LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: What's the difference after using each for months?

The LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy S5 are both leading the charge as the flagship handsets for the two competing Korean mobile companies. But which is better?

We've been using both of the devices, in turn, for several months and now have hands-on experience of each with long term use. So what are the strengths and weaknesses of each?

The LG G3 has a bigger, sharper display

The LG G3 features a 5.5-inch display compared to the 5.1-inch screen offered by the Samsung Galaxy S5 so LG's offering gives you an extra 0.4-inches but it isn't just size that matters.

LG's newest flagship also ramps up the resolution to 2560 x 1440 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 538ppi, while the Galaxy S5 has a 1920 x 1080 resolution that provides a pixel density of 431ppi.

In terms of numbers the LG G3 is a clear winner when it comes to sharpness and clarity as there is a big step up in the amount of pixels per inch but it's worth remembering that we did think the display on the S5 was great when we reviewed it.

The thing about the G3 screen, other than the resolution, is the size in relation to the phone. We jumped from the S5 to the G3 without noticing much of a difference in size when in use, or in the pocket, thanks to its minimal bezel. Looking at the SGS5 now, it looks like there's been plenty of space wasted on bezel where a larger screen could have been crammed into the same size body. Also the lower resolution is far clearer once you're used to the LG G3's 2K screen - it's tough to go back to blurry lettering on the screen.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is smaller and lighter

When it comes to the design of these two devices, it will ultimately boil down to personal preference so it is difficult to put one over the other here.

The LG G3 measures 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9mm and weighs 149g compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5 that measures 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm and hits the scales at 145g so the LG G3 is slightly larger, thicker and ever so slightly heavier than the Galaxy S5. Again though you get a lot more screen for your overall size with the G3.

The Galaxy S5 takes a plastic, textured removable rear path, while the LG G3 takes a smooth, metal approach and both handsets have their own design features on the rear.

LG opts for a slightly redesigned signature volume rocker that was originally launched on the LG G2 and adds a camera sensor and twin-tone flash, while Samsung introduced a heart rate sensor to the rear of the Galaxy S5. This is a huge leap from the G2 which relied on you getting used to where the buttons were, the G3 buttons are so well pronounced - in for volume and out for lock - that it's immediately easy to use. That said the Knock Code unlocking, which lets you tap a certain order on the locked black screen to unlock, is so easy to use it's got us using it as a passcode where we've never done so before because of hassle.

Both come in a string of colours with LG offering gold, gunmetal, white, red and purple compared to Samsung’s blue, gold, white and black options.

Samsung has also added water-resistance to its Galaxy S5, while LG has steered clear despite the rumours so the Galaxy S5's IP67 rating can be completely submerged in water down to one metre before it faces issues but the LG G3 needs to be kept above land. That said we've used the G3 in plenty of rain and not noticed anything going wrong yet.

Both devices have the same processor

If you aren't leaning towards either device based on its individual design then the speed of the processor under its hood isn't going to help sway you either as both feature the same chip.

The LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 both opt for the 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM so you should find the performance of a similar standard in both.

We found the navigation of the user interface to be a little slower than we thought it should be when we reviewed the Galaxy S5. But with the LG G3 skin there's also been a few glitches including apps crashing and an entire phone crash which rarely happened on the S5. That said they both run quickly when in daily use without any real noticeable differences, expect on start-up where the SGS5 is faster.

You'll get the same maximum amount of storage on both devices, and both have 16GB and 32GB models. Both come with microSD slots for storage expansion.

Connectivity is the difference

The area where there is a noticeable difference between the SGS5 and G3 is connectivity. We used the same Three chip in each, for months at a time, all over the world. The Samsung beats the LG hands-down. In fact we were amazed how often we were left searching for connection with the G3. While it's a really fast phone that's all a waste of time if you don't have the connection to make use of that processing speed.

We also noticed when at the other end of the house to the router our Wi-Fi connection was also poorer on the G3.

Of course different networks may offer a more consistent connection but we'd conclude that the antennas in the Galaxy S5 are superior to those in the G3.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a larger camera sensor

It's almost impossible to compare the camera's on the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. The Samsung Galaxy S5 offers a 16-megapixel rear camera in comparison to the LG G3's 13-megapixel snapper.

We thought the Galaxy S5 offered good camera performance when we tested it but the G3 also offered impressive shots that auto-focused faster and more accurately than the SGS5. Perhaps the lower megapixels sensor is actually better in this case for speed and focus - especially as it's tough to see detail differences unless you blow the images up to huge sizes.

Both the LG G3 and the Galaxy S5 offer their own camera features with the Galaxy S5 having a very fast autofocus, that in reality can be jumped, along with a selective focus mode and the LG G3 adding a laser auto focus and some exciting software tricks like a hand movement to take a selfie meaning you won't have half an arm in every one.

You can capture 4K video on both devices and the quality end result appears the same on both.

If you are interested in video calling or selfies, the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy S5 both offer a 2.1-megapixel front-facing snapper.

The LG G3 has a bigger battery capacity

All the usual connectivity features are available on both the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 so this section isn't likely to sway you one way or another either, but the battery is slightly bigger on the LG G3.

The Galaxy S5 offers a 2800mAh battery capacity compared to the 3000mAh found in the LG G3 so the numbers would suggest you will get a little more life out of the latter handset. In reality that larger, higher resolution screen on the G3 levels the two out. 

In reality battery life is going to be a day easily, with everything turned on. If you turn off sync and a lot of notifications, as we have, you're looking to get two days use easily on both.

Conclusion

From the specs, these two devices sit pretty neck-in-neck aside from the larger and higher resolution display on the LG G3. But then it suffers when it comes to network and Wi-Fi connectivity. 

The designs are quite different so it's likely you will immediately prefer one over the other and given that they have the same processor, storage and connectivity, there aren't too many other factors that would tip the seesaw in a either direction.

If it's a 2K display you want then the LG G3 is the device for you. Nice to know you can have this without worrying about it chewing up any more battery thanks to that larger cell.

However, if you are into the sensor and fitness craze then the Galaxy S5 is probably your bag as you get the fingerprint sensor and heart rate sensor, along with a few more megapixels on the, admittedly slower, camera and better connectivity. Decisions, decisions.



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