WHAT?! LG says its G6 flagship is better off with Snapdragon 821, than 835; and it may be right

WHAT?! LG says its G6 flagship is better off with Snapdragon 821, than 835; and it may be right
Rumors that the LG G6 is going to feature the Snapdragon 821 from 2016, instead of the brand spanking new 835, started circulating long before the handset was finally made official, making fans of the series somewhat concerned. "He-he, Snapdragon 821, eh?No way this is true!" they said with a nervous smile, tiny drops of sweat forming on their foreheads. Now that it's all official, we can almost see the mobs of crazed fans forming in front of LG offices across the world.

But hold your horses, we say, because LG has some very interesting things to share, explaining why it saw the Snapdragon 821 as the better and smarter move. Let's at least listen to what these guys have to say, OK?

2011-2016 were all about raw speed gains; 2017+ will be about device stability and optimization

Let's be honest, mobile hardware is now well ahead of mobile software – aside from a handful of niche games, there's no application on a phone that can truly challenge a modern smartphone processor of a higher caliber. According to LG, the period from 2011 to 2016 was all about getting those chipsets up to speed, with chip designers and device manufacturers focusing primarily on improving raw performance. And we needed that, due to rapidly expanding smartphone use cases and an obvious need for smartphones that do not lag. Now, however, LG says we no longer need to bother ourselves with raw computing potential this much, but rather focus on improving stability and optimization – of both hardware and software.

That's exactly what the company has tried to do with the G6 – it's worked hard on optimizing the software code of the operating system, so that it works as best as it can with the SD821-based hardware configuration, and it has also worked to improve the thermal behavior of the device, with the goal of having a more efficient and refined system. Such kind of optimization and integration, however, require a great deal of time, which is why LG couldn't just switch to the 835 and start anew – it's hoping that the performance gains and power efficiency with the SD821 achieved through optimization is going pay off and keep it competitive against the initial batch of Snapdragon 835 phones. A lot of this makes sense, and we're curious to see just how much LG has managed to squeeze out of the good old Snapdragon 821.

Implementing the Snapdragon 835 in a seamless manner will take time

Some manufacturers will undoubtedly rush to equip their top handsets with the Snapdragon 835 this year, gaining access to brand new silicone and capabilities. All these new features, however, are not that easy to implement and take advantage of. Sure, you can quickly add that Gigabit class connectivity, or the next-gen GPU, but LG thinks it'll all come at the expense of something else, namely system stability and refinement. Until device makers have learned how to fully integrate the SD835, LG believes the 821 presents a better SoC solution, and probably a better deal too.

Consumers care about stability and performance, not having the latest CPU model

Seems like an easy conclusion to reach, but it has taken years until the G6 maker has learned that most consumers don't care too much about GHz or RAM numbers – what they care for is their devices running nice and smooth, without hiccups, delays or freezes. At least that's one of the points LG uses to back its decision to stay with the SD821. This is a double-edged sword, we should say. While the company is absolutely right that it's the user experience that matters for most consumers out there, it's also true that enthusiasts may be discouraged by this move. Is LG playing a dangerous game? We'd say there's always a certain amount of risk involved with such controversial moves, but in this case, we're willing to trust LG's judgement, for reasons mentioned above. As already stated, smartphone hardware is generally ahead of software resource demands, so it's not like there's a pressing need for faster chipsets right now. Much more noticeable performance gains could be achieved through software optimization at this point, which is exactly what LG's thinking here.

The company promises the G6 will deliver roughly 10% better performance than current products, while also working more efficiently and at lower temperatures. Will this level of performance be enough to keep it competitive against the Snapdragon 835-powered Galaxy S8? That's yet to be seen, but we shouldn't forget that perceived performance is just as important (if not more), and that's one area where LG has traditionally done a slightly better job than Samsung. It'll be interesting to see what the dynamic is going to be when both the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 launch.

But battery life may be a problem

One area that'll be extremely interesting to watch is how the LG G6 is going to fare in terms of battery life. At this point, any projections would be rather uncertain, due to a number of factors. First, let's say LG has managed to implement the Snapdragon 821 in a very refined way, keeping the system performance stable and operating temperatures low. This would naturally improve battery life, but on the other hand, the Snapdragon 835 in the Galaxy S8 will be a 10nm processor, while the SD821 is a 14nm one. A smaller production process (fewer nanometers), generally means a more efficient processor design, but it'll all depend on whether Qualcomm did a good enough job with the 835 (remember the SD810?), and whether Samsung managed to integrate it well with the system.

