Galaxy S10 vs. Pixel 3: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S10

The Galaxy S10 is a flagship that'll appeal to just about everyone. It has one of the best displays available on a smartphone, three rear camers with a new ultrawide sensor, and fan-favorites like a headphone jack and expandable storage. Samsung's software, something that used to be a pain, is also better than ever.

Samsung Galaxy S10

Does it all

Gorgeous AMOLED display
In-screen fingerprint sensor
Three rear cameras
3.5mm headphone jack
Expandable storage
Samsung has a bumpy record with updates
$100 more expensive

Google Pixel 3

If you want the very best smartphone camera around, get the Pixel 3. Despite having just one rear camera compared to three, its photos continue to be just as jaw-dropping as they were back in October. You also get access to a great software experience with fast, guaranteed updates.

Google Pixel 3

Incredible camera

Industry-leading camera
Smooth, clean software experience
First in line for updates
More affordable
No headphone jack or expandable storage
Has last year's processor

The Galaxy S10 hits just about every nail on the head: best display on the market, Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon processor, three rear cameras, expandable storage and a headphone jack. For most people, this will be the phone to get. However, if you want a phone that'll take the very best pictures possible or value a clean software experience with fast updates, the Pixel 3 will be a better purchase.

The Galaxy S10 is a better choice for most people

Samsung's Galaxy S flagships are always among the most popular Android phones, and with this year's S10, we don't envision things will change one bit.

The Galaxy S10 kind of makes last October's Pixel 3 look like an ancient relic. Where the Pixel 3 has considerably large bezels surrounding its display, the Galaxy S10 has virtually no side bezels, an extremely small chin and forehead, and a front-facing camera that's actually built into the screen itself. Aside from the good looks, this also allows Samsung to cram a larger screen into a body that's not too unwieldy.

The Galaxy S10 looks like a phone from the future.

Turning the S10 around, you'll find its three rear cameras. There's a primary 12MP sensor with an aperture you can manually change to allow for better low-light photos, a 12MP telephoto camera which enables 2X optical zoom, and a third 16MP ultrawide one. This opens up a lot of possibilities for the kinds of pictures you can take, especially when compared to the Pixel 3's single rear camera.

Samsung also gets the edge in a few other ways. It has a newer, faster processor, double the RAM of the Pixel 3, more base storage, expandable storage, Dolby Atmos support for better sound quality, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy S10Pixel 3
Operating SystemAndroid 10Samsung One UI 1.1Android 10
Display6.1-inchAMOLED3040 x 144019:95.5-inchOLED2160 x 108018:9
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 855Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
ExpandableUp to 512GB
Rear Camera 112MP Main CameraOISf/1.5 - f/2.412.2MP Main CameraOISf/1.8
Rear Camera 212MP Telephoto CameraOISf/2.4
Rear Camera 316MP Ultrawide Cameraf/2.2
Front Camera 110MP Main Cameraf/1.98MP Main Cameraf/1.8
Front Camera 28MP Ultrawide Cameraf/2.2
Battery3,400 mAh2,915 mAh
Charging15W wired chargingQi wireless charging18W wired chargingQi wireless charging
Water ResistnaceIP68IP68
SecurityIn-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensorRear-mounted fingerprint sensor
AudioStereo speakersDolby Atmos3.5mm headphone jackStereo speakersUSB-C

Yeah, there's a lot to like here.

But the Pixel 3 is still superior in two important ways

Don't count the Pixel 3 out just yet, though. Compared to the Galaxy S10, it has two big advantages — photo quality and software.

The S10 may have more rear cameras, but the Pixel 3's single 12.2MP camera still takes better pictures. Google's image processing and AI wizardry make it virtually impossible to take a bad photo with the phone. Pictures are sharp, colors are extremely accurate, and thanks to Google's Night Sight feature, the Pixel 3 dominates the S10 when it comes to using the camera in low-light situations.

When we say the Pixel 3 has the best camera in a smartphone, we mean it.

The other big strength of the Pixel 3 is its software experience. Since it's made by Google, the Pixel 3 is first-in-line for big software updates and monthly security patches as they're released. Google's confirmed that'll it'll continue to update the Pixel 3 until 2021, and while Samsung has gotten better with its software update turnaround recently, you'll still rock the latest software before everyone else if you have a Pixel phone.

On top of that, the user interface on the Pixel 3 is a lot cleaner and less cluttered than what you'll find on the S10. Similarly, it's less likely to bog down overtime the way that Samsung's software has a tendency of doing.

Lastly, while the Pixel 3's display, processor, and battery may not be as impressive as the Galaxy S10's, they're still all damn good and shouldn't be disappointing for anyone.

So, which one should you buy?

While you can't go wrong with either of these two phones, each one will serve a different group of people more effectively.

If you want a phone with the best display money can buy, value things like expandable storage and a headphone jack, want the functionality that comes with having three rear cameras, and/or love the idea of having your fingerprint sensor hidden underneath the screen, the Galaxy S10 will be a perfect fit.

Alternatively, if you just want the very best smartphone camera money can buy and want to ensure you're always running the very latest version of Android, the Pixel 3 makes the most sense.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.