Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Google Pixel 2 – Android’s best handsets battle it out
It’s said that the Google Pixel 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S9 are the two best Android smartphones on the market right now, with the former delivering an unrivalled vanilla user experience and the latter having a few more tricks up its sleeve. But which is the better of the two? Let’s find out.
Related: MWC 2018
Galaxy S9 vs Pixel 2 design – What’s the difference?
Let’s not beat around the bush: the Galaxy S9 is the best-looking Android smartphone out right now. Samsung’s immersive 18:9 edge-to-edge Infinity Display, complete with curved edges, leaves little to be desired. The Pixel 2, on the other hand, is equipped with an ageing 16:9 screen à la iPhone 8 that’s surrounded by a sizeable bezel.
Delving a little deeper into the details, we find that the Galaxy S9 also has a much better screen (on paper, at least). The 5.8-inch Infinity Display has a 1440 x 2960 resolution and Mobile HDR, affording customers the option to stream HDR content from Netflix. No such luck on the Pixel 2, however, which has a standard Full HD (1080 x 1920) screen in the same vein as the budget Moto G5.
- Galaxy S9 – 147.6 x 68.7 x 8.4 mm (163g)
- Pixel 2 – 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm (143g)
The rest of the build is near-identical, with the main difference being that the Pixel 2 doesn’t have a single sheet of glass covering the entire back; it’s one sheet that splits about a quarter of the way in, where durable aluminium takes over.
Both handsets are armed with a USB-C slot and some form of fast-charging tech – PowerDelivery 2.0 on the Pixel and Adaptive Fast Charge on the Galaxy.
Related: Best smartphones
Galaxy S9 vs Pixel 2 specs – Which is more powerful?
Things here aren’t quite clear-cut. The Galaxy S9 is the more powerful out of the two. It features Samsung’s state-of-the-art Exynos 9810 CPU in Europe and Qualcomm’s brand-new Snapdragon 845 CPU in North America. The Pixel 2, on the other hand, comes with Qualcomm’s one-year-old Snapdragon 835 CPU in all regions. Both include 4GB of RAM and dedicated a GPU for enhanced visuals.
As for the camera, the Galaxy S9 has a 12-megapixel rear camera with a mechanical variable aperture, letting users switch between f/1.5 and f/2.5. As such, users can adjust the preset to capture fantastic shots no matter the environment they’re in (light or dark, for example). The Pixel 2 has a 12.2-megapixel sensor with a fixed f/1.8 aperture.
Both the Galaxy S9 and Pixel 2 ship running Android 8.0 Oreo, but they couldn’t be more different. The Pixel has an unmodified build, providing the unrivalled vanilla user experience I noted earlier, while the Galaxy is skinned with Samsung’s modified Experience user interface. It delivers a few more features, such as AR EMoji, but also strips some away – Program-in-Picture (PiP), for example.
Here’s a full breakdown of the internal differences between the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 8:
|Galaxy S9||Pixel 2|
|Camera (Front)||8MP (f/1.7)||8MP (f/2.4)|
|Camera (Rear)||12MP (f/1.5) or (f/2.4)||12.2MP (f/1.8)|
|Display||5.8-inch OLED Infinity Display (1440 x 2960)||5-inch AMOLED (1080 x 1920)|
|Processor||Exynos 9810 Octa/Snapdragon 845||Snapdragon 835|
|Storage||64GB/256GB (expandable via microSD)||64GB/128GB|
Galaxy S9 vs Pixel 2 – Price
Pricing for the Galaxy S9 is set at £739 for the standard 5.8-inch variant and £869 for the 6.2-inch Plus model. The Pixel 2 is priced at £629.
Galaxy S9 vs Pixel 2 summary – What’s the difference?
Design: The Galaxy S9 is the better of the two in the design department. It has a more immersive 18:9 edge-to-edge screen with a higher resolution than the 16:9 panel found on the Pixel 2. It also looks more modern, with its all-glass build – save for the frame around the outside, used to join the heavy-duty glass on the back and front of the handset.
Specs: Samsung’s latest smartphone is once again the winner. It’s armed with the firm’s state-of-the-art Exynos 9810 CPU in Europe and Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 CPU in North America, both beating the Snapdragon 835 CPU in the Pixel 2. The S9 also has a better camera, thanks to the variable aperture, and expandable storage (via microSD).
Price: The Galaxy S9 starts at £739 for the standard 5.8-inch variant and £869 for the 6.2-inch Plus model. The Pixel 2, however, can be had for £629 – almost £100 less. But for the extra £90, you’re getting an awful lot of bang for your buck, including a better screen, a more powerful processor and the option to expand the storage whenever you see fit.
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