Samsung Galaxy S24 vs. Google Pixel 8: More alike than ever

Samsung is back with its flagship Galaxy S24 series, and just like everything else we've seen over the past year or so, the focus is AI. Of course, there are some other notable changes with the Galaxy S24, but you wouldn't know that by looking at it. Samsung largely sticks to last year's design, but as we all know, it's the inside that counts, which almost seems like the opposite approach to Google's Pixel 8 lineup.

That said, while these two phones seem quite different, Samsung's new AI focus turns the Galaxy S24 into the company's own Pixel. The new chipset enables on-device AI capabilities and other features that are the same or very similar to what you'll find on the Pixel 8, making the choice between these devices either more difficult or easier, depending on what you're looking for.

With any luck, this comparison will help you choose between the Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8; two impressive AI-powered phones.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs. Google Pixel 8: Design

All four retail colorways of the Samsung Galaxy S24

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

If you've read our Pixel 8 vs. Galaxy S23 comparison, then this should sound familiar. The reason is that the Galaxy S24 design hasn't really changed when compared to its predecessor. It features a flat display and flat rear glass panel, with a much flatter frame and slightly rounded corners. On the back, the three cameras protrude individually from the back, disrupting the otherwise flat glass.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 has a softer, more curvy design. The display is also flat, but the rear glass panel curves in toward the frame, which is also curved and forms the rear camera visor, perhaps the phone's most iconic and easily identifiable design element. The Pixel 8 glass is also glossy, while the S24 retains a matte glass.

Hands-on with the Google Pixel 8

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The biggest change to the Galaxy S24 is the dimensions, and even then, the change is small. The S24 measures nearly a millimeter taller than the Galaxy S23, bringing it just a hair closer to the Pixel 8, although the S24 is still thinner by more than 1mm and lighter by roughly 20g. The added height has also resulted in a slightly larger display, matching the Pixel 8's 6.2-inch size, although the bezels around the Galaxy display are still a bit smaller.

The Galaxy S24 comes in a variety of colors, with the main four being Cobalt Violet, Jade Green, Marble Gray, and Onyx Black. Of them, purple seems to stand out the most, although yellow-ish green is also a bold choice. Additional colors can also be found on Samsung's website. The Pixel 8 has a limited color selection, with Hazel, Rose, and Obsidian available and potentially a new Minty Fresh colorway around the corner, which might be the one to get if you end up springing for the Pixel.

Overall, the Galaxy S24 design is nothing special, and we even pointed out that with the S23, Samsung seems to be focusing less on design and more on making just an overall good phone. On the other hand, the Pixel 8 is a bit more recognizable and will stand out more than the S24.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs. Google Pixel 8: Hardware and specs

Hands-on with the smaller Samsung Galaxy S24

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Under the hood of the Galaxy S24 is the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which now not only gives the phone a notable performance boost but also helps to power on-device generative AI features. The chip has displayed some impressive benchmarks and should result in impressive daily performance, particularly when it comes to gaming. This is an area where the Pixel continues to fall behind, even with the new Tensor G3 chipset, which is focused more on AI than performance.

If you're outside the U.S., chances are you may have a Galaxy S24 powered by the Exynos 2400. Although Exynos has had a bad reputation in the past, the new chip may bring performance similar to that of the Snapdragon counterpart, especially when it comes to AI, and could be the better chip overall for the S24. According to Samsung, the chip is 1.7x faster than its predecessor, with a 14.7x improvement in AI performance. Plus, regardless of which version you get, the chips contain the newer Cortex-X4 prime core, a step up from the Cortex-X3 core in the Tensor G3.

Both phones come with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage, although you won't find microSD card support on either. Some regions may carry the Galaxy S24 with 512GB of storage or 12GB of RAM.

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SpecsSamsung Galaxy S24Google Pixel 8
Operating SystemAndroid 14 (One UI 6.1)Android 14
Display6.2 inches, FHD+ (1080x2340), AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate (1-120Hz), Up to 2,600 nits6.2 inches, FHD+ (1080 x 2400), OLED, up to 120Hz (60-120Hz), 1400 nits (HDR), 2000 nits (peak)
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 3 for GalaxyTensor G3
Storage128/256GB/515GB, UFS 3.1/UFS 4.0128/256GB UFS 3.1
Battery & Charging3,900mAh, 25W wired, 15W wireless4,575mAh, 27W wired, 18W wireless
Rear Camera 150MP, wide-angle, ƒ/1.8, 1.0μm, 85˚50MP, wide-angle, ƒ/1.68, 1.2μm, 82°
Rear Camera 212MP, ultrawide, ƒ/2.5, 1.4μm, 120°12MP, ultrawide, ƒ/2.2, 1.25μm, 125°
Rear Camera 310MP, telephoto, ƒ/2.4, 1.0μm, 3x zoom
Selfie Camera12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.22μm, 80°10.5MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.22μm, 80°
Connectivity5G (sub-6, mmWave), Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 75G (sub-6, mmWave), Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 7
ProtectionIP68, Gorilla Glass Victus 2IP68, Gorilla Glass Victus
Dimensions70.6 x 147 x 7.6mm70.8 x 150.5 x 8.9mm
Weight167g (168g w/mmWave)187g
ColorsCobalt Violet, Jade Green, Marble Gray, Onyx BlackObsidian, Snow, Lemongrass

Thanks to the latest upgrades to the Pixel 8, Google's flagship has been able to better keep up with the competition. That includes an improved 120Hz OLED display with a peak brightness of 2000 nits. And while that's pretty impressive, Samsung has already one-upped the Pixel 8 with an even brighter 2600-nit peak brightness.

