“It’s the battle of the most exquisite as we pit the Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge and the LG G5 against each other”
MWC 2016 might have come to an end, but the battle for the throne of the best flagship offering of the year has just begun. In a bid to retain their market share amidst the hoard of new entrants, Samsung and LG are sparing no expense at packing their best innovations into a sleek profile and premium chassis. So, wondering which one should you go for? Join us, as we pit the latest and greatest from the Korean giants in a three-way battle.
In terms of their physical attributes, the Samsung Galaxy S7 (first impressions) is the thickest of the lot at 7.9mm girth whereas both the S7 edge (first impressions) and the LG G5 are slimmer by 0.2mm. Surprisingly, when it comes to the weight however, the S7 is the lightest at 152grams.
The LG G5 (first impressions) offers an all-aluminium body with a 3D Arc glass combo and a modular type design whereas the Samsung flagships offer a metal frame and a non-removable curved glass panel on the back, reminiscent of the S6 and S6 edge from last year.
Theoretically, the glass panel will prove to be a fingerprint magnet and one might prefer the G5 in that case. Both the Samsung flagships are IP68-certified, which translates to them being dust proof and water resistant.
The fingerprint sensor placement on the G5 seems to be more natural at the rear side of the device and it also works as a power button when pressed. Unlike it’s predecessor, the LG G4, the volume rocker is now present on the left side of the device. Samsung’s devices have the fingerprint sensor integrated into the home button and tuck in the handy heart-rate sensor right next to the camera module on the back. The LG G5 will be available in four colours: Silver, Titan, Gold and Pink and Samsung offers its flagships in shades of Black, White, Gold and Silver.
All three devices sport a Quad-HD resolution “always-on” display with slight differences in the screen size and the underlying technology used. While the Samsung devices flaunt the usual Super AMOLED displays, sized 5.1-inches for the S7 and 5.5-inches for the S7 edge, the LG G5 offers a 5.3-inch IPS LCD Quantum display, making the S7 the sharpest device in terms of the pixel density count (576ppi).
The S7 edge additionally wields a dual-edge curved display with edge UX to display shortcuts to functions such as email, selfie mode, panorama mode or third-party applications, just the S6 edge.
A quick explanation: IPS LCD Quantum vs Super AMOLED displayWhile the Super AMOLED display offers deeper levels of black, better colour vibrancy and power efficiency, IPS LCD displays are known for better colour reproduction (especially the colour white). LG’s Quantum display technology gives the brightness levels a boost on an IPS LCD display without consuming more power from the smartphone and should perform better outdoors. It’s important to note the fact that AMOLED displays have traditionally suffered from pixels “burn in”, where pixel quality degraded over time, although this is becoming less of a problem as the technology improves.
Performance and storage
According to reports, Samsung is going to bring in only the octa-core Exynos 8890 SoC variants of its flagship pair to India, while the G5 would be available with the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC across markets. All the smartphones offer 4GB LPDDR4 RAM and the performance should be quite snappy overall. However, according to a few synthetic benchmark tests, the Exynos 8890 outperforms the SD 820 in multi-core performance whereas the SD 820 outperforms the former in single-core performance. It is a closely contested encounter and we reserve our verdict to our in-depth reviews.
For storage, Samsung uses the faster UFS 2.0 flash memory and comes in two storage variants: 32GB and 64GB, whereas LG has opted to go for a 32GB internal storage model only. All models support microSD cards for expanding the storage but theoretically, the LG G5 can support cards up to 2TB capacity whereas the competitors set a more realistic 200GB upper limit.
The predecessors to these flagships offered stunning picture quality last year and it should prove to be a neck-to-neck competition this year as both manufacturers have opted to break the monotony with new camera technologies.
The Samsung devices sport a 12MP Dual Pixel camera with f/1.7 aperture, and the company claims that the bigger pixel size allows the phones to take sharper, clearer photos even in low-light conditions, and also makes the focusing faster.
LG challenges the conventional smartphone camera setups with dual cameras on the rear side packing a resolution of 16MP and 8MP respectively. The 8MP shooter can take 135-degree wide angle shots and the G5 clubs the images from both the cameras to shoot panoramas, tall buildings and large groups of people without having to move further away from the subject. For front facing shots, the LG G5 offers a higher resolution 8MP shooter as compared to the 5MP camera on the competitors.
In the battery department, the S7 edge maxes out with a 3,600mAh battery followed by the S7 with a 3,000mAh battery, both of which are non-removable. In contrast, LG packs a smaller (but removable) 2,800mAh battery which supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. Samsung’s combo also feature fast charging and offer fast wireless charging as well.
SoftwareAll smartphones run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with Samsung’s duo getting TouchWiz and LG’s flagship offering Optimus UX overlaying the stock experience respectively. Both the skins should offer similar functionality in most aspects including the decision to drop the Android Marshmallow feature that allowed users to treat an external SD card as a part of the internal storage itself. A key differentiator is LG’s decision to not include a separate app-drawer this time.
In select markets, upon the pre-order of the S7 and S7 edge, the users would receive a free Samsung Gear VR headset, powered by Oculus. With the evident boom of the VR industry, LG also released it’s own VR headset which is compatible with the G5. Along with the VR headset and a quick cover case, LG also unveiled a few accessories collectively dubbed as “G5 and friends” including a a 360-degree camera and a rolling bot.
These devices carry a similar array of common connectivity options in their kitty including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC among others. The Samsung devices holster a hybrid SIM slot that should let users either use an external microSD card or an optional dual-SIM in these flagship offerings. The LG G5 features an infrared blaster and also a USB Type-C port whereas Samsung feels that it is too early to adopt this technology and has opted for a normal micro-USB port for connectivity.
LG made a bold move when it showcased the semi-modular functionality of the G5 which lets users use different modules that can be swapped out at the push of a hardware toggle. One such module adds a larger battery and camera controls, called the LG Cam Plus, and there is another one by B&O for better audio quality. The LG Cam Plus has buttons for power, shutter, record, zoom, LED indicator and provides a comfortable grip, along with intuitive auto-focus and exposure lock. It also boosts the battery life by an additional 1,200mAh.
The key factor that might make or break the sales of these smartphones has not been revealed by both the manufacturers yet. But Samsung might get a head start on the sales once the smartphones roll out to key markets starting March 11, ahead of the April availability of the G5. For convenience, we have summarized all the specifications in a comparison format below.
In conclusion, these premium flagships have surely improved over their predecessors but at the same time make it a very tough decision to choose between either by just looking at the bare specifications. The LG G5 is a futuristic endeavour and should prove to be the perfect choice in case you wish to future proof your purchase. The Samsung S7 and S7 edge on the other hand carry the tried and tested style, performance and now the boosted battery capacity that might give all the other smartphones a run for their money this year.