LG G4 vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 (and Galaxy S6 edge)
The smartphone world is one of never-ending oneupmanship. About a month after the launch of two of the best phones in recent memory, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, LG is trying to knock the new kings of the mountain off their perch. But can the LG G4 keep up? Let's compare the G4 to the GS6 and GS6 edge.
The G4 is a bit more phablet than smartphone, and, in terms of size, it sits somewhere in between Samsung's Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy Note 4. The G4 comes out 4-5 percent taller 7-9 percent wider than the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.
The G4 is also 40-44 percent thicker than the Samsung flagships, but remember that the G4 has a rounded back (and this metric only measures its thickest point) while the Samsung phones have a uniform thickness, so that difference isn't quite as big as those numbers suggest.
The G4 is between 12-17 percent heavier than the Samsung phones. When you factor in the G4's larger size, though, that isn't a huge difference.
The premium version of the LG G4 has a leather back, but the standard (likely cheaper) version sticks with plastic. The Galaxy S6es are Samsung's first fully premium smartphones, with glass backs and aluminum sides.
The leather and plastic versions of the G4 each give you two colors to choose from.
The G4 does give you a 16 percent bigger screen.
You can't lose either way here, as all three phones have ultra-sharp Quad HD displays. The Samsung phones have higher pixel densities, though, thanks to their 14 percent smaller screens.
AMOLED screens are usually going to win on contrast and they'll often win in colors, but LG is promising that the G4's "Quantum IPS" display does well in those areas.
The G4 has a subtle curve to it, like a more toned-down version of the LG G Flex 2 (a "not quite a banana" phone?). The Galaxy S6 edge takes a different approach to curved display tech, with its 5.1-in screen sloping off on either side.
Samsung put excellent fingerprint sensors in the Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge. The touch-based sensors are just as fast and responsive as Apple's Touch ID, though they are missing Apple's third-party app integration.
LG is only offering a 32 GB internal storage tier for the G4.
The G4 does have a microSD card to complement that internal storage.
The HTC One M9 and LG G Flex 2 both used Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810, but LG took a half-step back and put the Snapdragon 808 in the G4. Samsung is using its own Exynos chips in all versions (including LTE/US) for the GS6 series.
So what does this mean? Well, we know Samsung's latest handsets are crazy fast (benchmarking about the same as a 2014 11-in Macbook Air), but we'll need to get some extended hands-on time with the G4 before commenting on its performance.
The G4 does match the Galaxy phones' 3 GB of RAM.
The G4 has a higher-capacity battery, but that won't necessarily translate into longer battery life.
No matter what the G4's battery life looks like, though, you can always swap it out for a new one. These are the first Samsung phones we've used that don't let you do that.
The G4 doesn't support Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 tech, but Samsung is using some form (likely its own proprietary) of quick charging in its pair of flagships.
Just remember that this kind of fast charging only shows its face when your handset starts from a low (nearly dead battery) level. If your phone is already 50 percent charged when you start, you won't see much (if any) of a difference.
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge have wireless charging chops built right in.
Camera megapixels (rear)
All three phones' rear cameras have 16 MP sensors.
Camera megapixels (front)
The G4's front camera resolution matches the pixel count of the iPhone 6's rear camera – though that doesn't by any stretch suggest that it will take selfies that match the iPhone rear camera's quality.
All three handsets have Optical Image Stabilization on board, so over-caffeinated photographers need not worry.
The G4's rear camera has a slightly wider aperture, a point LG is hitting hard in its early pitches for the G4.
The G4's rear camera brings back the G3's laser-based autofocus (you can read more about this in our G3 review from last year).
We loved Samsung's shortcut that lets you fire up the camera app by double-tapping its home button (even when the phone is sleeping). It also helped that it can go from sleeping phone to snapped pic in under two seconds.
LG is trying to match or beat that, though, by letting you launch the G4's camera by double-tapping its volume down button. In fact, the G4 will go ahead and snap a pic when you do that.
That could cause some problems that cancel out its convenience – like the fact that you may not get a chance to see your subject on your viewfinder/screen before shooting. The fact that the G4's volume down button is on the phone's backside could also make this shortcut awkward for landscape shooting.
Both phones have Android Lollipop at their core, with their own respective LG or Samsung skins living on top.
No US release info for the G4 just yet, but it's already on sale in LG's native Korea. We wouldn't be surprised to see a US launch around June.
Starting price (full retail)
We don't yet know what the G4 will cost outside Korea, but you will want to be prepared to pay more for the leather version.
That asterisk next to the Samsung phones' prices are because their off-contract prices vary a bit from carrier to carrier.
Starting price (on-contract)
We'll also have to wait to see what the G4 rings up for with a contract.