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Should you wait for the Google Pixel 8 or buy the Samsung Galaxy S23?
If you’re in the market for a compact Android phone, you’ve probably come to the realization that your options are fairly limited. You can opt for something like the expensive Sony Xperia 1 V or go for something like the Asus Zenfone 9. Another great option is the Samsung Galaxy S23. Google also has a “small” flagship in the form of the Pixel 7 — but it’s not exactly a compact phone.
But what about the upcoming Pixel 8? Will the next Pixel phone be something you should hold out for or should you go ahead and buy the Galaxy S23 right away? We explore this question and more in this article.
Editor’s note: Google has yet to announce the Pixel 8 series, and any information about it is based on rumors or speculation. As renders and images are not available for the Pixel 8, the Pixel 7 is used as a reference. Keep that in mind as we move forward with this article.
Pixel 8 vs Galaxy S23: Size and display
Let’s start with the design and dimensions to understand better how the Pixel 8 will size up to the Galaxy S23. The Galaxy S23 is a compact smartphone through and through. If you want a phone that is easy to use with one hand, your search likely ends with the Galaxy S23, thanks to its compact dimensions of 70.8 x 146.3 x 7.62mm.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 is a big smartphone compared to the Galaxy S23. The screen size on the S23 is 6.1-inches with minimal bezels all around, so there’s nothing to complain about here.
The Pixel 8, on the other hand, is expected to be smaller than the Pixel 7 both in terms of the display diagonal as well as the overall size, according to our sources. This will make it land somewhere in the middle of the size chart, between a compact flagship and a Pro-level flagship. That’s good news for people looking to get a good balance of size and screen real estate.
We don’t know the exact dimensions that will come on offer on the Pixel 8, but we’re fairly optimistic about its smaller footprint with leaks pointing to a size of 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm. It’s also expected to have a drop in screen size down to 6.17 inches from its previous 6.32-inch size. The resolution will remain the same at 2,400 x 1,080 with 1,400 nits of brightness.
Galaxy S23 vs Pixel 8 specs (rumored)
While we don’t have official specs, below is a quick table comparing what we believe the Pixel 8 will offer, versus the Galaxy S23:
|Pixel 8||Galaxy S23|
6.15 inch OLED
2,400 x 1,080 pixels
10-120Hz variable refresh
6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED
19.5:9 aspect ratio
FHD+ resolution (2,340 x 1,080)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
24W wired charging
20W wireless charging
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
- 50MP Samsung GN2
- 12MP Sony IMX386 ultrawide
1.25 μm, ƒ/2.2, 114-degree FoV
- 10.8MP wide (f/2.2, 93°, 1/3.1")
- 50MP wide
- 12MP ultrawide
- 10MP telephoto
- 12MP wide
150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm
146.3 x 70.8 x 7.6mm
Jade, Licorice, Haze and Peony
Cream, Phantom Black, Green, Lavendar, Graphite, Lime
Design and build quality
The Galaxy S23 is a departure from its predecessor when it comes to design. However, it still manages to capture the overall identity of Samsung’s S-flagship lineup as it shares design elements with the Galaxy S22 Ultra and S23 Ultra. As part of the identity, you get a solid aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back.
The 168g of weight on the device, coupled with this smaller footprint and relatively flatter side-frame design, gives the S23 a dense and confident in-hand feel.
Current rumors suggest the Pixel 8’s design will be very similar to the Pixel 7 family. Most of the changes are expected to be reserved for the Pro. The Pro’s camera module will now have all three cameras encased in one glass pill. There’s also a new sensor that is rumored to be a thermometer.
On the other hand, the Pixel 8 will look almost identical to its predecessor. It makes sense Google would mostly stick with the same design language, just with further refinements. The wide camera visor on the back of these devices gives them an identity that stands out in the sea of similar-looking Android devices, and we would love to see the same built up on the Pixel 8.
It’s an easier guess to make for the overall back material. Nothing is confirmed just yet, but considering the fact that the Pixel 8 will be a Google flagship, it is safe to presume that it will come with a glass back, with possibly some level of Gorilla Glass protection on top. Consequently, it should look and feel just as premium as the Galaxy S23 in the hand. Looks are subjective, and we still have to wait for confirmation, so we’ll stay away from declaring a proper winner for the design just yet.
The Galaxy S23 series comes with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in a special “for Galaxy” avatar. This collaboration between Samsung and Qualcomm gives us a chip that has a higher clock speed on the prime core as well as a marginally higher clock speed on the GPU compared to the vanilla version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
The vanilla Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 was no slouch to begin with, with blazing fast performance thanks to the 1+(2+2)+3 core setup and overall improved thermal efficiency year-on-year. There’s also 8GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 128GB UFS 3.1 or 256GB UFS 4.0 storage on board the Galaxy S23. No matter how you cut it, the Galaxy S23 performs excellently across all scenarios, marking it as one of the best Android flagships released in 2023.
If you care about performance, the Galaxy S23 should be your choice, thanks to Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
In our own exclusive Tensor G3 leak, we’ve confirmed the Pixel 8 will be powered by a Tensor G3. The G3 will have a 1+4+4 CPU configuration consisting of a 3.05GHz Cortex-X3, four 2.4Ghz A715 cores, and four 2.15GHz A510 cores. This is a solid step forward for the Pixel family, though it still won’t be able to compete directly with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Then again, that’s not really Google’s game. They are all about creating a phone that just works and is a thrill for photographers, instead of focusing on raw performance.
Other rumored and leaked specs include 128GB and 256GB storage variants and 8GB of RAM.
What about the cameras?
