2 BEST ANDROID PHONES FOR 2017 THAT ARE ALREADY OUT IN THE WILD

oth Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 were two of the most hotly anticipated phones of 2017 from the year’s kick-off. That’s because in 2016 the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 both also launched in the first half and remained, for much of the year following, two of the best Android phones on the market.

It wasn’t until much later in 2016, towards the tail end, that a few devices hit the market which could really compete. Chiefly Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL, arguably the OnePlus 3T, and of course Samsung’s old nemesis Apple with its iPhone 7.

In other words, Samsung and LG ruled the roost for a significant chunk of 2016. Can the duo do the same in 2017?

The LG G6 has been widely praised by tech reviewers, but when Richard used the handset he found it a tad, well… dull. And this was odd because he was a massive fan of the LG G5.

The main reason why he wasn’t keen on the LG G6 was because it didn’t give him the fizz he’d come to expect from new LG releases. It felt a little too safe, a little too pedestrian for a company that has constantly been pushing itself for the past 18 months.

The Galaxy S8, however, is a completely different kettle of fish; it looks every bit as impressive in real life as it does in pictures. The phone itself is a beast and, given a choice between the two, the outcome would ALWAYS fall in Samsung’s favour.

We’ll make no secret of the fact we love Samsung’s flagship these days, and we don’t feel awkward about that because there was a time when we regularly gave the firm a good kicking.

That was back around the Galaxy S5 (and everything pre-dating that) where Samsung insisted on using the most gross plastic for its exterior design, as well as clogging up Android with tons of bloatware and a messy TouchWiz UI. Fortunatley, with the Galaxy S6 and beyond, all that changed – Samsung took the just criticism of the Galaxy S5 onboard and went and fixed everything. And because we’re a “credit where it’s due” outfit here at KYM, we’ve largely had nice things to say about Galaxy phones ever since.

But we do love LG as well. Ever since the LG G3 and the firm’s collaboration with Google on its various Nexus phones, there’s something about the firm which has an appeal. The flagship range has only gone from strength-to-strength, but for some reason has consistently failed to drum up the same kind of consumer passion as Samsung and Apple’s products. LG isn’t alone in this, it’s as much an issue for HTC and Sony as well, and it must come down to an issue of exposure and branding at the end of the day.

Samsung’s sales certainly appear quite robust, more than was previously pegged anyway. Yes, desptire earlier murmurings of Galaxy S8 sales “slowing” – something which Samsung itself flatly denied – evidence has emerged that it’s doing rather well. Strategy Analytics has published a report of its findings which show an estimated sales of the Galaxy S8 series since it hit the market on April 21; running into June it was hitting 278,000 unit sales per day to the tune of 19.8 million units sold for the period. In July it hit the 20 million unit mark.

The ASP (Average Selling Price) of the Galaxy S8 phones has gone up over time as a result; sales are reportedly 15% higher than the Galaxy S7 series. In some regions the Galaxy S8 sales figures are reportedly double those of their predecessor range.

And Samsung has more up its sleeve, of course. This month, on August 23, it will launch the hotly anticipated Galaxy Note 8 with an S-Pen stylus and dual-sensor camera. The phablet is pegged to go on sale globally on September 15. After that, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is already being rumoured for a launch inside Q1 of 2018, but it might not be alone if some whispers are to be believed, as Samsung is still thought to be prepping the Galaxy X as the world’s first fully flexible and folding OLED handset.

But, in the meantime, the two premium models from Samsung and LG are the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 respectively.

So how do the two compare? Let’s find out.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S8 Specs

  • Display: 5.8in (Galaxy S8 @570ppi) & 6.2in (Galaxy S8 Plus @529ppi) Quad HD+ Super AMOLED, 2960×1440
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (10nm) octa-core CPU OR Samsung Exynos 8995 (10nm) octa-core CPU – region dependent
  • GPU: Adreno 540 (Qualcomm Snapdragon) OR ARM Mali-G71 (Samsung Exynos) – region dependent
  • RAM:4GB OR 6GB – region dependent
  • Software: Android Nougat
  • Connectivity: 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Type-C USB, NFC, GPS, Fingerprint scanner,
  • Storage: 64GB
  • MicroSD: Yes
  • Primary Camera: 12MP, f/1.7 aperture, 1/2.5″ sensor size, 1.4µm pixel size, Dual-Pixel Phase Detection Autofocus, OIS, touch focus, face/smile detection, Auto HDR, panorama, 2160p video @30fps, 1080p video @60fps
  • Secondary Camera: 8MP with autofocus, f/1.7 aperture, Auto HDR, 1440p video @30fps
  • Battery: 3,000mAh

LG G6 Specs

  • Display: 5.7in IPS LCD “FullVision”, QHD+ 1440 x 2880 pixel resolution @ 564ppi, 18:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 (14nm) quad-core CPU [2×2.35GHz Kryo & 2×1.6GHz Kryo]
  • GPU: Adreno 530
  • RAM:4GB
  • Software: Android Nougat
  • Connectivity: 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Type-C USB, NFC, GPS, Fingerprint scanner
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB
  • MicroSD: Up to 256GB
  • Primary Camera: Dual-13MP Sensors, f/1.8 aperture with OIS & f/2.4 aperture, laser autofocus, LED flash, 1/3″ sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, HDR, face detection, 2160p HDR video with 24-bit/192kHz stereo sound recording
  • Secondary Camera: 5 MP, f/2.2, 1080p video
  • Battery: 3300mAh, QuickCharge 3.0

In terms of crucial information, a key difference of course is that there are two Galaxy S8 models; the 5.8in Galaxy S8 and the 6.2in Galaxy S8 Plus, both of which feature Quad HD+ Super AMOLED, 2960×1440 displays, while there is only be one flat-screen 5.7in LG G6.

