Samsung Galaxy S22 vs. Google Pixel 6: Which small Android phone should you buy?

Google Pixel 6 Hero In Hand
Google Pixel 6 Hero In Hand (Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

Google Pixel 6

Pixel 6 Sorta Seafoam

The Pixel 6 represents Google's commitment to making smartphones with a custom processor, a bold design, and improvements to its already impressive cameras. Strangely, it could get fewer software updates than the Galaxy S22.

Google Pixel 6

Going Google

Smooth performance
Fantastic cameras
Android 12's Material You looks great
Pixel-specific Google Assistant features are wonderful
Google-designed processor
Display is only 90Hz and 500 nits
No telephoto lens
Potentially fewer updates than S22

Samsung Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22 Violet Render Full

The Galaxy S22 is one of the best phones from Samsung in years, thanks to its excellent display, great cameras, and solid performance. However, its price and weaker battery life could be a deal-breaker for some.

Samsung Galaxy S22

Oh so close

Brighter and faster display
Great performance
Four years of OS updates
3X telephoto lens
Clean hardware design
Smaller battery
Missing some Google Assistant features
More expensive

Android smartphones are becoming even better and fans have several great options with three phones to pick from in the launch of Samsung's Galaxy S22 series. The Galaxy S lineup has long been seen as the cream of the crop when looking for the best. However, Google stepped way up with the Pixel 6 to give Samsung a run for its money. So, when shopping for the small option from each of these device series, the Google Pixel 6 or Samsung Galaxy S22, which is the winner? Well, it's way closer than you may think.

Galaxy S22 vs. Pixel 6: Key similarities and differences

Google Pixel 6 Widgets Material You Red

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

In early 2022, two of the "small" best Android phones you can get are the Google Pixel 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S22. It's hard to say that these are small phones because the displays are both over six inches but that's where we are today. Google and Samsung have done a fantastic job with these devices, and it's clear that both companies are working in symbiosis wonderfully.

Aside from the fact that both brands ultimately need each other in the Android world, they're each working to make the other better — and consumers benefit from this. The Google Pixel 6 is the first smartphone from Google with an in-house designed processor: Google Tensor. Though Google's team designed the chipset, Samsung built it.

Google and Samsung's close-knit relationship is on full display with the Pixel 6 and Galaxy S22.

This processor has proven to offer excellent performance in the smartphone and has made the already great Google Assistant even better. Everyday tasks when navigating through the Pixel 6 are smooth and responsive. Accessing the digital assistant on the phone is very snappy, as is the response. Pixel phones have always had a few features locked to the device, like Now Playing, Live Translate, Call Screen, and more.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Pixel 6Samsung Galaxy S22
ChipsetGoogle TensorSnapdragon 8 Gen 1
Storage128GB or 256GB128GB or 256GB
Dimensions158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm146 x 70.6 x 7.6 mm
Display6.4-inch, 2400x1080, OLED, 90Hz, 500 nits6.1-inch 2340x1080, AMOLED, 120Hz, 1300 nits
Rear Camera50MP, ƒ/1.85, 1.2μm (wide-angle)12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.25μm (ultra-wide)50 MP, f/1.8, 1.0µm, (wide)12 MP, f/2.2, 1.4µm (ultrawide)10 MP, f/2.4, 1.0µm (3x telephoto)
Front Camera8.0MP, ƒ/2.0, 1.12μm10 MP, f/2.2 1.22µm (wide)
Battery4614mAh30W Fast Charging12-23W Wireless Charging5W Reverse Wireless Charging3700mAh25W wired charging15W wireless charging
SecurityTitan M2 Security ChipIn-screen fingerprint sensorIn-display fingerprint (ultrasonic)
Water and dust resistanceIP68IP68
ColorsStormy Black, Kinda Coral, Sorta SeafoamBlack, White, Green, Pink Gold, Sky Blue, Violet, Cream

On the Samsung Galaxy S22 side of the relationship, the latest phone from Samsung features even more influence from Google in terms of features than previous releases — some even exclusive to the Samsung device. Aside from many of the Android 12 cues, the Galaxy S22 launched with Google Duo features and Google Messages as the default messenger app for the first time in the U.S.

