience? My gut is yes, but am I mistaken?
  • As a point and shoot in normal conditions it will be fine. It would not degrade but that is very relative depending on what you are used to regarding customisation during photo taking on what you have right now. If you were used to simply pointing and shooting and being happy with the result that the automatic mode gives you on your normal phone then this will be exactly the same. If you own a phone with manual controls and you like to have control over Focus and saturation along with colour temperature then this will be the degradation of your normal experience.
    The pictures the flag ships take these days are all good in a very basic way. It is more about how much control you exercise over your photography using your phone than anything else. Understanding how digital and optical stabilisation works is very important before making judgements either way. Even with the best digital stabilization you are naturally losing pixels in which direction the stabilization is working since you will have to crop inevitably. But you will not see this on a smartphone screen but you will when you start a print and expand images larger this is why on Pro cameras the stabilization and zooming is usually on the lens. This way there is no cropping on the image sensor level. So if you never blow up or print your pictures, digital stabilization will not affect your experience. On any computer screen or any phone I'll Instagram Facebook etc, you will never notice the difference. My opinion is just an opinion but my experience is in working with both manual film and digital SLR'S (my work cams being canon, nikon fuji and hasselblad systems) for a few years of digital image manipulation and clean up in few past studio jobs. Plus I'm a bit little bit of a phone geek as well.
  • Thanks, Anthony. I appreciate your thoughts. I do like to mess around with manual controls. OIS is a must for me, I guess.
  • You are welcome Zbomz. If you find a phone with hardware you like there are apps like "manual camera" (available in the Google play store) that will be the next best alternative.
  • Just remember that not all phones are exposing camera controls such as shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation. You can check this with the free Manual Camera Compatibility app. Unfortunately this app doesn't check if the phone offer control over post processing (noise reduction and sharpening).
  • "just the direct output from the camera as it shot it"
    Really? I downloaded one of the photos and it's only 2MP in size. Did you shoot with the camera set to this resolution or did you resize after downloading the photos from the phones?
  • Hm. Interesting.
  • Their server compresses it IIRC.
  • I am somewhat disappointed with reviews such as this even though I understand why they exist. When I joined Android Central, I did so in the expectation that I would learn how to maximize the use of Android; sort of a "Android Tips and Tricks." I am really happy with my phone (Blackberry Priv) and do not see any reason to change. Camera? I have a camera to do that when I travel. I am usually far too busy to even think about using the phone as a camera. Also, I never watch movies or listen to music on my phone. I do read the Washington Post and BBC News. No insult to those who enjoy these articles.
  • Some people are obsessed with cameras on phones it's got be able to take pictures in pitch black, in outerspace, under water and have x-ray capabilities. It's got to have an f2.2 or f2.1 or f1.9 EIS, OIS, laser autofocus, blah blah blah. I have no idea what those things mean. Everyone is now some kind of camera expert or at least they think they are. And what do people do with this great technology? They take pictures of their food and the their private parts and just about everything else on the planet.
  • Hehehe :-) awesome
  • So busy. So so busy. Joining (we joined?) Android Central does not mean you have to read all of the articles. The team won't send round the heavies if you fail to have time to catch up with everything. And you can save even more time by not posting comments to articles you are not interested in. Hey, with insights like that I could be a management consultant.
  • Comparing those shots makes me miss film, every digital camera produces a different picture. The S7 shots are darker and the colors are different. If you added a third or fourth camera it would produce different results. It's really annoying. Why is it so difficult to just reproduce what it there? Instead everything has to be processed to death.
  • Until I see photos of a sample pics of a toddler doing even the most mundane tasks at Toddler-speed, I don't take any of these comparisons seriously. It really isn't hard to take a great looking photo of a plant, sign, or building with any almost any modern smartphone that has HDR. But try snapping a picture of moving target in various levels of light a day show me those results. My old Galaxy S6 took pretty impressive photos of my 2-year-old. She's now 4 and my Nexus 6p Is blur-city. The AUTO-HDR mode is virtually useless when snapping pics of her or anything even slightly moving . The S6 was better at snapping enter pics in these situations.
  • Turn HDR off for 6P. That 810 and Google's pre-Pixel camera software are crap.
  • Other than the night time shot , pixel looks better IMO. headphones are about the same.
  • I would be interested in seeing a similar writeup for the Galaxy S7 vs. the Google Pixel. Is that in the works?
  • It's the same camera hardware between the S7 & S7 Edge, and Pixel & Pixel XL. Another write-up would be pointless.
  • S7 have the better camera..
  • Note 7 was a lot better
  • It's puzzling how AC seems to be touting the Pixel as "the best Android Phone" and (except for Russell’s recent article) seems to be glossing over so many mediocre aspects of it --including wireless charging, a marginal battery, weak shock/water protection, and yes, a nice, but not so special camera. In this article, for example, Andrew glosses over at least one major difference in Cameras: The Pixel's lack of extensive manual adjustments to control a photoshoot, as compared to the Samsung S7 that has the pro mode. The difference between pro and pixel is reduced to "Google is catching up in this respect, and offers a slick experience for just about everyone — save for those who need those extra tweaks." What that means is Google does NOT have a pro mode or an equivalent level of functionality for manual picture taking. Fortunately, one can read several of our readers' comments and gain a specific and clear understanding of the actual differences between the two camera's functions. The comments do help layout more clearly to what degree the Pixel falls short for anyone who seeks anything beyond the point-and-shoot auto shot.
  • Indeed.
    I guess what they mean is the the Pixel is the best "point and shoot" be happy with what you get kind of phone. If you want more control with a Pixel phone then you need to install a few apps. Or if you want full control over your image talking before you then edit is RAW info then go with the cheaper Samsung offerings with built in easy to accezs Pro mode. This without having to take up more of the otherwise non expandable pixel space. Choices choices. If the Pixel wasn't so expensive (had wireless charging, water resistance etc) it would be more appealing
  • I have a galaxy s7 edge and it has SD card support. I don't know how anyone can get a android phone without the support.
  • But isnt the IPhone still better?
  • Than what?
  • no.
  • From looking at the pictures, looks like the Pixel (haha that name still makes me laugh) has succesfully cloned (not just the new features of the OS) the S7. Well done Google.
  • I did a side by side comparison with my s7edge and a pixel. Pixel has natural colors vs Edge that has more vivid colors. I like S7edge better, but if you are person who is into natural colors more than Pixel is for u
  • Unless you change the 7edge camera option to shoot then that is different again..
  • And not a word about the halo effects from the flash on the Pixel pictures? (not to be seen on these pictures, but there is an article on AA)
    Maybe that came up after this test?
  • Good Catch. It's disappointing when BBC ( has a better article about the Pixel Camera problem than AC!
  • what about MACRO? I think you left this out and it wouldn't be a full comparison.. I know Samsung phones has done an awesome job with their macro.
  • I'm impressed with the Pixel XL. Would Google be kind, as to compare it to the Lumia 950?
  • Warmer color temperature is more accurate than cooler temperature in photos, videos, and displays... If the S7 receives the Note 7's camera software, it's gonna best the Pixel. The Note 7 produced noticeably better photos and videos than the S7. The S7 does tend to be over saturated whereas the Note 7 didn't have this issue. But yea, the Pixel still produces outstanding photos.