Samsung Galaxy S7 Vs. LG G5: MWC Smartphone Smackdown - InformationWeek

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2/23/2016
10:05 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Samsung Galaxy S7 Vs. LG G5: MWC Smartphone Smackdown

South Korean titans Samsung and LG both fielded new flagship smartphones in Barcelona -- the Galaxy S7 and the G5. Which is the better pick? We compare the specs and put the two handsets head-to-head.

Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge: An Up-Close Look
Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge: An Up-Close Look
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

BARCELONA -- Samsung and LG used Mobile World Congress to introduce their 2016 flagship handsets, the Galaxy S7 and G5, respectively. The smartphones are similar in many ways, but have significant differences, too. Here are the features the phones share, as well as those that set the two smartphones apart.

Screen Sirens

The Galaxy S7 has a 5.1-inch quad HD screen and the G5 has a 5.3-inch quad HD screen. Samsung uses AMOLED display technology, while LG use LCD tech. The screens are generous in terms of size and resolution and both impress in their own way. Samsung's has better viewing angles, however LG's is brighter and delivers more accurate color. They're both quite impressive.

Speed Racer

Each of the two smartphones relies on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor paired with 4GB of RAM. Neither company talked clock speeds, but in the few moments we spent with these handsets we can say with confidence they are incredibly quick. The performance was most noticeable within the camera applications.

High-Quality Build

Samsung's Galaxy S7 is crafted from aluminum and glass. The design, materials, and quality are top notch. LG, too, picked aluminum for the G5's chassis, but its metal skin wraps all the way around. The polish and fit-and-finish Samsung and LG put into these handsets are best-in-class. These are fine, fine phones.

Stay-Puft Marshmallow

Both phones will ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow on board. Importantly, both companies played down their own software, apps, and services. Samsung and LG are known to install overbearing user interface skins on their phones, but that changes somewhat this year. People who buy the GS7 or G5 will notice less bloat -- and that's a good thing.

(Images: Samsung, LG)

(Images: Samsung, LG)

Camera Conundrum

Samsung dialed back the pixel count of the Galaxy S7 from 16 million to 12 million. At the same time, it made the individual pixels larger. Samsung says the bigger pixels, combined with the f/1.7 aperture, can collect 95% more light than the pixels of last year's GS6. Samsung also moved away from phase-detection autofocus for a new technology at the pixel level. It claims the camera is faster than ever.

LG, on the other hand, split its camera into two. The main sensor has 16 million pixels and takes standard-width images, the second has 8 million pixels and takes 135-degree, wide-angle shots. The idea, says LG, is to let people get those dazzling selfies and group shots. It's an interesting take on how cell phone cameras work.

The Expandables

Samsung gave in and brought back the memory card slot that was so conspicuously absent from the Galaxy S6. This addition came at a cost, however; the GS7 is thicker than the GS6. Samsung did not bring back the removable battery.

[Read more about the 2016 MWC.]

LG's G5 has both a swappable memory card and a removable battery. In fact, the G5's core feature is the hatch along the bottom that allows the battery to be removed. The hatch supports accessories, such as a camera grip and stereo DAC. LG says more accessories are on the way.

Water Works

Samsung impressed by adding water protection to the Galaxy S7. It carries an IP68 rating against liquid damage without unsightly ports and hatches. This means the GS7 can handle a short swim if you're careless at this summer's pool parties. The G5 has no such protection. I dunk in the pool will surely usher the G5 into Davy Jones' Locker.

Sum of All Odds

Is one of these handsets better than the other? That depends on your priorities. If you need a waterproof phone, then the GS7 is your only option. If you want expandable storage and changeable batteries, the G5 is your only option. Both phones promise quick performance, impressive imagery, and a high-quality experience. The G5 will be slightly cheaper, but the GS7 goes on sale first.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2016 | 2:19:47 AM
The S7
I don't really like how manufacturers are moving onto all glass body. I wish the back was made of contoured glass for proper grip. The reason I still absolutely adore the LG V10 is because of its superior grip it offers. Moreover the TouchWiz hasn't changed.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2016 | 2:23:39 AM
Re: The S7
Modular phones! The S7 still hasn't brought anything new to the table, which the G5 has. I would say the looks are subjective, some people love it, others hate it, but realistically speaking the G5 doesn't look like a flagship.However they won this race with modularity. I would love to check out the camera module. This phone can actually kill point and shoot cameras. First project Ara and now this. The future of phones is Modularity.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 1:40:06 AM
Re: The S7
I agree. Contoured glass makes perfect sense. Or if not contoured glass, they should have atleast added rough swirl patterns like our fingerprints, then atleast we would have the confidence to hold it properly.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 1:41:04 AM
Re: The S7
The modules won't come cheap, and this is the reason why it won't be killing point and shoot cameras. The manual mode in G5 is just amazing. I wish the modules were of lower pricing.
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