7 reasons I prefer the Galaxy S7 edge over the Google Pixel XL

The Galaxy S7 edge has been on the market for 9 months now (it was released in stores on March 11th), but it has become the standard with which all other so-called high-end Android flagships must compete. So, it’s natural that some Galaxy Note 7 users in particular are having to decide between the Galaxy S7 edge and the Google Pixel/Pixel XL. I own both the S7 edge and the Pixel XL and have had a good two months with the Pixel XL. At this point, though my time with the S7 edge has been 4 times as long, I’m ready to provide some answers for former Galaxy Note 7 customers wondering whether or not they should stick with Samsung or jump ship for Google.

I think that, in the absence of the Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy S7 edge from Samsung is the next best thing, but the following seven reasons will include information I’ve gleaned from the Pixel XL.

Without further ado, here are seven reasons why I prefer the Galaxy S7 edge over the Google Pixel XL.

Design 

The design is the first noticeable feature of these two handsets, but I find the Galaxy S7 edge design to be better than that of the Google Pixel XL. Google’s design makes sense, seeing that the search engine giant wanted to use glass for the back-mounted fingerprint sensor and metal for the bottom two-thirds of the back cover. And yet, Google could’ve solved the design problem by placing the fingerprint sensor at the bottom bezel portion of the display on the front of the phone. This way, the bezel would’ve served a purpose other than sitting there, and the back cover design wouldn’t appear conflicted.

In contrast, the Galaxy S7 edge just has a design where everything seems in place. The dual-edge display has been a change from the single-edge display design of the Galaxy Note Edge that now looks complete, unified, whole. Again, I understand why Google designed the back cover with one-third glass and two-thirds metal, but it still appears haphazard and whimsical with an absence of design focus.

Water resistance vs. Splash resistance 

The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge feature IP68 water and dust resistance, while the Pixel and Pixel XL feature only IP53 splash resistance (and some dust resistance, though not nearly enough). Google says it ran out of time to add full-blown IP68 water and dust resistance to the Pixels, and this, in addition to the glass-and-metal design of the back cover, indicates that the final product was rushed to market.

I shouldn’t have to question whether or not my smartphone can survive the elements, and, for 99% of the water situations I’ll encounter, the Galaxy S7 edge can more than hold its own. Splash resistance is more hypothetical than real when it comes to water amounts (what constitutes a splash or a jet stream of water, exactly?).

The S7 edge charges faster than the Pixel XL

The Galaxy S7 edge has a 3,600mAh battery, and the Pixel XL has a 3,450mAh battery, so you’d assume the Pixel XL would charge faster. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong to assume so.

In my own tests with wire charging for both phones (the Pixel XL utilizes USB Type-C charging while the S7 edge still holds on to micro-USB charging), the Pixel XL takes 128 minutes (2 hours, 8 minutes) to charge. The Galaxy S7 edge, in contrast, takes 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes) to charge. The S7 edge, mind you, has 150mAh more battery but charges nearly 30 minutes faster, not a good sign for USB Type-C charging. Even the now-deceased Galaxy Note 7 took only 92 minutes (1 hour, 32 minutes) to charge with its 3,500mAh battery.

I expected the Pixel XL to charge faster than the Galaxy S7 edge, but I was surprised. And you will be too, should you purchase the Pixel XL. In charging, though, the numbers matter, and I’m giving the nod to the S7 edge.

Samsung pushes forward with wireless charging, Google retreats

The Galaxy S7 edge, as was the case with the Galaxy Note 5, has not only wireless charging but fast wireless charging that helps your device charge even faster when on the charging pad. Google once implemented wireless charging into its Nexus 5 and Nexus 6, for example, but decided against it for the LG Nexus 5X and Huawei Nexus 6P. This year’s Pixels lack wireless charging as well, a sign that Google seems more content with abandoning wireless charging than returning it to its smartphone lineup.

I understand that for many, USB Type-C charging is the trend of wire charging, but it’s possible to keep USB Type-C charging and implement wireless charging. One need not be compromised for the other, so Google’s resistance to wireless charging in its last few smartphones seems out of place. I want charging options for my daily driver, so I’m going with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge here. Oh, and, yeah, I’ll be sure to throw my old Nexus 5 on my Samsung wireless charging pad to charge it up from time to time.

Samsung’s design brings added functionality you won’t find elsewhere

Google’s glass-and-metal design has been done, according to Google, to add an excellent back-mounted fingerprint sensor. Samsung placed a home button on the Galaxy S7 edge that didn’t encounter that problem, but Samsung has also incorporated a dual-edge display for more than just design – but to bring new edge functions that didn’t exist on flat-paneled smartphones.

