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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Which should you buy?

It's Google's brains against Samsung's brawn, and you can only pick one.
By

Published onMarch 12, 2024

Google Pixel 7 Pro
MSRP: $899.00
Check price
Positives
Unique design
Flexible, high-class camera setup
Upgraded fingerprint scanner and modem
Clean Pixel UI software and exclusive features
Long-term software support
Incredible value
Negatives
Tensor G2 still runs hot at times
Slow charging
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
MSRP: $1,199.00
Check price
Positives
Powerful, flexible camera setup
Great battery life with solid charging
Convenient S Pen
Excellent software update promise
Premium materials and display
Great performance
Negatives
Will be too large for some
Limited base RAM for the price
Expensive, especially for extra storage

Punch, meet counterpunch. The Google Pixel 7 Pro became Google’s most complete, refined flagship smartphone until the Pixel 8 series came around. With its incredible photography processing and smooth, intelligent software, it put plenty of 2022’s early-year launches out of our minds. Samsung got the chance to respond. As always, it kicked off 2023 with a new premium slate that capped off with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. The only question is which previous-generation phone you should buy. Let’s compare the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro to find out.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: At a glance

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Google Pixel 7 Pro are as alike in many ways as they are different. We'll run through the specs table in a moment, but here are just a few of the main things to note:

  • Google's Pixel 7 Pro is by far the more affordable of the two devices. It starts at $900 to the Galaxy S23 Ultra's $1,200.
  • Samsung offers faster charging on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, topping out at 45W wired speeds instead of the 23W rate from the Pixel 7 Pro. Google has a slight edge in wireless charging, offering 23W speeds again instead of 15W.
  • The Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra are excellent camera phones, though Google relies on its software might, and Samsung packs in the megapixels with a 200MP primary sensor.
  • The Galaxy S23 Ultra offers an extra Android update, supporting four years instead of Google's three, and both phones feature five years of security patches.
  • The Pixel 7 Pro runs on Google's second-generation Tensor chip, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
  • Both phones use a form of Gorilla Glass Victus for their display and back panel, but Samsung is the first to adopt Gorilla Glass Victus 2.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Specs

Google Pixel 7 ProSamsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Display
Google Pixel 7 Pro
6.7-inch LTPO pOLED
Curved display
QHD+ resolution (3,120 x 1,440)
19.5:9 aspect ratio
Up to 120Hz refresh rate
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Edge display (curved)
QHD+ resolution (3,088 x 1,440)
19.3:9 aspect ratio
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (1Hz to 120Hz)
Processor
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Google Tensor G2
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM
Google Pixel 7 Pro
12GB
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
8GB or 12GB
Storage
Google Pixel 7 Pro
128GB, 256GB, 512GB
UFS 3.1
No microSD card support
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
No microSD card support
Power
Google Pixel 7 Pro
5,000mAh battery
23W wired charging
23W wireless charging
No charger in box
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
5,000mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Cameras
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Rear:
- 50MP main sensor (f/1.85, 1/1.3", OIS, 82 FoV)
- 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2, 1/2.9", auto-focus, 125 FoV)
- 48MP telephoto lens (f/3.5, 1/2.55", 4.8x optical zoom)

Front:
- 10.8MP wide (f/2.2, 93°, 1/3.1")
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Rear:
- 200MP wide main sensor (f/1.7, OIS)
- 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2)
- 10MP 3x telephoto (f/2.4, OIS)
- 10MP 10x telephoto (f/4.9, OIS)

Front:
- 12MP wide (f/2.2)
Software
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Android 13
3 Android updates
5 years of security updates
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Android 13
One UI 5.1
4 Android updates
5 years of security updates
S Pen support
Google Pixel 7 Pro
No
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Yes, embedded with storage slot
IP rating
Google Pixel 7 Pro
IP68 certified
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
IP68 certified
Dimensions
Google Pixel 7 Pro
162.9 x 76.55 x 8.9mm
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
Weight
Google Pixel 7 Pro
212g
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
233g
Materials
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Gorilla Glass Victus front and back
Aluminum frame
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Gorilla Glass Victus 2 front and back
Armor Aluminum frame

As mentioned above, the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro are both high-end devices. However, neither one massively rocked the boat from their previous generations. Many comparisons between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Pixel 6 Pro still apply, with some updates for the new generation. In fact, the designs are almost unchanged, save for a bit of polish and some flatter sides.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra gets a material upgrade in the form of Gorilla Glass Victus 2, and it was the first phone to adopt the rigid material. It’s slightly more durable than Victus or Victus Plus, able to withstand impacts from up to two meters on softer surfaces like asphalt. However, if you drop it onto concrete or something solid, the limit is closer to a meter.

