Samsung Galaxy S5 vs LG G2
Interface and functionality
Android 4.4.2 KitKat – that's what runs on the Samsung Galaxy S5 out of the box. As for the LG G2, a KitKat update has already started rolling out for LG's flagship handset. It doesn't come as a surprise, however, that both phones rely on a custom interface instead of Android's stock one.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 runs TouchWiz UI in its latest form, which is now flatter and packed with more features than ever. It is colorful, there's no denying that, but it is also visually inconsistent – some menus have a flat, minimalist look, while others appear as if they have been copied from a cartoon. The heavily customized UI on the LG G2 is a bit better in that respect, but it is probably too colorful and sparkly than it should be. Thankfully, LG is giving us plenty of customization freedom by letting us pick unlock and transition animations, as well as to switch the UI theme.
In terms of extras and goodies, the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with S Health 3.0, which is a fitness application for tracking your exercise regime and habits. In fact, the feature can generate a fitness routine tailored to the user's needs and preferences. How does that work? Well, through putting all of the S5's sensors to good use. These track the user's movements during exercise, and the data is used to calculate the amount of calories being burned. What's more, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a heart rate monitor built in – that module below the main camera – and it is used to feed even more data to S Health for even better results. The sensor, however, isn't as accurate as we wish it was. We gave it a few tries and it didn't always manage to measure our pulse. All in all, its success rate appears to be around the 50:50 mark.
One of the Galaxy S5's homescreens is dedicated to the My Magazine feature. And yes, as you might guess, it acts like a personal magazine with curated articles on topics you might be interested in. The service is provided courtesy of Flipboard.
Multitasking on the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been taken to the next level with the Multi Window feature, which lets us have two apps running side by side simultaneously. And it is pretty cool – for example, we can have a YouTube video playing while carrying a chat with a buddy at the same time. Not to be outdone, the LG G2 can also have certain apps opened in a window for enhanced multitasking. What's more, LG's flagship comes with Slide Aside, which lets us save up to three app in their current state for later use. Heavy multitaskers might find this feature useful.
On the Samsung Galaxy S5 we find an on-screen keyboard that feels very similar to the one found on its predecessor. It is convenient having an extra row on top with all the numbers, and the dedicated smiley key on the left is a welcome addition. The keyboard excels both in terms of speed and accuracy. Same goes for the keyboard on the LG G2. It is large, with well laid-out and easy to hit keys.
Processor and memory
The Samsung Galaxy S5 definitely has the upper hand in this category, although the LG G2 is not too far behind it. Samsung's newest high-end is powered by a Snapdragon 801 chip, model MSM8974-AC. This is pretty much the best silicon that Qualcomm currently has to offer, featuring a quad-core Krait 400 CPU that can be clocked at up to 2.5GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU running at 578MHz. Under the hood of the LG G2 we find last year's Snapdragon 800 SoC, MSM8974-AA, with a 2.26GHz, quad-core Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU clocked at 450MHz. On paper, the G2's silicon is slightly weaker, but in reality, both phones are on the same page when it comes to real-world performance. Their UIs run fluidly, and so do even the newest 3D games. Still, the Samsung Galaxy S5 could prove more future-proof than the LG G2 in the long run. Both smartphones have 2GB of RAM, which is enough to meet the demands of the great majority of users. Sure enough, the two have no troubles switching back and forth between recent apps.
On a side note, a variant of the Samsung Galaxy S5 with an Exynos 5 Octa SoC will ship in select markets. The chip will sport a total of 8 processor cores – four high-performance ones with a 2.1GHz maximum clock speed and four 1.5GHz energy-efficient ones, which will take care of lesser tasks on their own. The Snapdragon 801 model of the Galaxy S5 is the one expected to reach a higher number of buyers.
Although the Samsung Galaxy S5 is advertised as having 16GB of on-board storage, only a fraction of it is available to the user – a well-known phenomenon among smartphones. To be more specific, the 16GB model provides you with about 10.7 gigs. Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a microSD card slot for storage augmentation, capable of handling up to 128 gigs extra. Alternatively, you can always pick up the 32GB version. No microSD card slot is available on the LG G2 – keep that in mind when picking between a 16- or 32-gigabyte model. Note that about 6 gigs are occupied by non-removable system files.
Internet browser and connectivity
Like a modern-day high-end smartphone should, the Samsung Galaxy S5 zips through both light and heavy web pages with ease. Navigation is smooth and responsive, pages load quickly, and it can swiftly go back and forth between opened tabs. We do see an occasional lag on those really heavy web pages, but overall, the phone's stock web browser is a pretty good one indeed. The LG G2 and its stock web browser are also ideal for surfing the web. With heavy web pages, however, lags are slightly more frequent.
Any connectivity feature you might need on a smartphone is present on the Samsung Galaxy S5, and then some: Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0LE, NFC, USB 3.0, and GPS with GLONASS compatibility for improved accuracy in areas with weaker signal. LTE is also supported, as long as your carrier is offering LTE services, that is. Of note is the Wi-Fi MIMO setup, which uses dual antennas to enhance the Wi-Fi radio's performance. While we're at it, we have to mention the Download Booster feature included with the Galaxy S5. In a nutshell, it aggregates bandwidth from the Wi-Fi you're connected to and your carrier's cellular network to enable super-fast downloads of up to 300Mbps. The boost, however, should be used only when it is really needed as you probably don't want to use up your plan's megabytes on non-urgent stuff.