In the U.S., there are two smartphone brands that most people seem to go with—Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy. Both run on the same Android operating system, but that’s where most of the similarities end.
Google is in charge of Android, so people often say that Pixel phones run Android “as Google intended.” That’s obviously true—Google is controlling the entire software experience—but it’s still just one interpretation. Samsung’s version of Android is every bit as valid. Let’s find out which one might be the best fit for you.
The Case for Samsung Galaxy
Samsung takes a “maximalist” approach to its Galaxy smartphones. Some of them have massive screens with nearly a half dozen cameras on the back and more features than you can possibly use.
That’s pretty much the story on Galaxy phones. If you want an Android smartphone with all the bells and whistles you can imagine, look no further. Of course, not all Samsung phones are the same. The company pumps out phones at many price points.
Power user features aside, Samsung also has great software support. Samsung offers four Android upgrades and five years of security updates for a majority of its devices. That’s a long time, and it makes your purchase go further.
On the hardware front, Samsung is one company that tends to push the envelope. It’s essentially the only manufacturer making devices with folding displays for the U.S. More “normal” models, like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, also have tons to offer.
That’s the case for Galaxy phones—tons of features, great software support, and high-end hardware. It’s hard to go wrong with a Samsung Galaxy phone if you’re an Android fan.
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The Case for Google Pixel
Google Pixel phones are almost the exact opposite of Galaxy phones. The Pixel software is a much more minimal experience. You can think of Pixel phones as sort of the iPhone of the Android world.
You can pretty much do everything a Pixel can do on a Galaxy phone, but the opposite isn’t true. Pixel phones are not bloated with features. However, Pixel phones do have their fair share of exclusive features as well.
A lot of the focus on Pixel phones revolves around the cameras. If you want a dead-simple camera experience that will give you some amazing-looking photos, a Pixel is the best choice. You also get some Pixel-exclusive photo editing features to go along with it.
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Google offers good software support, though it’s not quite as good as Samsung’s. Newer Pixel phones receive three years of Android upgrades and five years of security updates. Older models only get three years of Android upgrades and security updates.
There aren’t as many Pixel models to choose from if you’re looking for variety. Google typically releases two “flagship” models and a budget A-series device every year. Unlike Samsung, there isn’t really an “Ultra” model with everything you could imagine. The priciest Pixel only has two rear cameras.
The case for Google Pixel phones comes down to simplicity and camera performance. If you like Google, value simplicity, and take a lot of photos, a Pixel phone is a great choice.
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Which Should You Buy?
The story of Samsung Galaxy vs Google Pixel is really a matter of maximalist vs minimalist. Samsung has tons of different models, tons of features, many colors to choose from, and so much more. There’s truly a Samsung phone for everyone.
Google’s approach is much more focused and streamlined. It only releases a few phones a year in just a couple of colorways. The Pixel experience is intended to be simple and accessible to everyone. The camera takes a prominent role on Pixel devices.
Which should you buy? You would very likely be happy with either Android phone option. If you like to maximize what your smartphone can do, a Galaxy phone is an easy choice. If you prefer a more curated experience, a Pixel phone is a great choice. They offer very different ways to get to the same place, but the choice is yours.