Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G4
Interface and features
LG's UX 4 sticks close to Google's Material Design guidelines and keeps a flat-ish aesthetic with nicely tamed, mature colors for its interface elements. As soon as one drops the notifications shade, opens up the Settings menu, or tries to rearrange their home screen, however, LG's extra features start popping up — mini apps, quick remotes, and the ability to change each app's icon to whatever the user prefers. The customizability is rich, but sometimes daunting.
Still, Samsung's TouchWiz is also famous for packing a ton of features that have arguable practicality for the majority of users. However, Samsung did make an attempt at trimming it down and, more importantly, speeding it up when it released the Galaxy S6, and we are happy to say that the same style can be seen on the Galaxy S7. TouchWiz looks matured, streamlined, and common design elements can be found throughout all of the interface's apps and features. Its settings menu is arranged in a coherent manner, and its animations and executions are snappy.
Both interfaces have features like split screen for side-by-side apps, both give the user the ability to rearrange the quick toggles inside the notifications shade, and both have a briefing app on the leftmost homescreen. The difference is that LG's Smart Bulletin offers the user quick access to settings, schedule, events, LG Health, and other apps and personal items, whereas Samsung's Briefing is a news app, built in partnership with Flipboard.
LG's UX 4 makes use of the virtual navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen, letting the user rearrange them and even add up to two extra buttons in the mix. As previously mentioned, the interface would also let us hand-pick app icons, if we desired to do so, although this feels a bit over the top in terms of customization options. The notifications shade can house shortcuts to the so-called QSlide apps — small apps that launch in floating window mode for multitasking purposes — or QRemote feature — an app that uses the phone's IR blaster to control various household devices – TVs, air conditioners, etc.
Samsung's Galaxy S7 looks a bit simpler at first look, with no mini apps, no IR blaster, and no ability to change the appearance of single items on the home screen. But we feel like this is a good thing. TouchWiz still has deeper layers of functions if one were to look, but, on the surface, the interface looks solid and easy to grasp. It's just better when basic operation is streamlined and extra features don't just pop up constantly to distract us from what we were doing in the first place. Also, aesthetics customizability is much more intelligible thanks to Samsung's Theme Store. The S Health app is a feature-rich, fleshed-out service, which can sync to 3rd party apps and hardware. LG Health, in contrast, is a step and weight tracker. Last, but not least, we have Samsung's Smart Manager, which keeps an eye for abnormal app activity and kills background app processes to save battery (granted, the latter functionality should come to the G4 with Android Marshmallow and its brand-new Doze mode).
Processor and memory
With the G4, LG dropped 2015's popular choice for flagship smartphones — Qualcomm's octa-core Snapdragon 810 — and instead picked the hexa-core Snapdragon 808. This resulted in a drop of performance prowess, as the 810 still showed to be the more powerful chip in benchmarks, despite the overheating and throttling issues it was plagued with. However, the more "stable" Snapdragon 808 at least provided a more predictable, steady performance throughput.
The Galaxy S7 comes in two flavors — the US-bound units carry Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 820, designed in partnership with Samsung, while most of the world will get S7s equipped with Sammy's home-brewed octa-core Exynos 8890. Both of these are built on a 14nm FinFET process, which should ensure high productivity and better energy efficiency in their small package.
Sifting through the benchmarks we can see marginal differences in performance, when comparing the Snapdragon 820-equipped Galaxy S7 to the Exynos 7420-toting Galaxy S6 of last year. Still, the S7 definitely shows better score than the LG G4, which lags behind in almost every benchmark.
In daily usage, we can feel the Galaxy S7 being snappier, while the G4 has the occasional frame drop or stutter through its interface animations. When 3D gaming is involved, the Galaxy S7 is definitely the winner, especially since Samsung put extra emphasis on developing the new Game Launcher, which allows users to manually customize detail levels and other options.
Other components also help Samsung's flagship shine with speed. The UFS 2.0 internal storage chip is blazing fast, and this time around Samsung added a microSD slot for storage expansion – this is something that last year's Galaxy S6 did not have, letting the G4 shine in comparison. Both LG's and Samsung's flagships are sold with 32 GB of on-board memory in the States, expandable via microSD of up to 200 GB on the S7 and 2 TB on the G4.
In the RAM department, Samsung outfitted its new flagship with a generous 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory, while the G4 has 3 GB of the older LPDDR3 variety.
It doesn't take a lot of pondering for one to give Samsung's newest-and-best the win in the battle of hardware speed and prowess, though, it should be noted that if you are a casual user, you definitely won't feel as if the G4 is slowing you down.