LG V30 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 8: first-look ultra-widescreen phablet comparison

Earlier this year, Samsung and LG helped usher in a new era for smartphone design, ditching the old 16:9 widescreen displays you'd find on the vast majority of smartphones out there and bringing us flagships with some of the widest (or tallest, considering how you're most likely holding them) screens to date: the LG G6 with its 18:9 panel, and the Galaxy S8 (and S8+) with envelope-pushing 18.5:9 screens.

Fast-forward several months later, and both these manufacturers are pushing their super-widescreen phones to new heights, as each dials up the size for their late summer flagships. Last week, Samsung gave us the 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 8, and this week at IFA 2017 LG pulled the curtain back on the 6.0-inch V30. While each of these phones has its own set of specialties, they're inevitably going to be compared against each other, and though we'll be taking a closer look at both soon, we absolutely had to take advantage of their presence here in Berlin to bring you an early first-look hands-on at what each has to offer.

Design


Looking at a spec run-down, these two phones sound so similar: those really wide screens we just mentioned, dual cameras on each, waterproof construction, rear fingerprint scanners … yet when all that hardware comes together, we end up with two very different-looking handsets.

While the faces of both handsets take the form of rounded-off rectangles, the Note 8 comes across as much more boxy than the V30 – and combined with its still-unusual aspect ratio, that makes it a particularly unique-looking phone.

The V30 is the shorter and wider handset, measuring 151.7 x 75.4mm to the Note 8's 162.5 x 74.8mm, and Samsung's phone also comes it a bit thicker, at 8.6mm to LG's 7.3mm. But maybe the most pronounced physical difference comes in terms of weight, with the Note 8 weighing 23 percent more than the V30.

Both phones place their fingerprint scanners around back, but the V30 seems like the more successful phone here, and its lower, centered location is just a lot easier to reach than the Note 8's living up among the phone's camera hardware. Speaking of that, while we do appreciate how LG's shrunken-down its dual-camera package, there's still a small bump there, while Samsung's is much close to flush with the Note 8's back.


Display


As we mentioned before, the shapes and sizes of these screens are slightly different, but they're still very much in the same class, and each offers a very sharp quad-HD+ resolution. They both have the same rounded corners as their smaller-screened cousins, but the Note 8 takes that curved-edge business in another dimension with its over-the-edge screen. The V30 does have curved front glass, but the screen itself terminates with a bezel before that curve begins.

With past generations of Note and V-series phones, we'd be looking at a tale of AMOLED vs. LCD, but this year LG changes up its display-hardware game and gives the V30 its own AMOLED panel, closing the gap between the two handsets. That's further helped by LG abandoning the secondary screen that had been a staple of past V-family phones.

Both screens look beautiful, and support mobile HDR for exceptionally well-reproduced video. We're going to have to put both models under our display calibration hardware to get the full picture on just what they're capable of, but a casual examination suggests users should be very happy with either.

Interface and Functionality


LG and Samsung both have been refining their takes on Android for years, and while the skinning these days tends to be a bit lighter than in the past and full of legitimately useful functionality, each of these phones has their own unmistakable feel to their interfaces. Across the whole system, though, it's Samsung's software that takes the bigger departure from stock, making its presence felt from app drawer to settings menu.

But the unique software on these phones goes far beyond basic Android fare, and each also adds a healthy dose of extras. On the V30, while the secondary screen isn't around this year, LG still manages to retain that same type of functionality with its Floating Bar, a little menu that can be called out from the side of the screen with a tap and that delivers that missing feature set.

The Note 8 takes that same sort of interaction and runs wild with it; not only do we get a full set of customizable Edge Panels, but there's a little Air Command bubble ready to expand and let us tap into exclusive S-Pen functionality. Obviously, that stylus itself vastly changes the way users can interact with the Note 8 in a way that the V30 can't touch.

Samsung's extras continue with its Bixby assistant, complete with dedicated Bixby button. And while LG sticks with the faithful Google Assistant, the V30 picks up some exclusive voice commands that can not only tap into the phone's hardware, but also control smart-home LG appliances.

