GALAXY NOTE 7 woes aside, Samsung has been on a roll in 2016 with a refreshed Galaxy S7 line-up.
Google, meanwhile, hopes to put the squeeze on one of the year’s top sellers with the upcoming Pixel phone, so we’ve pit the two devices against each other on paper to see which comes out on top.
Google Pixel: 143x70x8.6mm, 143g, USB Type-C
Galaxy S7: 142x70x7.9mm, 152g, IP68 certification, microUSB port
The two phones aren’t markedly different in dimensions bar the Google Pixel’s extra girth. The feel in the hand is comparable, and the Pixel has a curved metal chassis while Samsung’s Galaxy S7 has a metal and glass finish. The S7 is the more desirable of the two with the Pixel coming off as a little plain, save for the mirrored coating that houses the camera and fingerprint sensor.
The Galaxy S7 wins in the toughness stakes too. IP68 certification means it’s protected from dust and long periods of immersion under pressure.
Both have fingerprint sensors for security and digital payments located on the rear of the Pixel and in place of the Home button on the Galaxy S7.
Google has future proofed the Pixel by including a USB-C connection as opposed to the Galaxy S7’s microUSB port.
Google Pixel: 5in 1920×1080 resolution at 441 ppi
Galaxy S7: 5.1in 2560×1440 resolution at 577ppi
The Galaxy S7 blitzes Google’s Pixel in the screen stakes. It has a superior Super AMOLED panel and ups the resolution to QHD. We can’t fathom why Google decided to limit the Pixel to Full HD, and if there’s a good reason we’d like to hear it.
The Pixel does have one benefit in that it’s certified Daydream Ready, meaning that it supports Google’s new VR platform. Both phones offer protection by way of Gorilla Glass 4.
Google Pixel: Android 7.1 Nougat
Galaxy S7: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, TouchWiz
If there’s one thing in the Pixel’s favour, it’s the software. You’re guaranteed a purer Android experience on the Google phone along with instant OS upgrades. It’s also currently the only handset with Google Assistant (think of it like a super-powered Siri) and the Pixel Launcher home screen.
Alongside the AI-powered Allo and Duo services, the Google Pixel runs the very latest version of Android Nougat (7.1) which debuts new split-screen functionality, enhanced notifications, and both security and battery improvements.
The Galaxy S7 will benefit from Nougat eventually, but for the time being it’s running Marshmallow topped Samsung’s custom overlay.
Google Pixel: Snapdragon 821, quad-core 2x 2.15GHz and 2x 1.6GHz, 4GB of RAM
Galaxy S7: Samsung Exynos 8890, 4x 2.3GHz cores, 4x 1.6GHz cores, 4GB of RAM
The Galaxy uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chipset in some territories. The Pixel improves on this slightly with the Snapdragon 821 which, according to Qualcomm, offers speed increases of up to 10 per cent. We’ll need to subject the Pixel to our usual benchmark tests to see whether this is true.
The Galaxy S7 is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 8890 chip outside the US. The Exynos takes advantage of big.LITTLE heterogeneous multi-processing which unlocks all the physical cores for use at the same time. Slower cores are used for less demanding tasks and the faster cores kick in when maximum performance is required.
Google Pixel: 12.3MP rear-facing, f/2.0, 8MP front-facing
Galaxy S7: 12MP rear-facing, f/1.7, OIS, 5MP front-facing
Google has made a lot of noise about the Pixel’s picture-taking prowess. On paper, the sensor technology seems to have been lifted from the Nexus 6P, but if that’s the case it would never have come top of DxOMark’s ratings.
Related: Google Pixel vs iPhone 7 specs comparison
We assume that the increased 1.55µm pixel size rights some of the f/2.0 aperture’s ills, but even so it will need to go some distance to better the Galaxy S7’s extraordinary snapper.
The Galaxy S7 uses a Dual-Pixel 12MP camera with a wide f/1.7 aperture and extras such as LED flash, phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilisation. The Pixel stabilises recorded video, but lacks full-blown OIS.
Google Pixel: 2,770mAh
Galaxy S7: 3,000mAh
Both handsets have quick-charging facilities, and in the Google Pixel’s case, a 15-minute charge can provide a claimed seven hours of battery life. The Galaxy S7 goes one further though with its built-in wireless charging.
The Galaxy S7 battery is slightly bigger in capacity terms, and we noted in our review that it can ably make it into a second day of use. We don’t yet know whether the efficiencies offered by the Snapdragon 821 will improve on this, but Google quotes a battery life of 13 hours for WiFi/LTE date use and 26 hours of talk time.
Google Pixel: 32GB/128GB
Galaxy S7: 32GB/64GB, microSD up to 256GB
The Google Pixel offers two extremes when it comes to storage. In our mind, 32GB is just too tiddly and 128GB will probably please more buyers. There’s no expansion support, but Google offers free unlimited online storage for photo and video content, which we guess is worth something.
In terms of storage options for the Galaxy S7, only the 32GB variant is available in the UK but this can be expanded to 256GB via microSD.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 seems to hold many of the cards on this occasion, but we’ll need to conduct our full review to see just how the hardware story plays out.
If the Pixel’s camera is as impressive as it’s claimed to be it could displace our current favourite. Certainly, Google’s effort impresses with the operating system, and we’re fairly certain that the Snapdragon 821 will beat its predecessor in benchmarks. µ
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