(Pocket-lint) - Samsung and LG both unveiled their 2016 flagship smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona back in March and both are now available to buy in the UK and the US.
The Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 see the South Korean companies go head-to-head once again. Samsung went for a familiar design to the S6 and S6 edge with the S7 and S7 edge making a couple of refinements, while LG opted for a redesign for the G5, but which should you choose?
We have put Samsung's Galaxy S7 up against LG's G5 to see what features the two devices offer and how they compare based on our experience and their numbers. Read on to see what the differences are between the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Design
Samsung was all about design when it launched the Galaxy S6 at MWC 2015, bringing a metal and glass body to the flagship line. This year was a little more understated though with the Galaxy S7 featuring a very similar, but slightly refined slim, metal build as its predecessor. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
The quick-responding fingerprint sensor remains on the front, while the protruding camera lens on the rear has been made a little more subtle with the new device. The Galaxy S7 measures 142.4 x 69.9 x 7.9mm and weighs 152g so a little thicker and heavier than its predecessor but like the S6, the S7 offers a lovely design with a great build quality. The glass back is still prone to fingerprints but the S7 introduces IP68-certification for dust and waterproofing, which is a good feature to have even if you don't realise it straight away.
LG did what Samsung did last year, offering a complete shake up in terms of design. The G5 offers a full metal body complete with a fingerprint sensor on the rear within the power button, although the fingerprint sensor is a little slower than the S7 and the metal build feels a little plasticky. The G5's modular design does offer a lovely soft curve from the display that tapers off the top of the handset though and there aren't any visible reception bands either, which we liked.
Above the power button is a fancy rear camera array, while the volume controls have moved to a more conventional side position. The LG G5 measures 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm and weighs 159g so it's a little larger in footprint and heavier than the Galaxy S7 but ever so slightly slimmer. Its design doesn't feel quite as premium as the S7, but the G5 does offer a removable battery thanks to its modular nature, as well as the addition of other modules, such as a Hi-Fi DAC and amp.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Display
The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a Quad HD resolution, while the LG G5 has a 5.3-inch IPS LCD display, also featuring a 2560 x 1440 resolution.
This of course means that the LG G5 has the larger display of the two devices, but Samsung is the sharper of the two with a few more pixels packed in per inch. It's not something you can detect with the human eye really but based on the numbers, that's the story. In reality, both devices offer great displays.
AMOLED technology tends to deliver brighter, more vibrant colours and deeper blacks than LCD but LG does have its reasons for opting for LCD over OLED. Both the Samsung and the LG have what the companies are calling always-on displays whereby information is still available on the main display without the user having to wake up the display.
You'll be able to see notifications or the time and such like without turning on the display and using less than one per cent of battery per hour on both devices, but the technologies are different. The end result is similar but the G5 is better as it offers notifications from third-party apps too, while the S7 only shows notifications from Samsung apps.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Camera
The camera department is where both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 hope to shine. Starting with the Galaxy S7, Samsung has used a 12-megapixel rear snapper but increased the pixel size to 1.2um over 1.4um from the Galaxy S6.
There is also a wider aperture on board at f/1.7 and dual pixel technology, which is also found in DSLRs, for quicker auto focusing. In a nutshell, the Galaxy S7 is all about offering better low light capture. The front-facing camera is 5-megapixels and both perform very well. You point, you shoot and you get consistently good results. It offers fast, accurate auto-focusing and it's very easy to get good results with very little effort.
The LG G5 has a 16-megapixel rear camera, along with a secondary 8-megapixel 135-degree wide-angle sensor for a wider field of view that is said to be closer to a human eye than a regular camera. The G5's 16-megapixel lens will still take regular pictures, with the secondary lens there more for when you want that wider shot. The results? Ridiculously good. The G5 has super-fast and super-accurate autofocus whatever you point it at, aided by a bright f/1.8 aperture for low-light shooting. It also has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.
As cameras go in flagship handsets, LG's dual offering is a storming performer with some great features that's easily up there in among the mix for best of the bunch. It's very impressive.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Hardware
There's been a lot of confusion when it comes to the processor under the Galaxy S7's hood. Samsung offers two versions of the Galaxy S7 depending on the region, with one offering a quad-core chip and the other an octa-core chip. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 will be the quad-core model and the octa-core model will be Exynos 8 Octa. The LG G5 opts for the Snapdragon 820. Both the S7 and the G5 are excellent performers though. They are powerful, slick and fast in operation and neither overheats when you throw harder tasks at them.
LG has 4GB of RAM on board, as well as 32GB of internal storage, supported by microSD for storage expansion. Samsung also offers 4GB of RAM along with 32GB and 64GB storage options with microSD support reintroduced for this device, which is good. Neither the S7 or the G5 support Marshmallow's adoptable storage feature though, which is a shame for both handsets.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with 3000mAh battery under the hood, charged via Micro-USB, while the LG G5 has a slightly smaller 2800mAh capacity that is charged via USB Type-C. The battery life on both devices isn't amazing, although better on the S7. That said, as we mentioned previously, the G5 has a removable battery thanks to a button on the side of the device that allows you to remove the bottom of the smartphone.
This button on the G5 is also where LG has managed to make itself a little more fun than the Galaxy S7, offering modules that it calls Friends, which can be attached to the bottom of the phone to offer more features. There is a Cam Plus module for a more natural camera experience, as well as a Hi-Fi Plus module for higher quality audio output, as we mentioned. The latter allows the G5 to deliver 32-bit high-res playback, which sounds great, but the G5's built-in headphone socket already supports 24-bit audio, as well as offering aptX HD so the module isn't really necessary.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Software
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 both launch on Android Marshmallow from the box. As you would expect, both companies add their own software overlays so it won't be a stock Android experience and they won't offer the same experience as each other.
Samsung users will get a familiar experience with the addition of a couple of features such as the Games Launcher and Samsung Pay. The Galaxy S7 also comes with Samsung's security software called Knox from the box.
LG users will also get a familiar experience but LG has removed the app launcher for the G5 in a bid to offer a simpler experience. You can read all about the different software experiences in our separate reviews. The LG G5 review can be found here and the Samsung Galaxy S7 review here.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Conclusion
Both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 are great smartphones. The LG G5 is a flagship that's going to split the crowd because of its module-based design. It's not as premium-feeling as the S7, but it has some really standout features: the dual-camera is something special, the Quad HD screen looks the part, and with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM and QuickCharge 3.0 to boot, there's all the power you could need.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 on the other hand has great design reinvention, again plenty of power, a great display, a pretty good battery performance and a consistently good camera. It's a difficult smartphone not to like, fixing most of what was generally disliked about the SGS6.
Which is the winner of these two handsets? Well that's really up to you and what you want from your smartphone. LG and Samsung are certainly more on par this year with these two devices than they were with the G4 and S6 and neither device will disappoint so your choice will probably come down to which you like best in terms of design. The Samsung is safe, while the LG could be lots of fun depending on your view of those modules.