Apple iPhone 7 vs LG G5
Apple’s iPhone 7 seems to be in a league of its own when it comes to sales: it has been the best selling single phone model in the world in the past few years, and there are no signs of this changing anytime soon. This, however, does not mean that there aren’t many other phones that rival it at the high-end spectrum. This year, LG was particularly adamant about its idea of modular design in its flagship G5. A metal phone with an easily swappable battery, expandable storage and a few interesting add-on modules, the LG G5 is an interesting alternative to the iPhone 7.
With an excellent main camera and an interesting wide-angle secondary rear camera, the LG G5 has what it takes to differentiate itself in a world of similar flagship devices.
Is this enough of a reason to recommend it over the iPhone 7? We compare the two phones in depth to see what the benefits and negatives that come with each one are.
The smaller and more pocketable iPhone has the more memorable design and a water-resistant body. The G5 lacks personality, but has a 3.5mm headset jack.
The most obvious difference is in the size: the 4.7” iPhone is way more compact and pocketable than the 5.3” LG G5. The iPhone is both shorter and narrower, as well as a hair thinner. It still feels substantial in the hand: the iPhone 7 weighs 138 grams, which is not heavy by any means, but given its small size is still a weight that gives the device some solid heft. The G5, being the larger phone, is even heavier at 159 g.
Of course, there is one thing that you can’t overlook: there’s no 3.5mm headset jack on the iPhone 7. Apple is betting boldly on a wireless audio as the future and freeing up space for a larger battery by removing the 3.5mm jack. How big of a deal is it? Depends on the user: if you are used to plugging your phone to a pair headphones, to your home stereo system, or via AUX to your car audio, you will need to adjust a bit. Apple, however, does provide a free Lightning port to 3.5mm adapter in the box with every iPhone 7, and there’s a pair of EarPods headphones that now work via the Lightning port, so some of that annoyance is mitigated. The G5 still has a 3.5mm jack.
Both phones feature fingerprint readers: the one on the iPhone 7 is on the front, which is more convenient as you can easily unlock your phone when it’s lying on a table, and it’s the faster and more accurate sensor, while the LG G5 has its finger scanner on the back.
In terms of actual design, the iPhone 7 is practically unchanged from the last two generations of iPhones. Yes, the antenna lines are more discreet now, running along the edges of the phone, and the camera bump is now a well integrated part of the body, but all else remains largely the same. The two new color options: a matte black and a glossy jet black model have been in huge demand, and definitely add a lot of personality to the iPhone 7.
In terms of style, the LG G5 does not have any glaring deficiencies, but just tends to look a bit generic, lacking in personality. Then, there is the modular construction: the bottom of the phone is detached with a simple press of a button, but the juncture between the bottom chin and the rest of the phone is not perfectly hidden and there is a slight, but noticeable gap between the two.
As for the modularity concept, as good as it sounded on paper initially, it turned out that the modules that were offered were a very niche product. Way too few people want a DAC module or a camera grip, and LG has failed to convince people that modules can deliver meaningful features worthy of the awkward bulk that comes with them.
The iPhone 7, on the other hand, adds a meaningful new feature: water and dust protection with a newly acquired IP67 rating, meaning the phone can survive a short drop in water, a surprisingly common occurrence that could be fatal for an electronic device with no such protection. LG’s G5 lacks such protection.
The iPhone 7’s smaller, 4.7” display has more appealing colors, while the 5.3” G5 screen is sharp and good-looking, but not perfectly color accurate.
Apple’s iPhone 7 has the noticeably smaller, 4.7” LCD display with a resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels, while the LG G5 has a mid-sized, 5.3” LCD screen with a much higher, 1440 x 2560 pixel (Quad HD) resolution.
True, the LG G5 is the one that has the much sharper display on paper: it has pixel density of 554 pixels per inch (ppi), while the iPhone has 326ppi, but in real life that difference in sharpness is not all that obvious. The places where you do see it the most is when reading text and looking at it from very up close: in those cases you can see a slight pixelization and jagged edges on the iPhone, but it’s a very subtle difference.
When it comes to color, both screens look good, but for different reasons. The LG G5 has eye-popping color that looks appealing to your common user, but colors look unnatural. Folks like photographers who care about color accuracy won’t find it on the G5. The iPhone 7, on the other hand, is the first phone to support the wider-than-sRGB DCI-P3 color space with native color management, meaning that the phone is able to show the wider, richer colors of DCI-P3 when they are there, but also fall back to sRGB when it needs to show sRGB content. It’s a great system and Apple is the first one to get there with native color management. The screen truly is very accurate to both these standards and is a pleasure to look at.
Both phones also can get very bright. On paper, the G5 outputs the impressive 816 nits, against 632 for the iPhone 7, but in reality, LG's phone is harder to view under sunlight.
The iPhone 7 also has the useful Night Shift option that filters out blue light at night, done to help our brains prepare better for sleep and not be distracted by the blue light. The LG G5 lacks such an option natively.
The LG G5, on the other hand, has an always-on display option that shows you things like the time and date even when your screen is locked. This is a cool feature to have, but we wish text was a little brighter since it’s almost impossible to see it during the day. At night, though, it’s not too bright and you can easily use the G5 as a night clock. The iPhone lacks such an option.