Comparing MWC 2016 Smartphone Standouts: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. LG G5

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-02-26
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Comparing MWC 2016 Smartphones Standouts: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. LG G5
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    Comparing MWC 2016 Smartphone Standouts: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. LG G5

    We compare the new Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones and LG G5 handsets to help buyers determine which alternative might best fit their needs.
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    Don't Expect Many Software Differences
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    Don't Expect Many Software Differences

    Both Samsung's Galaxy S7 smartphones and the LG G5 are running on Google's latest Android version, Marshmallow. While both companies have made some modifications to the software to include additional features and integrate some of their proprietary platforms, like Samsung Pay, expect about the same user experience (and identical access to apps) in any of the devices.
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    A Look at Display Sizes
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    A Look at Display Sizes

    The display sizes across the Samsung and LG devices are a bit scattered. Samsung's Galaxy S7 comes with a 5.1-inch screen, while the LG G5 has a 5.3-inch display. Thanks in part to its curved edges, the Galaxy S7 Edge has the biggest screen at 5.5 inches. All of the handsets come with the same 2,560-by-1,440 pixel resolutions.
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    They All Rely On Snapdragon's Latest Chip
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    They All Rely On Snapdragon's Latest Chip

    Again, there aren't many differences between Samsung's and LG's smartphones. Under the hood, for instance, the LG G5, alongside Samsung's handsets, feature Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors. The Snapdragon 820 is the latest mobile chip from Qualcomm and promises more power than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 810. It's perhaps also worth noting that the chips will get an added boost from the 4GB of memory bundled with the smartphones.
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    LG's Design Has Changed Dramatically
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    LG's Design Has Changed Dramatically

    Those who wish the company made bigger changes to the Galaxy S7's design have criticized Samsung. LG, however, tossed the LG G4 design out the window. The company's LG G5 has ditched the curved back and leather finish and gone with a thin, aluminum body. LG's decision was based, in part, on criticism that its previous devices delivered appealing specs but a second-rate design. With metal and a sleek finish, LG is trying to address that in the G5.
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    Do You Care About a Swappable Battery?
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    Do You Care About a Swappable Battery?

    One of the major differences between the LG G5 and Samsung's smartphones is their battery. While the batteries in all of the devices offer fast charging and long lives, LG's option is swappable; the battery in the Galaxy S7 cannot be removed. For enterprise customers who travel often, a swappable battery is a major selling point. And LG is using that to attract corporate customers.
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    The All-Important Camera Comparison
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    The All-Important Camera Comparison

    The cameras built into smartphones today are used extensively for taking photos and videos, so it's no surprise the companies spent so much time talking up their lenses. The Galaxy S7 devices come with 12-megapixel rear-facing cameras, as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing sensor. LG has upped the ante a bit, offering a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and 135-degree wide-angle lens. The G5's front-facing camera comes in at 8 megapixels, topping Samsung once again. For those who often take pictures, LG's advantage could be a key selling point.
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    LG's Always-On Display
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    LG's Always-On Display

    As expected, LG announced that its G5 display will come with an "always-on" feature. The screen features the time and date, as well as access to important notifications without being required to flick on the smartphone's operating system. LG says the feature will "minimize power consumption" and uses less than 1 percent of the battery's full capacity per hour.
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    Fingerprint Sensors Drive Security Functions
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    Fingerprint Sensors Drive Security Functions

    No surprise here, but both LG and Samsung decided to bet big on fingerprint sensors with their new smartphones. The Galaxy S7 phones and the LG G5 handset all come with fingerprint sensors designed to provide some additional security when unlocking the device. On the Samsung side, the feature is required to power the company's mobile-payments platform Samsung Pay.
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    Modularity Is the Key LG Ingredient
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    Modularity Is the Key LG Ingredient

    Modularity could be the secret sauce that keeps customers interested in the LG G5. The smartphone, unlike the Galaxy S7 line, comes with a feature for users to plug in accessories. LG showcased several components, including an enhanced camera module and the Hi-Fi Plus for better audio playback. Expect modularity to drive LG's sales pitch when it launches its smartphone against Samsung's alternatives.
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    Here's When the Smartphones Will Launch
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    Here's When the Smartphones Will Launch

    So far, neither LG nor Samsung has said how much their smartphones will cost customers. That said, Samsung will launch the Galaxy S7 line in mid-March in several markets around the world. LG says that its G5 will be available to customers in April. Although there's no price on any of the devices yet, these are all top-of-the-line Android smartphones, so don't expect them to come cheap.
 

While many mobile device makers attended Mobile World Congress 2016, arguably it was Samsung and LG that introduced the two most interesting smartphones at the show. Although both showcased many products, including 360-degree cameras, their new, high-end smartphones received the most attention. At the Samsung Unpacked event Feb. 21, the company unveiled the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. LG held its own event Feb. 21 to showcase the G5. All three phones represent the latest and best the Android ecosystem has to offer right now with their high-end displays, solid specs and appealing designs. But Samsung and LG tossed in some additional features to differentiate their smartphone designs. With its curved screen, the Galaxy S7 Edge offers more productive display real estate, and thanks to a new modular design, the G5 can be expanded to use accessories, such as external cameras or sound equipment. We compare the new Galaxy S7 smartphones and LG G5 handsets to help buyers determine which alternative might best fit their needs. Despite any similarities or differences in their designs, LG and Samsung made it clear they're among the best Android smartphone makers in the market right now. Here's why.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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