Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Smart Phones

Google Pixel 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S23: expected differences


Google’s next generation of Pixel phones should be well under way — we are expecting a duo of Pixel 8 phones this October, another repeat of the triple-camera Pro and a “regular”, affordable model. The non-Pro has been quite the deal ever since the line was reimagined with the Pixel 6 series — a full-fledged Google phone for only $600 is what we would call a “flagship killer”.
So, we do expect that the Pixel 8 would come at the low price of $600, yet still have the camera chops and internals of its bigger sibling. And it will definitely draw comparisons to the Samsung Galaxy S23 — another big player in the Android market. The S23 may be a bit more expensive, but it does pack a featureset that it closer to its more expensive siblings, with less feeling of compromise.

Will the Pixel 8 have what it takes to draw some people away from Sammy? We’d say yes, but time will tell. For now, this is what we know about the Pixel 8 and how it’s going to compare to the Galaxy S23.

Google Pixel 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 expectations:

  • Two compact phones, by today’s standards
  • Pixel 8 to have 2 cameras, S23 adds a third zoom camera
  • New “staggered HDR” tech for Pixel photos
  • Tensor G3 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • Thermometer on the Pixel’s camera sensor?
  • Stock Google Android vs Samsung One UI

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

The Pixel is shrinking to compact sizes

The Google Pixel 7 is smaller than the Pixel 7 Pro, but not quite enough to be called a “compact” phone. Word is, the Pixel 8 will have a slightly smaller screen — down to 6.17″ from 6.32″. That will bring it closer to the 6.1″ screen size of the Galaxy S23. And, assuming the bezels are thin, it should also shrink the phone down to a more one-hand-friendly shape.

We assume the Pixel 8 will be yet another glass sandwich with an aluminum frame with that distinct horizontal camera bar on the back. While the build materials here are similar, the two phones will look quite different — the Galaxy S23, of course, has the vertical trio of lenses on its back instead.

No curved screens for those models — the arched display corners are only added to the more expensive Pro and Ultra variants nowadays. And also, both of these will have fingerprint scanners embedded in the display.

Display Differences

We fully expect it to have an AMOLED screen with a 120 Hz refresh rate — much like on the Galaxy S23. Though, Google does tune colors slightly differently. If the previous Pixels are anything to go by, we expect realistic colors with an overall warmer tint on the screen. That said, both Samsung and Google give you some limited controls over color calibration and saturation, and they have some form of Night Mode where blue light is progressively reduced as dusk sets in.

Performance and Software

Will the Tensor G3 be a hit?

For the third year in a row, we will be seeing Google’s Pixel phones be powered by a Google-designed chip. The Tensor series is built with special logic cores, dedicated to handling image processing and Google Assistant AI tasks. However, thus far, the Tensors haven’t been much for performance — the current Tensor G2 can’t even outrun the previous-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

That is to say, it’s not a number cruncher and it’s not a benchmarks performer. Still, we haven’t had a performance problem with the Pixels in day-to-day activities. But, one can hope that the third generation Tensor would amp it up a bit.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 2 Made for Galaxy inside the Galaxy S23 series, on the other hand, is an absolute heavy-hitter. We have no doubts that this processor can continue to deliver performance overhead for a few years extra, future-proofing the device.

An important note here — if you are shopping for a Galaxy S23, you certainly should pay the small extra for the upgrade to 256 GB storage. That’s because the 256 GB tier comes with UFS 4.0 — a new memory module, which is twice as fast as UFS 3.1.

Rumors say that the Pixel 8 will also come with UFS 4.0 and LPDDR5X. But if it, too, has a base storage tier of 128 GB — that entry level will have UFS 3.1. The reasoning behind this deduction is simple — UFS 4.0 is only available in modules 256 GB and up.

The two phones will also differ a lot in software and features. The Pixel line is, of course, the vessel to carry Google’s Android with the Google Assistant and all the developing AI features. The UI is simple, snappy, and straightforward. The Google Photos app has the exclusive Magic Editor.Samsung’s One UI is based off of Android, but is a complete reskin of the experience. From the quick toggles, to the transparent overlays, an Edge Panel that you can pull in from the side to launch favorite apps, heavy emphasis on split screen, and exclusive tricks in the Samsung Photos App — it, too, holds an Object Eraser and also has the feature where you can crop a subject out of a photo by tapping and holding on it.

And then, there’s the whole Samsung ecosystem. Yes, both these manufacturers have smartwathces and earbuds on offer, but Samsung does also make a plethora of smart home appliances and the SmartThings hub app is the place you control all of them.


Stagger HDR?

Word on the street is that we won’t be seeing a massive hardware upgrade with the Pixel 8‘s camera, but we will get a new software algorithm working behind the curtains. So, the main camera sensor is said to be 48 MP, which is slightly different than last year’s 50 MP one. But the star of the show will be the new “staggered HDR” tech, which takes multiple exposure shots at the same time (instead of one after another and stitching them up after). Supposedly, this should eliminate typcal HDR artifacts like the popular “ghosting” or “auras”. But… we’ll have to wait and see what’s up when Google annoucnes it officially.

As for the Galaxy S23 — we already know that camera. It amps up colors and it delivers photos that are punchy and instantly attractive for social media. Under scrutiny, it’s revealed that their greens are a bit skewed and details are a bit oversharpened. But, at this point, nobody gets a Samsung for soft details and muted colors.

Audio Quality and Haptics

Both of these phones are to have stereo speakers in the familiar setup — bottom driver and earpiece tweeter. The Galaxy S23 sounds ok — a bit muffled and middy, but it doesn’t distort. The Pixel 7 sounds tinny and kind of weak — we will see if the Pixel 8 comes to upgrade that.

Battery Life and Charging

The Google Pixel 7 had a 4,355 mAh battery, but with the expected decrease in the Pixel 8‘s body size, we might see a smaller battery there. However, the Galaxy S23 itself doesn’t have a gargantuan cell — it has a 3,900 powerpack in the back.

In terms of charging, they are also expected to be similar. The Galaxy can charge at 25 W tops, and the Pixel 8 is said to support 24 W on the wire.

Specs Comparison


No doubt, the Pixel 8 will — yet again — be a lot of phone for its asking price. Sadly, that price is rumored to be going up by at least $50. And, if you want to get access to that sweet, fast UFS 4.0, you may have to drop a bit more money on an upgraded model. But, at the end of the day, it will still be noticeably cheaper than the Galaxy S23‘s MSRP. Thing is, at that point, the Galaxy S23 will be half a year old and Samsung is not afraid to run promos and deal offers, especially with the Enhanced Trade-In program. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday this November, you may be able to snag a Galaxy S23 at the price of a Pixel 8.

Will it be the better phone to buy? Well, at the very least, it has a zoom camera. But for a more accurate conclusion, we will have to run the Pixel 8 through the ringer, once it actually launches.


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