Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro — what to expect

samsung galaxy s23 ultra vs. Google pixel 7 pro
(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix/Tom's Guide)

We can't call call a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro winner just yet — after all, Samsung's next flagship won't arrive until February. But we won't have long to wait before we see how the upcoming Galaxy S model compares to Google's own top-of-the-line flagship handset.

Besides, we already have a pretty good idea of what the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is going to offer, thanks to the many rumors detailing the ins and outs of the upcoming release. That gives us enough information to do an initial comparison with the Pixel 7 Pro.

Just a few weeks ahead of the Galaxy S23 Ultra launch, leaks suggest a phone that's going to be a lot like the  Galaxy S22 Ultra before it, only with some big improvements to cameras, performance and display. That should make the S23 Ultra a contender for the best Android phone if not one of the best phones overall.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro is already with us, and we already know it's a great value flagship phone. It shines when it comes to photo and screen quality, even if it falls down on battery life and performance. 

We have gathered all the details on both phones to create this Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Pixel 7 Pro comparison, in the hope of figuring out which phone might be best for which type of users. Take a look, and be sure to come back regularly to see the updates. (And if you're interested in how the base models might compare, check out our Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7 preliminary face-off.)

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Specs

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Galaxy S23 Ultra (rumored)Pixel 7 Pro
Screen size6.8-inch AMOLED (3,088×1,440)6.7-inch OLED (3120 x 1440)
CPUSnapdragon 8 Gen 2Google Tensor G2
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom)50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 48MP 5x telephoto
Front camera12MP10.8MP
Battery size5,000 mAh5,000 mAh
Size6.4 x 3.1 x 0.35 inches6.4 x 3 x 0.3 inches
Weight8.2 ounces7.5 ounces

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: price and availability

You can go out and buy a Pixel 7 Pro right now if you wish, with the starting price of $899 / £849 / AU$1,299 for a base model 128GB storage. That's cheap for a flagship phone, let alone when compared to what we expect Samsung to charge for the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Google Pixel 7 deals can help you save even more on the Pro model.

Galaxy S23 release date rumors suggest the Ultra is going to hit retail shelves in mid-February. That seems like even more of a certainty now that Samsung has set a February 1 date for its next Unpacked event. We'd anticipate the entire Galaxy S23 lineup debuting at that event.

As for the S23 Ultra's price, we'd imagine it'll cost at least as much as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which costs $1,199 for 128GB of storage. It's possible that Samsung would raise its prices to deal with increased parts costs, as some of the expected upgrades could be expensive additions.

You can reserve your spot now to pre-order the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Do so before that February 1 launch event, and you can get a credit of $50 to $100 from Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Design and display

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is thought to have a slightly larger screen than the Pixel 7 Pro's 6.7 inch display, but that's not the only way these two phones should look different from one another.

Pixel 7 Pro back

(Image credit: Future)

The Pixel 7 Pro draws on Google's recent design elements like a centrally aligned punch-hole camera on the front, curved display sides and a metal camera bar across the back housing the phone's three rear sensors. 

In contrast, the Galaxy S23 Ultra should use a design that looks a lot like that of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. That means individually embedded rear cameras in the top left corner of the phone's rear panel, more extreme curves on the back and front and a included S Pen stylus for note-taking and drawing.

Image of a leaked render of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix)

Like the Pixel 7 Pro, the Galaxy S23 Ultra's 6.8-inch display should feature an LTPO-enhanced 120Hz QHD OLED panel. However the S23 Ultra may also have increased brightness compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is already one of the brighter screens we've tested. In addition, rumors point to an improved under-display fingerprint scanner for the Galaxy S23 Ultra that will set it apart from the Pixel 7 Pro.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Cameras 

Starting with the phone we know about, the Pixel 7 Pro has three rear cameras. Those are a 50MP main camera (taking 12.5MP shots), a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 48MP camera capable of 5x telephoto zoom. Together with the 10.8MP front camera, the Pixel 7 Pro is one of the best camera phones on the market today.

Google Pixel 7 Pro cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We would expect the Galaxy S23 Ultra to carry over most of the Galaxy S22 Ultra's impressive camera sensors, though with two big exceptions. The new Ultra should still have a 12MP ultrawide camera, and dual 10MP telephoto cameras, one capable of 3x zoom and the other of 10x zoom. But instead of a 108MP main camera, there could be a 200MP main camera, a big jump from the already impressive resolution of the Galaxy S22 Ultra's shots. 

That will mean lots of detail in photos with the 200MP mode enabled (we expect the phone to take 12.5MP images by default), but we'll be curious to see how the Galaxy S23 Ultra copes with color and brightness, two areas where more megapixels won't necessarily give it an advantage over the Pixel 7 Pro.

