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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: Which phone should you buy?

The newest Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is here. How does it match up to the Google Pixel 8 Pro? Here's the breakdown.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro
June Wan/ZDNET

The Galaxy S24 Ultra -- the newest flagship phone from Samsung -- has arrived on the scene. As is usual with Samsung, the camera was a big focus, and this version boasts what may be the best camera hardware ever packed into a phone. But, the S24 also brings a lightning-fast processor, some very innovative AI features, and one of the brightest displays we've ever seen.

Also: Every product Samsung announced at Unpacked 2024

On the other hand, another fantastic flagship -- the Google Pixel 8 Pro -- was released just a few months ago. It too has a top-of-the-line camera, several AI features, and a very bright display. 

Both phones are at the top of their class, and both have some pretty similar specs. But, there's just enough of a difference between the two that choosing isn't that hard. If you're trying to decide on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. the Google Pixel 8 Pro, read on to learn which one is right for you.

Specifications

Galaxy S24 Ultra

Pixel 8 Pro

Display

6.8 inch

6.7 inch

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3                                    

Google Tensor G3

RAM/Storage 256GB/512GB/1TB
128GB/256GB/512GB  
Battery5,000mAh  
4,950mAh  
Camera 200MP main, 50MP telephoto,10MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide
50MP main, 64MP ultrawide, 48MP telephoto  
Brightness2,600 nits2,400 nits
Weight233 grams213 grams
Price$1,299$999

You should buy the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra if...

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
June Wan/ZDNET

1. You want the better camera

Both phones have top-of-the-line cameras, but the S24 Ultra has the better hardware, especially when it comes to zoom. It has an incredible 200MP main lens compared to the Pixel 8 Pro's 50MP, Nightography Zoom for enhanced low-light photos, and an AI-assisted zoom for the telephoto lens (even though the zoom is technically a little less than what the S23 had). 

Also: Samsung Galaxy S24 series hands-on: I did not expect this model to be my favorite

There are a ton of AI-editing features on both, and you won't be disappointed with either setup. But if you absolutely need the best phone camera (and you take a lot of zoom shots), go with the S24. 

2. You want the S Pen

Designed to feel like a real pen, the S Pen is a novelty that quickly gets boring for some users but is a must-have for others. It's been a Galaxy accessory for more than a decade now and is a fantastic tool to take notes, sign documents, navigate your phone, control the camera, or draw. And if you're used to it, there's nothing like it on the Google Pixel 8 Pro. There are third-party styluses that are compatible with the Pixel, but they don't deliver anywhere near the functionality that Samsung's pen does. 

3. You want the better processor

Google's Tensor G3 chip is certainly fine, but the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 found in the S24 Ultra is one of the best chips available. Both chips are at the core of their phone's AI features, and while they're both powerful, the S24 wins out. It's not only going to be faster than Google's, it's also more power efficient -- meaning it will be less of a drain on the battery. If you find your current phone slowing down because you do intensive work or run a lot of apps at once, you'll probably want to go to the S24.

You should buy the Google Pixel 8 Pro if...

Google Pixel 8 Pro in Bay Blue
June Wan/ZDNET

1. You're shopping on a budget

If you're investing in a flagship phone, you're probably already aware that it's not going to come cheap. But if you want to save a little money on your flagship, go with the Pixel 8 Pro. It costs $999 compared to the S24's price tag of $1,299, and since the Pixel has been on the market a little longer, you're more likely to catch a good promotion or sale. If you pick the Pixel, you're still getting one of the best phones on the market, and one that's going to be perfectly capable of any task.

2. You want a lighter phone

The difference is small, but it will be significant for some. Phone displays are getting bigger and manufacturers are packing in more camera components than ever before, which in turn means phones are getting heavier -- and easier to drop. And if weight matters, the Pixel 8 Pro comes in just a little lighter than the S24. 

3. You want to avoid spam callers and don't want to wait on hold

One of the most underrated features of the Pixel lineup is the call screening feature. First up, it doesn't just identify whether or not a call is potentially spam, it lets you answer the call with Google Assistant, which asks the caller why they're dialing. A transcript of what the caller said is shown, and you have the option to ask another automated question, to pick it up, or to end the call. 

Also: Google Pixel 8 Pro review: This phone sold me on an AI-powered future

Additionally, the Assistant will navigate an automated menu for you, wait on hold, and alert you when you have a live person. If you want to deal with fewer spam calls and lessen the time you wait on hold, look to the Pixel 8 Pro. 

Alternatives to consider

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