These edge panels and functions don’t merely imitate the features and functionality of other smartphones but bring a new dimension to a new design. The Netflix edge panel (called Edge Flix) puts you one tap away from your favorite movies and TV shows, no matter what you’re doing on your smartphone, and the tasks edge lets you send an email or record a voice memo. The SoftKey Edge brings the one-stop-button-shop Assistant Menu to the edge panel lineup.

This isn’t to say that the Pixel XL doesn’t bring some functionality of its own that has been rare on many high-end Android smartphones. The nice gestures with the fingerprint sensor utilize the sensor for more than just the smartphone unlock, but the “app shortcuts” feature is Google’s take on Apple’s 3D Touch – and the landscape desktop mode draws heavy inspiration from the feature Apple brought to its iPhone 6 Plus two years ago.

The win in functionality goes to the Galaxy S7 edge, since its edge panels and tasks aren’t heavily derived from the work of others. You won’t hear buyers of other OEMs say “I have the same on my phone” when you buy the S7 edge.

Battle of the cameras

As always, great smartphones have great cameras, and that holds true with both the Galaxy S7 edge and the Pixel XL. I’m aware that mobile photography expert DxOMark has given the edge to the Pixel XL between these two 12MP rear cameras, but the close race between them and the one-point win for the Pixels show that these smartphones provide the best cameras you’ll get in 2016.

With that said, though, in my in-depth testing and comparisons between both phones, I’ve found that the Pixel XL  doesn’t have the yellow “tungsten” look of Samsung photos indoors, and the warm color tones they provide for human skin are commendable. The Pixel XL also has some really great camera performance outdoors and can capture scenes well at times.

And yet, the Pixel XL doesn’t have the consistent true-to-life colors of the Galaxy S7 edge. The Pixel XL takes great photos when it does, but it tends to wash out photos when it doesn’t. In contrast, Samsung’s cameras can be colder than the actual image or scene at times, but Samsung’s photos can never be said to “wash out” anything. I prefer that photos oversaturate at times than undersaturate, but I’m also opposed to warm tones in a scene that doesn’t support them.

The Pixels provide warmer tones than Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge does at times, but the issue with the Pixels’ warmer tones is that they don’t match real life. The Galaxy S7 edge didn’t struggle with hot pinks, for instance, but the Pixel XL turned them to a “neon orange” color.

Greens on the S7 edge that look vibrant turn bluish with the Pixel XL at times, and even photos of reddish/pink roses turn into a light pink color on the Pixel XL. Gray gravel transforms into a “sunbaked brown” when taken with the sun in the background. Yellow dandelions look sunbaked as well, a sign that the Pixel XL “photoshops” and smooths over photos instead of trying to render an accurate assessment of the scene and/or object.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge still holds its own well, despite the Pixel XL’s strength in indoor lighting at times and its photoshopping abilities. In the end, though, real life is appealing in its own way and, while having some photography touch-ups, doesn’t need the ultra-warm tones of the Pixel XL. The camera battle here goes to the S7 edge.

Samsung Pay vs. Android Pay

You knew it was coming. You can’t talk about Samsung’s and Google’s latest without talking about their mobile payment systems. Android Pay runs on NFC or Near Field Communication, mandating that stores have updated NFC terminals to operate.

Samsung Pay, in contrast, works whether or not your favorite local store can afford to upgrade and get NFC terminals or not. Samsung Pay runs on MST (magnetic secure transmission) and allows you to make mobile payments at traditional card readers. As you’ve likely heard it said, Samsung Pay works at about 90% of all stores. And, in my experience, that’s held true to this day.

Samsung has the winner with MST and Samsung Pay; after all, I shouldn’t be prevented from using state-of-the-art technology because the store I frequent isn’t as up-to-date. Samsung removes that barrier, which makes using the Galaxy S7 edge far more appealing. And yes, while I can still use the Gear S3 Frontier and my Pixel XL for Samsung Pay, Samsung Pay is one aspect of a great smartphone. I don’t want part of the Samsung experience but all of it, though your view on this may differ.

Conclusion 

The Galaxy S7 edge and the Pixel XL are both excellent smartphones, and I deem the Pixels the best of the pack behind the Galaxy S7, S7 edge, and S7 Active because of their fast updates, Daydream VR platform, and their more-than-competent 12MP cameras.

At the same time, however, the security patches have proven problematic for me because, when the Pixel XL battery died on a few occasions, the November 5th security patch reverted back to the October security patch (which doesn’t bode well for the fast updates bragging right). Daydream VR and the Daydream View headset are a nice peak into virtual reality, but the Daydream View headset isn’t as user-friendly as Samsung’s Gear VR. Last but not least, Samsung provides battery modes, TouchWiz, faster wire charging than the Pixel XL, as well as a compelling design and unique functionality.

If I could choose one phone and leave the other at the store, I’d choose the Galaxy S7 edge.

