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Galaxy S9 vs Pixel 2: Which Android phone is best?



If you're in the market for a top Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Google Pixel 2 are probably on your list of considerations.

That's no surprise – as the reigning Android phone maker, Samsung has built a powerful and elegant machine in the Galaxy S9. And although it's expensive at $ 720 to $ 800 (prices vary by carrier), £ 739 and AU $ 1,199, the S9 sits at the top of its class.

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The Galaxy S9 did well in our drop test


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Google's branded phone is also a champion. The Pixel 2 has a Best in Show camera and a lower price starting at $ 649, $ 629 and $ 1,079. It's so powerful that we believe that even die-hard Apple iPhone users should give Pixel 2 a chance. (Now we know that rumors about Pixel 3 are expected in October, but if you need a phone now, both are now available.)

So, which one should you buy? That depends on what you want from a phone and how much you want to spend to get it. We stacked these two power plants against each other to see which one has the best design, the best camera, the best software features and the best performance.

Design: Galaxy S9 presents itself luxuriously

I've never been a big fan of the design of Pixel 2. Although I find its 5-inch size (there's a serious resurgence of smaller, more powerful phones), its attractive light blue variant and love its robustness, the Pixel 2 looks anything but smooth.

  Samsung Galaxy s9 Gold 3423

The Galaxy S9 also comes in new colors like Purple and Gold.


James Martin / CNET

Its thick bezels and matte finish on the (aluminum) back feel outdated and cheap, especially in contrast to the edge-to-edge curved screen of the Galaxy S9 and the glossy (albeit fingerprint-collecting) glass case , The Pixel 2 also does not have a headphone jack, while the Galaxy S9 is a deal-breaker for many. This means that you either need to plug in a Bluetooth headset or carry a dongle to listen to your music and calls.

In addition, the larger screen of the Galaxy S9 is sharper, with more pixels per inch and slightly more water resistant. It can be immersed in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes compared to the 1 meter boundary of Pixel 2 (that's about 3.3 feet). However, I would not care too much about this distinction – I'm just glad that both phones are waterproof and you can pick them up as soon as they accidentally fall into the water. Of course, all these design goodies are more expensive, which means a bigger dent in your wallet.

Winner : The Galaxy S9 is more expensive, annoying are fingerprints and stains. But I still prefer its sleeker design over Pixel 2.

Camera: Pixel 2 grabs a powerhouse camera

If you really want to know which of them has a better camera, read our Super Selective focus camera comparison here: Galaxy S9 vs.. Pixel 2: Which camera is best?

But here's the TL: DR: The Galaxy S9 has a fantastic camera and is characterized by noise-free photos (like taking a picture of the sky or a weak night shot) and images at medium light.

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Galaxy S9 vs. Pixel 2 Showdown


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However, the camera of pixel 2 is superior. With the advanced HDR + feature, you can simply click on the trigger and effortlessly take a great shot. Photos taken in portrait (both back and front) are smoother and look better, and it's better to understand that your hair should not blur into the background, for example. Finally, we believe the video stabilizer features are best for every available phone.

(Seriously, it's best to read our thorough Galaxy S9 vs. Pixel 2 shoot-out for all photos and information.)

Winner : Pixel 2's camera is extraordinary.

Software Features: Google Assistant vs. Samsung Bixby

Both phones use Android Oreo, but when it comes to updates, the Pixel 2 has an advantage. As a Google phone, it receives prompt updates from the company as they become available for launch (that is, it will be one of the first phones to receive the final release of Android P). The operating system updates of the Galaxy S9 usually come a few months later.

The Pixel 2 and Galaxy S9 also have their own digital voice assistants: Google Assistant and Bixby Voice. The Galaxy S9 also has an assistant.

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Siri Vs. Google Assistant vs. Bixby


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Both wizards can do the basics well (setting alerts and alerts, checking the weather, and so on), but Bixby can run complex multilevel commands such as uploading your latest photos to Instagram with a dictation caption. Assistant, however, accesses the extensive Google search database and can look up queries through continued conversation. It's also super fast if you're looking for answers while Bixby takes a shot or two longer.

  bixby-screens-0823-004

Ask Bixby about the weather.


Josh Miller / CNET

With Google Lens and Bixby Vision, both phones can also scan visual objects such as landmarks or barcodes. For a deeper look at these wizards, take a look at our comparison of Siri vs. Google Assistant and Bixby.

I personally prefer the wizard because of his speed. I also like the simpler interface of Pixel 2. Because it's so optimized, the learning curve is lower and more user-friendly. I'm also not a fan of the special Bixby button on the Galaxy S9, which is located on the left edge of the phone. It can not be reprogrammed to do anything else, and you hit it all the time.

With the Galaxy S9, you do not have to choose between assistants because you have both. The phone also has an iris scan feature for extra privacy.

Winner : Toss up – I prefer the simple and refined user experience of Pixel 2, but when it comes to doing more, the Galaxy S9 definitely has more options.

Performance and battery: Galaxy S9 dominates

Equipped with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 845 chipset, the Galaxy S9 is fluid and lightning-fast. As our benchmark results show, Pixel 2, which has a Snapdragon 835 processor, clearly outperformed our benchmark tests.

Remember that although Pixel 2 has the same processor last year, it does not mean it does not zip itself. When it comes to everyday use, eg. For example, to power up the camera, quit apps, and scroll through web pages, I did not notice a difference in speed between the two, and Pixel 2 responds the same today as it did on day 1.

Geekbench v.4.0 Single-Core

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Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.4.0 multicore

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Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Icestorm unlimited

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Longer bars indicate better performance

The battery of the Galaxy S9 (3.000mAh) is only slightly larger than the Pixel 2 (2.700mAh), but the battery life is impressive. In our battery lab tests for continuous video playback in flight mode, the Galaxy S9 ran for 15 hours and 30 minutes. The Pixel 2 took 13 hours and 28 minutes, but that was far from the Galaxy S9.

In addition, the Galaxy S9 has wireless charging, similar to previous Galaxy phones, the 2017 iPhones, the LG G7 ThinQ and others. With this function, you can put the S9 on a charging pad and refresh without a cable. While this is not exactly a make-or-break feature for me, another comfort that the S9 has is that Pixel 2 does not.

Winner : Although the Pixel 2 is still a reliable and fast phone, the Galaxy S9 is faster and has a longer battery life.

  samsung galaxy-s9-pixel-2-3337

The Pixel 2 (top) and the Galaxy S9 (bottom).


James Martin / CNET

And the winner is …

Because I like the ease with which I can take a great picture with little effort, I personally lean towards Pixel 2. I also have its minimalist interface, pocket size and slightly lower price tag.

But what is the better phone objectively? I have to say, it's the Galaxy S9. With its smooth appearance, fast processor and long-lasting battery, it has pushed Pixel 2 into more categories. This all makes sense, as it is the newer and more expensive model.

Which phone you choose, you will surely be satisfied by both. However, it is important to note that these two are not just your only options. If you want a larger phone, consider the Galaxy S9 Plus and the Pixel 2 XL. And if you do not need a new phone right away, the Pixel 3 is expected to be released in four months, while the next Samsung phone will be the Galaxy Note 9, which will be released in August. Both phones should have more processing power, the latest version of Android P and better cameras.

The Galaxy S9 vs. Pixel 2 Shootout : Which of these hotshot phones makes the best pictures?

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