Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs. Google Pixel
If you're eyeing a high-end Android smartphone, you'll likely want to consider options from both the Samsung Galaxy S8 series and the Google Pixel flagships. Here, we compare the specs and features of the Galaxy S8+ and the Google Pixel.
The S8+ is considerably larger than the Pixel. The S8+ is the bigger of Samsung's latest flagships, while the Pixel is the little brother to the Pixel XL. The relatively tall, narrow S8+ is 10-percent taller and 4-percent wider.
The S8+ is 17-percent heavier than the Pixel.
Both builds use aluminum and glass, but to different effect. The S8+ has a rounded glass back that curves into a minimal aluminum frame. The Pixel has an aluminum body with the exception of a glass panel on the upper back.
The S8+ is available in five colors internationally, but in the US, only the black, silver and orchid gray variants are currently available. The Pixel comes in black, blue and silver.
The S8+ has an IP68 water resistance rating, but the Pixel is not similarly protected.
There's a whopping difference between the nearly edge-to-edge 6.2-inch display on the larger Samsung phone and the bezeled 5-incher on the Pixel. The S8+ packs in 29-percent more screen area.
Display resolution on the S8+ also beats that of the Pixel. QHD+ resolution is just one of the qualities that has earned Samsung's Infinity Display high praise from experts.
Both makers choose AMOLED display technology over IPS.
The S8+ is certified Mobile HDR Premium by the UHD Alliance and can support HDR video content. No such luck on the Pixel.
The S8+ display has rounded edges that curve around the edges of the phone. Like most phones, the Pixel is flat-fronted.
Both phones have onscreen home buttons. The home button in the Galaxy S8 series has some pressure sensitivity, so you can do a hard press to immediately go home even when the navigation buttons are faded out (in places like full-screen videos or games).
Both phones have back-mounted fingerprint sensors. The Pixel's is centered, but on the S8+, it is placed to the right of the camera lens and is harder to reach.
Samsung has lauded the S8 flagships' face recognition as a nearly instant biometric method for unlocking your phone. However, it doesn't seem to be the best way to keep your phone secure, and it doesn't seem that different from the Trusted Face feature already included in the Android operating system.
Samsung does offer a more secure biometric method: iris scanning, which has been much improved since we first tested it in the ill-fated Note 7.
Samsung uses the latest Snapdragon 835 chip in the US and other markets and its own Exynos-branded chip elsewhere. Google used last year's Snapdragon 821 chip, which is still duly capable.
Both phones have 4 GB of RAM.
The S8+ is available in one 64 GB storage size, while the Pixel straddles that with 32 GB and 128 GB options.
Storage on the S8+ is expandable up to an extra 256 GB thanks to microSD.
Don't worry, neither of these flagships followed in the path of the iPhone 7: The headphone jack remains intact.
… but only the S8+ actually includes headphones, an AKG pair that has a retail price of US$99 when sold separately.
The S8+ has a bigger battery, which makes sense, because it's a bigger phone. We'll see how it fares in our standard battery test in our full-length review.
Both phones offer some quick charge capability.
Only the S8+ supports wireless charging (with a sold-separately charging pad) and even a degree of fast wireless charging.
Resolution in the front and rear cameras stands pat.
Camera aperture (rear)
The S8+ has a larger aperture (the smaller the f-stop, the larger the aperture) which, at least in theory, could translate into better depth of field effects and improved low light shooting.
Optical image stabilization (OIS)
The S8+ has OIS to combat hand shake-induced image blur, but not the Pixel (but to be fair, we don't miss it very much on this particular phone).
Both phones have NFC technology to make payments with a swipe of your phone at participating retailers. Samsung Pay, on the S8+, has the added benefit of being able to mimic magnetic stripe cards as well.
Both phones have Android's Google Assistant, but the S8 series also debuts Samsung's all-new Bixby virtual assistant. There's even a dedicated Bixby activation button on the side of the phone. However, not all Bixby features – including all-important voice control – have gone live yet.
Desktop PC dock
With Samsung's DeX dock (sold separately) you can use the S8+ to power a desktop PC-like experience with a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Pixel runs pure Android Nougat, and as a Google device, it is first in line for software updates for the near future. The S8+ runs Nougat as well, but with Samsung's TouchWiz UI skinned on top, which will mean slower updates.
The Pixels arrived on the scene late last year, but the S8 flagships are just starting to hit shelves.
Starting price (full retail)
Prices for the S8+ vary depending on carrier and payment plan, but expect to pay nearly $200 more than you would for the Pixel, which already carries a considerable $649 price tag.