Performance


With the last set of Samsung and LG flagships, the G6 was at a disadvantage, thanks to the presence of its previous-gen Snapdragon 821 chip, while the GS8 was rocking the latest 835. This time around, the two phones are much more evenly matched, and while the Note 8 will get an Exynos chip in international markets, the US Note 8 and V30 are landing with the same Snapdragon 835 processor.

They also both land with the same 64GB base storage level, but maybe just because it wouldn't be interesting enough if both these phones were just across-the-board matched in terms of silicon, for the Note 8 Samsung ups the ante on system memory, giving the phone 6GB of RAM to the V30's 4GB. Some further testing is in order to determine the full extent that extra memory has on the user experience, but from our initial observations, these two smartphones very much seem to be performing on similarly high levels.

Camera


Maybe the most interesting comparison we can draw here is between camera hardware, now that the Galaxy Note 8 steps up to join the V30 (and a growing list of other popular handsets) in the dual-main-camera club. But while both phones offer users two rear cameras, one with a wide-angle lens and one with an effectively telephoto lens, the implementations couldn't be more different.

For one, the companies have very different ideas of what constitutes “wide-angle,” and the lens on the V30 captures a much larger field of view than Samsung's. As we just noted in our initial image comparison, the FOV of the V30's “standard” lens is a much closer match to the Note 8's wide-angle camera than its zoom lens. As a result, the Note 8 lends itself more to close-ups, while the V30 is better at capturing expansive scenes.

Software also has a big impact on camera functionality, and while Samsung's software offers effortless point-and-shoot (as does LG's), the V30 seems better suited to hardcore users who are looking to get every ounce out of their phone's camera hardware by endlessly tweaking manual settings. The V30 also puts more of an emphasis on video performance, and features like Point Zoom empower owners to shoot some impressively professional-looking clips. 


Conclusion


Both these phones feel like significant improvements over their smaller, earlier-year flagship cousins, and we've no doubt that users will get a lot of enjoyment out of either: they're powerfully fast, packed with useful functionality, and offer some stunning designs.

But all that goodness doesn't come for free, and neither one of these phablets is going to be cheap. LG hasn't yet officially confirmed V30 pricing in all markets, but early indications point to it coming in at about 900 EUR in Europe.

That's steep, but it's still got nothing on the Note 8, which will set you back closer to 1000 EUR, or somewhere around $950 in the US. As smartphones go, that's up in the clouds, but if Samsung really manages to convince users that the Note 8 is second-to-none, we wouldn't be surprised if shoppers come out in droves to drop nearly a grand on this handset. If the V30 feels like a better value, does that make it an easier recommendation? Stay tuned for our full reviews on both phones to get the complete picture.


Related phones

V30
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(16.5h talk time)
Galaxy Note 8
  • Display 6.3" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(22h talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

52 Comments

1. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

* Sammy N8 won in Design Camera Performance UI Display * V30 won in U tell me

6. jellmoo

Posts: 2583; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Not having the fps in literally the worst place?

7. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

And definitely in Audio quality.

21. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 2011

Definitely in audio That alone is intriguing me quite a bit. If it can drive a full size can without the need of portable amp, it might be a contender. Only downside is the constant stories of bootloop with various LG devices which can happen after future updates.

26. hopper

Posts: 75; Member since: May 08, 2017

Bootloop

32. corvette72778

Posts: 163; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Never an LG again

27. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

For sure.

13. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I think overall they're pretty even, just down to a matter of preference.

15. Ayman123

Posts: 34; Member since: Sep 01, 2017

V30 won in: Display Quality Speaker Tougher Body Better Camera capabilities Better Video capabilities Better Audio capabilities Useful Wide Angle than the Portrait(V30 just use the Google Camera to make lens blur) Beautiful Design Cheaper Price Voice Recognition Highest Quality for video editor in Android Better to handle it thanks to it lighter body Note 8 won: S Pen capabilities Edge features Iris Scanner Better Front Camera in Lowlight Futureproof-more Display design V30 shortcomings: 5mp F/2.2 front camera Iris Scanner better if there r on V30 Note8 shortcomings: Too big and heavy Fingerprint Placement

16. DavMor0069

Posts: 266; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

I agree with your list,but how can you say that LG has a better display than Samsung? Samsung has pretty much held the best screen on any phone since like the note 4.

