Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: battle of the best Android phones

Which of these Android flagships ends up in front in 2024: Samsung or Google?

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro
(Image credit: Samsung / Google)

We were rather impressed with what the Google Pixel 8 Pro had to offer when it launched back in October 2023, but now the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has arrived to try and steal the title of best Android phone away from Google – so how do these handsets really compare?

There's a lot that's similar between these two smartphones, from the mobile operating system running on them and the AI features offered throughout, to the high quality of the photos and videos that you're going to be able to take with either of these two devices.

To help you pick apart the differences and similarities between the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Google Pixel 8 Pro – whether or not you're thinking of buying either of them – here we're going to carefully pick through the key specs and features of each smartphone.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: price

These phones certainly don't come all that cheap, though the Galaxy S24 Ultra is around the same price as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra was at launch: it costs £1,249 / $1,299.99 / AU$2,199 with 256GB of storage; £1,349 / $1,419.99 / AU$2,399 with 512GB of storage; and £1,549 / £1,659.99 / AU$2,799 for the maximum 1TB of internal storage.

As for the Google Pixel 8 Pro, it'll set you back £999 / $999 / AU$1,699 with 128GB of internal storage on board; £1,059 / $1,059 / AU$1,799 with 256GB; and £1,179 / $1,179 / AU$1,999 with 512GB. In the US, you can also get a 1TB model for $1,399. Overall, it's more affordable than Samsung's latest flagship.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: design & display

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra looks the part

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Both Samsung and Google have followed the lead set by their previous flagships here, at least to some extent. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra keeps the rectangular frame and raised camera bumps, but the display is now flat, and the metal frame switches to titanium. In terms of the display, you've got a 6.8-inch AMOLED panel running at a resolution of 1440 x 3088 pixels, and offering up to 2600 nits of peak brightness and a 120Hz refresh rate. Black, Grey, Violet, and Yellow are the colour options.

The Pixel 8 Pro doesn't stray too far from the design of the Google Pixel 7 Pro – that distinctive rear camera bump is still there, for example. It has a 6.7-inch OLED screen with a 1344 x 2992 pixel resolution, which offers 2400 nits of peak brightness and a refresh rate up to 120Hz. Your colour options in this case are Obsidian (dark grey), Porcelain (a white cream colour), and Bay (a pale blue). While the screen is flat as with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, overall this is a more rounded device.

Judging design and aesthetics is of course a personal and subjective exercise, and we can see both of these phones appealing to plenty of people based on their appearance. In general, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra looks the more professional and business-like of the two, as well as being bigger, while the Google Pixel 8 Pro comes across as a bit more fun and friendly in both its design and its colours.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: Cameras

Google Pixel 8 Pro

The Pixel 8 Pro has a familiar rear camera bump

(Image credit: Future)

Both Samsung and Google are pushing camera quality as major selling points for these devices. On the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, you've got a quad-lens 200MP main, 50MP 5x zoom telephoto, 10MP 3x zoom telephoto, and 12MP ultrawide camera on the back, with a 12MP selfie camera on the front. As you would expect, Samsung says it's the best camera setup on a Galaxy phone yet, with less image noise and better colour representation, plus a ton of Galaxy AI editing effects and processing.

Switching over to the Google Pixel 8 Pro, and its rear camera setup comprises a triple-lens rear camera: 50MP main, 48MP 5x zoom telephoto, 48MP ultrawide, and a 10.5MP selfie camera on the front. Samsung certainly wins in terms of megapixel count on that main camera, but Google has some very good image processing algorithms in its Pixel phones, and in our Google Pixel 8 Pro review we said that photo taking was one of the "most exciting" aspects of the phone, in terms of how easy it was to point, shoot and capture – with premium results at the end.

So far, we haven't been able to test out the camera quality of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra for ourselves, but you'll see that our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review notes how easy it is to take great snaps with the phone, and you can expect the new model to improve on that. Taking photos and videos is another area where the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Google Pixel 8 Pro are very evenly matched.

S24 Ultra vs Pixel 8 Pro: performance & battery

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra hands-on images

The Galaxy S24 Ultra comes with its own stylus

(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

Whether you're talking about the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra or the Google Pixel 8 Pro, both handsets offer more processing power than you're likely to need. The Samsung handset comes with the very latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor together with 12GB of RAM, while the Pixel phone opts for Google's own Tensor G3 and 12GB of RAM as well. You're not going to see any slowdown or any lag while using either of these handsets, with those components under the hood.

As far as battery capacity is concerned, there's a 5,000mAh battery fitted inside the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and a 5,050mAh battery fitted inside the Pixel 8 Pro. Now, Samsung says that its phone can last for 30 hours of video streaming between charges, while Google says the Pixel 8 Pro averages out at 24 hours of battery life between charges with general use – which is quite ambitious, based on our experience. We haven't tested the Galaxy S24 Ultra yet, but it might win out in terms of battery life.

These phones match up with each other in offering IP68-rated protection against dust and water (so short-ish immersion in shallow water should be okay). One area where the Galaxy S24 Ultra does have the edge is with its integrated S Pen stylus support, which is something you don't get with the Pixel 8 Pro – if you go for the Pixel option out of these two, you'll have to settle for using your finger to prod at the screen.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: verdict

Google Pixel 8 Pro

The Pixel 8 Pro in hand

(Image credit: Future)

There's no doubt that these handsets are two of the best phones around in 2024, with prices to match: they're packed with power, they take great photos and videos, and they come with software that's crammed with AI-enhanced features. Both phones run Google's Android operating system, though you might personally prefer Samsung's particular take on Android over Google's, or vice versa.

There's lots and lots of AI here: you can do some dramatic photo editing tricks and some clever live translation on both handsets. It's not the same as choosing between Android and one of the best iPhones, because the software offerings are more or less on identical (although the Samsung's S Pen features open up a whole host of extras, while Samsung is even first to get Google's Circle to Search feature). If you've got other Samsung-made or Google-made devices around at home, then that might influence your choice somewhat.

It might seem superficial, but picking between these phones could come down to what you think of their looks. In the other areas that we've looked at here, there's not much to choose between them – although more might be revealed once we've had a chance to publish a full review of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.