Galaxy S22 vs. Pixel 6: Camera: Samsung brings a triple camera setup

Samsung Galaxy S22 Back White

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

One thing about Pixel phones that has long been a strength is their place in smartphone photography — and the Pixel 6 builds on that. For the first time in years, Google updated the primary sensor in the Pixel 6 and the results are fantastic — especially for parents. While the phone has a standard and ultrawide lens, one camera didn't make it to the back of Pixel 6: a telephoto lens.

Samsung has found a nice balance in its image processing to really battle Google in terms of overall quality. The Galaxy S22 did manage a 3X telephoto lens and the phone is no slouch in other areas of photography. But Samsung didn't just try to one-up Google with a telephoto lens on the Galaxy S22. It also brought some editing tricks similar to the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 Magic Eraser

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

One of the exclusive features of the Pixel 6 is its Magic Eraser. So, not to be left out of the photo editing race, Samsung now offers the Object Eraser. We found that in comparing the features, both do an admirable job at allowing you to remove objects from a photo quickly. Neither is perfect, but in some cases, having access to these features could take a photo from ruined to perfect in a few taps.

Galaxy S22 vs. Pixel 6: Design: Pixel 6 boasts a unique look, but Samsung's display is undefeated

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

Source: Michael Hicks / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Samsung has chosen to stay true to its design language from last year's Galaxy S21 phone. This design was well-loved and though Google was due for a hardware refresh on the Pixel line, the Pixel 6 has a much more polarizing style than the Galaxy S22. Going with a visor-like bar that stretches the width of the phone's back to house the camera array, along with a two-tone color scheme — is different, to say the least.

However, an area that Samsung has always been phenomenal in is the display category. The Galaxy S22 has an AMOLED panel that is bold and vibrant with excellent responsiveness and while the Google Pixel 6 does have a very nice display — it doesn't match Samsung's. Though Google did opt to include a quick 90Hz refresh screen, Samsung pushed it to 120Hz on the Galaxy S22. With the screen's brightness, Samsung blows the Pixel 6 out of the water with an impressive 1300-nit max brightness. The paltry 500 nits from Google can't come close to the same outdoor visibility.

Galaxy S22 vs. Pixel 6: Performance: The Pixel 6 battery provides more power

As previously mentioned, the Pixel 6 is Google's first smartphone with an in-house designed processor: Google Tensor. This provides consumers with some great benefits, like an improved Google Assistant experience and an overall more responsive navigation. For those who love to use the digital assistant, this is a convenient bonus due to the much-improved snappy response time.

The Pixel 6's lower refresh rate means that you should get more time between charges.

Given how close these two companies have been working together recently on product development, it is interesting that the Samsung Galaxy S22 could get more OS updates than Google's own Pixel 6. Google stated when it launched the Pixel 6 in October 2021 that it would guarantee three years of OS updates. In comparison, Samsung is saying that its new phone would get four. So, right now, Samsung will provide more Android updates than Google, but Google could always change that later with its phone.

Even though Samsung tops Google with the screen brightness, Google outdoes Samsung with battery size. At 4614mAh compared to the 3500mAh in the Galaxy S22, the Pixel 6 has a substantially larger battery. It does have to power a slightly bigger display than the Galaxy S22, but the lower refresh rate means that you should get more time between charges with the Pixel.

Galaxy S22 vs. Pixel 6: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel 6 vs Galaxy S21

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

The Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S22 are excellent phones that exemplify what Android fans love: choice. While the gap between devices and features is gradually closing, there are still enough differences in Android smartphones to allow everyone to find what works best for them.

The Pixel 6 offers longer battery life, superb cameras and features, and snappy Google Assistant services, all for $200 less than the Galaxy S22. But the better display, potentially longer software support, and an extra camera lens make Samsung's phone a device worth considering — especially if you can find it on sale.

Chris Wedel
Smart Home Writer
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.