Then there's battery life. Samsung has increased the capacity of the S24 battery to 4000mAh, which still falls behind the Pixel 8's 4,575mAh battery. However, the phones will likely have similar battery life, and the S24 is expected to last throughout the day on a single charge, depending on your use. Wired charging is about the same at 25W and 27W for the S24 and Pixel 8, respectively, and wired charging maxes out at 15W and 18W, respectively. Both are capable of reverse wireless charging.

Lastly, you've got Wi-Fi 7 support, Bluetooth 5.3, and USB 3.2, although UWB is not present on either model.

When it comes to hardware and specs, these phones are pretty similar, but the Galaxy S24 may have a leg up when it comes to raw performance in addition to the newly gained AI performance. The display and extra storage/RAM configurations (depending on your region) also give it a leg up.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs. Google Pixel 8: Software and AI

An official Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra promo image showcasing Google Circle to Search

(Image credit: Samsung)

Both the S24 and Pixel 8 run Android 14 out of the box, but it's no surprise that Samsung and Google's take on the OS is fairly different. Samsung's UI seems to focus on compactness and ease of access, which is noticeable in the new Quick Settings drop-down menu. Meanwhile, Google seems more focused on larger UI elements and fluidity.

Both phones introduce a host of new AI features not previously present on their respective predecessors, such as Magic Editor on the Pixel 8, with Samsung's implementation dubbed Generative Edit. Both phones also let you create generative AI wallpapers, transcribe and translate recordings, use AI to help draft texts, and more. A number of these features are pretty similar between the two phones, and they'll both be the first to have access to additional features like Circle to Search. Not to mention existing features like Magic Eraser on the Pixel 8 and Samsung's Object Eraser.

Using the Google Circle to Search feature on a Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

So, while Google once had an edge over other companies with fun AI features, Samsung seems to have caught up. If the AI editing features were a major plus when it came to buying the Pixel 8, the S24 gives you something new to consider. And the best part is that unlike the Pixel 8, which still doesn't have all the AI capabilities featured on the Pixel 8 Pro, such as Video Boost, the Galaxy S24 is getting pretty much all the same features as the S24 Ultra. This is great because you don't have to get the more expensive model to take advantage of these features.

But it's not just AI where Samsung has improved its software. The company has also upped its game when it comes to software support. Google wowed us when it announced that it would support the Pixel 8 with seven years of updates and OS upgrades, and Samsung has done the same thing for the Galaxy S24, which will be supported until 2031. 

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs. Google Pixel 8: Cameras

Hands-on with the Google Pixel 8

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Google's Pixel series may be the golden standard when it comes to smartphone photography, but Samsung is no slouch. The Galaxy S23 produced some respectable images, and we expect the same from the Galaxy S24.

The Pixel 8 still retains its dual-camera system with a 50MP wide and 12MP ultrawide, skipping out on a telephoto lens. Meanwhile, the S24 also has a 50MP wide and 12MP ultrawide, with the addition of a third lens for 3x zoom. Even so, the Pixel 8 is able to take some great images when zoomed in, thanks to some computational photography magic. You almost wouldn't miss having a 3x telephoto camera.

That said, the S24 should be able to achieve a greater zoom range than the Pixel 8, and while it can easily degrade at a certain point, Samsung's AI has proven beneficial with phones like the Galaxy Z Flip 5, allowing images to retain a surprising amount of detail, even at 8x zoom.

Night images are another area where Pixel phones usually shine, but Samsung has been catching up in this department, too. Night Sight and Nightography are quite impressive on both devices, allowing them to retain details at night or in places where you might not have the best lighting. We will be testing this out to see how both phones compare.

Both the Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8 are bound to go head-to-head when it comes to picture quality.

The S24 also has an edge when it comes to video recording, capable of capturing 8K video at 30fps. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 tops out at 4K 60fps.

We have yet to test out the Galaxy S24, but once we do, we'll be sure to compare the two phones to see how they handle different lighting conditions.

Of course, it's one thing to be able to capture a great photo, but what about after that? We plan to also test how both phones handle AI. We're pretty familiar with what the Pixel 8 offers by now, but Samsung is introducing some interesting editing features like Edit Suggestion, Generative Edit, and Instant Slo-Mo, which we'll be sure to play around with in our testing.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs. Google Pixel 8: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra cameras

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

There used to be a pretty clear distinction between Samsung and Google smartphones, with the former focused more on specs and performance while the latter was more concerned about offering fun AI features. Now that Samsung is moving in on Google's space with Galaxy AI on the S24, there's almost no reason to buy a Pixel.

That's not to say the Pixel is a bad phone — that's far from the case. Google is still the king of AI on smartphones, and Samsung is merely playing catch-up. The Pixel still has great software (especially if you don't care for One UI), amazing cameras, and a stellar update cadence that means you're likely to get many of the best Android features before anyone else.

Still, you can't deny that Samsung's combination of impressive hardware and a more robust software offering is quite tempting. You essentially get a Pixel but with better hardware, and that's what a lot of us have wanted for some time now, especially as Google continues trying to convince us that Tensor is flagship-worthy.

While the verdict is still out until we put the Galaxy S24 through its paces, things are looking up for Samsung.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.