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!
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:
The wide-angle lens in particular on the LG G6 allows you to take the same scene and capture it from the same position but with a much wider view, giving it an almost fisheye look that doesn’t look like it was captured on a smartphone.
Galaxy S8 review camera samples:
The Galaxy S8 can take great photos in most conditions but we can’t help but feel that Samsung missed a trick by focusing on the display and arguably neglecting the camera a bit. To the average eye, the Galaxy S8 takes stunning photos and often captures a scene how we would wish it to look, rather than how it actually looks in real life.
Which is better though? It’s difficult to compare apples and oranges, so as part of our latest flagship camera shootout, we decided to put these two side by side (alongside four other latest flagship devices) in a blind test.
Which of these do you think is the better photo? We left the results up to our readers to decide and in the poll of all six phones, the Galaxy S8 came second with 21% of votes, while the LG G6 came third with 16% of votes. For those interested, check out the full best Android smartphone camera shootout, including the images captured by the Google Pixel XL, which came first with 41% of votes.
Personally, I find the Galaxy S8 takes photos that look more pleasing to the eye, whether it’s on the stunning display or on a bigger computer screen. Yet, in direct low light comparisons (and other conditions), we found the Galaxy S8 added a slight yellow-ish hue to images, while the LG G6 kept the conditions as natural as possible.
It’s a difficult decision to pick between two very capable smartphones camera, but thanks to the additional wide-angle lens, I’d have to say the LG G6 has the better overall camera. The second camera can be so much fun to use, providing a whole new world of photographic opportunities. The Galaxy S8 is also a very capable camera though so which is better for you basically depends on whether you want images that look amazing, or an additional camera with images that are less saturated and more life-like. That, only you can decide.
Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Two very different skins
Something we all love about Android is the ability to take the default out of the box experience and customise it to your heart’s content. For most advanced users, using a custom ROM or rooting your phone to unlock additional functionality is second-nature, but for more average users, you might often stick with the features included on your phone.
LG and Samsung both take similar yet differing approaches to the custom interface they apply atop the default Android interface. Both interfaces are considerably tidier and lighter (meaning less bloatware and heavy skinning) than in previous years, but this is where the similarities end.
On the one hand, LG has taken the practical approach of adding small amounts of functionality to Android in a bid to create the perfect balance of stock Android with a few choice additions. The company uses frames around the icons on its displays to provide symmetry across the interface, but does employ an interface design that’s atypically-LG.
The experience is mostly smooth, with very little in the way of performance issues, and it’s the lightest and most efficient skin that LG have put on their phones. The issue for LG is that it has a very recent history of having flagships that develop bootloop issues rendering them useless and the concern – whether valid or not – is that the G6 will follow this trend.
Meanwhile, Samsung has taken a different approach, one that is also atypically-Samsung. Before that however, you’ve got the Samsung Experience – which was previously known as the fabled TouchWiz – and while I’ve already shared our Samsung Experience review, I will say that it’s the best skin that Samsung have put on a phone.
It’s light, has a fresh white-and-blue feel and feels very refreshing, especially as the new color icons pop on the Galaxy S8 screen. At the same time, Samsung has repeated some of its old mistakes of duplicating Google apps (such as Assistant with Bixby) but, for the most part at least, its duplications offer up better experiences than Google’s own apps. This is certainly true for the calendar, dialer and contacts but not for Bixby, which is half-hearted at best in its current form, but will hopefully be much better with future updates that bring Bixby Voice.
Is TouchWiz on the Galaxy S8 the best Android skin?
The LG G6 takes the Google approach of a light skin with a handful of features and adds to core Android experience in a few very useful ways. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S8 proves to be the must-have phone for anyone who really wants to customise their smartphone, as the sheer number of customisation options is simply mind-boggling.
Which do I recommend? It’s difficult to say as it does depend on what you want from your phone but having used both, Samsung’s implementation does seem to be more refined. There are parts that LG arguably does a little better but the Samsung Experience offers a better overall experience on the Galaxy S8.
Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Which is right, for YOU?
For anyone who’s been a long-time Android Authority fan, you’ll have noticed already that this comparison is very different to the ones we’ve traditionally conducted. Here, instead of repeating the review, we’ve focused on the experience and how it feels to use the phone which, combined with the reviews, will help you make an informed decision.
After a month with both phones, it’s safe to say that the LG G6 ‘new phone feeling’ wears off a little faster than the Galaxy S8, mainly as the latter has incredible sex appeal which incites warm feelings of emotion. That said however, there are parts of the G6 which I prefer, such as the camera and making a firm call between these two devices is probably the toughest choice I’ve had to make in recent memory.
Overall, the sex appeal, better refined software and latest processing package mean I’ve got to give this one to Samsung, but the LG G6 is mostly on-par with Samsung’s flagship. I do miss the dual camera of the LG G6 and everything that it is capable of, and it’s the main feature that tempts me away from Samsung’s flagship.
Which is right for you solely depends on your needs, and we hope that this unusual comparison goes a long way to help you make your decision. Don’t forget to check out the full Galaxy S8 review and LG G6 review for more on each phone and let us know which of these you’d buy by voting in our poll and shouting in the comments below!