Samsung Galaxy S3 vs LG Optimus 4X HD

May 22, 2012
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Judging on their Q1 2012 earnings report, LG’s business is not all that bad, as their profit in the “Mobile Communications” sector has doubled over the same quarter last year. Apparently, one of the main reasons for their increase in profit margins is the commercial success of the LG Optimus line of smartphones. But if LG plans to keep sales of the Optimus line of Android smartphones alive over the following quarters, they need not look that far to catch a glimpse of the device they will have to beat in order to remain financially successful.

This will be the phone to beat in 2012 – the Samsung Galaxy S3

In fact, their perspective doesn’t even have to cross the South Korean border as Samsung — LG’s primary local and global competitor — has recently laid out its cards in the 2012 Android smartphone market.

So, what’s LG’s response to the Samsung Galaxy S3? None other than the first smartphone ever announced to carry a quad-core processor: the LG Optimus 4X HD. How do the two new flagship smartphones from LG and Samsung measure up against each other? Let’s find out, shall we?

The Optimus 4X HD design is primarily characterized by a strong, rectangular profile

Release Date

Although LG was quick to announce that the Optimus 4X HD will be equipped with a quad-core processor, they were not as fast to release it. The official release date for the LG Optimus 4X HD has been recently announced for June for a few select European markets. The UK, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Poland will apparently get the 4X HD first, followed by a gradual roll-out across the globe.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is scheduled to be released in a number of European countries on May 30, 2012, with a gradual international roll-out to occur just a week or so after. As for the second largest smartphone market in the world, the US, it is likely that the Galaxy S3 will be appearing sometime towards the end of June, although nothing has been officially confirmed yet. Essentially, the Galaxy S3 will be available for purchase sooner than the 4X HD; this surely won’t help with LG’s sales.

Processor, GPU and RAM

The LG Optimus 4X HD will use the Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC, meaning it will sport a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and the ULP GeForce GPU. It’s exactly the same thing as under the hood of the HTC One X (the international version at least).

The Samsung Galaxy S3 will also feature a quad-core processor, but one that Samsung have developed themselves (based on the same architecture as the Tegra 3: ARM Cortex A9) as part of the Exynos 4212 SoC that also includes a Mali-400MP GPU (the Galaxy S2 also used the Mali-400MP GPU, but it is believed that Samsung has overclocked the one inside the S3 from the usual 233MHz to 400MHz).

The Samsung Galaxy S3 on the left, and the LG Optimus 4X on the right. Both are quad core ARM A9 SoCs, and are very close, performance wise.

The Galaxy S3 also features 1GB of RAM, which is sort of a standard for high-end smartphones these days. While preliminary benchmarks show that the Exynos 4212 is faster (but only slightly) than the Tegra 3, we’re going have to wait and see how long the S3’s battery lasts before judging if the extra juice comes with a compromise or not.

Display

While Samsung and LG are competitors in the Android smartphone market, the two companies are also involved in a more head-on battle against each other when it comes to the display market as a whole, ranging from TVs to PC monitors and so forth. As you would expect from the two biggest display companies, the display tech in their flagship smartphones for 2012 is truly something incredible to behold.

Samsung is currently making full use of their lead in the AMOLED field and have equipped the Galaxy S3 with a 4.8 HD Super AMOLED display running at a 1280 by 720 pixel resolution. The colors are vivid, the contrast is superb, but what might upset some users is the use of a Pentile arrangement instead of the standard RGB matrix.That’s why you shouldn’t take much consideration into the 306 ppi pixel density, as the number of subpixels is significantly lower than what you would encounter in a true HD screen.

As it turns out, the “true HD” part is exactly LG’s marketing pitch when it comes to the display on the LG Optimus 4X True HD, as its 4.7-inch True HD IPS display uses a regular RGB matrix to show 1280 x 720 pixels on the screen at a 312 ppi pixel density. We’ll have to wait until we get both these smartphones in our hands before we can tell for sure, but judging by the specsheet, these might be the best displays around for a while.

OS, UI and Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the LG Optimus 4X HD both feature an 8 megapixel primary camera with LED flash and autofocus. The S3’s secondary camera has a resolution of 1.9 megapixels, while the Optimus 4X features a 1.3 megapixel secondary camera.

Both smartphones run on the latest version of Android available, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Samsung has equipped the S3 with its new TouchWiz UI. LG was quick to respond and have announced that the Optimus 4X will launch with LG Optimus UI 3.0, a direct competitor for the new Samsung TouchWiz UI as well as HTC’s Sense 4.0 UI. But although both UI’s should provide roughly the same experience (probably a lot worse than the vanilla-flavored Android UI), what sets the Galaxy S3 apart from all other smartphones are its human-centric functions (that you can read more about here).

Storage and Battery

The LG Optimus 4X HD will come in 16GB and 32GB models, while the S3 will also come in a 64GB version as well. Given that both these smartphones support microSD cards, you shouldn’t worry too much about storage space. At a battery level, the new Optimus will be powered by a 2140 mAh battery, while the Galaxy S3 will be powered by a 2100 mAh battery.

Conclusion

After analyzing all the specs, I would tend to believe that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has got everything it takes to be better than the LG Optimus 4X: overall better specs and better software, not to mention market availability at least a full month earlier. The only reason you should go for the LG Optimus 4X HD instead of the Galaxy S3 (at least as far as I’m concerned) is the true HD non-pentile display on LG’s next flagship smartphone.

Of course, we’ll have to wait a few weeks to get both these devices in our “labs” for a thorough hands-on session. At that point we’ll update this post with our impressions on how the two phones actually look and feel.

As always, feel free to leave me feedback in the comment section below!

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