Google Pixel 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8: Which should you buy?
When it comes to phone comparisons that people love to get passionate about, looking at the latest offerings from Google and Samsung is about as good as it gets. Google just announced the new Pixel 2, a proper flagship phone with a smaller-than-most display. The Galaxy S8 may have been announced earlier on in 2017, but it's a the go-to flagship phone, and with price drops over the course of the year it's become even more enticing.
Let's take a look at the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S8 to see where they're matched, where they differentiate and which one is best for you.
What's the same
There's more shared between these phones than you might think at first glance. Set them side-by-side and you'll notice they're actually roughly the same dimensions. The Pixel 2 is a tad shorter, wider and lighter — but when you hold these two together you won't notice a difference in those terms.
Going inside, these two tick many of the same basic boxes when it comes to the specs. You get a Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM running the show, and for most people getting 64GB of storage with an SD card slot in the Galaxy S8 is about a wash with the 64 or 128GB available out of the box with the Pixel 2. They both have OLED displays, which is definitely a "thing" some people look for because they just don't like LCDs — and though their resolutions aren't the same (Pixel 2 at 1920x1080 vs. Galaxy S8 at 2960x1440), they both have plenty high pixel densities. The Pixel 2's 10% smaller 2700mAh battery is a concern, for sure, but with its lighter software and lower resolution it seems to closely match the Galaxy S8's longevity.
Both phones are water- and dust-resistant, which is something Google is just now getting to in this generation but any Samsung owner will tell you is a wonderful to have feature. You'll be able to use either one in the rain and not immediately panic if you drop it in the sink or splash it when you're at the beach.
With so much of the industry going toward dual cameras (including Samsung on the Note 8), these phones are notably the same when it comes to the overall approach to photography. You'll find a ~12MP sensor on both, with familiar "dual pixel" auto focus and a fast aperture — f/1.7 for the Galaxy S8, and f/1.8 for the Pixel 2. Google now has OIS as well, matching Samsung, and while the Galaxy's electronic stabilization in videos isn't as good as Google's it's there helping smooth things out. Google's image processing is once again top-notch, and there are many situations where it just can't be matched — even by the consistently great Galaxy S8.
Take a look at the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S8 from the front, and you get a real discussion starter. It's all about the screen bezels here, folks. As noted these phones are almost the same size overall, but the Galaxy S8's 18.5:9 5.8-inch display is much larger than the Pixel 2's 16:9 5-incher. Credit to Google keeping the side bezels small ... but the top and bottom bezels are quite massive. Functionally, it doesn't really create many problems on a phone that's still relatively compact — but people are all but screaming over the aesthetics of the whole thing.
Given there's no real functional detriment to having larger bezels on the top and bottom, it's mostly just the optics of the whole setup that rub people the wrong way. The Pixel 2, releasing at the end of 2017, has a "conventional smartphone" look — and aside from front-facing stereo speakers, there isn't a whole lot extra to show for it. The Galaxy S8 has all of the same hardware capabilities, plus a headphone jack, all while offering more screen real estate in the same basic overall size. Google showed it could even split the difference nicely with the Pixel 2 XL, which has the same sort of layout as the Galaxy S8 (well, the S8+ at least) but with stereo speakers.
But for many Google phone lovers, there's a reason to put up with the bezels and somewhat bland design: the software experience. Even with improvements in the past couple generations of the "Samsung Experience," it just doesn't match the Pixel 2 when it comes to smooth, consistent and clean daily use. Google's apps and services are on the whole better than Samsung's options, and they work even better on a Pixel when they aren't competing for space with duplicates and imitations. You also get three years of guaranteed updates, which is dramatically better than what you can expect from a Samsung phone — even a flagship such as this.
Landing at about the same price, and well underneath their top-end counterparts, both the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S8 will be on the radar for late-2017 phone buyers. And the great part about this decision is how much they share: the base specs, overall size and core features can be found in both. Which one is right for you comes down to just a few decisions on aesthetics, specific hardware features and feelings about software.
The Galaxy S8 is probably the default choice for so many people who are familiar with Samsung phones or are simply drawn in by its beautiful design. There are also legitimate spec and feature reasons to buy the GS8: a larger (and higher resolution) screen in a compact size, a larger battery, wireless charging and an increasingly rare headphone jack.
