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Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Pixel 4 (2020): Can Samsung’s Cameras Beat Google’s?

A new Samsung Galaxy flagship is set to arrive, and with leaks already revealing its specs, we can compare how it stacks up against the current crop of flagship smartphones. One of the top releases last year was the Google Pixel 4, which continues to wow us with its amazing cameras. Will the upcoming Galaxy S20 give us something better?

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Pixel 4 Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy S20Google Pixel 4
Samsung Galaxy S20 Cloud BlueGoogle Pixel 4
PriceComing SoonCheck Price
Display120 Hz WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display90 Hz P-OLED Display
Screen Size6.2″5.7″
Resolution3200 x 1440 pixels2280 x 1080 pixels
Pixel Density563 ppi444 ppi
Dimensions152 x 68 x 7.9 mm147 x 68.8 x 8.2 mm
Weight164 g162 g
CPUSamsung Exynos 990 / Qualcomm Snapdragon 865Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM12GB6GB
Storage128GB, 256GB64GB, 128GB
Rear Cameras12MP Wide, 64MP Telephoto, 12MP Ultra-Wide12.2MP Wide, 16MP Telephoto
ZoomUp to 3X Optical ZoomUp to 2X Optical Zoom
Front Cameras10MP IMX 3748MP, ToF camera
VideoBack: up to 8K 30 fps
Front: up to 4K 60 fps
Back: up to 2160p 30 fps
Front: up to 1080p 30 fps
Battery4000mAh2800mAh
Water ResistanceIP68, up to 5 metersIP68, up to 1.5 meters
OSAndroid 10 with One UI 2.0Android 10
Voice AssistantNoneGoogle Assistant
Fingerprint SensorYesNo
MicroSDYesNo
3.5 mmNoNo
Colors43

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a more impressive design than the Google Pixel 4.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Pixel 4 Design
It’s not apparent, but the bezels on the Samsung Galaxy S20 (left) are a lot thinner than those on the Google Pixel 4 (right).

We’ve only seen renders of the Samsung Galaxy S20 so far, though they’re based on leaked videos showing the new handset. They look to be a smooth amalgamation of the S10 and the Note 10, and the result is about what you can expect from Samsung. It’s sleek, flashy, and stunning, especially with its huge display. The punch hole for the front camera is a necessary evil, but it’s a more elegant solution and it’s smaller than the one on the Note 10 too.

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Placing it beside the Google Pixel 4 makes the latter look a bit dated. The Pixel 4 has a chunky top bezel, which is, again, a necessity for its new features, but it does cut on overall wow factor. While Samsung, Apple and other top brands continue to push the bezels to the edges of the front screen, Google sits pretty content with slim trimmings.

To be fair, the Google Pixel 4 isn’t a bad-looking phone. It just isn’t impressive as a flagship phone from one of the biggest tech giants in the world. Releasing way after the other brands have gotten their new phones on the market also dampens our excitement for its look. Its Just Black version has a glossy finish at the back while the Just White and Oh So Orange models have a nice matte texture. Next to the premium sheen of the Galaxy S20 however, these look plain and hardly next-gen.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a more stunning display than the Google Pixel 4.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Pixel 4 Display
Aside from Samsung’s signature AMOLED Display, the Galaxy S20 will also have a higher max refresh rate.

Once again, Samsung’s heavier focus on visuals gives the Galaxy S20 the edge here. Moreover, the Korean manufacturer is pushing its new flagship’s display further than ever. Its 6.2-inch WQHD AMOLED display has a top resolution of 3200 x 1440, with a glorious 563 ppi delivering exquisite detail. In contrast, the Pixel 4 has lower numbers all around. Its 5.7-inch OLED display has a 2280 x 1080 resolution and 444 ppi.

Even Google’s step up to the 90Hz refresh rate will be overshadowed by the Galaxy S20’s max of 120Hz. Higher refresh rates significantly improve how smooth gaming and scrolling looks on a display, and Samsung is finally joining other top Android brands in this aspect. Meanwhile, the Pixel 4 does have a nice, sharp, high-contrast display. It just feels and looks a bit behind everyone else.

On another front, Samsung is further improving its Ultrasonic Fingerprint sensor which it has moved under the display of previous S models. The S20 will be using Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Max, which has around 17 times more covered area. It will enable dual fingerprint inputs for greater security.

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Google meanwhile opted for Face Unlock for its biometrics feature instead of fingerprints. It’s faster than ever, and you’ll hardly see the lock screen at all. However, if you’re used to using your fingerprint in banking apps for example, you’ll have to revert to passwords on the Pixel 4.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S20 will be more powerful than the Google Pixel 4.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Pixel 4 Performance
Google’s Pixel 4 is powered by the same chipset as the Galaxy S10, while the S20 gets the next-gen version.

