Google Pixel XL vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

32 pictures

Putting the Google Pixel XL toe-to-toe with the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, the leading Android phablet

View gallery - 32 images

We've already compared the first Google-made phablet with its closest predecessor (Nexus 6P) and its Apple adversary (iPhone 7 Plus). How does Pixel XL measure up against its most formidable Android challenger, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge?

Size

Pixel XL is almost 3-percent taller and 4-percent wider than the smaller, rounder Galaxy S7 edge.

Weight

As would be expected, the Pixel is heftier, too. It weighs in 11 grams heavier than the S7 edge. For some perspective, that's about the weight of one alkaline AAA battery.

Build

Samsung's S7 series phones have a standout build. Thanks to their completely rounded edges and streamlined aluminum frame, they almost feel as if they were completely made of glass.

Google's flagships have a minimalist aluminum unibody with hits of gloss here and there. Not exactly tantalizing, but not offensive either.

Colors

Each phone has a trio of variants. Pixel XL brings black, silver and blue to the table; S7 edge goes black, silver and gold.

Water resistance

S7 edge has an industry-leading water resistance rating; it's safe in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Pixel XL has no such protection.

Display size

Samsung does a better job at packing in the screen space. Even though the Pixel is bigger, they both have the same roomy 5.5-inch display.

Display resolution

The two phones have identical Quad HD resolution and pixel density.

Display type

They also both use AMOLED over IPS displays, so you can expect saturated colors and true blacks.

Pressure-sensitive display

Neither touchscreen differentiates between a light touch and a harder press. So far, only Apple is taking advantage of pressure-sensitive displays in its 3D Touch feature.

Curved display

You may not be able to tell from front-facing photos, but the S7 edge's display actually wraps around the front edges of the phone. The curved display is a major contributor to the phone's unique look.

Home button

Pixel XL has an onscreen home button that takes up a sliver of space at the bottom of the display. S7 edge has a mechanical home button offscreen.

Camera megapixels

The pair has matching megapixels in the rear camera, but Pixel packs more into the front camera.

Camera aperture (rear)

S7 edge has a slightly larger camera aperture, an engineering decision meant to yield better quality low-light photography.

Optical image stabilization

Optical image stabilization, a prevalent feature in this year's flagships, didn't make it onto the Pixel.

Dual-lens camera

Dual-lens cameras are starting to pop up in a few smartphones, but not in these two.

Battery

The Samsung battery is 4-percent bigger, which is reflected in overall battery life. According to Google, Pixel XL gets up to 32 hours of talk time and up to 14 hours of internet use or video playback over Wi-Fi. By Samsung's count, the S7 edge should be good for up to 36 hours of talk time, 15 hours of internet, or 19 hours of video.

Charging/data port

Like many of this year's Androids, Pixel XL opts for the reversible USB-C port. S7 edge clings to an older microUSB charger.

Fast charging

You won't need to be plugged in all day. Both phones have fast charging features, where a few minutes worth of charging affords hours of power.

Wireless charging

The S7 edge can be wirelessly charged, but not the Pixel.

Processor

These two processors have matching clock speeds, but their manufacturer, Qualcomm, says the 821 offers a 10-percent performance increase over the 820.

Outside of the US, China and Japan, S7 edge has an octa core Exynos 8990 chipset.

RAM

When it comes to RAM, both phones have a generous 4 gigabytes.

Internal storage

Pixel XL is offered in 32 or 128 gigabyte capacities. With the S7 edge, you can choose 32, 64, or 128 gigabytes.

External storage

As far as external storage goes, you're out of luck with the Pixel. The S7 edge is expandable up to 256 gigabytes via microSD.

VR headset

These two phones are the top competitors in mobile VR. Pixel XL is the premier pairing for Google Daydream, and now that the Note 7 is dead, the S7 edge is the best phone for using with the Gear VR headset.

Headphone jack

No need to scramble for an adapter; neither Google nor Samsung has axed this dedicated jack.

Fingerprint sensor

The fingerprint sensor is on the back of the Pixel. The S7 edge builds it into the home button.

Mobile payments

Samsung Pay is accepted in more places than Android Pay. Why? Samsung utilizes both NFC (near field communication) and magnetic secure transmission (MST), which mimics the swiping of an actual card. That means merchants don't need an NFC transponder to use it, like they do for Android Pay.

Virtual assistant

Pixel and Pixel XL are the first phones to have Google Assistant built-in. Google Assistant is the newest iteration of Google Now, and it's being billed as a smarter Siri. Samsung offers a voice-control feature called S-Voice and also supports Google Now.

Operating system

The Pixels are Google's first-born children, and as such they'll be first in line for all the latest and greatest software. Google guarantees the phones will receive all software updates for two years and all privacy updates for three years. Pixel XL launches with Android 7.1 Nougat.

S7 edge is currently running Android Marshmallow with its Samsung TouchWiz interface on top. Samsung has promised a Nougat update, but has not given a specific timeline.

Release

The Pixels are brand new; the Galaxy 7 series has been around for most of the year. Samsung launches its flagships in the spring, so it may be tempting to wait a few more months to see if the next Galaxy generation is worth the wait.

Starting price

Expect to pay top dollar for these industry headliners. Samsung prices fluctuate depending on carrier and payment plan, but count on paying almost US$800 for the S7 edge. Opting for the Pixel XL instead will only save you about $21.

From their essentials (processor, operating system, display) to their bells and whistles (VR compatibility, fast charging, camera), these two smartphones are neck-and-neck. We consider the Samsung's main strengths to be its good looks, water resistance, external storage and well-established Gear VR content. Pixel XL seems to have camera, operating system and virtual assistant advantages.

For more, you can check out our full reviews of the Google Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 series.

View gallery - 32 images

Top stories

Recommended for you

Latest in Mobile Technology

Latest phone comparisons

Editors Choice