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Android Smartphone Showdown: Google Pixel vs. Samsung Galaxy S7

Nov. 28, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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In the wake of Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 recall, Android enthusiasts on the hunt for a new gadget may be left wondering whether they should choose a different Samsung smartphone or go with an entirely different brand.

To help you settle the debate, we’ve compared two popular alternatives: the new Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S7.

The smartphones: At a glance

 Google PixelSamsung Galaxy S7
PriceStarts at $649 from GoogleStarts at $669.99 from Samsung
ColorsQuite black, very silver, really blue Gold platinum, black onyx, silver titanium
Screen size5 inches5.1 inches
Weight5.04 ounces5.36 ounces
Camera12.3-megapixel rear, 8-megapixel front12-megapixel rear, 5-megapixel front
Storage32GB, 128GB32GB (expandable to 256GB with a microSD card)
Battery lifeUp to 26 hours talk time on 3GUp to 28 hours talk time on 2G
Water resistantNoYes
Major carriersVerizonAT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint
Buy on Amazon
Buy
Buy

Design

The Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S7 both have thin designs and curved edges. The sleek smartphones are nearly identical in size.

The Pixel has a 5-inch FHD AMOLED screen and weighs 5.04 ounces. The Pixel comes in quite black, very silver and really blue colors.

The Galaxy S7 boasts a slightly larger and more advanced 5.1-inch Quad HD super AMOLED display and weighs 5.36 ounces. It’s available in gold platinum, black onyx or silver titanium.

Each also has a fingerprint sensor; the Pixel’s is on the back and the Galaxy S7’s — which doubles as the phone’s home button — is on the front. The Pixel has no physical home button, but rather an on-screen digital button.

» MORE: Best cell phone plans

Features

Both smartphones are fit for tech lovers. They’re compatible with virtual reality headsets — the Pixel with Google’s Daydream View system and the Galaxy S7 with the Gear VR — and have ample functions.

Here’s what else the Google Pixel has to offer:

  • Camera: The phone’s 12.3-megapixel rear-facing camera and 8-megapixel front-facing camera can capture sharp HD videos and selfies even in low light conditions.googlepixelwhite
  • Google Assistant: This smart voice service answers questions and completes tasks like setting reminders and searching for photos from your library. It learns as you use it, becoming more conversational and remembering information.
  • Android Pay: Users can download this app to make fast, secure payments with their phones.
  • Battery life: The Pixel has an extended battery life, with a talk time of up to 26 hours on 3G. It’s quick charging, too, offering up to seven hours of battery after a 15-minute charge.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has its own attractive capabilities:

  • Camera: The Galaxy S7’s 12-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front cameras with dual pixel technology are built to let in light and autofocus quickly to avoid blurriness.
    galaxys7
  • Water resistance: The Galaxy S7 is designed to protect against splashes and spills. It can last up to 30 minutes submerged in 5 feet of water.
  • Battery life: The phone supplies up to 28 hours of talk time on 2G and can be used with a separately purchased wireless charging pad for fast charging.
  • S Voice: Samsung has its own built-in voice-recognition service, but its capabilities are more limited.
  • Samsung Pay: Galaxy S7 users have the ability to make digital payments at more retailers because they can access Samsung Pay in addition to Android Pay.

Operating system and storage

The Galaxy S7 uses Android’s 6.0 Marshmallow OS. The Pixel operates on the more recent Android 7.1 Nougat, which offers an improved interface, performance and battery life. Both give users access to apps from the Google Play store.

The two smartphones offer plenty of storage. The Galaxy S7 has 32GB of storage, but you can bump that up to 256GB with a separately purchased microSD card. The Pixel comes in 32GB and 128GB versions, and each comes with unlimited photo and video storage using Google Photos.

» MORE: Google Pixel vs. Apple iPhone 7

Price and availability

The Google Pixel starts at $649 outright from Google for the 32GB version. Monthly payment options start at $27.04 per month. But there’s a major limitation — it’s only available through Verizon or Google’s Project Fi network.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is $669.99 unlocked from Samsung. It is available at each of the four major networks, which means the exact price can vary based on contract and carrier. For example, it’s available for $649 outright from Sprint, but $694.99 from AT&T.

Make the call

The Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S7 hover around the same price, so you’ll likely need to base your decision on other factors.

With its more advanced camera hardware plus unlimited photo and video storage, the Pixel is the optimal choice for frequent photographers. And if voice service is high on your priority list, the sophisticated Google Assistant is better equipped to follow commands. But unless you’re an existing Verizon or Project Fi customer (or you’re willing to switch networks), it’ll be out of the running.

If features like water resistance and a higher resolution display are more important to you, pick the Galaxy S7. And it’s available at most major carriers, which makes it the more accessible option.

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