Introduction


Last year, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 managed to receive universal acclaim for its muscular specs sheet and rich feature set. Months before it, the LG G3 caught technological enthusiasts' attention for having the first Quad-HD resolution display on a mobile device. It's only fair to say that both the Galaxy Note5 and the LG G4 arrived with high expectations, tasked with continuing the strong momentum ignited by their predecessors. This only serves to make the direct comparison between them even more interesting, for both are high-end phablets that are unique in their own special ways, and also showcase how differently the two Korean arch-rivals approach their craft. This will be interesting, so let's have a look now, shall we!

Design

The phablets that show Samsung's and LG's sophisticated understandings for “premium”.

Samsung and LG seemingly have a wildly different understanding of "premium", for the Galaxy Note5 and LG G4 are nothing alike. Samsung opted to study the design patterns of its closest competitor, Apple, and follow the prevailing industry tendency of hi-end smartphones being built out of metal and glass. The result is the Galaxy Note5, a prime example of modern day industrial design with its sleek aluminum lines and glassy sheen. To execute its revamped design vision, Samsung needed to shelve the removable battery and microSD slot, deeming them inessential for the type of customer looking after hi-end smartphones.

The LG G4 is the complete opposite. It puts the "warm, organic touch of leather" against the cold, hard industrial look of present-day flagship smartphones, making for a completely different feel for build quality and design philosophy. This rings true even if you remove the leather from the equation and take a look at the "plain plastic" LG G4 flavor. Without the leather back representing LG's fashion-rooted understanding for luxury, the LG G4 is pure utility, right down to the presence of a removable battery and microSD card slot. Placing it next to the perfectly chiseled cyborg that is the Galaxy Note5 results in a full-blown clash of aesthetics — it's the old versus new, the finely aged versus the modern, the hand-sewn versus the machine-milled.

Truth be told,both phablets have their unique virtues in the design department, and choosing between them is a question of taste, with some practical issues mixed in — can you live without a removable battery and microSD slot? Do you need a stylus, or an IR blaster? Samsung happily omitted the removable battery, microSD slot, and IR blaster from the Note5, citing lack of popular demand, but the LG G4 has all of that - except the S-Pen. Oh, and can you handle the LG G4's back-positioned power and volume keys? Truth be told, you should be able to, but everyone has their preference!

Dimensions-wise, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 measures a bigger 6.03 x 3.00 x 0.30in (153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm) than the already big LG G4, which stands at 5.86 x 3.00 x 0.39in (148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm). Same goes for weight, as the LG G4 is 5.47 oz (155 g), whereas the Note5 is a beefier 6.03 oz (171 g).

All in all, facing a choice between the Galaxy Note5 and the LG G4, two polar opposites, could tell one a lot about their design tastes. There's no winner here, as the "battle" is merely a question of preferences and needs. If you like a modern, metal and glass aesthetic, and don't mind the lack of removable battery and microSD card, go for the Note5. Otherwise, you can go for something different and more practical with the LG G4.


Samsung Galaxy Note5

Samsung Galaxy Note5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

LG G4

LG G4

Dimensions

5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches

148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note5

Samsung Galaxy Note5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

LG G4

LG G4

Dimensions

5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches

148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

See the full Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs LG G4 in real size or compare them to other phones using our Size Comparison tool.

Display

A Super-AMOLED vs IPS LCD fight for the “which has the nicest colors” award.

Once again, we're comparing two entirely different beasts. The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display, while the LG G4 uses a 5.5-inch IPS LCD panel. They boast the same Quad-HD screen resolution of 1440x2560 pixels, which means both are exceptionally sharp with their high pixel densities (at 518ppi for the Note 5 and 538ppi for the LG G4, respectively) but their properties are still very different.

Right off the bat, we could sense that there's something imbalanced about the LG G4's color reproduction when we placed it next to the Galaxy Note5. That's because the LG G4 has a color temperature of 8031 kelvins, whereas the Note5 boasts a 6722 K color temp, which is much closer to the reference value of 6500 kelvins. This is the point where the mix of red and blue can be considered in balanced proportions. And due to being off that mark, the LG G4 inevitably appears colder, blue-ish.

In terms of brightness levels, the displays are on even ground, but the Galaxy Note5 has a small edge (pun not intended) over the LG G4, as the former goes up to 470 nits maximum brightness, while the latter goes up to 454 nits. Both screens go to 2 nits minimum, which is excellent for bedtime viewing.

Gamma response is another metric that we consider essential for assessing displays. With an average gamma value of 2.09, the Note5's display portrays lighter shades of grey as brighter than they appear in reality, which makes for a sought-after contrast boost, a characteristic of recent Samsung displays. It makes for a livelier, more dynamic screen, at the expense of a slight loss of detail in color highlights. Looking at the LG G4's measurements, its gamma value of 2.24 is actually pretty close to the 2.2 reference, which is always good to have.

Finally, the Delta E rgbcmy and grayscale average values, which we use to estimate color error, give off a good impression about a display's color balance. The Galaxy Note5's screen has a fairly even color balance, at values of 1.32 and 1.94, respectively, and no overly intense exhibiting of the primary colors, save for a tolerable bump in their brighter nuances. At 4.36 (rgbcmy) and 7.28 (grayscale), Delta E color error is significantly greater in the LG G4's display, which is mostly due to under-represented red component. The brighter the image, the more red disappears to blue and green's advantage. This compromises color balance and results in a blue-green color tint.

With everything taken into account, the Galaxy Note5's bigger, brighter, and more color-accurate Super AMOLED screen makes for a clear win over the LG G4's tolerable, but problematic IPS LCD panel.


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