Head-To-Head: Samsung Galaxy S9+ Vs. Google Pixel 2 XL

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Samsung has its work cut out for it with luring customers to the new Galaxy S smartphones, including the Galaxy S9+. Not only does Samsung have to compete with the likes of Apple and its iPhone X, the company also has to fend off Google -- the maker of the Android operating system that runs Samsung's phones. Google's latest flagship, the Pixel 2 XL, poses a major challenge to the Galaxy S9+ even with the camera improvements and other updates Samsung is offering in the device. Which of the premium Android smartphones is a better match for you? In the following slides, the CRN Test Center takes a look at Samsung's Galaxy S9+ vs. Google's Pixel 2 XL on specs and price.


As the larger models in their respective smartphone lineups, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Google Pixel 2 XL have some of the biggest phone displays you can buy right now. The Galaxy S9+ is larger, though, with its 6.2-inch display, versus the 6-inch screen on the Pixel 2 XL. Both devices feature nearly "edge-to-edge" displays with slim borders, and both use OLED technology for terrific colors and contrast. There's not much difference in terms of resolution, either; the S9+ features screen resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 while the Pixel 2 XL display offers 2,880 x 1,440 pixels. In short, both displays should be fantastic to view and use (assuming that the Pixel 2 XL's problems with screen burn-in and color rendering are in the past).


Both Samsung and Google have heavily touted the new camera functionality in their respective devices, and research firm DxOMark tends to agree. But DxOMark gives the camera system in the Galaxy S9+ the edge, awarding it the firm's highest rating ever for a smartphone camera. The camera on the Pixel 2 XL is a close second, according to the firm. The S9+ comes with a dual rear camera setup -- of 12-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras -- compared to the single 12.2-megapixel rear camera on the Pixel 2 XL. Both phone cameras have optical image stabilization, while the S9+ features include dual-aperture for automatic adjustment to different lighting conditions, "live focus" for automatic blurring of a photo's background and improved slow-motion video. The Pixel 2 XL camera can also automatically add blur to an image's background with its impressive portrait mode, while other camera features include improved autofocus.

Processor & RAM

While both the phones in our comparison use Qualcomm's speedy Snapdragon mobile processors, the Galaxy S9+ has the advantage of using a faster version thanks to being newer to market. The S9+ uses the Snapdragon 845, an eight-core processor that runs at up to 2.8GHz. That's above the clock speed of the Pixel 2 XL processor, the eight-core Snapdragon 835, which runs at up to 2.45GHz. The Galaxy S9+ also packs in more RAM, at 6 GB, than the Pixel 2 XL, which offers 4 GB. Thus, the S9+ may offer a bit more in terms of horsepower than the Pixel 2 XL.

Battery Life & Charging

Neither Samsung or Google has offered battery life estimates on their respective devices, but the sizes of the batteries are nearly identical -- 3520mAh for the Pixel 2 XL and 3500mAh for the Galaxy S9+. To get a ballpark idea for the battery life, however, the Galaxy S8+ with that same battery size had offered 15 hours of LTE usage.

Notably, the Galaxy S9+ offers wireless charging, while the Pixel 2 XL does not. The S9+ can be charged up by placing it on a Qi charging pad (sold separately).

Connectors & Storage

The Galaxy S9+ has a single option for internal storage, 64 GB, but you can add up to another 400 GB with a microSD card. The Pixel 2 XL comes in 64 GB and 128 GB models. Pixel 2 XL buyers also receive unlimited free cloud storage for videos and photos taken with the device.

Both smartphones use a USB-C port for charging, but Google has eliminated the 3.5mm headphone jack on the Pixel 2 XL. The Galaxy S9+ has kept the headphone jack.

Water Resistance

The Galaxy S9+ tops the Pixel 2 XL on water resistance with a rating of IP68, which means the device should survive after spending up to 30 minutes underwater (in waters as deep as 5 feet). The Pixel 2 XL has the lesser rating of IP67 -- suggesting it should also last up to a half hour underwater, but in depths no greater than 3.3 feet.

Special Features

Other key features that Samsung is rolling out for the Galaxy S9+ include stereo speakers that are tuned by acoustics specialist AKG; the DeX Pad, which lets you power an Android desktop experience using your Galaxy phone; and Intelligent Scan authentication, which combines iris scanning and facial recognition to enable faster phone unlocking.

Meanwhile, the Pixel 2 XL is integrated with the Google Assistant, a voice-controlled assistant that's proven to be excellent at handling tasks and answering questions in our tryouts (Samsung's virtual assistant, Bixby, is well behind the Google Assistant in terms of usefulness).

Price & Availability

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ has just barely undercut the Google's Pixel 2 XL on price. Samsung is pricing the Galaxy S9+ unlocked at $840, which puts it just below the Pixel 2 XL, which is priced at $849. Those prices are for the models with 64 GB of internal storage.

To get the Pixel 2 XL with 128 GB of internal storage, you'll pay another $100. Getting a 64 GB Samsung microSD card, to bring the S9+ up to 128 GB, will cost you much less, at about $35. Going for the maximum possible storage on the S9+, with a 400 GB card from SanDisk, will cost $230.

The Google Pixel 2 XL has been available since October, while the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is in pre-orders as of this writing. Shipping for the Galaxy S9+ starts on March 16.