Samsung Galaxy S6 vs LG G4: Is either handset worth buying in 2016?
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4 were two of the best handsets of 2015. But we’re in 2016 now, and both handets have successful follow-ups out now, and both were duly awarded five stars by Alphr. So is it worth buying either right now?
Maybe, but it really should depend on the deal you can get. Both were powerhouses, so should be fast enough in the short term, but by the end of a two year contract, you’ll be looking at three-year old tech, and possible Samsung Galaxy S9s and LG G7s to look at. On top of that it’s worth remembering with the Samsung Galaxy S6 that it doesn’t contain a microSD slot – and this was rectified with its follow up. If you buy a 32GB Samsung Galaxy S6 today, that’s the capacity you’re always going to have.
Remember too that if you shop around you can get the latest editions on pretty good terms, nowadays. The LG G4’s follow up, the G5, can be had for as little as £429.95 from Argos with a free camera module (the follow up allows you to add additional sections to your phone) worth £80. On contract, you can get it for £25 per month with 4GB data, no upfront costs and free B&O DA audio unit and earphones. The S7 has retained its price a little better, but can still be had for £28 per month with no upfront cost and 3GB data.
Still, if you want to save some money and have your heart set on last year’s LG and Samsung flagships, here’s how they went head to head when we tested them last year.
LG G4 or the Samsung Galaxy S6? It’s a tough choice; both handsets are among 2015’s best smartphones, and Alphr’s Jonathan Bray gave them both five-star reviews after thoroughly putting them through their paces.
However, while they’re still fantastic handsets to own, and still some of the best on the market, both phones did launch in Q1 of 2015. If you must have the absolute latest smartphone, it might be worth holding off and keeping your eye on our roundup of 2016’s upcoming smartphones.
Still, if you’re torn between these two brilliant smartphones, we’re here to help.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs LG G4: Display
Both Samsung and LG build fantastic screens, so it should come as no surprise that both phones are a joy to behold, slapping you in the face with their resolution, brightness and colour accuracy.
The S6’s 5.1in Quad HD Super AMOLED display has a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 and a pixel density of 576ppi. The LG’s curved 5.5in IPS LCD display shares the same 1,440 x 2,560 resolution but with a lower 538ppi pixel density. At such a high resolution you’d be hard-pressed to notice a difference in that 38ppi deficit, though.
In fact, colour accuracy, brightness and contrast are far more important. The S6 can go all the way up to a brightness of 560cd/m2 in auto-brightness mode, or 347cd/m2 in manual brightness mode. The LG G4’s screen isn’t as bright – its top brightness is a lower 476cd/m2 – but it’s bright enough for almost any situation you’ll find yourself in.
The biggest differences emerge when you consider colour quality. Samsung’s Super AMOLED display reproduces an incredible 98.5% of the sRGB color gamut in Basic (sRGB) mode, and even delivers accurate colours in the Adobe RGB colour space. Switching it over to AMOLED Photo mode, it covers 98.7% of the colour gamut. As our reviews editor Jonathan Bray points out, these are the sort of scores you expect to see on professional monitors, not smartphones.
LG claims its screen is capable of producing a wider range of colours, thanks to its accordance with the digital cinema initiatives (DCI) standard. In practice, this means it covers an impressive 97.9% of the sRGB gamut. However, there is one major problem: the LG G4’s backlight intensity adjusts automatically depending on what’s displayed on-screen, and there’s no way of turning that off, which means it’s impossible to assess from a colour accuracy perspective.
Which phone has the best display? Once again, the differences are minor. Colours pop, the images displayed on-screen are clean and crisp across both phones, and brightness is good enough to ensure readability in all but the most extreme of environments. But all the small differences fall in favour of the Samsung Galaxy S6, which gives it the win in this section.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs LG G4: Design
Both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4 were a departure from previous design choices, but they both look so much better for it.
Samsung ditched its plastic chassis and opted for a milled aluminium frame with a shimmering glass back. While slippier in the hand than the S5, Samsung’s phone now feels like a proper premium product, something you’d expect from a flagship phone designed to go toe-to-toe with the best Apple has to offer. Also it’s shockingly compact for a 5.1in device.
For the G4, LG hasn’t completely ditched the plastic design of its previous phones. You can still buy those, if you want to save a bit of money on your G4. However, for the premium edition of the phone, LG gives customers the option of luxurious, hand-stitched leather, available in a variety of colours.
Leather may seem like an odd choice for a smartphone, but it looks absolutely gorgeous, feels amazing and should age more gracefully over time than most other smartphones. The only negative with the LG G4 is that it isn’t the slimmest phone around, measuring 8.9mm due to its subtle curved body and screen. This does mean it sits nicely in your pocket despite its large 5.5in screen, and hugs the curve of your face when you use it as a phone.
Both phones are stunners, so it comes down to personal preference. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is slimmer, lighter and glitzier; the LG G4 is just as eye-catching and attractive, but a bit chunkier.
Winner: A draw
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs LG G4: Specifications and performance
In terms of raw power, the S6 has the edge over the G4, although it’s unlikely most will even notice.
For the S6, Samsung has decided to use its own octa-core Exynos 7420 processor, which is built using a 14nm manufacturing process. Comprising two quad-core CPUs (one at 1.5GHz, one at 2.1GHz), and a Mali-T760 GPU, the S6 has more than enough oomph to push pixels around on its Quad HD screen.
The LG G4 employs the lower-specification six-core 20nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 808. The difference here is that the 808 is a six-core processor, which splits its processing across a high performance, 1.8GHz dual-core CPU, and a more efficient 1.4GHz quad-core CPU. This is accompanied by an Adreno 418 GPU, and both phones have 3GB of RAM.
In reality, you won’t notice the difference, but the benchmarks show that the Samsung Galaxy S6 does have the edge – so if you absolutely must have the best, that’s the phone to choose.
As for storage, the S6 comes in 32GB, 64GB or 128GB varieties, while the G4 only comes in a 32GB option. The difference here is that the LG G4 offers expansion through microSD card support, meaning you can add up to an additional 128GB.
As you’d expect from a flagship phone in 2015, both phones support 4G, have Bluetooth 4 and dual-band 802.11ac, but the Samsung Galaxy S6 edges in front of the LG G4 with its fingerprint reader, which you should soon be able to use for mobile contactless payments via Samsung Pay. It also has a heart rate sensor, barometer and – in a major bonus for fitness freaks – support for ANT+ devices.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6