33. jessy90

Posts: 162; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Samsung had the best displays before the v30. But LG are the king in TV especially their oled tv..now its on their smartphone. Thats awsome.

22. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 2011

-Display comparison will have to wait -Better audio definitely -Wide Angle being better than zoom is up to the person (I think 2x optical is useless but OIS should help and hopefully we will see 3x or longer lens next time) -Design again is up to the individual. I actually like the Note's boxier design along with the back design that looks like nothing else on the market -Lens blur seems to be more unique on Note to be able to adjust the amount of blur -Cheaper Price is cool -LOL at video editing on the phone. Good luck with that -Voice recognition? Bixby seems like it's one hell of a system -Lighter isn't always best depending on where the weight is. As for the front camera. It seems to be better in bright light based on few youtube early reviews that i've seen. Fingerprint scanner isn't too hard and you will probably get used to that quickly

24. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Better Camera capabilities Better Video capabilities Better Audio capabilities Better camera > better camera capabilities. There's a difference. Note8 shortcomings: Too big and heavy Unless you're a 5'2" woman I'm not sure who this applies to.

28. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Display quality? Unknown at this point, but doubtful that goes to the V30.

20. splus

Posts: 160; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

V30 (or actually any other phone with S835) is better than Note 8 in performance. Blame the laggy Samsung UI for that. Any S8 owner can tell you about the lag, it's NOT the thing of the past.

25. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight, cause both phones are out so this statement must be true.

29. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Samsung phones will always be laggy to a hater, no matter what. Just like iPhones will always be overpriced to an Apple hater.

50. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 914; Member since: May 07, 2014

I think Arrow launcher might get you around that lag issue..

35. baibhav93

Posts: 24; Member since: May 09, 2014

lol lol lol...shamesung fans here

38. talha_16

Posts: 62; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

V30 wins in the design category.It is lighter and thinner with a flat screen. Not many people are fan of curved screens. It is also more shock resistant than samsung cecause of P-oled screen Camera comparison is highly subective becuase v30 is still running on pre production software. And as the note 8 uses the same camera (not the secondary one) as the s8 they have all the softwares ready to go Performance is highly subjective because both have almost same specs. Lg will also release a gb version v30+ Both UIs are s**tty but samsung is s**ttier Both displays are OLED so there wont be any noticieable diference. And V30 is way cheaper than note 8

43. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/09/lg-v30-hands-on-lgs-oled-displays-still-have-quality-issues/ Looks like there might be a very noticeable difference in display quality.

2. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Off topic, but here's a little something for those who were ignorantly b!tching about the Note 8's battery capacity without it being put through the test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BcpLU-3j3w Spoiler Alert: Same conclusion as before, battery capacity doesn't tell the whole story of how long a device will last.

8. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

well if they sealed 3500 or 4000 mAh in the note 8 ... the battery would be even better but anyway the new samsung battery loses 5-10% of its capacity after 500 charge cycle ....

11. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Yeah, they could have made it thicker to contain that bigger battery, would be damn right awesome to have a Smartphone easily lasting 2+ days of use. However, so long as it easily lasts through out the day with use, it's good enough IMO, it'll wirelessly charge while I sleep.

45. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

And if they sealed in a 21 gigawatt battery and got it up to 88 miles per hour, they'd have a time machine. So what?

14. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

You do realize that the S8+'s battery in this video has been through more charge cycles, right?

39. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

4 months of charge cycles doesn't degrade the S8/S8+'s battery that much. Just like the Note 8, after 2 years worth of charging, it'll still maintain 95% of its charging capacity: http://www.androidpolice.com/2017/03/29/the-galaxy-s8s-new-battery-will-degrade-less-quickly-than-the-galaxy-s7s/ So, in theory, it's currently at (100 - (5 * 4/24)) = 99.17% of its battery capacity. Not gonna make significant difference in the battery life.

51. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 914; Member since: May 07, 2014

Right... My Honor 8 with 3000mAh lasts longer than many phones with larger capacities.

3. Foxgabanna

Posts: 597; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

Man I really hate to say it but the V30 seems like a better phone. And before we start talking about the 4GB of ram, the S8 is technically how the V30 will operate and handle and has received nothing but high reviews everywhere.

4. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

As A LG fan , V30 is better But S-Pen is a very nice feature

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