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Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Which is right for YOU?

Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Which is right for YOU?

by Nirave GondhiaMay 13, 2017

When it comes to buying a new phone, it’s safe to say that reviews play a large part. Without early reviews – delivered just after a phone is announced or before it goes on sale – it’s difficult to judge whether a phone is truly worth pre-ordering or buying, but there is a problem with those reviews: time.

In all forms of technology, time plays a large factor in the experience and, specifically, how a handset performs after weeks, months or even years of use can be radically different to how it was at the start. We all know that warm feeling of joy we get when we unbox a new piece of tech, but what about after the buzz has died down and it no longer feels new?

When all is said and done, which phone will you be happier to have a month, six months or even a year down the line? In the case of the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, we can’t answer the questions for six or twelve months’ time, but having spent a month using each of these as my daily driver, let’s see which I recommend, and why!

The post below is written by myself, Nirave Gondhia, while in the video above, Joshua Vergara has provided his opinion on which phone is better. Together, we hope they’ll provide different viewpoints on the same discussion to allow you to make a truly informed decision.

Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Sex Appeal vs Practicality

Here’s the first thing you should know – one of these designs is shiny and the other is more practical. It may not seem like it at first glance, but spend a month with either of these phones and there’s a few things that become immediately apparent.

No, I’m not talking about the fact the Galaxy S8 is a fingerprint magnet or the LG G6 doesn’t feel as premium, these are things that were covered in the respective reviews. What I’m talking about is the overall design choices by Samsung, and LG, respectively.

On the one hand, Samsung has gone all-out to make a phone with luscious curves that stands out from the crowd thanks to its incredible sex appeal. On the other, LG has made a design that’s arguably a lot more practical. The curves of the Galaxy S8 do make the phone feel better in the hand, but the fingerprint sensor is the biggest sticking point for me. Not only is it rectangular which poses challenges given the curved tips on your fingers but it’s also in a ridiculous position that makes it near useless.

The LG G6 on the other hand, takes a more traditional approach and has all the subtlety of a slab of concrete, at least when compared to the Galaxy S8. Yet, this works exceptionally well for the G6, as it feels more solid in the hand and the central fingerprint sensor on the rear proves to be a much better implementation than the sensor on the Galaxy S8. The lack of the curved dropped edge on the G6 also means it feels more grippy, and less likely to slip out of your hand.

And herein lies the crux of the problem for both manufacturers; neither symbolises the perfect design. The Galaxy S8 is arguably a little too fragile and has the odd fingerprint sensor, but the LG G6 is a little on the thicker side. The ideal would be to have the Galaxy S8 with a slightly thicker edge, like on the Galaxy Note 7. Alas, you are left to choose between the two imperfect approaches to a taller display (and the design changes it necessitates), so the question is, which do you prefer?

Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Shiny, shiny, shiny

Moving onto that taller display and this part of the comparison is straight forward; the LG G6 has the best display that LG has ever put on a smartphone and it is a joy to use. The only problem is, Samsung makes the best smartphone displays. Its Super AMOLED panels are punchy and offer deep blacks and vibrant colors, in a way that no LCD can replicate. Yes, the LG G6 comes close and looks great, but put them side by side and the Galaxy S8 wins comfortably.

Both are rated as being HDR-ready and LG is working with Netflix to offer HDR content – with v5.0 of the Netflix app now available, the LG G6 is the first phone to officially support HDR. Samsung on the other hand has a Mobile HDR Premium-rated display from the UHD Alliance and supports HDR10 content. The Galaxy S8 will presumably also be added to Netflix’s supported device list.

Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Under the hood

What a difference a month in technology can make: while LG announced the G6 at MWC at the end of February, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8 a month later at simultaneous events held in New York and London. Why is this important we hear you ask? The devil, as they say, is all in the details.

The LG G6 is powered by late last year’s Snapdragon 821 processor with 4 GB of RAM and an Adreno 530 GPU. Prior to launch, we heard that LG opted to go for the Snapdragon 821 because the Snapdragon 835 was delayed, meaning no phones would launch with Qualcomm’s latest chipset until May or June. Well, that was not quite accurate: rather than delaying the launch of the G6 until the next batch of Snapragon 835 chipsets were ready, the company decided to stick with its pre-S8 launch window and use the already proven Snapdragon 821. Samsung, as you know, is rumored to have had first dibs on the initial batches of Snapdragon 835 chipsets as part of its manufacturing agreement with Qualcomm.

Does it make a huge difference? Not particularly and our testing shows that the difference in performance is between 15 and 20 percent, depending on the test. Take for example, performance benchmark AnTuTu where the LG G6 scored 136,814 and the Galaxy S8 Plus (with the Snapdragon 835) scored 164,626. One area that seems to be largely improved is the GPU, with the Adreno 530 inside the LG G6 scoring 2,097 on 3DMark’s Slingshot Extreme, while the Adreno 540 inside the Galaxy S8 scores 3,512 on the same test.

The latest chipset – or “platform” as they are now known – can also make a difference to the battery life of each phone and while we’re still conducting our full range of battery tests on both phones, we’ve noticed that battery life is pretty comparable on both devices. Granted, this is between the regular Exynos-powered Galaxy S8 with its 3,000 mAh battery, and the LG G6 with its 3,300 mAh battery, so there will be differences when using the Galaxy S8 Plus with its larger 3,500 mAh battery, or a Snapdragon-powered Galaxy S8.

During my time with the LG G6, I was impressed by its ability to seemingly always survive a full day of usage. Even as I filled the memory of the phone and put it under an ever-increasing load, it almost always lasted a full day, which averages around 18 to 20 hours of usage with around 5 to 7 hours of screen on time.

The Galaxy S8 has also proved to be similarly impressive, and lasts a full day of usage, albeit with an average screen on time of 4 to 6 hours. There’s not a lot in the battery difference – at least in terms of real world usage – and both smartphones will be able to survive most use cases, but for any specific differences, you’ll need to wait for our battery review results.

Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Snap, snap and snap away

As important as the display, design and tech specs are, the camera on a smartphone is often the deciding factor for many would-be buyers. In the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6, we have two companies taking very different approaches to the camera, with interesting results.

The Galaxy S8 has one camera on the rear, which can capture 12 MP images supported by Optical Image Stabilisation, f/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus and f/1.4µm pixel size for better low light photos. By comparison, the LG G6 has dual 13 MP cameras, one with f/1.8 aperture, 3-axis stabilisation and phase detection autofocus and the other with f/2.4 aperture and a super-wide 125° field of view.

Two very different approaches mean two cameras capable of very different things. The Galaxy S8 camera follows previous Samsung flagships by offering good amounts of detail, punchy, vibrant colors and an image that is, overall, more pleasing to the eye. It’s a slight improvement over the Galaxy S7, but if you liked that camera, you’ll also like the one in the S8. The LG G6, however, produces images that are more lifelike and with a seamless transition between the wide angle and regular lenses, allowing you to capture both “normal” images and cool wide-angle ones.

LG G6 review camera samples: