Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Ultra-widescreen showdown

Introduction


Do you remember when you saw your first widescreen television? The boxy 4:3 screen was once so ubiquitous, but then it was like you blinked and – bam – widescreen sets were everywhere. And while wide 16:9 (or, rather, 9:16, in the dimensions most of us hold our phones) aspect screens have similarly become the de facto shape for smartphones, those days already seem numbered, with the first Android manufacturers introducing flagship devices with wider (or again, taller) screens than ever before. LG got that ball rolling last month at MWC with the launch of the G6, and now Samsung's hot on its heels with the wildly anticipated Galaxy S8. But while these two phones may share the distinction of being the first with such crazy-wide screens, they're still two very different handsets. Let's take a closer look at what makes them tick.

Design and Display


While with typical smartphones it's easy to talk about their design independently of their screens, LG and Samsung are venturing into new territory here, where the huge, expansive size of these displays ends up inextricably entwined with the rest of the hardware's design. That's because these super-wide screens demand a ton of phone-face real estate.

Of the two, LG takes what feels like a much more conventional approach: the 5.7-inch, 1440 x 2880 resolution screen fills up the vast majority of the handset's body, leaving only a slim row for sensors, the camera, and earpiece up top, and a tasteful LG logo below. Side bezels remain, but the screen itself is so darn impressive that they're easy to overlook.

Samsung, meanwhile, gets a bit more creative with the GS8's layout, combining the idea of a ultra-widescreen 5.8-inch 1440 x 2960 screen with its curved-edge display fabrication. So while there are still side bezels, the way the screen curves out onto the edges of the handset goes a long way towards making it appear significantly larger than LG's – and certainly more than the actual 0.1-inch difference.

Both screens also take the unusual step of rounding off their corners (and sacrificing a handful of pixels in the process). With the G6, LG talked about going this route in order to improve screen durability, and while we haven't received a formal statement from Samsung, comments from reps suggest that this is a much more artistic choice, helping to create the appearance of a smoothly contoured design.

In the end, Samsung edges slightly past LG with a phone that feels like one big screen. That's a big feat, because we were hugely impressed with the look of the G6, but the GS8 is something else altogether.


Hardware: processor, memory options, and camera


These are two flagship smartphones, make no mistake, so we're obviously going to be looking at some serious hardware. And while they very much fall in the same category, when we start comparing specs component by component, a better-equipped model quickly emerges.

The first indication there comes by way of the processors driving these phones. LG goes with the Snapdragon 821 for the G6, and while that's one of the company's most powerful chips, it's also one we've been seeing in phones since last fall, and is based on a 14nm fabrication process. If you're not a hardware junky, just remember that lower number there tend to coincide with more modern, faster, and power-efficient chips.

Samsung could have used a 14nm chip for the Galaxy S8, but instead decided to go next-level with 10nm processors: which appear to be either the Snapdragon 835 for US handsets or the company's own Exynos 8895 internationally.

We've yet to get to run any benchmarks on either of those 10nm chips, both in terms of performance and battery life, but there's definitely cause to be excited for what they promise to offer.

Both phones offer 4GB of RAM, but while the G6 comes with 32GB of storage, the GS8 bumps that up to 64GB – another win for Samsung.

Now, the camera question is a little trickier. While so far the Galaxy S8 has looked like the pretty obviously beefier flagship, cameras are a much more subjective area than other hardware components. It's easy to say that LG gives users more options – simply because you can choose between two main cameras, each with a 13MP resolution, and each offering unique lenses: wide-angle or a tighter view. Samsung, meanwhile, only has a single 12MP camera, and it's not even some bold new component – it's essentially the same thing we saw on the GS7 last year.

But then again, the GS7 had one of the best cameras of 2016, and with the image-processing speed-ups and new capture modes landing with the GS8, we're likely looking at a good thing being made even better. And while it may be less flexible, does that really matter if it lets you effortlessly take really high-quality photos? We're going to want to spend some more time comparing the output of both these systems before making any final judgments.

Finally, with front-facers, Samsung once again seems to pull ever so slightly ahead, if only due to the Galaxy S8's selfie cam picking up an auto-focus mode – a front-facer rarity.


Battery capacity and charging


In terms of raw battery capacity, LG finds itself in a good place with the G6, arming the phone with a 3,300mAh battery. Samsung's slightly behind, giving the GS8 the same kind of 3,000mAh battery we saw last year on the Galaxy S7.

Our initial battery tests with the G6 weren't exactly awe-inspiring, but that was with early hardware, and we just picked up a final commercial unit that we're going to re-run all those tests on. And while we're concerned with how GS8 battery life might be affected by this big new screen, those 10nm processors are also supposed to be very power-efficient, possibly stemming some of that loss. For now, it's difficult to point to a clear winner.

Both phones have the luxury of supporting wireless charging, but for the G6, that feature is a US exclusive. The Galaxy S8, faces no such geographical restrictions for its wireless charging.

Expectations


Samsung's got a lot going for it with the Galaxy S8. It's got the flashier design, the edge when it comes to most of the hardware specs we care about, and there's no discounting the might of its advertising campaigns. That said, the slightly more traditional look of the G6 will definitely appeal to a certain segment of shoppers.

