Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: which high-end smartphone to buy?

Estimated read time 5 min read

Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: which high-end smartphone to buy?

What a year for Android, isn’t it? Samsung set the tone very early on with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, and now Google’s Pixel 8 Pro which is positioning itself to be the Galaxy’s competitor. If you are looking for the best Android smartphone right now, these two should be at the top of your list of candidates. There are also folding ones, but the fact that they are very different and more expensive does not necessarily make them the best. Anyway, I digress from the topic.

The Google Pixel 8 Pro presents a completely new design, a camera with new and very useful artificial intelligence features, and a Tensor G3 chipset that could be the company’s most promising processor to date. On the other hand, Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra is holding up well, even after debuting almost eight months ago. There are many real reasons to buy a smartphone model rather than another? I will detail them below.

Features of the Google Pixel 8 Pro

  • Screen : 6.7-inch AMOLED with 120Hz (LTPO 2.0)
  • Weight : 213 g
  • Processor : Google Tensor G3
  • RAM/Storage : 12 GB with 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB
  • Battery : 5,050 mAh with 30 W charge
  • Camera : 50 MP wide angle, 48 MP ultra wide angle, 48 MP telephoto, 10.5 MP front
  • Connectivity : 5G (mmWave and sub-6 GHz)
  • Price : from 1100 €

Features of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

  • Screen : 6.8-inch AMOLED with 120Hz (LTPO 2.0).
  • Weight : 228 g.
  • Processor : Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy.
  • RAM/Storage : 8 GB/12 GB with 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB.
  • Battery : 5,000 mAh with 45 W charge.
  • Camera : 200 Mpx in wide angle, 12 Mpx in ultra wide-angle, double telephoto lens of 10 Mpx, 12 Mpx on the front.
  • Connectivity : 5G (mmWave and sub-6 GHz).
  • Price : from 1160 €.

You should buy the Google Pixel 8 Pro though…

Google Pixel 8 Pro in blue

June Wan/ZDNET

1 …Google s AI features won you over&#;

You don’t have to be a ChatGPT veteran or a DALL-E expert to appreciate all the AI services and features that Google has integrated into the Pixel 8 Pro. Thanks to a new Tensor G3 chipset, capable of powering both cloud-based AI functions and those embedded in the smartphone, the new Pixel allows you to create, summarize and process information with AI. For example, Google Assistant can now summarize texts, transcribe them into a foreign language and even give recommendations on what to read.

Google Assistant 2.0, as we will call it, is also more efficient at detecting spam, removing background noise from your microphone and providing quick context-based responses when you want to filter out an incoming call. AI also operates at the level of camera functions, with the Pixel 8 Pro now supporting features such as Best Take, which allows you to replace “not ideal” faces in group photos with faces that are, and Magic Editor, which gives you the ability to move subjects and change the lighting of a photo.

2 …you want a smartphone that will last a long time

It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Pixel 8 Pro is slightly cheaper, by €60 at the time of writing this article. But its new seven-year software update policy gives it a longer service life. In comparison, Samsung is committed to providing software, security and feature fixes for five years.

Obviously, this after-sales advantage is conditioned by the fact that you stay with the Pixel 8 Pro until 2030! Nevertheless, it is good to know that you will get more return on your investment with the Pixel when it comes to software and new features.

3 …you are used to Google s no-holds barred approach;

If we compare the two smartphones strictly on the basis of their characteristics, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra wins. But for many, this approach to Android, which consists of integrating as many tools and add-ons as possible, may not be ideal. Although Google’s Pixel launcher has become more customizable, it is still a tricky experience, especially if you come from an iPhone or an older Pixel model.

There is also much less bloatware (pre-installed apps that can consume energy) on Pixel devices. While the Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with a number of alternative apps created by Samsung.

You should buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra if…

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with the S Pen stylus next to it

June Wan/ZDNET

1 …maybe you want all the features that your money can buy

The opposite of the Pixel experience, Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra is arguably the most complete and feature-rich smartphone on the market today. It carries an incredible 200MP sensor capable of a 100x digital zoom, 8K video recording, a basic storage of 256 GB (against 128 GB for the Pixel), a fast charge of 45 W (against 30 W for the Pixel), Samsung’s DeX mode (desktop mode available which allows you to use the smartphone by connecting it to a monitor) and the S Pen stylus.

If one of these characteristics resonated with you, the Galaxy S23 Ultra could then suit you best.

2 …you know your way around the stylus

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is the latest in a long line of smartphones with an integrated multifunctional stylus for note-taking, graphic design and scribbling. The experience of the S Pen stylus is incomparable to that of the stylus smartphones found in the price and mid-range ranges, as it can double as a wireless clicker.

For example, you can use the stylus as a trigger to take group photos, or swipe it like a magic wand to browse galleries and slideshows. For professional users, in particular, the included stylus is a practical advantage that you won’t find on the Pixel.

3 …mobile entertainment is a top priority for you

While the Pixel 8 Pro is a device that we still have to test, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has already proven that it offers one of the best mobile entertainment experiences on the market. From the large 6.8-inch AMOLED screen that becomes colorful and bright (about 1750 nits) to the clear-sounding dual speakers, via the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset capable of running the most graphics-intensive games.

We can confidently recommend the Samsung smartphone to users whose video streaming and games are at the heart of their daily activities.

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