Was the last-year Snapdragon 821 really the best choice LG could make for the G6? There are still a number of unknowns that don't allow us to judge the situation accurately enough, but at least the company's reasoning makes perfect sense. Of course, there's also this rumor out there which claims that Samsung pretty much locked down all the initial SD835 supply, and since LG wasn't willing to delay the G6, it needed to make do with the older chipset. Even if these supply issues have something to do with the G6's configuration, though, we still hope LG managed to make the most of the 821 in its latest flagship smartphone. Sure, some of the anoraks out there will be disappointed, but if the LG G6 is indeed capable of working fluidly and reliably, and manages to offer comparable battery life, we think most consumers out there won't ever notice the difference.

Does the Snapdragon 821 in the G6 bother you?

I'm OK as long as it's not a MediaTek
Snapdragon 850 + 12 gigs of RAM for me, please!
It's fine, but too much bezel...

Story timeline

This story is part of:

LG at MWC 2017 (17 updates)

Related phones

  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(20.5h talk time)



1. amasog

Posts: 552; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

Lol! That first choice. The writer is quite insensitive towards mediatek.

3. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Because Mediatek chips are garbage?

20. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

Lol only garbage is apple a10 chipset

30. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

You and the two retards who agreed with you prove that the majority of people on the web are compulsive idiots.... "Lol only garbage is apple a10 chipset" Your English is terrible. Work on that before making a complete ass of yourself, 'kay?

32. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Nah, the real garbage is your post sir! The A10 is a beast and we all know it and hate it at the same time.

37. Creep

Posts: 193; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

lol don't feed the troll guys.

45. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Relax... post #20 was being sarcastic... At least, I think so.

53. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Are to tell with some of the ppl on here man.

39. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

We all know that even you realise the power of the A10 and cannot prove it wrong to your own heart. Thus making a "Garbage" comment......!

48. Mxyzptlk unregistered

No, that would be your comment.

49. Mxyzptlk unregistered

No, that would be your comment.

54. mikehunta727 unregistered

A10's the fastest SoC out still currently in a phone till the 835, and even then the A10 has better CPU performance over the 835 still. Everything else though will be better in the 835 but yeah A10 is still king atm

24. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I wouldn't call the best chip they have to offer garbage but they do lag behind the competition.

2. Clars123

Posts: 1079; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

"as long as it's not Mediatek" has me hollering...hahaha

4. bohdan4ik13 unregistered

10 nm process is better? We'll see, just remember Samsung's 14 nm version of Apple A9 and 16 nm one from TSMC

19. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

It's clear you probably don't know much about this area but I will say this, both of these chips are manufactured by Samsung.

27. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

That myth got busted by Anandtech. The Samsung one actually had better battery life in later samples.

52. Macready

Posts: 1830; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Indeed, Tom's Hardware test busted it too with better efficiency for the Samsung version.

5. Creep

Posts: 193; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

Did TechieXP write this poor article? This is the second article by PhoneArena on why LG is smarter using the 821 chip, but doesn't provide material evidence as to why. Not saying LG isn't smart for using the 821, but the most material fact we have is that Samsung hoarded the chips, making it impossible for other manufacturers to release a phone with the 835 in the same timeframe as the GS8.

40. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

How can they provide material evidence just yet? Think about it yourself.

46. IosDroid

Posts: 117; Member since: Dec 03, 2015

LG is using the SD821 to get a head start over Samsung and are now trying to sell it to us as something better. As much as I can understand what they are doing, I'd prefer the SD835 any day.

7. maherk

Posts: 7017; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

People are losing their minds because Samsung is going with the 820 for their tablet, yet they are forgiving LG for going with the slightly tweaked 821. There is no excuse for them to go with that on their main flagship for the year, especially when the rest of 2017 flagships will use the 835. LG just pulled a Samsung and rushed the G6 like Samsung rushed the Note 7, should've waited another month, madr sure they have the 835 and most importantly have the wireless charging, 64GB, and HIFI DAC available in all markets.

12. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Samsung always used one year older chipsets in their tablet. I don't see why that should surprise anyone. They used 5433 in 2015, then 7420 in 2016 and now 820 in 2017. The reason it's forgivable is because no one cares about android tablets.

31. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 713; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Who cares about tablets anyway these days? They are a dead product range. The only tablets that will matter are convertibles like surface.

13. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

This. The fact that they completely omitted the DAC for the American market made it INSTANTLY DOA for me. I'm not one to care about SoC generations as long as they aren't too old, but LG really dropped the ball, again, when it comes to a proper flagship release across the different markets.

22. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

Every non apple devices are DOA for you . We all know that you are die hard apple fanboy here.

25. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

WTF are you talking about? I've own three times as many Android phones as iPhones you troglodyte, something I'm almost certain you can't say for yourself. I'd appreciate it if you'd mind your own business about my preferences....

36. Quicksword_Phantom

Posts: 180; Member since: Jun 15, 2015

Lmao. Phonearena comments are my kryptonite. Love it.

41. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

He joined just 3 days ago. Forgive his nonsense.....

14. Bondurant

Posts: 786; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

No excuse like S835 not being out in the market yet ?

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.