The Pixel 4 is among the first smartphones to run on Android 10. Fans of the Pixel series love them for their pure Android experience, and it won’t be different here. Without bloatware or reskins you’ll get a noticeably smoother and more responsive UI, and the OS will have access to a bit more memory to boot. The Galaxy S20 will also be running Android 10.0 though with Samsung’s OneUI 2.0.

Processing power will solely be in the Galaxy S20’s corner, as it packs either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or Samsung Exynos 990. Both are next-generation chipsets compared to the Snapdragon 855 on the Pixel 4. Moreover, the S20 will have access to 12GB of RAM, double the memory of the Pixel 4. Early prototype testing already revealed that the new Snapdragon 865 will match the speed of the Apple A13 Bionic chip, currently the fastest in a smartphone today.

Google is making headway in different aspects however, as it introduces something new: Motion Sense. One reason for the thick bezel at the front of the Pixel 4 is that there’s a new radar in it that can detect gestures, letting you control music playback by waving your hand for example. Note that this feature is only available in select countries. Furthermore, Google Assistant has become even smarter on the Pixel 4, being able to understand and follow commands more intuitively.

Cameras

The Google Pixel 4 has topnotch cameras, but the Samsung Galaxy S20 might offer better.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Pixel 4 Cameras
Astrophotography with a mobile phone? The Google Pixel 4 will deliver.

If you were looking for a reason to get a Pixel 4, you only need to look at its cameras. Google’s Pixel series has become famous for having the best camera system in every iteration, a standard every other brand gets measured up to. The Google Pixel 4 doesn’t disappoint, and despite having unspectacular camera specs, its superior image processing algorithms deliver impressive results.

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The Pixel 4 has two main cameras, a 12.2MP wide angle and a 16MP telephoto lens. It’s too bad that there’s no ultra-wide angle sensor like in other flagship smartphones, such as the Galaxy S20’s 12MP lens. In addition, Samsung upgrades its telephoto sensor to 64MP with up to 3x optical zoom, while the Pixel 4 can zoom in up to 2x only. But as mentioned, it’s not all about numbers, as Google proves with a few new camera features.

One great example is Night Sight, which has been considerably upgraded to allow users to take fantastic night sky photos. Previous Pixel phones already had the best image quality under low light conditions, but the Pixel 4 takes this out even further. Hold it steady for four minutes while pointed at a starry sky and you’ll capture breathtaking views with your phone.

We’ll have to wait for Samsung’s official reveal to get a better idea of the Galaxy S20’s full camera capabilities. It’s looking very promising though, as it’s one of the biggest focuses of the new flagship model.

Battery and Other Features

The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a bigger battery than the Pixel 4, and has expandable memory.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Pixel 4 Battery and Other Features
Each of the Samsung Galaxy S20 models pack larger batteries than ever.

Samsung is bumping battery capacity across its new flagship line, with the smallest Galaxy S20 getting at least 4000mAh. In contrast, the Google Pixel 4 has a disappointing 2800mAh battery, which can be just enough to get through a day with medium to heavy use. Expect to recharge the Pixel 4 every night if you use your phone a lot throughout the day.

The Galaxy S20 will come in variants with 128GB and 256GB internal storage, and you can further increase its available memory with a MicroSD card. Once again, the Pixel 4 lets down with just 64GB and 128GB options, and no expandable storage. This will be a concern if you take photos a lot, as the unlimited uploads to Google Photos is only available on the Pixel 4 XL.

Verdict

The Google Pixel 4 is an excellent smartphone for mobile photographers, but the Samsung Galaxy S20 promises to be more.

Samsung Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20 Cloud Blue

Google Pixel 4

Google Pixel 4

There’s no getting around the fact that there are several smartphones out there that can outmatch any of the Pixel 4’s specs. However, if you’re after a phone that can capture stellar images, the Google Pixel 4 is easily the top contender. It’s made improvements in other areas beside photography too, notably on its assistant’s AI as well as on gesture controls. Plus, you get a pure Android experience that’s faster and slicker than other brands.

Those looking for more than a camera in their pocket might do well to wait for the Samsung Galaxy S20 though. For one, it’s got the upper hand in both looks and muscles, with its sleeker design and more powerful chip. Now if its new camera array is able to deliver impressive photos too, you’ll have to really find a big reason not to choose it. That will probably lead you to budget concerns, as the Galaxy S20 might be the priciest Samsung smartphones yet.

Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.