The Samsung vs Google battle continues with the launch of Galaxy S23 FE, a phone we see as direct competition to Google’s new Pixel 8 (review). Galaxy S23 FE should be a rather enticing device to all Android buyers, not just Samsung fans, simply because it comes in at a completely reasonable $629 and features plenty of great specs.
When comparing specs of Galaxy S23 FE to Pixel 8, you’ll find that not much separates them. They do have differences, but if we take into account the slight price difference and the companies that made them, things just sort of make sense. For example, Galaxy S23 FE has 3 cameras while Pixel 8 has two. Samsung’s device has a Qualcomm-made Snapdragon chipset while Google is using its Tensor silicon. Galaxy S23 FE also comes in a ton of interesting colors while Pixel 8 does not.
The things you’ll find that are similar are the displays (Pixel 8 does get considerably brighter), RAM, storage, IP rating, optical fingerprint reader, battery size, charging speeds, and more. Point being, if you came into Android and weren’t already aligned with a brand, you may have a tough decision between the two.
Pixel 8, Galaxy S23 FE Specs
|PIXEL 8||GALAXY S23 FE|
|Display||6.2" FHD+ OLED display with 60Hz-120Hz refresh rate.|
-1080x2400, 20:9, 428ppi
-Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
-Up to 2,000 nits peak brightness
|6.4" FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X with 120Hz, HDR10+, 1500 nits.
-1080x2340, 19.5:9, 403ppi
- Gorilla Glass 5
- Up to 1500 nits peak brightness
|Chipset||Google Tensor G3|
Titan M2 security coprocessor
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
|Memory||RAM: 8GB LPDDR5X|
|Updates||7 years of OS, security, feature drop updates||4 years of OS, 5 years of security|
|Rear Cameras||-50MP Octa PD wide camera (OIS, EIS, f/1.68), 82° field of view|
-12MP ultrawide camera (f/2.2), 125.8° field of view
|-50MP wide, f/1.8, 24mm (PDAF, OIS)
-8MP telephoto, f/2.4, 75mm (PDAF, 3x optical zoom)
-12MP ultrawide, f/2.2, 123˚
|Front Camera||10.5MP Dual PD front camera (f/2.2) 95° ultrawide field of view, fixed focus||10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth v5.3, NFC, 5G, 5G mmW||WiFi 6e, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, 5G, 5G mmW|
Gorilla Glass Victus back with aluminum frame
Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, aluminum frame
|Other||Under-display fingerprint sensor, Face ID|
Dual SIM (nano + eSIM)
|Under-display fingerprint sensor (optical), Facial Recognition, USB-C, eSIM, stereo speakers|
|Size||150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm|
|158 x 76.5 x 8.2mm
|Colors||Obsidian, Hazel, Rose||Mint, Cream, Graphite, Purple, Indigo, Tangerine|
So what should it come down to when deciding which phone to buy? If it was me, I would take the cameras, software, and updates into consideration. But which phone is winning these battles? If we’re being objective, which we should always try to be, I’d have to give the camera win to the Pixel 8, though, I’ll be honest and say that haven’t spent enough time with the Galaxy S23 FE to give it a true score. In an attempt to at least advocate for it, it does have that telephoto lens which Pixel 8 does not have, so there is more flexibility for shots there. The few photos I have taken with Galaxy S23 FE have been good, but I can’t say much else.
Software updates? We have to go with Google, right? For years, Samsung was the King of Android Updates, but Google literally came in and swiped that crown with its new promise of 7 years of both Android OS and security patches. Samsung is still at 4 years of OS and 5 years of security. That timeline is fantastic and probably more realistic for how long people actually own phones, but still, it’s something to consider.
Software is where we find personal preference plays a big role. While I prefer Google’s software, I have no issues using One UI. In fact, it’s the software I’ve used for the majority of 2023 on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Z Fold 5. One UI is great. With that said, Galaxy S23 FE launches with One UI 5.1 on top of Android 13, while Pixel 8 ships with Android 14. Galaxy S23 FE should soon receive the One UI 6 (Android 14) update, so truly there won’t be much difference there in base features. Samsung still jam packs its OS experience with custom features and tweaks, while Google is doing better about including AI-powered goodies and customization options. Honestly, both Pixels and Galaxies are running sweet software these days. This is a tie between the two.
Attempting to remove all bias, I have to declare the battle between Galaxy S23 FE and Pixel 8 as a tie. Both are great phones. They have good displays, good cameras, great software support, and excellent hardware. What else could you want from a smartphone? I’m sure we’ll see a solid battle in the comments section — all I ask is that we keep it respectful, please.
Buy Pixel 8
Buy Galaxy S23 FE