You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5 - hands on with the best of MWC

Expert Reviews logo Expert Reviews 22-02-2016 Seth Barton

Having seen the Samsung Galaxy S7 before the show, we thought it might have a clear run at being this year’s top Android handset, with Samsung rectifying all the faults of the already-excellent Galaxy S6. Then we saw the groundbreaking LG G5 and now the fight is really on, with two, exciting and genuinely-different South Korean handsets battling it out for our affections.  

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S7 builds on last year’s design with a metal chassis and glass back. It’s really stylish although it remains a little slippery in the hand for my taste. There’s actually two phones available the 5.1in Galaxy S7 and the 5.5in Galaxy S7 Edge - with its fancy but largely decorative curved display. The LG G5 sits between the two with a 5.3in display, in practice though these are all big-screen phones with the tapered edges of the S7 Edge making it smaller than the screen measurement alone might suggest.

Samsung Galaxy S7 side© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited Samsung Galaxy S7 side

The LG G5 has a magnesium alloy body with a smooth, matt finish. It’s understated compared to the flashier S7 but the finish means it’s also easy to keep a hold of. one downside is that the G5 still has a small camera bump, something that has been eliminated on the S7.

FULL COVERAGE: MWC 2016

The big difference here though is the LG G5’s removable battery. The whole lower section of the screen pops off and the battery slides out attached to it. You can carry a spare battery with you everyday and never run out of juice, or just switch it out after a couple of years when it gets a bit tired. Either way it’s a great addition. It also allows you to replace the bottom section with other modular accessories such as a camera grip with physical controls or an enhanced DAC from Bang & Olufsen.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 fight back though with waterproofing. It’s not the most exciting feature but it could save your phone one day. Both phones have microSD card slots, so those looking for huge amounts of storage are well catered for.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

Screen

As mentioned above the Samsung Galaxy S7 uses a 5.1in display, while the Edge has a 5.5in display. Both are Super AMOLED panels and like last year they have a 2,560x1,440 pixel resolution, with a pixel density of 577ppi (for the S7). Presuming they’re up to last year’s test figures, at the least, we’re looking at some very capable displays with great contrast, perfect blacks and excellent colour reproduction.

The LG G5 is using an IPS display with its Quantum Dot technology, again it has a 2,560x1,440 resolution and a marginally lower 554ppi. Generally-speaking IPS screens are brighter than AMOLED ones and have tended to have better colour accuracy, though Samsung has made huge steps forward in these regards in recent years.

Both screens have an always-on function, so you’ll be able to find out the time or see notifications without having to turn on the display. In theory the S7’s AMOLED screen should take less of a battery hit from this, but LG is claiming some pretty impressive figures with minimal drain for itself.

Performance

We’re not yet absolutely certain which version of the S7 we’ll get in the UK. However the smart money is on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820-powered variant, which should put it level pegging with the LG G5 which is using, of course, the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset.

Now there might be more to it than that though. Smartphones often throttle their performance due to overheating issues. Samsung has added water-cooling pipes to the S7 in a bid to keep it running harder for longer. Now we’ll have to test before we know how effective this will be, but even then it should only affect ardent gamers and those who push their phones to the limits.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 launch - logo© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 launch - logo

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a huge 3,000mAh battery, 17% bigger than the S6's 2,550 pack. At present we believe the LG g5 to have a 2,800mAh battery, giving Samsung the advantage on paper, especially considering the power efficiency of AMOLED screens and that the standard S7's display is a slightly smaller. However, if you're really worried about battery life then the LG G5's easily replaceable power pack is going to pique your interest, so it's a tough one to call.

Camera

Both handsets have compelling camera arguments this year. The Galaxy S7 has gone with a new sensor, reducing the number of megapixels to twelve (still more than enough) but boosting the size of each pixel to give better low-light performance. Its also improved the amount of light hitting the sensor with a brighter f/1.7 aperture. Focus is also improved thanks to a dual-pixel design, with fast phase-detect autofocus across the whole sensor.

LG meanwhile has included two cameras on its new phone. There’s a typical 16-megapixel sensor, which we don’t know much more about right now. Then there’s a 135-degree wide angle camera, for shooting bigger group shots and wider vistas. Also available for the G5 is a modular camera add-on, providing physical shutter and zoom controls, a one-handed grip and enhanced battery.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

Without knowing more about the LG G5’s main camera it’s hard to call, but that phones dual lenses and modular add-on make it the more exciting proposition, while Samsung looks to have done everything right with its more conventional design.

Conclusion

This is a doozy. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a refinement of everything we love in the S6; while the LG G5 is a brilliant and brave new design. For now you’ll have to pick between the all-metal chassis, removable battery and wide-angle shots of the G5; or the glass-and-metal, waterproofed chassis and potentially better performance of the Galaxy S7. It’s too close to call for us, but we’ll bring you full reviews in the coming weeks.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5 - hands on with the best of MWC© Expert Reviews Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5 - hands on with the best of MWC

More From Expert Reviews

Expert Reviews
Expert Reviews
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon