The Galaxy S23 may be iterative, but it's still a solid phone. With a bright and vivid display, strong cameras, and better battery life, it's a win at $799. It's also got excellent performance.
- Great Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 performance
- Bright, vivid display
- Much improved battery life
- Front camera disappoints
- Same 25W charging speed
The Pixel 7 is Google's entry-level flagship, costing just $599. It sports some killer cameras, despite lacking a dedicated telephoto lens. The Tensor G2 chipset adds some serious smarts.
- Great price for a flagship
- Terrific cameras
- Bright, colorful display
- Tensor G2 a big step forward
- Performance could be better
- Only three years of software updates
- No improvement to battery life
With two great flagships at hand, a Galaxy S23 vs. Pixel 7 face-off was inevitable. Do you go with Samsung or Google? Turns out that the decision is harder than ever before, thanks to Samsung’s big improvements across the board.
With a $200 difference between the two, however, you’d be forgiven for feeling conflicted. You give up a lot of higher-end features by going with the Pixel 7, like a 120Hz display and a telephoto lens, but is that extra $200 worth it for the Galaxy S23? That’s what we’re to help answer.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Specs
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Galaxy S23||Pixel 7|
|Display||6.1-inch Super AMOLED (2340 x 1080)||6.3-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)|
|CPU||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy||Tensor G2|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB|
|Rear cameras||50MP (f/1.8) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 10MP (f/2.4) 3x telephoto||50MP (f/1.9) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide|
|Front camera||12MP (f/2.2)||10.8MP (f/2.2)|
|Battery||3,900 mAh||4,355 mAh|
|Battery life (Hrs:Mins)||10:27 (adaptive) / 11:20 (60Hz)||7:17 (90Hz) / 7:30 (60Hz)|
|Charging||25W wired, 15W wireless||20W wired, 20W wireless|
|Size||5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches (146.3 x 70.9 x 7.6 mm)||6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches (155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7 mm)|
|Weight||5.9 ounces (168 g)||7 ounces (197 g)|
|Colors||Phantom Black, Cream, Lavender, Green||Obsidian, Snow, Lemongrass|
Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Price and availability
The Galaxy S23 launched in February, starting at $799. The base model comes with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Similarly, the Pixel 7 also starts with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, but with a starting price of $599 — $200 less than the S23’s price.
Since it’s Samsung, you can pick up a Galaxy S23 at almost any electronics store or carrier. The Pixel 7, while more widely available, does not enjoy the same level of ease of access. Since it’s a much less popular phone, it also doesn’t have the same amount of accessories.
Despite the $200 difference between the two handsets, the Galaxy S23 offers a more compelling package. Not only do you get a better and brighter display, but it has a 3x telephoto lens, a lot more horsepower thanks to its chipset, and arguably better cameras in many situations.
But the Pixel 7 is no slouch at $599. It might lack the 120Hz display or telephoto camera, but it makes up for it with its bang for your buck, especially when it comes to the cameras.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Design
Right off the bat, you can easily tell which is the Galaxy S23 and which is the Pixel 7. They’re both rather distinctive in their designs, whether it's the Pixel 7’s camera bar or the Galaxy S23’s refined look.
Samsung got rid of the contour cut camera module that we saw on the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S22. Instead, the camera lenses stack vertically and individually, just like the Galaxy S23 Ultra. In fact, the whole Galaxy S23 series enjoys a nice sense of design cohesion. Couple that with the Armor Aluminum frame and new Gorilla Glass Victus 2 glass, and an IP68 rating, and the Galaxy S23 is meant to withstand some punishment.
The Pixel 7 refined the design introduced with the Pixel 6 in 2021. The camera bar remains present, whether you like it or not, except that the camera lenses stand out a lot more than they did on the Pixel 6. Google’s phone isn’t as durable as the Galaxy S23, but it does sport an IP68 water resistance rating.
Whichever phone design you like comes down to personal preference, but the Galaxy S23 is built to last, hopefully as long as Samsung promises to support it.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Display
The Galaxy S23 has Samsung’s latest Super AMOLED panel, which makes for an excellent 6.1-inch FHD+ display. Colors in both calibration modes look amazing — 212% of the sRGB spectrum in Vivid mode and 129% when you switch to Natural — especially with the smoother 48-120Hz refresh rate.
Best of all, the Galaxy S23’s screen can get really bright for outdoor visibility. Samsung rates it at 1,750 nits, even though we measured a maximum of 1,340 nits in our testing. It’s also quite color accurate in its Natural mode with a Delta-E score of 0.24. (Zero is perfect.)