What do you think? Do you own both, or one? If only one, which one? What made you pick that over the other?

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lightspeed11
2 months 18 days ago

i have the Exynos sm-G935F s7 Edge international model, and it’s sooo easy to root and get customs ROM’s for it. having the choice of any ROM that supports your device model is the main thing and if the phone looks stunning, that is a bonus. True, it might be slightly more fragile than an all metal phone, but with a lil’ TLC, and a nice, it’s still hands down the sleekest phone around.

Tokher
2 months 27 days ago

All Hail S7 , S7 Edge

piyushhapur
2 months 24 days ago

Guys i just bought Oneplus 3T and believe me or not it is the best smartphone available.I was using s6 edge before.

Tokher
2 months 27 days ago

Only 64 Gb internal storage no Sd Card Slot

maccyb
2 months 25 days ago

I agree with the reasons though the Pixel camera is generally up there with Samsung and iPhone 7, speaking of which I got my hands on a Pixel XL a few days ago, and if that’s not an iPhone clone, nothing is. From the front, apart from the home button, it’s a replica . You’re right, they should have done something with the gigantic chin. The design is very old looking at this stage and as the iPhone will have a curved Samsung Amoled next year according to Mac Rumors, there will need to be a massive change to the Pixel design. Everything about those phones speak to me of a lazy design team who weren’t bothered thinking of something new or different.

Dwarfer66
2 months 25 days ago

If software updates are important to you, do what I do… put an upto date custom rom on.

warlockba
2 months 25 days ago

Wireless charging is a bad joke. In terms of industrialization it is a huge loss of energy compared to what actually reaches the device for charging. It is slow, and the device is only limitted usable while charging. I see this feature more as a gimick than a mainstream function. The Gear S3 has wireless charging and it takes almost 1.5h to charge a battery which the Gear 1 and 2 could charge the same size of battery in 20 minutes. Worst decision to remove the contact-charge concept they had before …

Peschiera
2 months 25 days ago

And not to forget: tethering of WLAN … the most useful feature of S7 and E7 Edge.

martindale
2 months 25 days ago

” Samsung has also incorporated a dual-edge display for more than just design – but to bring new edge functions that didn’t exist on flat-paneled smartphones.”

Which edge function actually demands the physical curvature of the screen and therefore could not be implemented on a flat screen?

Allyn K C
2 months 25 days ago

I get the design – the S7 edge has an elegant look to it, while the Pixels look like they were designed by a committee, with compromises to merge conflicting design ideas.

And I agree that wireless charging gives the S7 line an edge; as well as the camera (both hardware and stock software for each) being better on the S7 edge.

In other areas, I disagree: for mobile payments, MST gives Samsung an advantage – but the NFC functionality works smoother through Android Pay (fortunately, you can set the S7 to use Samsung pay for MST while still defaulting to Android Pay for NFC – so win for the S7 Edge here by giving the best of both worlds).

Also, on the edge screens – lets get real, the “added functionality” could easily be added to a flat screen – fundamentally, all it is is a swipe motion from the edge onto a specific part of the screen in order to call up those functions. The only reason they are only on the S7 Edge and not the S7 is marketing differentiation. And, ultimately, I honestly don’t find them any better than already existing widgets. I’ve turned most of them off on my S7 Edge.

And while the overall design of the S7 edge is better than the Pixel – the debate continues as to whose layout of back/menu buttons is the right way around. I’m right handed, but always hold my phone in the left hand (freeing my dominant hand for typing, writing either with a stylus or on paper, or using utensils to eat, etc) – so the Samsung layout always results in a stretch for me to reach the back button. Hopefully, the rumors are true and the S8 line will use software buttons, which will let the user define the layout however works best for them.

The other items you flag (water/splash and charge times) are nice to have bonus items, but not major differentiation for me.

I also agree that the S7 Edge is the better of the two … but lets not oversell it. It still has its flaws (as identified above) that can be improved in the next generation.

assassin2se7en
2 months 25 days ago

Dont forget … google push new software versions sooner than samsung :)

martindale
2 months 25 days ago

Don’t forget, the actual features and benefits of the new software versions pushed by Google are very often already available in TouchWIz from several years previous. So it depends what matters to you, having the latest revision number or having the latest features and benefits.

Peschiera
2 months 25 days ago

Sooooooooooooo true.
In addition, unlike iOS upgrade of most relevant apps does not require an upgrade of he iOS. So with Samsung you are always up-to-date.

warlockba
2 months 25 days ago

You just got your first Samsung, have you? :) With Samsung you are never up-to-date. You are at least 1/2 year away from the latest OS version, if and only if you buy a version which is the market mainstream. Galaxy Alpha got exactly 1 update for example, to 5.0.2, one of the most unstable Android versions. It has never seen any security update or OS fixes – just because it was not so popular; but it has cost as much as a Galaxy S phone at that time …

Peschiera
2 months 24 days ago

No, I have had S2, S3, S4, S5, S6 and now S7 Edge.

