Samsung just announced its flagship Galaxy S23 lineup, with the S23 Ultra at the top. It’s loaded with advanced hardware like a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip, his top-notch Snapdragon X70 5G modem, and a 200MP camera. But will it be good enough to compete with Google’s high-end Pixel 7 Pro?
We are currently testing the Galaxy S23 Ultra. So, until we can offer buying advice based on reviews, we’ll be comparing phone specs.
Is the Pixel 7 Pro or Galaxy S23 Ultra a better deal?
Google clearly wins in this category. The Pixel 7 Pro starts at $899, $300 less than the starting price of the Galaxy S23 Ultra (which is available for pre-order now).
Winner: Pixel 7 Pro
Which phone has better design, Pixel 7 Pro or Galaxy S23 Ultra?
The Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra use similar 6.7-inch and 6.8-inch screens respectively, so they’re roughly the same size. That said, the Pixel 7 Pro weighs slightly less (7.5 ounces vs. 8.25 ounces).
Pixel 7 Pro (Credit: Eric Zeman)
Both phones use Corning Gorilla Glass Victus panels and aluminum frames, but the S23 Ultra benefits from the new Victus 2 material, which Corning claims is even tougher. This material difference may be responsible for the S23 Ultra’s heavier weight. Both the Pixel 7 Pro and S23 Ultra have earned his IP68 rating, making them completely dust and water resistant.
Does the Pixel 7 Pro or Galaxy S23 Ultra have a better screen?
Both phones get incredibly sharp and bright OLED screens, differing only by slight differences in brightness and resolution.
The Pixel 7 Pro’s 3120 x 1440 pixel resolution beats the S23 Ultra (3088 x 1440 pixels) by less than 50 lines (or about 1.5% of the screen height). Pixel density is about the same at 512ppi on the Pixel and 500ppi on the S23 Ultra. Especially since both support the same smooth 120Hz refresh rate, you’re unlikely to notice a big difference in screen clarity in everyday use.
Galaxy S23 Family (Credit: Eric Zeman)
Samsung says the S23 Ultra’s Dynamic AMOLED screen has a peak brightness of 1,750 nits, while Google rates the Pixel 7 Pro’s OLED screen at 1,500 nits. Perceived brightness starts to increase significantly with increasing luminance, especially above 1,000 nits, so again the difference is negligible.
Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Pixel 7 Pro: Which Phone Is Faster?
We won’t know the answer to this question until we test the S23 Ultra, but the Pixel 7 Pro and its Tensor G2 chip have lagged far behind the Galaxy S22+’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in past benchmarks. 2 processors are even faster, so we don’t think the Pixel wins here.
The Pixel 7 Pro didn’t perform as well as the S22+ in our cell signal test.
Winner: Galaxy S23 Ultra
Can I take better photos with the Pixel 7 Pro or S23 Ultra?
Samsung phones have wide-angle cameras that can capture ridiculous 200MP images. As with most flagship phones, pixel binning can be used to produce good overall photos at smaller sizes (he’s 50MP and 12MP in this case). The Pixel 7 Pro’s sensor, on the other hand, is just 50MP and downsamples the image to 12.5MP. Again, we’ll have to wait for more testing to know how the binning process affects the S23 Ultra’s image quality, but the resolution advantage is certainly there.
Galaxy S23 Ultra (Credit: Eric Zeman)
Both phones have similar 12MP ultra-wide cameras and f/2.2 lenses. Similar performance is expected between the two.
The two phones start to differ again in the telephoto range. The Pixel 7 Pro’s 5x zoom camera uses a 48MP sensor to create 12MP images. Samsung, on the other hand, uses his two separate 10MP sensors. One has a 3x optical zoom lens and the other offers a 10x optical zoom. Again, I plan to take a closer look at the test photos to assess the quality difference, but generally the bigger the optical zoom the better.
Another question we set aside for testing is that Samsung’s latest software tools are class-leading Google’s, such as Magic Eraser, Night Sight, Motion Mode, True Tone, Face Unblur, and Top Shot. It’s about how you compete with the tools.
On the video side, the S23 Ultra can not only record at 8K30, but it can also record at 4K60 with HDR. Pixel is best at 4K60.
Winner: Galaxy S23 Ultra
Can I get more RAM and storage on my Pixel 7 Pro or S23 Ultra?
The biggest difference here is what you get with the lowest and highest tiers respectively. The Pixel 7 Pro starts with 128GB of storage and 12GB of RAM, while the base S23 Ultra comes with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the most expensive Pixel 7 Pro variant has 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, while the top S23 Ultra has 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.
Stacked Galaxies (Credit: Eric Zeman)
Storage is important, but RAM has a serious impact on performance. On paper, the 8GB starting quota puts the S23 Ultra at a disadvantage (especially given its higher price). Of course, 8GB of RAM may not be an obstacle for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processors, but that remains an issue we’ll address in our review.
Winner: Pixel 7 Pro (but just a few)
Which phone has better battery life, Pixel 7 Pro or S23 Ultra?
Both the Pixel 7 Pro and S23 Ultra have 5,000mAh batteries, but we don’t know how long either phone will last between charges. Lasted less than an hour and a half in my testing than the smaller Pixel 7. We would expect similar results against the S23 Ultra as the screens are similar, but we report official test results.
The S23 Ultra’s 45W wired charging far exceeds the 25W rate you get with the Pixel 7 Pro. However, both charge wirelessly at 15W.
Winner: S23 Ultra
Which offers better software support, Google or Samsung?
Surprisingly, Samsung is slightly better than Google in software support. His four full OS upgrades from the S23 Ultra to Android 17 are promised, along with five years of security updates. Google will provide security updates for Pixel 7 Pro for the same period, but version updates are only guaranteed until October 2025. Of course, Pixel phones tend to get the latest updates first, but that advantage doesn’t matter much in the long run.
Winner: S23 Ultra
Early Decisions: Power vs. Price
As always, we can’t be sure about the S23 Ultra’s actual performance until we officially test it. But on paper, Samsung’s new flagship phones feature much faster processors, higher-definition cameras, faster wired charging, and a better software upgrade policy. These are pretty big advantages.
However, the $300 gap in starting price is hard to miss, and you don’t want all the tech advancements in the S23 Ultra. A future in-depth review of the S23 Ultra will tackle the value issue, so stay tuned for our full analysis.
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