The Pixel 7 has a 6.3-inch FHD+ display, though it uses regular OLED technology. It’s more than adequate as a screen, coming in with 926 nits of brightness in our lab. It isn’t as colorful as the Galaxy S23 with a 109% in the sRGB test in the Natural setting. Its Delta-E score sat at 0.28.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Galaxy S23||Pixel 7|
|sRGB (%)||212 (Vivid) / 129 (Natural)||109 (Natural)|
|DCI-P3 (%)||150 (Vivid) / 91 (Natural)||77 (Natural)|
|Delta-E||0.34 (Vivid) / 0.24 (Natural)||0.28 (Natural)|
|Peak brightness (nits)||1,340||926|
While the Pixel 7 has a great display all things considered, the Galaxy S23 is simply leagues better. It’s got Samsung’s latest technology and it beats just about everything else on the market, even the iPhone 14.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Cameras
The Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7 diverge a bit when it comes to cameras. That’s because in addition to the 50MP main and 12MP ultrawide sensors, the Galaxy S23 has a 10MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. It has a 12MP front camera also.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 lacks a dedicated telephoto lens, instead relying on the AI-powered Super Res Zoom feature of a digital zoom of up to 8x outright. Otherwise, you’ll get 50MP main and 12MP sensors on the back of the Pixel 7, with a 10.8MP selfie cam up front.
Google has long held the crown as having some of the best camera phones, even with a device as seemingly modest as the Pixel 7. However, Samsung seems to have upped its game this year, especially with the Galaxy S23 Ultra (which has claimed the title of the best camera phone).
In practice, the Galaxy S23 has taken Samsung’s former tendency toward oversaturation and turned it into a strength. While photo output still verges on fantastical in some scenes, it provides welcoming and inviting images that look more appealing than a lot of what the Pixel 7 does. (Google has lately had a trend of opting for cooler colors, which works well in some scenarios, but not so in most others.)
You can check out our Galaxy S23 review, notably the camera section, to see how Samsung stacks up against Google (and the iPhone 14). The Korean phone maker has really upped its game in 2023, and some might say it’s the better camera phone.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Performance
Performance between the Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7 differs greatly. Long story short, the Pixel 7 pales in comparison to the Galaxy S23 in both CPU and gaming horsepower.
That’s because Samsung uses the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, an overclocked version of Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line silicon. The latest Snapdragon runs laps around the Pixel’s Tensor G2 for raw performance. Geekbench 5, for example, showed the Galaxy S23 with a multicore score of 4,876. Compare that to the Pixel 7’s more modest 3,021.
The disparity continues in 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited, with the Galaxy S23 turning in an average result of 87 frames per second while the Pixel 7 was half that at 40 fps.
In a real-world test, the Galaxy S23 continues its lead in the Adobe Premiere Rush video transcode test. It completed it in 39 seconds. The Pixel 7 was a bit further behind at 47 seconds.
Simply put, if you want the most powerful Android phone, the Galaxy S23 is at the top of the list. The Pixel 7, however, has other strengths unique to Tensor, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Battery life and charging
Google and Samsung have historically struggled in our battery life test, but the latter seems to have figured things out with the S23 family. The Galaxy S23 features a 3,900 mAh battery, while the PIxel 7 has a 4,355 mAh power pack.
In our battery life test, we have a phone endlessly reload web pages over a cellular connection until it runs out of power. The Galaxy S23 turned in a result of 10 hours and 27 minutes in its adaptive refresh mode. That handily beats the Pixel 7’s 7 hours and 17 minutes; it’s also better than the average time for a smartphone by roughly half-an-hour.
So if you want a phone that lasts longer on a charge, the Galaxy S23 is the better option, especially considering its performance and 120Hz display.
As for charging speed, the Galaxy S23 supports up to 25W wireless. In our testing, it recovered 55% of its battery capacity in 30 minutes. The Pixel 7 goes up to 20W and regained 41% in half an hour.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Software
Software design differs between the Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7. The former runs One UI 5.1 on top of Android 13. The Pixel 7 instead opts for Google’s vision for the OS and has comparatively fewer features than Samsung.
However, the Pixel 7 has some unique software tricks thanks to its Tensor G2 chipset. One of those is Photo Unblur which can, as you might guess, dynamically unblur many of your photos, even ones not taken on the phone.
Google also has the incredibly unique Call Assist suite. This includes features like screening your calls, giving automated menu options, applying noise canceling and audio boosts to calls, staying on hold for you and more.
Samsung has started to catch up, however. Bixby Text Call is very similar to Google’s Call Screen, where you can have Bixby answer calls for you and let you respond to the caller via texts. It’s the start of useful calling features that other phones desperately need.
As for updates, here’s where things get interesting. The Pixel 7 gets new updates as soon as they’re available from Google, but Samsung has gotten a lot quicker in recent years. Samsung also promises a longer support period for the Galaxy S23, four years of platform upgrades and five years of security patches. Google matches the latter, but only promises three years of Android updates.
Strangely enough, if you want to keep your phone for longer, then you’ll want to look at the Galaxy S23 unless Google changes its update policy.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Google Pixel 7: Outlook
You might find it hard to choose between the Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7, but hopefully this face-off helped you make a more informed decision. With a $200 difference between the two, you have a lot of considerations to make.
We think that the Galaxy S23 is the better buy. It goes much longer on a charge and it can boast of a better, brighter screen, more powerful CPU, and cameras that we think outshine the Pixel 7’s. (That’s not to mention the 3x telephoto lens you get with the S23.)
If money is more of a consideration, though, the Pixel 7 is a great alternative. It has a clean software experience with quick updates, strong cameras, and very useful software features. Yet, it has a hard time comparing to Samsung’s latest in most regards.