The other "upgrade" to the Galaxy S23 Ultra will supposedly be the use of a 12MP selfie camera in place of the existing 40MP sensor on the S22 Ultra. This could be seen as a downgrade since a 12MP shooter would mean lower resolution photos. But there's rumors the front camera could get a Pro mode giving you more control over selfies as well as improved night photo features. In any event, a 12MP shooter would still offer more pixels than the Pixel 7 Pro's front camera. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Performance

Google uses its own Tensor G2 chipset in the Pixel 7 Pro, alongside 12GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. Based on our Tensor G2 testing, the Pixel 7 Pro doesn't have the most powerful CPU around, though its GPU turns in better performance. Still, the Galaxy S22 Ultra running on a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset posts the better numbers, though the Tensor chip is about more than just benchmark numbers .

Nevertheless, the gap figures to grow with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is widely expected to sport Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 silicon. We had the chance to run some Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmarks, and any phone running on that chipset figures to be among the best performing Android handsets.

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PhoneProcessorGeekbench 5 (single core/multicore)3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (FPS)
Pixel 7 ProTensor G21,060 / 3,04640.3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Reference DesignSnapdragon 8 Gen 21,500/5,24984
Samsung Galaxy S22 UltraSnapdragon 8 Gen 11,24056.9

Samsung may also offer 256GB of storage by default on the S23 Ultra, and up to 1TB for users wanting the most space possible. That's more generous than what Google has at either end of the spectrum, where the Pixel 7 Pro only comes in 128GB and 256GB configurations.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Battery life and charging

Battery life isn't the Pixel 7 Pro's strong point. Though it features a 5,000 mAh battery, Google's phone struggles to last on our custom Tom's Guide battery test in which we have phones surf the web over cellular until they run out of power. In our test, the Pixel 7 Pro finished more than 3 hours behind the average smartphone.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra also included a 5,000 mAh battery, a spec that's likely to carry over to the Galaxy S23 Ultra. In our test, the S22 Ultra lasted longer than the Pixel 7 Pro, beating Google's phone by more than 3.5 hours. We're hoping better power efficiency in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can push that result even further to land the Galaxy S23 Ultra on our best phone battery life list for phones that hold out more than 11.5 hours on our battery test. 

The Pixel 7 Pro charges at 30W, which is a little on the slow side compared with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which charges at up to 45W. The Galaxy S23 Ultra should adapt these specs from its predecessor, so it will likely power up faster than the Pixel. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Software and special features

Google launched Android 13 alongside the Pixel 7 Pro, and we expect that version of Google's mobile software to debut on the Galaxy S23 Ultra as well.

The Tensor G2 on the Pixel 7 Pro should give Google's phone something of an edge here, as that chipset has a neural core that tap into machine learning for some unique features. As a result, the Pixel 7 Pro can offer capabilities like real-time on-device translation, phone call management features and one-tap Magic Eraser photo editing.

Google Pixel 7 Pro display view

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Samsung's One UI 5 interface contains its own enhancements for multi-tasking and personalization, and simplified widget stacking in the style of iOS widgets. While the new version of One UI is rolling out to current Galaxy phones as part of the Android 13 update, it will presumably come pre-installed on the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

It's also assumed that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will keep the built-in stylus that Samsung introduced to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. This Galaxy Note-style feature is an invaluable accessory for users who like to take written notes and draw stuff on their phone, and is something that the Pixel 7 Pro has no way to match beyond drawing with your finger.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Galaxy S22 Ultra. (Image credit: Future)

Additionally, Samsung offers lengthier software support for its phones compared to Google. You can count on three years of Android updates from Google for its Pixel phones. (Security patches are available for five years.) The Galaxy S22 Ultra gets four years of updates, though, and we would expect Samsung to continue offering that perk with the Galaxy S23 lineup.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Outlook 

The big talking point with a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 7 Pro will come down to cameras. We're curious to see if that rumored 200MP main camera can challenge Google's superiority with camera phones, or if the Pixel 7 Pro's computational photography will still win the day.

Other aspects like battery life, display brightness and performance could be tilted in the favor of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, though only testing will determine which phone is the top Android option. 

We don't have long to wait for the Galaxy S23 Ultra's launch, and at that point, we'll get to see exactly how it measures up to a Pixel 7 Pro. If you're in need of a new Android flagship, and can afford to wait the few weeks for Samsung's launch, it would be wise to do so, but know that by going for the Pixel 7 Pro now, you'll still get an excellent phone.

Richard Priday
Senior Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide senior writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.