Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3: first look
Another year, another new Samsung Galaxy Note phablet to appease fans of large-screen smartphones! The new Note is a worthy successor of the Galaxy Note 3, one of last year's most impressive smartphones. Coming with a QHD display, slim bezels, and powerful internals, it practically begs to be compared to the LG G3. Although it launched three months ago, LG's flagship can be considered a competitor to the Note 4 in the large screen device segment, especially since it's a powerful QHD device as well! So let's see how the two phablet monsters size up to each other.
Two of the best-looking large smartphones on the mainstream market.
Both the Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 are large and impressive phones that might not have the appeal of an all metal and glass construction, but compensate with clever, efficient design. The Galaxy Note 4 follows after the Galaxy Alpha's interesting character, enriching the mostly plastic exterior with a precisely crafted solid metal frame. The LG G3 is an all-plastic smartphone, but it still manages a premium look thanks to a metallic finish that holds almost zero fingerprints. Some could say that "plastic is always plastic", no matter how great it looks and feels. But with the G3, LG proved that the cheap and easy to use material can feel just fine if enough attention is poured into it. Still, we have to give it where it's due - with the presence of actual metal and a tastefully designed back panel, the Galaxy Note 4's design comes from a higher standard.
The skinny bezels that frame the two smartphones's large QHD displays are impossible to miss. What LG started with the LG G2 back in 2013 is now becoming the mark of a flagship device, and that's a very welcome trend which has already progressed to stunning, "frame-less" devices like the Sharp AQUOS Crystal.
Skinny their bezels can be, but there's no hiding the fact that both the Note 4 and the LG G3 are large smartphones. In exact numbers, Samsung's new phablet measures a respectable 6 x 3 x 0.33 inches, 6.2oz (153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm, 176g), while the LG G3 is a little easier to handle at 5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches (146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm) and 5.26 oz (149 g). But when you take into account the Note 4's slightly bigger screen (5.7 inches by diagonal versus the LG G3's 5.3 inches), it makes for a compact device in its own class. Samsung went the extra length to produce the most comfortable Note 4 possible, shaving extra weight off its sides and screen bezels. LG's sculpting efforts too paid off, resulting in the most comfortable 5.5-incher on the Western market.
The devices are available in Black, White, Gold, and Pink for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, while the LG G3 comes in Black, White, and Gold. In terms of sensors, the Galaxy Note features enough data collectors to be usable as a portable weather station, while the LG G3 doesn't have anything you don't know how to use... and therefore won't use.
As an object of differentiation, the Galaxy Note 4 sports its unique S-Pen stylus that fits snugly into its own slot within the device's body. It also has a fingerprint sensor for secure unlocking and payments. Meanwhile, the LG G3 is different for its signature back-panel placement of its power and volume buttons.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 presents the better QHD display.
Samsung has the habit of using every Galaxy Note generation to showcase the latest in its display developments. And with its mind-blowing 5.7-inch QHD S-AMOLED display with a pixel density of 515 pixels per inch, the fourth is certainly not an exception. Not only is the display razor-sharp, but it touts a fashionably skinny bezel as well, which will help it fill your eyes to the max. Much of the same can be said about the LG G3, which has a 5.5-inch QHD IPS LCD display with a slightly higher pixel density of 538ppi. However, the Note 4 presents a bigger, significantly brighter, better calibrated display that doesn't exhibit aggressive over-sharpening. Great as it is, LG's QHD display solution has plenty of room for improvement.
Both phones offer a great experience out of the box, but the Galaxy Note 4 is a productivity-oriented device, while the LG G3 makes everyday usage a simple joy.
Both TouchWiz (Samsung, first 9 images in the gallery) and Optimus UI (LG, last 6 images in the gallery) received a substantial overhaul this year, adding more to their distinct visual languages and software features. Visually, both are modern and pleasant to look at, with the LG G3 having the relative advantage of feeling pretty close to the "stock" Android experience while still having an identity. Software-wise, Samsung's ambition has always gravitated around extensive functionality and deeply structured menus, while LG debuted a new philosophy that puts simplicity in the spotlight. When comparing the Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3's interfaces from a functionality standpoint, the main point of differentiation is certainly the former's S-Pen features. Note devices make using the stylus a seamless, natural experience for all users that prefer this form of input. The S-Pen is a true Samsung household that is yet to be convincingly replicated by the competition. Additionally, the Galaxy Note 4 supports features such as swipe gestures and a fingerprint scanner. Meanwhile, the LG G3 lets users assign two quick-shortcuts to its volume buttons, and boasts welcome customization options (like changing software key placement) and security features (such as the secure KnockCode). All in all, both phones offer a great experience out of the box, but the Galaxy Note 4 is a productivity-oriented device, while the LG G3 makes browsing, gaming and multimedia consumption a joy. And both have fancy health apps, too.
Processor and memory
The Galaxy Note 4 is better prepared for the graphically-advanced games of the future, and more consistent in its operation. The LG G3 keeps up the pace, but struggles to breathe.
Holding on to its cutting-edge approach to the Note devices' hardware, Samsung packed a potent quad-core Snapdragon 805 32-Bit CPU along with 3GB of RAM in the Galaxy Note 4. This is an extremely powerful and energy-efficient configuration that does short work of demanding games and usage scenarios, even with a display that pushes two times as many pixels as 1080p screens. Talking about the LG G3, its combination of a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core CPU and 3GB of RAM makes it underpowered in comparison. Although its gaming and browsing performance is excellent, the LG G3 tangibly heats up under strain, and dims its display to 10% under heavy load. LG had to make too many optimizations and trade-offs to make the LG G3 happen without the Snapdragon 805 CPU, which ultimately compromised user experience. Thus, the Galaxy Note 4 is better prepared for the graphically-advanced games of the future, and more consistent in its operation. In comparison, the LG G3 keeps up the pace, but struggles to breathe.
Both smartphones are terrific cameraphones!
Samsung equipped the Galaxy Note 4 with [the latest in its camera technology - a 16MP ISOCELL sensor rear cam. This means it has the Galaxy S5's phase-detection auto-focus, to which it owes its fast focusing speed. It's also graced with optical image stabilization, which is a feature cherished by many. Meanwhile, the front camera is a 3.7-megapixel snapper for your selfie-taking pleasure.
LG went for a 13-megapixel dual-LED flash main camera with a Sony BSI sensor. In addition to its pleasing photographs, the camera is the fastest to focus, thanks to its notable Laser Focus system. The front cam is a sensible 2.1MP snapper. Both phones offer 1080p and 4K video recording, along with their Snapdragon chipsets' built-in photo re-focusing and editing trickery.
The Galaxy Note 4 is a better phablet than the LG G3 in every major regard.
The Galaxy Note 4 trumps the LG G3 in all major regards, which is to be expected. After all, what's the point of releasing a phablet in September if it isn't going to be better than the competing product from May? The Note 4 has excellent looks, bigger and better display, faster hardware, better camera, and a plethora of unique features. The LG G3 remains a solid, beautiful, and reasonably future-proof smartphone that's easier to handle and very pleasant to use. We can see most users enjoying both phones well into 2016, when Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon chipsets and the technology advancements in general will present compelling reasons to upgrade.