But it seems as if you are missing Martindale’s and my point:
Every S Flagship comes with a TouchWIz version which offers features that are usually introduced years later in Stock Android or in iOS.

If there is a new Android version such as Nougat, after an upgrade by Samsung I won’t have any benefits directly coming from Nougat. Samsung will make TouchWiz run on the new OS version alongside the new TouchWiz UI, but there won’t be hardly new features from Nougat in it because TouchWiz already offers all of them and of course more.
Maybe there are some general improvements in the memory management etc., but they are not really relevant.
I’ve also mentioned upgrades of relevant apps. Let me explain this.
Each time there is a new Safari or Apple map version, you’ll need a new iOS version. But in case of Android it is different. You just download the latest Chrome or Google Map version, independent of the Android version you have.

Maybe this makes it clearer: TouchWiz isn’t just a UI on top of Android. It is an extension to the OS which is years ahead of Android.

martindale
2 months 24 days ago

My first Samsung was the original Note – how many years ago was that, I forget? It already had picture-in-picture video player, two apps side-by-side, auto call filter/rejection, group SMS, wireless cast photos to my TV, and of course a proper sized screen and resolution. Most of that stuff is now available from Google. Back then they called it bloat (and just laughed at the screen size). Several years later and it’s the latest cool update from Google. Go figure.

Now I’ve got the Note 4. How old is that, must be more than 2 years. I still get the monthly OS security update every month, in the month. Yeah, I probably won’t get Nougat, but I’ve probably already got much of what Nougat will bring.

warlockba
2 months 24 days ago

As I said, as long as you go mainstream, you get *some* updates. Every other phone is just left for dead – and as I said already, if you’re unlucky, then on a krappy Android version. You say you have a Note 4 … remeber for how long you were on 5.0.1, and how well was the phone running compared to the 4.4.x it came out with, or compared to the 5.1.1 or 6.0.1? Now imagine your phone would have got stuck there, on the 5.0.1 … I also own a Note 4 now, and am quite content with the overall update situation, but this is the main stream phone; I also own several other Samsung phones (not cheap ones) and they were not that lucky…
I do not even care anymore about features of newer versions, I just care that my phone (in case it gets updated to an acknowledged broken version) gets fixed soon.

last-home
2 months 25 days ago

Pixel is definitely better than the crap S7, because you always are first person that have the latest version of pure android with great and long software support …
Samsung support their devices for just 2 years and that’s not enough :|

SAMgalaxyXXX
2 months 25 days ago

Samsung’s problem is not on how long they support devices with the latest update, it’s how late they implement the update (even though it’s apparently getting better lately). I put that late software update down to the fact that it releases too many phones a year with 20 variants and getting unjustifiable too distracted trying to deal with all of them.
However I don’t think that having the latest software update quicker than anyone else makes the phone better. In the past and now there have been lots of complaints about Nexus, Motorola and other devices not running as smooth as they were supposed to and having all sorts of problems. Even now there are few complaints about both Pixel phones and this is just to keep the debate within the Android OS.

sinoka56
2 months 25 days ago

Well Google also announced that they’ll support Pixels for at least 2 years … so the same as Samsung?

last-home
2 months 25 days ago

Pixel: at least 2 years, Samsung: at most 2 years
Pixel: has snapdragon CPU which means it’s development friendly and CM (LineageOS) will support it for many years
Samsung: has exynos CPU that there isn’t any source code for it which means we will stuck at official samsung ROM
So pixel is the clear winner :)

maccyb
2 months 25 days ago

Who keeps a phone for longer than 2 years? Hardly anyone I would say.

PJaya
2 months 27 days ago

I do, i use Nokia symbian nearly 5 years, and Samsung Tab about 4 years.
Now using second Samsung device.

martindale
2 months 24 days ago

I do, and my Note 4 is still getting monthly security updates, well passed two years old.

last-home
2 months 25 days ago

Why change phone when it has a powerful hardware?!
Sorry but it’s wasting money …

maccyb
2 months 25 days ago

It’s a winner for the less than 1% of customers who are nerds that want to root. It’s exactly why Nexus hardly sells any phones. Pixels sales performance has been exactly the same, or worse as the nerds won’t pay $300 more than it’s worth.

sinoka56
2 months 25 days ago

well google also announced that they’re supporting pixel for at least 2 years … and after that you’re not so sure also

http://www.androidauthority.com/google-pixel-2-year-android-upgrades-723533/

2 months 25 days ago

And yet old nexuses are left behind aswel?

alastairgreen_Nexus
2 months 25 days ago

Yeah, because of Google’s 18 month update policy

 
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