Perhaps the most important difference — one that finds its way into almost all areas of both devices — is what lies under the hood. Google moved to its in-house Tensor chip for the Pixel 6 generation, and the Pixel 7 series got the Tensor G2. On the other hand, Samsung is all-in on the Qualcomm’s technology. The Galaxy S23 Ultra, like the rest of the series, relies on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy to keep the lights on. There is no Exynos version for this handset.

We’ve done our testing, and benchmarks prove the Galaxy S23 Ultra scores are higher overall. By quite a bit, too. So, if you’re seeking raw power, you’re probably better off going with Samsung. Both are competent devices, though. The chances of you noticing an actual difference in day-to-day use are very slim.

The designs might not have changed much, but both the Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra pack an extra punch under the hood.

The powerful chipsets are backed by ample power, with the Google Pixel 7 Pro offering 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. On the other hand, Samsung starts with 8GB of RAM in the base 256GB model before moving to 12GB on the 512GB and 1TB versions of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Both Google and Samsung find themselves locked in a battle for the best Android software commitment, with Samsung taking a slight edge. The Galaxy S23 Ultra — and the rest of the Galaxy S23 series — will see four Android version updates with five years of security coverage. Google offers three years of Android updates with five years of Pixel updates, usually a combination of security patches and feature drops.

It’s also worth noting that Google and Samsung take very different approaches to Android. Google’s Pixel UI is light and smooth, leaning on Google’s services and Assistant to do most of the heavy lifting. It embraces Material You and icon theming throughout, even if it doesn’t work for all third-party apps yet. One UI is a little more heavy-handed, bringing Samsung-tuned customizations and alternative versions of a lot of base apps like the browser and dialer. However, Samsung has taken strides to push Material You and color-based themes a bit further on the Galaxy S23 series.

Of course, many of these changes were present in the previous versions of each device, so let’s move on to more topics.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Size comparison

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

If you’ve held a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and a Google Pixel 7 Pro against each other, you know how challenging this comparison is. Both are big, relatively boxy, and have screen real estate for days. Samsung’s flagship is the boxier of the two, packing sharper corners and flat edges on the top and bottom — flat enough that it can stand upright unassisted. The Google Pixel 7 Pro, on the other hand, is rounded at all four corners and on the edges, which gives it a softer feel in the hand.

If you look carefully, you might notice that the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a hair taller and wider, but we’re talking fractions of millimeters. They’re equally as thick, too, though the Pixel’s widest point is its camera bar. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a slab all the way down.

Ultimately, if you liked the Pixel 6 Pro design, the Galaxy S22 Ultra design, or even the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra design, there’s something here for you to appreciate. In fact, the slightly flatter sides make the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra even more comfortable to hold than either of its predecessors.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Camera

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera housing 2
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Well, here it is. The cameras are arguably the most significant point of contention in the debate about the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro. It’s a battle of high-end camera phones but with two very different approaches.

For Google’s part, it brought back the same upgraded trio of rear shooters from the Pixel 6 Pro. That means a 50MP primary lens flanked by 48MP telephoto and 12MP ultrawide options. The telephoto shooter has shifted from 4x optical zoom to 5x, but the other two sensors are unchanged. Also unchanged is Google’s camera app. You essentially choose your shooting mode and let the Tensor G2 do the rest — no manual controls to be found.

Samsung didn’t change the number of lenses for its Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it raised the megapixel floor. There’s a dual-10MP telephoto setup and a 12MP ultrawide camera, but the primary camera was upgraded. The Galaxy S23 Ultra was the first device to use Samsung’s Isocell HP2 sensor, complete with a whopping 200MP resolution. It’s not a larger sensor, meaning the pixels are smaller. Samsung uses pixel binning by default, giving you 12.5MP images, but you can tap into the full 200MP if you’re not too worried about storage size.

Besides boosting its megapixel count, Samsung is more willing to give you in-depth camera controls. You can shift to Pro mode or Expert RAW to fine-tune everything from the white balance to the ISO and shutter speed. Expert RAW is still a separate app you’ll have to download, but it allows you to capture and export RAW files that are much easier to edit in apps like Lightroom.

Both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Google Pixel 7 Pro come with nominal downgrades to the selfie cameras. The Pixel 7 Pro shifted from an 11.1MP sensor to 10.8MP — though you’d never notice a difference. Samsung, on the other hand, dropped its 40MP lens for a 12MP lens, which is the same as the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Battery and charging

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra charger
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Google Pixel 7 Pro just about set the gold standard for the best Android flagship battery life. You’ll get a full 5,000mAh cell no matter which way you go, though your mileage may vary. We’ve seen the Pixel 7 Pro take steps forward over its predecessor thanks to better heat management from the Tensor G2, but it still drains quickly under heavy load. You should have no problem stretching into a second day of usage, though it might be tough to scratch two full days.

