Once upon a time, I sat with my friends talking about Google Pixel 3 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9. And BAAM!! Confusions found their way into our heads.
For the love of God, we couldn’t decide which one is better than the other (That’s how good both of them are).
So, I thought Hey why not just sit down and evaluate how both of them stack up against each other? Where one is better than the other and vice versa? In this post, I will try and compare Galaxy S9 and Pixel 3.
For this comparison, I’ve considered the usual 7 factors that I look for in any smartphone. So, let’s get started with the comparison right away!
Google Pixel 3 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9 [Comparison]
Before I go any further, allow me to explain the scoring system I followed for this comparison. But, first, let me refresh your memory by mentioning the 7 factors that I considered while reviewing Samsung galaxy note 9 in my previous post –
- Build quality
- OS and timely updates
- Security and Biometrics
For each of the above-mentioned criterion, I’ve considered both phones and gave a point to the winner. At the end of this comparison, I’ll give you my pick and also tell you which one you should buy (considering your preferences things may vary).
Round 1: The Battle of Specifications
The first round was pretty neck and neck. I honestly couldn’t declare a clear winner (Damn You smartphones. Why you gotta make my life harder). One thing we android users always look for is how it looks on the paper? i.e. what are the specifications? Is it good? Is it bad? Or is it just average?
Well, I’ve got good news for you!
Both phones feature top of the line 2018 specs. Following table tries to illustrate the similarities and differences between both phones.
|Google Pixel 3
|Samsung Galaxy S9
|5.8” super AMOLED
|Dust and water resistance
|IP68 dust and water resistance
|IP68 dust and water resistance
|Corning Gorilla glass 5
|Corning Gorilla glass 5
As you can see from the table, there are technically 0 differences between both the devices. However, I still have a point to give away.
My verdict and justification: After a long look at the specs on paper I gave this round to the Samsung galaxy S9. Despite having pretty similar on paper specifications I choose galaxy s9 because of expandable storage slot and support for 256GB internal storage.
Hey! Did you know that Google Pixel 3XL Specs got Leaked? Again!
Round 2: How the Build Quality of Each Phone Stacks Up?
Both phones have great build quality. The Galaxy S9 features the iconic glass metal sandwich with tempered glass at the front and back. All metal (aluminum) rails with tactile buttons. Buttons are also made of metal and it feels great. There’s a dedicated unwanted button on the left though (Bixby. Cough! Cough!)
The pixel 3 however, takes a different route. In this era of all glass smartphone, they’ve added a bit of twist to the build quality. It features a dual tone back. Basically, it has glossy glass on the upper one-third of the back of the phone. The rest is frosted glass. This does allow the pixel line up to have wireless charging for the first time.
The buttons are also very tactile and satisfying to click. The colored power button does add a little more uniqueness to the overall design language. However, it’s made out of plastic.
Pixel 3 also features the squeeze functionality. By default, it launches google assistant. However, you can remap this functionality to launch other apps as well.
My verdict and justification: As both phones had great build quality it was again very tough for me to choose one over the other. But The conclusion I reached after some in-depth analysis of both phones was in favor of Galaxy s9. Because of the plastic power button and the fragile nature of the pixel 3 back glass, S9 was the winner.
This gives The Samsung Galaxy 0 -2 lead over Google pixel 3. Will the pixel 3 prevail? (keep reading).
Round 3: Judging the Displays of Samsung Galaxy S9 and Google Pixel 3
This was probably the easiest decision I made in my whole life. I’ll say it right now, the Galaxy S9 is the clear winner here (I’m pretty sure most of you will also agree). We all know Samsung makes the best display panel in the world.
The color accuracy, vibrant nature, and the sharpness of a Samsung panel is stupendously good. Sometimes I feel like there’s a sticker on my Galaxy s9 display. That’s how good they are.
Don’t get me wrong. The pixel 3 also has an awesome display. The display of pixel 3 is probably the most improved feature of the previous generation. Specially after all the fiasco that happened with the LG made pixel 2XL display.
Guess what? This year Samsung made all the panels for both pixel 3 and pixel 3XL devices. So, yeah, it was bound to be good.
That being said. The 1080p panel on Google Pixel 3 is still no match for the 1440p panel of Galaxy S9.
My verdict and justification: Not so surprisingly, this round also goes to Samsung Galaxy S9. This gives the Samsung flagship a whopping 0 – 3 lead.
At this point, you are probably thinking – “That’s it, Pixel 3 is done”. Well, hold your horses. The fight is not over yet.
Round 4: Can Samsung S9’s Camera Beat the Pixel 3?
Trust me, I was literally scratching my head while trying to score this round (that’s how good both these phones are at taking quality photos). This was by far the toughest camera fight I’ve ever seen (after Pixel 3/3XL vs iPhone XS/ XS Max).
Let’s talk about the rare camera first. Both phones feature a 12MP single lens camera setup. The pixel 3 has an aperture of f/1.8 while the S9 comes with a variable aperture of f/1.5-2.4 (it’s a very neat trick they’ve integrated in the camera module). This variable aperture does allow more light to get in.
In broad daylight, both phones take great photos every single time. With great color reproduction and dynamic range. But, the pixel 3 was slightly better with more dynamic range and details.
In low light condition, they also do a great job. On paper the Galaxy S9 should outperform the Pixel 3, right?
