As much as I adore Google’s Pixel line of smartphones thanks to their impressive cameras and helpful AI features, it goes without saying that Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 series smartphones are some of the most impressive Android handsets that we’ve seen in a while. With that in mind you might be in the market for an Android smartphone, and might be thinking as to which brand you should go with.
While Samsung pretty much dominates the Android landscape in North America, it should be said that Google’s efforts in building up its Pixel brand has led to a bit of success, and while it still has a long way to go in catching up with Samsung it’s definitely made people aware of its presence. With that being said, which phone should you go with? Let’s take a look at some key factors.
In terms of raw power, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus is a performance champ, thanks in part to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip inside as well as 12GB of RAM, which should no doubt help with performance. The 8 Gen 3 chip is designed for better battery endurance, ray-tracing support for gaming, as well as an overall boost to performance, making it an ideal choice for folks who above all else, desire power.
Of course one consideration is that S24 Plus models outside the US come with Samsung’s own Exynos 2400 chip, which has led to doubt among fans regarding its performance when compared to the Snapdragon version, although at this point it’s too early to tell.
As for the Pixel 8, Google’s base model flagship features its custom Tensor G3 chipset (in addition to 8GB RAM), which was designed in collaboration with Samsung. The G3 plays a part in the Pixel’s photographic capabilities, AI features like Magic Editor, and speech recognition, to name a few. However, it is underpowered compared to the 8 Gen 3, and isn’t really the best in terms of thermal management and performance.
Sure you’ll be able to play some moderately-heavy games on the Pixel, but it might have trouble keeping up for extended gaming sessions. With that being said however, it is an improvement over the Tensor G2 in terms of battery life, as well as wireless connectivity.
These days, a smartphone’s photographic quality is often a subjective matter, although there are times when hardware plays a slight advantage. For example, the S24 Plus features a triple-camera setup with 3x zoom capabilities, consisting of an ultra-wide and telephoto sensor in addition to the main camera. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 settles for a main sensor and a single ultra-wide lens, with somewhat limited zoom capabilities.
Both cameras are very capable, and personal preference will play a big role as to how one might prefer their camera quality when it comes to photos. It’s worth noting however that the S24 Plus has more versatility in terms of video capabilities, allowing users to record up to 8K resolution videos at 24/30 fps, versus the 4K + 24/30/60 fps videos on the Pixel 8.
While both the Pixel 8 and S24 Plus run on Android 14, there are some considerable differences between the two devices with regards to how they handle Android. The S24 Plus adds a heavy layer of customization with its proprietary One UI 6.1 platform, which for all intents and purposes is a double-edged sword.
You see, one of the advantages of Samsung’s One UI is that it comes with a ton of useful features for customization, as well as synchronization with Samsung’s extensive hardware and software ecosystem (watches, laptops, tablets, etc). On the other hand, users are greeted with a ton of additional software (including third-party apps) which take up system storage, as well as Samsung’s own apps in addition to pre-existing ones on the base version of Android; as a result, we end up with two file manager apps, two messaging apps, two different app stores, and so on.
we end up with two file manager apps, two messaging apps, two different app stores, and so on.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 comes with a more “pure” version of Android; it’s not necessarily “stock”, but it features the core essentials such as Google system apps, and all the basics required to make Android run smoothly on your phone. Additionally, no third-party apps are included – no shady storage cleaner apps, no extra app stores, and no unwanted mobile games, for example.
Both phones do offer up to seven years of Android software upgrades, which is ideal for users looking to keep a smartphone for long-term use.
Both the Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24 Plus come with a ton of generative AI features, which come in handy for photo editing, speech-to-text transcription and voice recognition, smart message composing, and more. Again, there are factors to consider.
For one, it’s reported that Samsung is planning to charge S24 owners a fee to use AI features. A footnote on the Galaxy S24’s listing on Samsung’s website reads, “Galaxy AI features will be provided for free until the end of 2025 on supported Samsung Galaxy devices. Different terms may apply for AI features provided by third parties.”
Now of course, things might still change depending on how the general public reacts to this policy, but at the moment Google does offer the Pixel 8’s AI features all for free. Of course there are some features such as Video Boost which are exclusive to the Pixel 8 Pro, but by and large you won’t have to pay extra to use generative AI tools on the Pixel 8 at least in the long run.
Perhaps this is where the Pixel 8 takes the win – at $699, Google’s current flagship is easily the more affordable of the two devices, and there’s also the fact that Pixel phones tend to go on sale faster (and more frequently), especially for buyers in the US.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S24 Plus starts at $999, the same price as a Pixel 8 Pro. Of course the higher price is understandable due to the advantages in hardware that the S24 Plus comes with, but folks on a strict budget will definitely want to go for a more affordable option.
At the end of the day however, personal preference will be the ultimate factor as to which phone buyers will go for. There’s no doubt that Samsung fans will want to stay with their beloved brand, and those faithful to Google will continue on with their Pixel handsets. Both phones excel in different categories, and it’s up to you and your wallet to pick which works best for you.
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