Do we have a good one for you today – the classic Samsung Galaxy S7 takes on the new Google Pixel XL. Samsung has sold millions of Galaxy S7’s, especially with the Galaxy Note 7 woes – many traded their Note 7 in for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge while waiting for the arrival of the next Galaxy Note 8. The Galaxy S7 continued its metal frame and sculptured Gorilla Glass 4, which offers a solid build and comfortable feeling in your hand. Google still has heads spinning by ridding itself of the Nexus name and instead, going for a new look of polished glass and metal and new name – the Google Pixel or Pixel XL. The devices do share many of the many of the same internal parts and specs, but the overall feel of the devices are quite different. Let’s take a look to see just what these two devices have in common and then we will take a closer look at each device.
The Galaxy S7 and the Google Pixel XL do have a few things in common and one of them is not physical size as the Google Pixel XL is larger in all dimensions and weighs 16 grams more. They both have some water resistance, but the Galaxy S7 takes the prize here with its IP68 rating while the Pixel XL is only splash and dust resistant. The displays are close in size – 5.1-inch on the S7 and 5.5-inches on the Pixel XL – and they use the same AMOLED technology, the same QHD resolution, and Gorilla Glass 4. They both use a Snapdragon processor, the 820, and slightly improved 821, along with the same Adreno 530 GPU for graphics. They both pack 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and they both offer a 32GB variant of internal memory – the Galaxy S7 can be expanded, but the only option in the Pixel XL is to purchase a 128GB model. The main camera areas are very similar, and both take excellent photos. They both have a non-removable battery with fast charging built in and both enjoy a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device or authorizing mobile payments. The usual suspects are here – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a USB port (microUSB v2.0 on the S7 and the newer Type-C reversible on the Pixel XL.)
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Samsun Galaxy S7
The Galaxy S7 series is one of the earlier released devices, and other manufacturers look to see what the new surprises the Samsung Galaxy S series might bring with it. The Galaxy S7/S7 Edge easily outsold all other Android smartphones even though it was merely a refinement of the Galaxy S6. Besides the new processor and a few subtle design changes, the same metal and glass construction can be found on the outside. The camera area was about the most exciting new design this year as we all expected to see a 21MP+ sensor; but instead, Samsung used a Dual Pixel 12MP shooter.
The Galaxy S7 sports a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with 577 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Samsung added an ‘always-on’ display, to help save battery life by giving it users' the ability to glance at the time, date, and notifications without turning on your main device. If you purchased your Galaxy S7 in the US, your processor comes with the 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz. In other countries, Samsung will use their Exynos 8890 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6GHz and four cores clocked at 2.3GHz. The Galaxy S7 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and has 32GB of the faster UFS 2.0 memory, as well as possible expansion up to 200GB via a microSD card.
Samsung surprised everybody this year by not increasing the 16MP found in the Galaxy S6 series. We expected a 21MP+ sensor, but instead got a Dual Pixel 12MP with an increased aperture to f/1.7, including a faster phase detection autofocus (PDAF), auto HDR and OIS. The Galaxy S7’s front-facing camera (FFC) comes with a 5MP sensor, a wide-angle lens, the same f/1.7 aperture as the primary camera, and Live HDR. This combination should allow excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. Samsung did increase the non-removable battery to 3000mAh, and it features Quick Charge 2.0 and Quick Wireless Charging.
The Galaxy S7 is suitable to use both Android Pay as well as Samsung Pay to make mobile purchases just about anywhere you can swipe a credit or debit card. It has IP68 certification against dust and water; it sports a heart rate and oxygen sensor, and High-Res audio for listening through earphones. The Galaxy S7 measures 142.4 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm, weighs in at 152 grams, is available in Black, White, Gold, and Silver, and costs about $670, although many specials are running.
Google Pixel XL
Google’s new Pixel devices is a move that was necessary to create an Apple-like ecosystem where Google fans can use their new Home products right along with their Google Pixel. We will be looking at the Google Pixel XL this time around to see just how this newly designed Pixel XL with its polished glass and metal construction holds up to the glass and metal construction of the Galaxy S7. Google needs to get the word out about the interaction between the phone and the other products coming down the road. This may entice more buyers and bring them into the Google family.
The Google Pixel XL sports a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with 534 PPI. It is using the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHZ and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 821 is a variation of the 820, and it will put out 10-percent more speed than the usual 820. Like the Galaxy S7, it comes with the Adreno 530 GPU to tackle the toughest graphics. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB or 128GB of the faster UFS memory with no means to expand. It uses a large 3450mAh non-removable battery for power and has rapid charge capabilities.
While the camera area specifications do not seem very impressive with its 12.3MP, an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus (PDAF,) a dual-tone LED flash, and no OIS, but when DxOMark tested the Google Pixel XL camera, it received a score of 89 – the highest yet for a smartphone. There is a large 8MP FFC that comes with a f/2.0 aperture, a 1.4µm pixel size, and 1080p should offer excellent selfies and video chatting.
The Pixel XL measures in at 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm and weighs in at 168 grams. There are three different colors available: Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue (a limited edition color.) A rear-mounted fingerprint sensor will allow you to unlock your device or authorize mobile payments and of course, Android Pay will be part of the package as well. It will be running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box. The 32GB Google Pixel XL is IP53 rated against dust and water and will cost you a hefty $770.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
The Google Pixel XL costs more than the Galaxy S7, yet gives you less for your money and for that reason I am giving this win to the Samsung Galaxy S7. Yes, I know that the Pixel XL is giving you Android 7.1 Nougat, the pure vanilla OS that will get the quickest upgrades, but it takes more than that to win in the specifications department.
The Galaxy S7 uses a Super AMOLED display, an ‘always on’ display to save battery life, it has cheap, expandable memory, has an IP68 certification for dust and water, quick wireless charging, Hi-Res audio, Samsung Pay, adds a heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor.
The Google Pixel XL does have the Snapdragon 821 processor, which would give a slight boost in performance, and has the number one rated primary camera – although the Samsung camera is only one point below. If you have the money, are satisfied with only 32GB or 128GB of memory, and must have the latest Android Nougat, then jump on the Pixel XL. But for more bang for your buck, the Samsung Galaxy S7 seems to offer more.