We compare the latest Google-branded mobile, dubbed the Pixel phone, with Samsung’s 2016 flagship handset the Galaxy S7. What’s the difference in terms of specs, camera tech, performance and battery life, and which phone is best for you? Here’s our full Pixel phone vs Galaxy S7 comparison review.
Google’s Pixel phone packs a high asking price, but also boasts the very latest specs and Google’s all-new Android Nougat, making it one of the most desirable mobiles of 2016. So how does it stack up against the Galaxy S7, Samsung’s smashing flagship phone that was released back in March? Back then, the S7 sported the very best smartphone camera and some incredible performance, but is it still tough competition for the Pixel?
Google Pixel phone vs Galaxy S7: Specs at a glance
|Phone||Google Pixel||Samsung Galaxy S7|
|Screen resolution||Full HD 1920×1080||Quad HD 2560×1440|
|OS||Android 7.1 Nougat||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow|
|Processor||Snapdragon 821||Snapdragon 820/Exynos|
|Price||From £599||From £500|
Google Pixel phone vs Galaxy S7: Design
Google’s Pixel phone is roughly the same size and weight as the Galaxy S7 and both phones are perfectly comfortable to play with one-handed.
The Galaxy S7 is perhaps the best looking of the two – depending on your personal tastes of course – with some sexy curves and an appealing choice of colours. But the Pixel phone’s blend of glass and metal on the rear end is certainly original, making it instantly recognisable.
If you want a phone to play with in the bath, shower or swimming pool (as you do), then the Galaxy S7 is your only choice. The Pixel phone can’t handle water, beyond a gentle splashing, while Samsung’s mobile is fully water-resistant.
Google Pixel phone vs Galaxy S7: Screen and media
On paper, the Galaxy S7’s Quad HD 5.1-inch screen is the best here. By comparison, the Google Pixel phone’s 5-inch Full HD display doesn’t come close for image sharpness.
However, to notice the difference you really need to see both phones side-by-side and study them closely. The Pixel still produces crisp images and makes the most of your high def movies, while colours are nice and punchy, just like they are on the S7. Viewing angles and brightness levels are also strong on either handset.
You can expand the on-board storage with a microSD memory card on the S7, so you’ll have plenty of space for your photos, movies and everything else. The Pixel can’t be expanded, so you’ll need to splash out on the 128GB model if you want plenty of room for your photos, apps and other bits.
Google Pixel phone vs Galaxy S7: OS and features
Both of these flagship mobiles use Google’s Android OS, but the Pixel phone sports the latest version (‘Nougat’) while the S7 still uses the older Marshmallow. That means the very latest and best Android features such as the surprisingly smart Assistant AI is only to be found on the Pixel.
Of course, the Galaxy S7 should get an update to full Android Nougat soon, but S7 owners still won’t get the Assistant feature – that’s a Pixel handset exclusive. But at least Samsung’s phone makes up for it somewhat when it comes to fitness features, as it boasts a built-in heart rate sensor and Samsung’s decent S Health app.
Both the Pixel phone and the Galaxy S7 use a fingerprint sensor for extra security and convenience. On the Galaxy S7 you’ll find this beneath the screen, while the Pixel phone’s is stuck around the back. The Pixel’s sensor is easier to use as your fingers naturally fall onto it when you pick up your phone. But that’s pretty picky, to be fair.
Google Pixel phone vs Galaxy S7: Performance and battery life
The Google Pixel phone’s Snapdragon 821 processor promises improved performance over existing chipsets, so the Pixel is likely to score slightly better in benchmark tests. However when it comes to the everyday user experience, we’re expecting the Pixel to perform just the same as the S7.
After all, the Galaxy S7 is still a smooth operator, boasting a satisfying slickness no matter what you’re doing. The latest games still play with a perfect frame rate – not a judder or stutter in sight.
When it comes to longevity, the Galaxy S7 offers at least a day of heavy use per charge – but not much more. There’s support for fast charging, although it isn’t as quick as QuickCharge 3.0 offered by most other flagships.
We’ll be fully testing the Pixel phone’s battery life when our review sample arrives, but early word is that Google’s flagship can keep going for even longer. Fast charging is again supported, while both handsets use Type-C USB for power and data transfer.
Google Pixel phone vs Galaxy S7: Cameras
The Google Pixel phone has a 12-megapixel snapper slapped on the back, with a lens that sits perfectly flush with the surface of the mobile. We’re yet to fully test it but we had a play at Google’s launch.
Our test photos were pleasingly sharp, and likely to pack the same amount of detail as images shot with the Galaxy S7’s 12-megapixel camera. However, while the Pixel phone boasts a new HDR+ mode for coping with dodgy contrast, the S7’s high aperture lens makes for seriously impressive low-light photos. It’s yet to be bettered in 2016 (although the Xperia XZ and iPhone 7 come close). So if the Pixel phone can beat it, that’ll be a serious accomplishment.
Both the Galaxy S7 and the Google Pixel can shoot Full HD or 4K resolution video, with some effective image stabilisation to liit the shaky cam footage when you’re moving about.
Google Pixel phone vs Galaxy S7: Price and verdict
The Pixel phone and Galaxy S7 are both full-priced phones, boasting some strong specs. But while the S7 is already half a year old, it still sports one of the best mobile cameras of 2016 as well as pleasing performance and a gorgeous Quad HD screen. The Pixel is going to have to really impress with its camera tech to take the crown, although the Google Assistant is a tempting feature.
Stay tuned for our full Google Pixel phone review.