When it comes to corporate rivalry in the smartphone market, many people seem to believe that the Google vs Apple rivalry, or the Samsung vs Apple rivalry are the two best examples one can come up with. But from where I’m standing, the LG vs Samsung battle represents the biggest and most intimate rivalry that you are ever going to see.
Just think about it: both these tech giants are based in South Korea, they both make some of the best Android smartphones you can find, not to mention that they are also the two biggest display panel manufacturers in the world. In fact, their rivalry goes beyond smartphones and encompass almost every single sector of the consumer electronics market that you can think of.
Unfortunately, the actual, real-world competition between Samsung and LG is somewhat buffered by the LG’s lack of commercial success in the smartphone market. I’m one to say that LG should do better, since it does have some kick-ass smartphones, but let’s not be overly sympathetic here, shall we? Instead, I’m thinking that a good way to judge which tech giant makes the best smartphones is by comparing the best smartphones they make.
On the LG side, the best Android smartphone they currently offer is the LG Optimus 4X HD, while Samsung have recently unveiled the Galaxy Note 2, the second incarnation of the original phablet. (Note: we’ve also compared the LG Optimus 4X HD with the Samsung Galaxy S3 in a previous article here). Let’s get it on!
Design & Display
As is the case with all Galaxy Note 2 vs articles, the design and display sector of our comparison is probably the most important in deciding which one to purchase, since the size of the Galaxy Note 2’s display (and the overall footprint of the device, as a result) isn’t something that sticks to the averages.
Starting off with the design, the Galaxy Note 2 follows the same “rounded corners” trend as the Samsung Galaxy S3. In fact, except for the actual size of the smartphone, there isn’t much to tell apart between the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2. Some argue that the Note 2 is a bit too glossy and too “smooth”, but my personal opinion is that the Note 2 is one sexy piece of hardware. But it’s not like the square looking LG Optimus 4X HD isn’t a charmer as well. Personally, I find the rough edges of the Optimus 4X HD to give the LG flagship smartphone a more futuristic, solid appearance.
Since both these smartphones are as good-looking as they come, it all ultimately comes down (design-wise at least) to their footprints: the Galaxy Note 2 measures 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm, while the LG Optimus 4X HD measures 132.4 x 68.1 x 8.9 mm. The latter is also considerably lighter, weighing in at 133 grams, while the Galaxy Note 2 weighs 180 grams. It’s safe to say that the Optimus 4X HD is not a burden for your pocket or hands, while the Galaxy Note 2 is exactly that.
But the large, hard to pocket footprint of the Galaxy Note 2 comes with a unique advantage in the form of the large and vibrant 5.5-inch Super Amoled HD display, one that runs a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at a 267 Pixel Per Inch (PPI) density. The Optimus 4X HD, on the other hand, uses the same resolution, but on a smaller, 4.7 inch True HD-IPS display, thus reaching a higher PPI density of 312.
There is also one additional difference that you should consider: the Optimus 4X HD uses an RGB matrix (hence the TrueHD in the name of the display), while the Galaxy Note 2 uses a PenTile arrangement. Opinions vary as to whether the difference between a PenTile display and one based on a regular RGB matrix is noticeable, but there are plenty of voices who consider PenTile displays to be less sharp.
Verdict: The Optimus 4X HD has one of the best regular sized displays on the market. The Note 2 has the biggest display on the smartphone market. It’s a matter of personal preference, really, so I’m going to call this one a draw!
But while the Optimus 4X HD is able to compete against (and in some ways even defeat) the Galaxy Note 2 in the display section, the latter proves to be too much of a beast when it all boils down to the internal hardware.
The Optimus 4X HD uses the Tegra 3 SoC, meaning the 1.5GHz quad-core A9 processor and Nvidia ULP GPU will give most users just about enough processing power, while its 1GB of RAM should be enough in most situations. However, the Galaxy Note 2 uses a better performing Exynos 4412 SoC (1.6 GHz quad-core A9 processor and Mali 400 MP GPU) paired with 2GB of RAM. In terms of theoretical processing power, there is no smartphone out there that can compete with the Galaxy Note 2.
On to the cameras, both the LG Optimus 4X HD and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 use a 8MP primary camera, with the first using a 1.3 MP secondary camera, and the latter a 1.9 MP camera. The overall quality should be roughly the same, meaning you shouldn’t dump you DSLR anytime soon in favor of your smartphone’s primary camera.
When it comes to the amount of internal storage space, the Note 2 does offer a bit more diversity, being available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions, while the Optimus 4X HD is available only with 16 GB of internal storage. Both smartphones have a microSD card slot, but the Note 2 can work with cards up to 64GB in size, while the Optimus 4X can only allocate 32GB of storage to its card. No deal-breakers here, but there are some differences you should consider.
The LG Optimus 4X HD uses a 2150mAh battery, but unfortunately for LG fans, the Optimus 4X HD offers sub-par battery life. While the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 uses a 3100 mAh battery should offer a better battery life, thorough battery benchmarks are currently unavailable, so we’re unable to comment on the Galaxy Note 2’s battery life span.
Verict: As much as the Optimus 4X HD is not a slow smartphone, the Galaxy Note 2 just trashes everything in its path. It’s a newer generation smartphone, and that shows!
OS and Software Tweaks
The LG Optimus 4X HD still runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but an update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has been promised to arrive in the upcoming months. The Optimus UI 3.0 brings minimal modifications to the ICS interface, which is something you’re definitely going to like.
On the blue Samsung corner, we have the Galaxy Note 2 running the latest version of Android, 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Samsung TouchWiz UI that’s slammed on top isn’t the best custom UI you’ll encounter, but we’ve definitely seen worse. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 2 comes with a few software tweaks designed to make full use of its unique accessory, the S Pen. There’s a Quick Command S Pen menu that pops out, the AirView feature lets you preview information without switching screens, but the thing you’re going to love the most about the Note 2 (software-wise at least) are the multitude of S Pen optimized apps. Basically, the software side of the Note 2 clearly differentiates itself from other competitors via the S-Pen integration.
Verdict: The Galaxy Note 2 easily takes this round thanks to Android 4.1: Jelly Bean and its unique software tweaks
If you’re looking for a less gargantuan smartphone, the LG Optimus 4X HD is really one of the best choices you can make. When LG finally decides to push the Jelly Bean update, you’re going to love the 4X HD even more.
On the other hand, if you’re on the lookout for the biggest display a smartphone can feature, top-notch internal hardware and the ability to take notes on the go, the Galaxy Note 2 is my personal recommendation.
What are your takes on this? Which is better, the Galaxy Note 2 or the LG Optimus 4X HD? Drop us a comment in the section below and share a thought, will you?