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Battle of the Flagships: Samsung Galaxy S8 Vs LG G6

Author: Megan Ellis
Date: 2017-07-05
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are two of 2017’s major flagship phones. But how do they compare to each other? We did a hands-on review…
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are two of 2017’s biggest flagship phone releases. LG announced their newest premium phone in February, with many excited by the prospect of and high screen-to-body ratio. When Samsung announced their S8 and S8+ a few weeks later however, it blew the competition out of the water. While Samsung appears to be dominating the smartphone market sales, how do the phones compare to each other outside of fanfare and marketing? We took both phones for a spin and this is what we found…


While both phones aim for a high screen-to-body ratio, the S8 has definitely managed to achieve this in a more attractive way. The Infinity Display is a striking design feature that has won over many people. The LG G6 comes in two variants – the Ice Platinum and the Astra Black versions. We received the platinum version to review, and it just doesn’t quite stand up to the S8 in terms of aesthetics. In fact, its glass black is not really that noticeable because it just doesn’t appear as glossy on the platinum version. It’s a different story of the black version though. In that version, the glossy exterior becomes apparent and it seems to have thinner bezels due to the illusion of the black exterior with the screen. After all, the black version of the S8 also has this illusion, making the screen appear even bigger. When you look at this version of the G6, the S8 wins in design by a much smaller margin – and only thanks to its curved edges. Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 But phones are more than just their looks – so how do they compare in other aspects?


One thing that has become apparent since the S8’s launch is that it is an immensely fragile phone. While both handsets are dust and water resistant, the S8 fares much worse when it comes to accidental drops. This is due to the phone’s all-glass exterior. One drop usually ends up in cracks. A drop of just one metre (such as from the pocket of a person standing) can result in quite prominent cracking on both the back and front. And if the drop is more severe than that, you can expect the screen to turn into a web of cracks. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if Samsung’s ADH service applied to the S8 and S8+. This service allows you to get one free repair should you accidentally damage your screen. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="700"] A cracked S8 corner[/caption] This policy is replaced by Samsung Mobile Care for the new flagships, which is a paid-for accidental damage insurance policy. You get one repair to your device’s screen and back cover per year for two years. You will have to pay an excess each time you take it in to get repaired though. Some people are using phone covers to protect their S8 – but we know of at least one example where the cover did little to stop the phone cracking. More heavy duty covers are needed, which will impact the phone’s oh-so-beautiful appearance. The LG G6 also has a glass back and front, but its metal frame on the edges keeps it more protected. Winner: LG G6
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Performance & Battery

There are two ways to look at performance: through the user experience or through hard data. When it comes to hard data, the Galaxy S8 is the phone with the higher specifications and performance. Its score for the Antutu performance benchmark test is higher than the one for the LG G6. The S8 and S8+ take the fourth and fifth positions on the company's Android phone rankings, with the S8 scoring 172368. The LG G6 is in 17th place, with a score of 142435. These numbers, however, mean very little to the average user. When it comes to the hands-on experience, there isn't a noticeable difference in the phones' performance in games and when handling multiple apps. The experience is the same. When it comes to battery life, the S8's battery lasts a bit longer in tests than the LG G6's, despite technically being smaller. We ran the PCMark Work 2.0 battery test on both phones.  Looking at the hands-on experience though, I actually found myself charging the S8 more often than the G6. This is likely down to how the phones perform when idle. When in idle, the G6's battery drains very slowly. Both phones have battery saving modes which extend the life of the battery. The S8's gives the user a bit more control over what to shut off and what to prioritize. So how these phones compare in this category depends on what you want to look at - data from benchmarks or the experience when using the phones. For our readers, we know it's the latter. Winner: Tied


When it comes to price, the LG G6 is significantly more affordable – at a recommended retail price (RRP) of R12 099. The Samsung S8, meanwhile, has an RRP of R15 499 while the S8+ is R17 499. Essentially the only phones that exceed this price are the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It’s not to say that the S8 and S8+ are unreasonable in their price, especially considering that the iPhone 7 Plus, released last year, is still asking for a higher price with most variants. Nevertheless, it is unaffordable for many South Africans, even those in the premium market. Price is where the LG G6 has a lot of edge in terms of competitiveness. The differences in design and certain specifications will likely not be viewed as worth the extra R3 400 for the more budget conscious consumers. Add to this the likelihood of screen repair costs, and the LG G6 comes out as the most affordable of the two. Winner: LG G6


When testing the cameras of the phones, we used automatic mode - as this is the mode most users will default to when taking a snap in a hurry. Both phones fare very well in high light conditions. Their cameras have a great level of saturation and detail. Since the S8 has a 12MP main camera and the G6 has 13MP cameras, there is not much difference in their specs. The S8 seems to be a little better at bringing out colour in images. The G6 has a dual camera however, meaning it can take both normal and wide-angle shots - something that the S8 doesn't have. When it comes to low light or unfavourable lighting conditions, more of a difference can immediately be seen. The S8 performs much better in low light conditions, and can balance unfavourable conditions better than the G6. I like to do what I call the 'black cat test'. This involves taking a photo of a black cat in an area with low light and a low contrast background. This requires the camera to balance the middle tones of the background with the darkness of the cat, while still creating enough exposure to compensate for the low light conditions. In this respect, the S8 performs much better than the G6. As you can see in the example images, the G6 photo comes out a lot noisier and washed out than the S8's. Both cameras had HDR enabled at the time. Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8


While the Galaxy S8 has been winning in terms of sales, a lot of this can be down to perceptions and marketing of the handsets. The phones are formidable competitors in terms of performance, and the LG G6's price adds more incentive for buyers. Samsung, however, has succeeded in creating a premium phone with excellent design and aesthetics. Most phones' appearances pale in comparison due to the curved edges. It also offers great camera technology, though this same technology is in the company's previous flagship too. The LG G6 may not have the same level of looks, but the Astra Black version comes very close to the S8's aesthetics. In terms of performance, it is very much on the same level as the S8. It's durability is much better, which may prove to be a major selling point. While it lags behind in the camera department, it is still a very impressive phone which will win over many consumers.
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