The Samsung Galaxy S23 continues its great performance with the cameras as well. While the S23 may be no Ultra, it still retains a very good triple camera setup, especially when you consider the size of the phone. The primary camera is a 50MP ISOCELL GN3 sensor with a 1/1.56-inch sensor and f/1.8 aperture. There’s also a 12MP Sony IMX564 sensor for the ultrawide shooter, with a 1/2.55-inch sensor, f/2.2 aperture, and 120-degree FoV. Telephoto zoom duties are handled by the 10MP ISOCELL S5K3K1 sensor that can do 3x optical zoom and has an f/2.4 aperture. The front camera is a 12MP ISOCELL S5K3LU that is also seen on the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Technical details aside, the Galaxy S23 camera setup performs very well across the majority of average consumer use cases. The overall setup sees only a few changes year-on-year, but the Galaxy S22 also set a high bar last year. The primary camera gives a great performance, both during the day and the night. Even the ultrawide, telephoto, and front selfie cameras perform admirably, and you would be hard-pressed to find faults in the results. The only minor complaint present would be the noticeable shutter lag, which is an issue if your subject is very fidgety, like children or pets.
A simple spec sheet does not do justice to the Pixel's camera.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will both make the move to a newer 50MP Isocell GN2 sensor main sensor with staggered HDR support, according to leaks. Staggered HDR brings faster, more efficient HDR shots with richer colors and better detail. So expect the camera to take a solid job forward. The Pixel Pro 8 will also see an upgraded ultrawide camera, upgrading to a 64MP Sony IMX787. That’s the same sensor used as the main camera on the Pixel 7a.
Hardware aside, Google sets a really high bar with the Pixel cameras. The company leans heavily into computational photography, letting Pixel cameras punch way above their proverbial weight. Whenever a Pixel phone enters into a camera comparison, looking at just the spec sheet alone becomes a moot exercise. It’s even hard to recall when a Pixel’s camera was bad, ever. So we remain very optimistic about what Google can do with the Pixel 8.
Seeing how Samsung didn’t particularly make any drastic improvements on the Galaxy S23’s camera, Google has a chance to widen its lead in 2023. If you care about the camera, it is worth waiting for the Pixel 8, even though the Galaxy S23 camera is pretty good.
Battery life and charging
The Samsung Galaxy S23 has surprised many with its battery life. The physical battery capacity has increased from 3,700 mAh on the S22 to 3,900 mAh on the S23. That 200 mAh may not seem much, but coupled with the overall performance efficiency of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the end result is that the S23 finally manages to achieve a full day’s worth of battery life with moderate usage. That’s certainly better than the S22, which couldn’t last a full day’s use.
The Pixel 8 is actually set to receive a big battery life upgrade, jumping to a 4,485mAh battery from its previous 4,260mAh capacity. Considering the Pixel 8 is smaller than the 7, this is pretty impressive.
When it comes to charging speeds, both Samsung and Google are far behind the pack. Samsung offers only 25W charging on the S23, and you can expect to take more than an hour for a full charge.
Previous Pixels have not sported blazing fast charging either, with the Pixel 7 supporting only 21W fast charging and taking well over an hour and 30 minutes for a full charge. The Pixel 8 will boost things to 24W, just 1W less than the S23.
How long do I have to wait for the Google Pixel 8?
If you were planning to buy a phone right away and were leaning towards the Google Pixel 8, you don’t have too much longer to wait! The phone is expected to be formally announced October 4, and will likely ship a week or so after. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S23 has been on the market for a while now and is starting to see some solid discounts and trade-in deals.
Will there be a price difference?
While we don’t know the price of the Pixel 8 series and likely won’t know it until the phone actually launches, we do know the general trend. Google has been fairly competitive with the pricing on the vanilla Pixel, with a Pixel 7 launching at $599 for the 8GB/128GB variant but getting a discount of $100 in 2023 to sell for $499 regularly. The Pixel 8 could follow a similar strategy, but it’s too early to conclude, unfortunately.
With the Samsung Galaxy S23 series, Samsung is maintaining its premium price tag, as the S23 starts at $799 for the 8GB/128GB variant. This is substantially more expensive than the Pixel 7. By the time the Pixel 8 launches, you can expect to see some more discounts and offers on the S23. But we’re inclined to suggest that the Galaxy S23 will usually retail for a higher price tag than the Pixel.
Should I buy the Galaxy S23 or wait for the Pixel 8?
If you’re in the market for a phone right now, your prime question would likely be: should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 right away or delay your purchase and wait for the Google Pixel 8? The answer to this question rests heavily on how urgently you need a new phone.
If you can wait another month or so and find the Pixel 8 more appealing, it could absolutely be worth the wait at this point. This is especially true if you’re a Google fan or you are on a tighter budget. The Pixel 8 is expected to see a price increase, but will still likely be less than the S23’s $799 retail price.
What if you’re not particularly a Google fan or aren’t that impressed by the Pixel 8 rumors? The Galaxy S23 could be the phone for you. It has a great camera, great display, great build, great performance, good battery life, a compact size, and it’s available right now.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 was released on February 9, 2023.
The Google Pixel 8 will launch on October 4th and ship shortly after.
We do not know what price the Pixel 8 will launch at. The Samsung Galaxy S23 launched at $799. The Pixel 7 launched at $599, so you can generally expect the Pixel 8 to hover around similar levels.
Yes, Pixel 8 will get updates directly from Google on day one. However, Samsung has been doing an excellent job with security updates, with its flagships often receiving security updates before Google can deliver them to Pixels. Both devices will have excellent software support.