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Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S22: Biggest differences to expect

A render image showing Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S22
(Image credit: Google/LetsGoDigtial)

The Google Pixel 6 is set to be revealed on October 19, bringing in a brace of flagship phones with a custom chip, distinctive design and a focus on smart features. Meanwhile the Samsung Galaxy S22 range remains unconfirmed, but rumors around its specs and features are gathering pace, ahead of a predicted early 2022 release. 

As such, in the coming months we are set to see two major phone series make their debut and potentially set the standards for other handsets from the likes of Oppo, OnePlus, Nokia and more to follow. 

But neither phone is set to be cheap and cheerful, so you may be weighing up whether you’ll want to consider the upcoming Pixel 6 or wait for the much-rumored Galaxy S22. As such, we’ve decided to chew over the Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S22 question, based on what we know so far and the recent leaks and rumors.  

Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S22: Design 

Google Pixel 6 on display in NYC Google store

(Image credit: Future)

We know that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will both feature a rounded rectangular design, much like many Android phones, albeit slightly blocker than the likes of the Oppo Find X3 Pro

The big design difference will come in the form of a two-tone back comprising one color only with one part in a pastel shade and the other in a bolder glossy tone (so far the Pixel 6 will come in gray, white, black, orange, yellow and green). A big black rectangular bar with two cameras for the Pixel 6 and three for the Pixel 6 Pro will separate the two color tones.   

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra renders

(Image credit: Digit/OnLeaks)

As for the Galaxy S22, we’d expect to see three phone sizes: a standard, Plus and Ultra model. As there have only been fan renders of the phone so far we can't really predict what its design will be like. However, we’d expect it to build upon the Galaxy S21 line, with flat displays for the standard and Plus phones and a curved one for the Ultra handset. 

Given the Galaxy S22 Ultra is set to have some of the DNA from the Galaxy Note phones, we wouldn't be surprised if the largest Galaxy S22 had a blockier design similar to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and sports a built-in S Pen holder and a larger rear camera module.  

Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S22: Display 

Five Google Pixel 6 renders next to each other, showing off different menus within Android 12.

(Image credit: Evan Blass)

The Google Pixel 6 will sport a 6.4-inch AMOLED display running at 90Hz, while the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 6.71-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Pixel phones have come with rather nice displays for the past few generations offering solid colors and contrast without over-saturating things. 

Both phones will have a punch-hole selfie camera located in the middle of the top section of their displays; pretty standard for many Android phones now.  

A render of the rumored Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus on a white background

(Image credit: OnLeaks / 91mobiles)

We have no word on the Galaxy S22’s screen sizes other than one rumor that claims the standard Galaxy S22 could have a 6.06-inch display (down from 6.2 inches on the Galaxy S21); the Galaxy S22 Plus may sport a 6.5-inch panel (down from 6.7 inches); and the Galaxy S22 Ultra could tout a 6.81-inch (down from 6.9 inches). Expect a 120Hz refresh rate across the board, with all phones using an LTPO panel for dynamic refresh rates. We’d expect an upgrade to come in the form of being able to scale down a refresh rate even further so as to save on battery. 

Samsung has long made impressive displays for its Galaxy phones, so we’d expect it to do the same with the Galaxy S22 handsets. Ideally, an under-display selfie camera would be appreciated to on the Galaxy S22 Ultra at least, in order have an expansive screen without any cut-out. But under-display cameras have yet to reach the standards of their external brethren, as see with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s under-display camera, so Samsung might hold fire with its Galaxy S22 range until the tech improves.  

Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S22: Specs 

an image showing a render of the google pixel 6 tensor chip

(Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel 6 is set to have a custom Tensor chip set matched with 8GB of RAM, with the Pixel 6 Pro getting 12GB. Storage will range from 128GB to 512GB. And battery size will come in 4,614 mAh and 5,000 mAh respectively. 

We know very little about the Galaxy S22 specs, other than a strong indication that it will have a new Exynos 2200 chipset with graphics from AMD. Samsung's flagship phones have always performed well, but the latter is interesting. 

photo of a Samsung phone connected to an Xbox Wireless controller sitting on top of Xbox games

(Image credit: Future)

That’s because AMD’s graphics tech can be found in the PS5, Xbox Series X and Valve Steam Deck, and sports a good degree of scalability. As such, we could see the Galaxy S22 deliver some seriously impressive graphics and run games that really do have true console-quality visuals. If combined with Xbox Game Pass — something Microsoft and Samsung have worked on before — we could be looking at a pseudo Xbox phone in the form of the Galaxy S22

Early claimed benchmarks of the Pixel 6’s Tensor chip, a custom AI-focused chipset design by Google, have shown results that are far from stellar in terms of raw performance. But Google is touting Tensor as an end-to-end AI chip whereby machine learning smarts are applied across the phone’s hardware and software pipeline. That is tipped to translate into better image processing, improved speech recognition, better customization and just a generally smarter smartphone. Google’s Tensor tech has delivered AI goods before so we’re hoping to see the Pixel 6 deliver something really smart. 

As such, both the Pixel 6 and Galaxy S22 have two interesting slices of silicon that could shake things up when it comes to the performance and smart features expected from Android phones. 

Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S22: Cameras 

A photograph of the Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Future/TechRadar)

From all the leaks so far, we can confidently say the Google Pixel 6 is likely to have a dual rear camera setup comprising a 50MP main lens and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. The Pixel 6 Pro is tipped to sport the same cameras but add a 48MP telephoto snapper into the mix. 

While these cameras are a notable boost over the 12MP sensors in the Google Pixel 5, they are hardly breaking an megapixel records for Android phones. But Google is less about camera hardware and more about image signal processing and computational photography. 

Time and time again, Pixel phones have shown they can do more with less thanks to smart software. And the Pixel 6 is set to use its Tensor chip to smartly deliver better auto white balance, more accurately detect different hair types and skin tones, get smooth images when snapping fast moving subjects, and deliver an all round better photography experience than older Pixel phones. 

render images of a concept Samsung Galaxy S22's cameras

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

Camera specs for the Galaxy S22 series are less clear. There was a rumor that Samsung is working with photography specialist Olympus for the Galaxy S22 cameras, but that rumour has withered on the vine a bit.  

We’d expect the standard and Plus models of the Galaxy S22 to sport a trio (main, ultra-wide,and telephoto) of upgraded cameras, likely with improved sensors and wider apertures. And the Galaxy S22 Ultra is expected to have four rear cameras and likely a laser auto-focus sensor, like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, all of which would be candidates for some upgrades. 

Samsung’s flagship phones have long delivered excellent photos, rubbing shoulders with the best phones from Apple and Google. So we’d expect to see Samsung deliver impressive results once again, perhaps working harder and reign in some of the over-saturation its phone photography can deliver. 

We’d also expect Samsung to lean heavily on zooming capabilities with the Galaxy S22, especially the Ultra model. Zooming may not top 100x but the processing behind it could be enhanced to make long-range snaps a lot more usable. 

Both phones are tipped to be candidates for our best camera phones list, but alongside challenging each other their main target will be to knock the iPhone 13 Pro Max off its lofty number one spot. 

Google Pixel 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S22: Outlook 

Going by what we know so far, both the Google Pixel 6 and Galaxy S22 phones are set to be rather impressive, with their Pro and Ultra models being the trailblazers. 

And both look set to be rather different phones, with Google to lean hard on AI capabilities and machine learning processing with the Pixel 6’s Tensor chip and Samsung to continue to deliver some of the best phone hardware one can find in a flagship phone. 

Whichever side you fall down on in this early battle, the coming months are going to be a good time for Android phone fans. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.