Anyone drawn to a Pixel 2 from the start probably has a relationship with Google's software experience and services — and these people won't be disappointed. There are fewer hardware and spec compromises in this phone than its predecessor, and Google has stepped up its game with things like water resistance, an even better camera, a better display and more base storage at the same starting price. The choice to go with a Pixel 2 starts and ends with how much you value the clean, simple and hassle-free experience of a phone with one brand on the box: Google.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.
Bring back nexus line imo......
Also, the tech industry is turning into a fashion industry. So concerned about looks now lol. Little bezel is fine. My biggest gripe atm is materials used, no glass!
Lastly, RIP to removable batteries. I'll take no headphone jack if we brought them back. And I love the 3.5mm jack
There's a prejudice that everyone wants Googles stock android which wants you to use every Google service out there.
But that's not the case. I personally prefer Samsungs or Oneplus take on android much better(even though they both are quite different)
Camera: Likely better in good lighting but i bet the S* is better in low light
Battery, Nod to the Pixel
Security: You forgot about the retina scan and face recognition With the Galaxy?
Support: Um how and why?
Updates: Obvious in OS
Flat Screen: Subjective and an opinion:
Build Materials: Subjective and an opinion
Storage: Um... 64gb plus SD expansion.... No
Assistant: Ok well Samsung has both GA and Bixby
Finger Print Sensor: Both have one... Now if you said position, I'd have gave you a nod... but you didnt You forget cost, you forget retina scan, face recognition, Also lets not forget the freebies you got when buying an S8. How about Samsung Pay? Thats a major one and the best pay system around. How about IP68? How about the headphone jack? How about the near bezeless design. Dont get me wrong, im a Pixel man and my Note is going for the Pixel XL 2 but... i'm not blind as to what is what.
Camera, Pixel wins hands down
Security, it's not about scanners, it's about software and policies. Takes a lot to explain it, but Pixel wins by a lot. Also, security updates.
Updates, obvious, agreed
Flat screen, flat is better than curved for durability and so far no usability advantage to edge
Build materials, no - metal is stronger than glass for the ways we need durability. Not a whole lot of cracked metal bodies out there from a 2 ft drop onto carpet.
Storage, 128 is more than 64
Assistant, Bixby and Bixby button are both cons
FPS position and speed both matter
You are total ingorant of Samsung software capabilities. Other than that ... Battery ? Really , is Nexus 2 better than S8 or charges faster ? Build materials ... What , you don't like gorilla 5 ? Security ...???
XL for screen Unless I missed something?
Speaking of Voice Assistant, remember this AC article?
NB. It was called "Galaxy Talkback" back in the day, first added to the "Galaxy A8/S6/Note 5" line of Samsung phones. By the way, I will be using "3" voice assistants to maximize my usage with them: 1. Bixby Voice
2. Google Assistant
3. Ultimate Alexa
(The "only" Alexa app which lets you set timers/alarms "system wide," and lets you see what Alexa spoke on the screen. Awesome developer he is with fixing bugs and making the app accessible for all blind users. Oh and lastly, if a person has physical issues with their hands or who has none, Bixby is a great way to move around the phone with your voice hands-free. Have a great day yall, sorry for this being a "long" post.
Don't forget to add that most carriers have a nice trade in program that's at least $300 for most 2 year old phones check mate
But the lack of wireless charging alone on the Pixels is a deal breaker for me.
Make a v30 Google play edition
Pixel 2 hardware with fantastic Google software. Yes, I could just about do that. GS8 hardware with Google software. Take my money.
Pixel 2 hardware with Samsung software. Well, if that were a thing Samsung would be out of business. I think that is why many were initially excited by the essential phone, beautiful with clean software. But it seems that building phones is hard.
By the way, quite some features that were introduced by Samsung have found their way to plain Android. Just sayin'.
Other than that, the Pixels look like they come from a Scandinavian furniture store: nice, but boring; and given the state of the hardware (huge bezels, faux-edge screen, toy-like coloured buttons) they are overpriced.
And the stutters.. I do hate the stutters
And the dropped Fram rate.. Oh I do hate that dropped frame rate. It's so perty... doh
Hardware = Samsung
Software = What you think is best
Updates/Longevity = Pixel 2
I'll stick with my S8