As for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it was the battery life king for early 2023. Our results were very good. The device can easily reach beyond a day and a half of use, with as many as eight hours of screen-on time. It also charges slightly faster, but only because it holds onto the peak 45W speeds for longer than its predecessor. We can also attribute some of the gains to the much more efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, which has fixed many of the thermal struggles of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

Also vital to battery life is the charging situation for each device. Samsung has an edge in raw speed, packing 45W wired charging and 15W wireless charging, with reverse wireless charging for good measure. Google’s Pixel 7 Pro continues the vague language of getting the fastest speeds with Google’s in-house charger — up to 30W. In reality, it charges at closer to 23W, both wired and wireless.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Price

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra colorways 4
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (8GB/256GB): $1,199
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (12GB/512GB): $1,379
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (12GB/1TB): $1,619
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro (12GB/128GB): $899
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro (12GB/256GB): $999
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro (12GB/512GB): $1,099

Despite rumored price increases, the Galaxy S23 Ultra stuck with its predecessor’s retail price. That means you had to shell out nearly $1,200 to get your foot in the door. It was one of the most expensive flagships, though you got a lot of phone for your money. The Galaxy S23 Ultra also starts with double the storage space of the Galaxy S22 Ultra before it. 256GB instead of 128GB, to be exact.

Samsung loves to roll out colorways, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra was no exception. It launched available in four shades — Phantom Black, Cream, Lavender, and Green — with additional Samsung exclusives to choose from. You can also opt for Lime Green, Red, Graphite, or Sky Blue if you buy right from the source.

Samsung offers plenty of colorways, but Google's value is tough to top.

Google, however, remains the king of the perfectly priced flagship. The Pixel 7 Pro started at $900 for the base model, with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Each upgrade will cost another $100, but all three versions are more affordable than the base Galaxy S23 Ultra.

The Pixel 7 Pro graduated to slightly more mature colors, with Hazel offering the most fun of the three. Other choices include Snow or Obsidian — white or black to the rest of us.

With all that said, it’s important to note that both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Google Pixel 7 Pro are now previous-generation devices. This means you can easily find both significantly discounted, especially if you’re willing to settle with a refurbished or used phone. That said, the Pixel 7 Pro is still more often found at cheaper prices, across the board.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel 7 Pro camera housing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

It’s difficult to come out and recommend either the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the Google Pixel 7 Pro as the definitive choice. Both are previous-generation high-end devices from their respective brands, but they take two different approaches. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the edge on paper. It offers faster charging, more robust camera hardware, and a longer update commitment. On the other hand, the Pixel 7 Pro emphasizes the smart in smartphone and is a more feasible choice for tighter budgeted buyers. It is a great device, even if the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra ($1419.99 at Amazon) is already out.

Google, for its part, offers a premium experience for less than $1,000. It finds ways to work the Google Assistant through every aspect of the Pixel line. You cede some control over the finer aspects of the camera, but the Tensor G2’s image processing is second to none. Feature drops keep the Pixel 7 Pro fresh and new when Google creates new wrinkles like VPN by Google One. Even now that the more powerful and refined Pixel 8 Pro ($999 at Amazon) is available and packs a little more power to rival the Ultra, Google’s 2022 flagship remains an attractive alternative.

Would you rather buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the Google Pixel 7 Pro?

975 votes

You might also have to consider which device you’re upgrading from. The Pixel 7 Pro will feel like a natural evolution from earlier Pixel devices. The Galaxy S23 Ultra also offers a very refined experience. Ultimately, it comes down to which ecosystem you prefer and how much flagship you can afford.

Google Pixel 7 ProGoogle Pixel 7 Pro
AA Editors Choice
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Best Google camera • High-quality display • Big battery
MSRP: $899.00
The Pixel 7 Pro is the top-of-the-line phone on Google's roster.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro takes the best features from the Pixel 6 Pro, and makes them even better. Enjoy numerous camera upgrades and some fun new software tricks, all for the same cost as the last-gen Pixel phone.
Samsung Galaxy S23 UltraSamsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
AA Editors Choice
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
New 200MP main camera • Beautiful display • S Pen functionality
MSRP: $1,199.00
The Ultra release of Samsung's 2023 flagship line
Powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 as the smaller models in the series, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra offers larger storage capacities and a whopping 200MP camera. S Pen support and a 6.8-inch display make the Ultra ideal for note-takers on the go.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: FAQs

Yes, the Pixel 7 Pro starts at $900, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra starts at $1,200. And because the Pixel 7 Pro is slightly older, and there is already a successor for it, you can find it more heavily discounted.

It depends. The Google Pixel 7 Pro has a simpler camera interface. It relies on post-processing to get the perfect image. The Galaxy S23 Ultra gives you in-depth manual controls.

Samsung’s flagship uses tougher panels of Gorilla Glass Victus 2. Both phones carry the same IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.

No, neither phone has expandable storage. You can buy the Pixel 7 Pro with up to 512GB or the Galaxy S23 Ultra with 1TB of storage.

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