This year’s race for the best phones is already being tested with the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s strong efforts, which is proving to be fierce competition for the Google Pixel 8 Pro. They certainly deserve being given the best Android phones recognition, but more importantly, they usher in this era of new experiences driven by artificial intelligence.
While these AI-assisted features are helpful in their own meaningful way, a buying decision between the Galaxy S24 Ultra and Pixel 8 Pro also hinges on how they compare against each other in key areas. Following in the same footsteps of its predecessors, the Galaxy S24 Ultra overwhelms its rival by taking the bigger is better approach that the series is known for.
When you’re spending all that money on Samsung’s top-of-the-line Galaxy, it’s almost unfathomable for it to not beat Google’s best efforts. But it should at $1,299, which is a whopping $300 more than the list price for Google's flagship. Here’s all the way the Galaxy S24 Ultra beats the Pixel 8 Pro.
Much longer battery life
Oddly enough, the Pixel 8 Pro has the larger 5,050 mAh battery. In our Pixel 8 Pro review, we detailed how its battery life was a vast improvement over its predecessor, but despite this, it doesn’t come anywhere close to matching the all-day endurance of the Galaxy S24 Ultra.
|Battery life (Hrs:Mins)
|Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
|Google Pixel 8 Pro
Samsung’s newest flagship actually keeps the same 5,000 mAh as last year's model, but the superior power efficiency of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip propels it to new heights. In our battery benchmark test where we set their displays to 150 nits and run a script to simulate web surfing, the Galaxy S24 Ultra reached a time of 16 hours and 45 minutes — whereas the Pixel 8 Pro gets to 10 hours and 3 minutes.
That’s a tremendous difference and easily one of the biggest reasons for how the S24 Ultra beats the Pixel 8 Pro.
More video camera features
Right off the bat, there’s a more compelling set of camera features with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Sure, you get staple features on both phones like panoramic, portrait, and night modes, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra caters to the enthusiast club by throwing in more — like a lot more.
Not only does it offer full manual controls for video that lets you dial in settings you want, but there’s also the extra utility of its other modes. For example, Dual Rec mode lets you select two cameras and record footage simultaneously. Additionally, you can connect any pair of wireless earbuds to the Galaxy S24 Ultra and make them act as a wireless microphone for better audio quality while recording video.
Better, longer zoom camera
Even though our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review revealed the downside of the 50MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom, it still beats the Pixel 8 Pro’s 48MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom — especially at longer focal lengths. At 5x zoom, there’s a slight performance boost with details using the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but it’s not by a lot.
Where it becomes apparent is any zoom level beyond 5x. Take the side-by-side samples above showing their performance at 10x and 30x zoom. There’s clearly more definition and sharpness with the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s shots at 10x zoom, but we can visually see how the image processing of the S24 Ultra becomes aggressive at 30x by applying an over-sharpening effect — resulting in drawing out more detail.
Furthermore, the S24 Ultra can get up to 100x zoom while the Pixel 8 Pro tops out at 30x zoom with capturing photos.
Faster processing performance
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 gives the S24 Ultra the muscle power to clobber the Pixel 8 Pro in nearly every synthetic performance benchmark test we ran on both phones. The Tensor G3 delivers better performance than the previous Tensor G2, but the divide between it and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is unbelievably wide.
In Geekbench 6, the S24 Ultra’s single and multi-core scores of 2,300 and 7,249 put to shame the 1,699 and 3,666 scores put up by the Pixel 8 Pro. Graphics processing performance is also a staggering win for Samsung with its much smoother frame rate of 123.5 fps running 3DMark’s Wild Life Unlimited test. In contrast, the Pixel 8 Pro’s 52 fps rate lacks the fluidness of its rival.
|Row 0 - Cell 0
|Pixel 8 Pro
|Galaxy S24 Ultra
|1,699 / 3,666
|2,300 / 7,249
|3DMark Wild Life Unlimited
|52 fps / 8,797
|123.5 fps / 20,627
|Adobe Premiere Rush (video editing)
Admittedly, both phones are responsive with everyday actions, such as running apps and scrolling the web. But there’s clearly better gaming performance with the S24 Ultra in how it handles the shading and lighting effects in Diablo Immortal — complete with ray tracing support for more realistic lighting effects and reflections.
More starting storage
Sure, the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s way more expensive at $1,299 (versus the Pixel 8 Pro’s $999 cost), but at least it has double the starting storage space of the Pixel 8 Pro. Honestly, it’s almost a letdown for any flagship phone in this day and age to come with a base 128GB of storage, but that’s exactly what you get with the Pixel 8 Pro.
Once you’re done installing apps of your favorite Android games and apps, you might convince yourself to shoot 1080p videos instead of 4K to cut down on storage use. At least the 256GB starting storage of the Galaxy S24 Ultra gives you extra wiggle room for this.
Utility of the S Pen
Another incentive that boosts the Galaxy S25 Ultra’s value is the inclusion of the S Pen. Quite simply, it adds more utility beyond just the usual pen meets paper experience — mainly because of the extra functions it carries.
For starters, it acts as a mouse cursor of sorts when it’s hovered over web pages. In the camera app, it can be used to act as a remote for the shutter so you can snap photos from afar by pressing on the S Pen. And finally, the Air Action gestures of the S Pen can let you perform gestures in the air to accomplish things like scrolling up/down on a web page.
Desktop PC experience of Samsung DeX
Lastly, there’s something magical that happens when you connect the Galaxy S24 Ultra to a monitor via USB-C. Samsung DeX will conveniently run to give users that traditional desktop PC experience. While Samsung DeX has been a staple feature for the series, there’s nothing like it with the Pixel 8 Pro.
At most, you can perform a screen share to a smart TV or Chromecast to mirror the Pixel 8 Pro. With Samsung DeX, however, the Galaxy S24 Ultra effectively becomes a mini computer of sorts — complete with an interface that lets you appropriately run two or three apps at the same time. In fact, it very much looks and feels like Windows 11, so productivity takes on a whole new meaning.
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John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.