LG's also got the benefit of pricing on its side, and while you arguably get more phone when choosing the GS8, if price is very much an object, the G6 can easily feel like the better value.

Still, both companies are doing a lot right with both these handsets, and we imagine the race between the GS8 and G6 will be a lot closer than it was last year with the GS7 and G5.




Related phones

G6
  • 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)
Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)

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45 Comments

1. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You can't go wrong with either devices, I just wish the G6 had an OLED screen, it would've been the perfect device for me

17. monoke

Posts: 1185; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

I'd be very concern with burn-in with oled and static on-screen navkeys. Unless Samsung has figured out the blue pixel degradation with oled, I'll wait for results. Lg's lcd from what I've seen has much improved brightness and contrast from their previous screens. I think it looks great imo, even if not as saturated as amoled.

38. hungpakto

Posts: 48; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Black level is very important

45. HomerS

Posts: 419; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

The diamond pentile matrix layout of the display lets all pixel degrade at a similiar rate. Samsung "solved" this years ago.

2. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Flat screen > curved screen

13. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

nope.

23. TechGirl90 unregistered

reply to Plasticsh1t: Pretty much. :)

34. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Yeah. I like the flat display of G6 more than the curved one of the GS8. Plus the G6 also has minimal side bezels, possibl helping out in holding the phone without accidentally touching the screen. But I think the OLED Display of GS8 might prove a great challenge for the IPS-LCD display of its rival, provided the screen burn-in has been reduced much.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The S8 looks better, but the g6 will be easier to hold, handle, and operate one handed. That's the one thing I absolutely love about the iPhones side bezels, gives some side cushion, and practically eleminates accidental screen touches. I get a lot on my S7 edge. Both of these look fabulous.

4. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

The edges are less pronounced on the S8, they're the same as the Note 7, and I never had such issues with the Note 7.

16. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

My Note stayed in a case, cause I never liked how narrow it or the S7 edge are, but when it was out, I got a few. I have larger size hands though.

28. chbanks512

Posts: 78; Member since: Mar 07, 2017

I just played with the S8 and S8+ demo units fir abiut half an hour today and can confirm that the edges are exactly like the Note 7 which is a great thing. Had the Note 7 for 2 months and accidental touches never became an issue.

30. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Exactly. I haven't used my S7 Edge without a case, so I can't comment on accidental touches on it. But I used the Note 7 without a case at times, and never had any issue with them.

10. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Have you peeped one in person yet? I played around with the + earlier & one handed operation on that felt easy so I'd assume the regular S8 will be more to your liking.

12. Rydsmith unregistered

I played with the S8 today at Best Buy and it blew me away. The curve is there but so subtle that it is a complete joy to use and just is amazing. I know I am a bit hyperbolic here but I was truly surprised by it, going from the S7E where the curve is so pronounced I can barely use it unless I'm using two hands. What kills me is the fact that it's a 5.8" screen. In the hand it doesn't feel like that at all, it actually feels like a very slightly larger S7 but when next to my S7E it is a larger screen in a much smaller device.

15. KRT55

Posts: 11; Member since: Mar 30, 2016

Usually agree with your comments but trust me got to try the s8, firstly the edges ARE SO SO subtle (maybe even less than note 7??) And also your claim of the g6 will be "easier to hold hande and operate one handed" is acc very wrong, Ive held both. The LG G6 feels too wide and harder to operate. The s8s symmetrical sides is like the iPhone's side bezels, plus the s8 is VERY narrow (only 68mm compared to g6 72mm). Remember what defines one handed and easy to hold is the phone's width.

18. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Having bigger hands, I like the width. I love holding my iPhone more than my Edge.

5. twens

Posts: 1182; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

You can not please everyone. S8 is just gorgeous

35. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

I think everyone agrees to that.

6. mikehunta727 unregistered

Both are awesome but the S8 takes the cake here for sure

7. TriniRDB

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

If the curves are anything like the Note 7, trust me there will be no problems with accidental touches. That build was on

11. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Tis. Saw one earlier at Best Buy; and it was the +.

26. matty1323

Posts: 43; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

The curves on the Note 7 were way more subtle and less accidental to touch than the S7E.

8. pixelated

Posts: 108; Member since: May 03, 2015

Samsung has "edged out" LG in almost every department.

9. Unordinary unregistered

The sides and rear of the LG look way better. Front better on Samsung

14. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Just watched the video. 1:03-1:09 "Like the iPhone 7, Samsung lets you adjust the degree of haptic feedback you'll feel as you press down on screen." The iPhone 7 allows you to adjust the haptic feedback of a physical home button whereas the S8/+ allow you to adjust the VIBRATION INTENSITY (something done for years on Android) of a virtual home button. Nice try though.

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The iPhone 7 home button doesnt even move. samsung did the same. They simply didnt choose to put a ring around it.

39. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

Looks like someone needs to google what haptic feedback is.

19. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I can't wait for the Note and 8. Apple has used the same style for 3 years now, and although it's pretty, it's also old as hell. I can't wait to see what they show in September. Samsung keeps reinventing the wheel with the edge line, and I gotta give credit where it's due. Look wise, it's killing the 7, which looks good itself.

21. fyah_king unregistered

Big bezels does not= pretty.lol

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