Well, this is not the case at all. Despite having a variable aperture Galaxy note 9 is no match for Pixel 3 camera in dark lighting condition. With the software magic, Google produces far better photos every single time in darker lighting condition (I don’t know what you’re are cooking up there Google, but I like it).
Let’s talk about the selfie cam. The pixel 3 stacks a dual lens camera setup while S9 comes with one. Both of them take great photos. However, pixel 3 has a wide-angle lens. This gives Pixel 3 an edge (no pun intended) over the Galaxy S9.
Portrait mode is also present in both devices. Samsung Galaxy S9 does take decent portraits but Google again beats them with their software magic. As a matter of fact, the portrait mode on the pixel 3 is better than any other smartphone of 2018 (don’t trust me? Try it yourself).
My verdict and justification: The winner of this round is Google Pixel 3. Although this was a pretty tough decision to make, I hope we can all agree on the fact that Pixel 3/3XL has the best camera among all the smartphones.
Heck, even pixel 2XL is still better than every other smartphone camera (thanks to the power of software).
This makes the score line 1 – 3.
Round 5: Judging the Battery life by the Sword
Neither of the two devices are great when it comes to battery life. There, I said it! I’d say they are just average for a smartphone that cost a premium.
Both of them pack a 3000mAh (2915mAh for Pixel 3) battery. See? Not a huge deal, right?
Both of them have the fuel for an entire day with my level of usage. But at night I have to remember to charge them or else I’m pretty much screwed. Typically, with my heavy usage, I get around 4.5 – 5 hours of screen on time.
My verdict and justification: If I had to choose one of them, that would be pixel 3. Why? With Google’s digital well-being and battery optimization done via machine learning gives the latest pixel device a slight edge over the Samsung S9.
Again, none of them are great. They are just somewhat decent. Especially considering how phones with a price tag of almost half of pixel 3 and S9 packs a bigger battery.
2 – 3 can the Pixel 3 make the fight even more interesting? Or does it loose with a round left? Find out in the next section.
Round 6: OS and timely updates for the Two
Okay, I’m pretty sure you’ve already guessed it. This round will definitely go the Google Pixel 3. The main selling point for a pixel device is the timely updates and clean stock UI.
Google previously used other manufacturers to build their Nexus line up devices. People used to love the Nexuses (or Nexi? I don’t know what’s the plural of Nexus is). Nexus devices were always first in the line for Android updates. Be that security patch or a major version update. Nexus users were always the first to get the updates.
Pixel line is simply Google’s take on hardware. They had the software before but had to rely on third-party manufacturers for the hardware. Now, they control both hardware and software. So, it’s only natural their software would be fine-tuned for that hardware. This is a huge plus for pixel line up.
Samsung, on the other hand, is very slow when it comes to timely updates. Now, you might argue that they have to wait for Google to release first. That’d be 100% true. But that simply does not justify why they are so late to bring updates. Moreover, their UI just sucks.
Sure, it has great features and all. But they have bloatware as well. One plus is a very good example when it comes to timely updates and clean UI (Apart from Google of course).
My verdict and justification: This round goes to Pixel 3 and after 6 rounds the score is a tie.
Round 7: Security and Biometrics
The last and deciding round. This round will decide who is the king of the most compact smartphone of 2018.
One thing I’d very much like you all to know is both Pixel 3 and Galaxy S9 are great phones. This Google Pixel 3 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9 comparison was a fun way to explore both devices.
When it comes to security and biometrics Pixel 3 only features a fingerprint sensor on the back. It’s fast and accurate. This is very typical of any flagship device. However, it does not have any other unlocking methods. No iris scanner or fancy face unlock for you.
I really believe a face recognition feature could’ve been easily added (If you are thinking about Android’s built-in face unlocking, don’t. It’s just pure garbage). Especially considering the size of the forehead of the phone.
Galaxy S9, on the other hand, is a champ when it comes to biometrics. It features both iris scanner and fingerprint scanner. Both of them are accurate and fast. The only downside to the iris scanner is that it does not work properly in dark.
My verdict and justification: Well, you guessed it. The winner of this round and the fight is Samsung Galaxy S9.
Kudos to Samsung for coming up with a great phone.
Final Words and My Recommendation
I’m pretty sure you guys have a brief image of both phones after reading through all that (And I thank you for that). This was sort of a small review for both phones. I do plan on making a separate review for Pixel 3 and if time permits Samsung S9. Till this should serve you as a guide one choosing between one of them.
However, if you are still confused and looking for some sort of recommendation, here it is –
For people who prefer awesome edge to edge display, beautiful design, and good build quality Samsung Galaxy S9 is the one to go for.
If you prefer stock Android, timely updates and security patches, and “The Best Camera” of any smartphone, you should definitely go with Google Pixel 3.
My personal favorite is the Pixel 3XL (please don’t ask about the notch. I hate it :/). However, If I had to choose, I’d go for Pixel 3 (you know me! Stock Android gets me every time). Don’t get the wrong idea. The Galaxy S9 is one hell of a phone.
So, what are your thoughts on this comparison?
Did you like the criteria I included? Do you want to add something? Or perhaps remove a thing or two? Are you #teampixel or #teamgalaxy? Here at Androidista I’d love to continue this discussion.
Please do let me know in the comment section below.