We compare Google’s big new Pixel XL phone with Samsung’s mighty Galaxy S7 Edge, two brilliant and premium 5.5-inch phones. Which massive Android mobile is best for you, and what’s the difference in terms of specs, camera tech and other features?
Google just launched its mighty Pixel XL smartphone, available to buy in late October here in the UK, along with the standard (and dinkier) 5-inch Pixel phone. The Pixel XL is the true flagship however, packing a massive 5.5-inch Quad HD screen, along with a powerful 12-megapixel camera and the latest Snapdragon processor for blistering performance.
So how does the Pixel XL compare with the Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung’s own powerhouse 5.5-inch phone? And which is best for you? Here’s our full Pixel XL vs S7 Edge comparison review to help you make up your mind. And check out our full hands-on Pixel XL review for more info on Google’s mighty mobile.
Pixel XL vs Galaxy S7 Edge: Specs at a glance
|Phone||Galaxy S7 Edge||Google Pixel XL|
|Screen resolution||Quad HD 2560×1440||Quad HD 2560×1440|
|OS||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 7.1 Nougat|
|Processor||Snapdragon 820/Exynos||Snapdragon 821|
Pixel XL vs Galaxy S7 Edge: Design
Design-wise, the Pixel XL and S7 Edge are about the same size and weight, and a pain in the arse to operate one-handed. But that’s about where the similarities ended.
The S7 Edge is all glass around the back, plus a ring of metal edging to give it a rugged finish. It’s a total fingerprint magnet of course, but those sleek curves and the way the screen curls around the edges of the device make it a sexy looking handset. It’s quite a rugged phone too, and fully water-resistant.
Meanwhile the Pixel XL goes for a funky half-glass, half-metal finish which certainly stands out from the mobile crowd. It’s attractive just like the Edge, but in a whole different way. Sadly it’s not water resistant however, so don’t give it a dunking.
Pixel XL vs Galaxy S7 Edge: Screen and media
Both of these phones boast a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen, and in both cases they produce pleasingly crisp, detail-packed visuals. Colours are rich and vibrant whether you choose the Pixel XL or the Galaxy S7 Edge, while both phones also offer a strong maximum brightness and wide viewing angles.
Of course, the S7 Edge’s display stands out thanks to its unusual curvature at the edges. This looks pretty funky and Samsung has tried to make use of it via its Edge Screen features, which for instance exhibits shortcuts to your favourite contacts and apps. But it’s all a bit gimmicky to be honest.
In Samsung’s case you also get a microSD memory card slot to expand the phone’s storage. The Pixel XL comes with either 32GB or 128GB of storage, while the S7 Edge has 32GB or 64GB.
Pixel XL vs Galaxy S7 Edge: OS and features
The Galaxy S7 Edge still rocks Android 6.0.1, while the Pixel XL boasts the very latest Android Nougat OS. This adds some cool new features including support for Google’s Daydream VR platform, the new Assistant tool, native number blocking and better battery features. Check out our full Android Nougat best features guide for more info.
The S7 Edge should get an update to Nougat soon, once Samsung wraps its own overlay around the OS. That means it’ll get the same vanilla features of the Pixel XL, in time. However, we’ve learned that Google plans to keep the Assistant AI feature just for the Pixel handsets, so you won’t get that smart context-sensitive voice help on the S7 Edge. Ever.
Both the Pixel XL and the Galaxy S7 Edge have a fingerprint sensor for quickly unlocking to your desktops. On the S7 Edge this is just beneath the screen, while the Pixel XL’s scanner is housed around the back.
Pixel XL vs Galaxy S7 Edge: Performance and battery life
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge was one of the fastest Android phones around when it launched in March of this year. However, Google’s Pixel XL packs the latest Snapdragon 821 processor, which means this mighty mobile should have a slight edge in benchmarking tests.
That said, we still get silky-smooth everyday use from the S7 Edge, and it’s unlikely to show any signs of slowdown any time soon. You can still play the latest games with a perfect frame rate, and even record your gaming session at the same time.
Battery life is perfectly fine on the S7 Edge. You can get a full 24 hours of use from a single charge, although not much more. We’re yet to test the Pixel XL’s battery life, so check back for our full review to see how these two mega-phones stack up.
Pixel XL vs Galaxy S7 Edge: Cameras
Both the Pixel XL and the Galaxy S7 Edge sport a 12-megapixel camera, but they use different sensors and camera apps.
The S7 Edge’s snapper is a brilliant and easy-to-use camera, that on full auto mode can capture attractive, well-balanced shots in pretty much any conditions. It’s especially impressive in low light.
The Pixel XL doesn’t have such a high aperture, but the sensor packs large pixels to capture as much light as possible. You also get an HDR+ mode, to deal with those tricky lighting conditions. We’re expecting good-looking and detail-packed photos the majority of the time, as well as equally fast capture thanks to the phase detection autofocus.
Either phone can record 4K UHD video, and boast strong image stabilisation to cut down on hand shakes and judder.
Check back soon for our full Google Pixel XL review.