In all cases it seems the respective firms are trying to cram as much screen into the front fascia of their phones as possible while keeping the bodyshell size more-or-less the same as the previous generations. This (as well as the increase in new wide-aspect 4K content) is also why both are adopting a much bigger 18:9 display aspect ratio (Samsung’s is 18.5:9 but that’s not a big difference).

On the subject of display resolution, the Galaxy S8’s Quad HD+ Super AMOLED, 2960×1440 edges out the LG G6’s Quad HD+ 1440 x 2880 display by a slim margin. That said, this is Samsung’s well-refined Super AMOLED tech we’re talking about, in most regards it’s pretty much best-in-class and leagues ahead of most LCD alternatives, with better colour, contrast, sharpness, and brightness.

On the processor front Samsung appears to have literally outmaneuvered LG here (as well as most other rivals on the market) by dominating the supply of the new-gen of Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPUs. Samsung actually produces these chips on Qualcomm’s behalf, but regardless of whether that has given it an advantageous bargaining chip or not, the firm had reportedly bought up all the CPUs it has produced in the initial run for use inside its Galaxy S8 devices, leaving the likes of LG to find an alternative.

The S8’s chipset outclasses the LG G6 by a noticeable degree – Samsung’s hogging of the S835 is allegedly why LG and others couldn’t get hold of the chip for their own devices for early 2017. LG has settled on a previous-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU on the older 14nm FinFET architecture for the LG G6.

While this is still a decent chip, it has half as many cores on an older and larger semiconductor design; the newer chips will likely offer faster performance, better battery efficiency and produce less heat. Qualcomm’s line on the S835 is that, compared to earlier-gen tech, the chip is 20% faster and 25% more battery efficient. LG has optimised the S821 chip and has installed an “advanced heat pipe” and copper heatsink to aid cooling.

The Galaxy S8 was heavily rumoured to pack 6GB RAM but both models pack 4GB alongside 64GB of onboard storage. Except in the Chinese, Korean, and Indian markets where you are able to pick up a 6GB RAM and 128GB storage model – we have no idea if the rest of the world will ever get a taste of these larger capacity models.

Lastly on the internal hardware spec side of things; the battery. The LG G6 no longer sports a removable battery design like its predecessor, and instead comes with a non-removable 3,300mAh battery with support for QuickCharge 3.0.

For the Galaxy S8 series, it’s a sealed design too. The S8 series features a 3,000mAh – slightly less capacity than the LG G6.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Design

The Galaxy S8’s overall design is quite similar to the Galaxy S7. A sealed metal and glass unibody is again the order of the day with a broadly similar design language. The curved edges push further around towards the back of the phones to give a truly edge-less appearance, but at the same time the curvature is slightly less pronounced than the Galaxy S7 EDGE, allegedly in order to reduce inadvertent touch input.

Contrary to earlier rumours the Galaxy S8 retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is good news, and it also has USB Type-C. The physical Home key is gone, however, in favour of on-screen controls, while the fingerprint scanner has been moved round the back, sitting adjacent to the camera sensor. There is also a new dedicated key on the side of the phone for the Bixby AI assistant and the Galaxy S8 series retains its waterproofing certification from the last generation.

While LG has dabbled in the past with various “alternative” designs (stuff like leather back panels) the LG G6 is conforming a little more to the trends in being possibly the most metallic LG flagship to date. It’s looking quite similar to the LG G5 in terms of shape and overall design, but much sleeker and shinier, and without the modular aspect. It also has an extremely large display with the thinnest of bezels around the outside.

The LG G6 is the first LG flagship to sport IP68 water and dust proofing certification. It’s made from aluminium but has a glass back panel made from Gorilla Glass 5, while the front screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The phone has plastic inserts inside the frame intended to help with shock resistance, and the corners have been specially designed for durability. The handset retains a 3.5mm headphone jack and has a Type-C USB port, as well as a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner/power key. Volume controls are now on the side.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Features

A key feature of the Samsung Galaxy S8 series is the debut of Samsung’s much-rumoured Bixby AI assistant, based on its acquisition of Viv Labs and its own AI development projects. Bixby is pretty damn advanced, far outpacing rivals such as Siri. LG, on the other hand, is falling back on Google’s own Google Assistant AI as seen on the Google Pixel, although it’s understood that it won’t be as extensively featured as aboard Google’s own hardware.

While the Galaxy S8 series, specifically the Galaxy S8 Plus, was originally rumoured with one of those fancy dual-camera sensors that are currently all the rage, we’re stuck with a more basic, more-or-less a repeat of the Galaxy S7’s 12MP Sony camera sensor but with a tweaked software package. Still, that’s a plenty capable camera, make no mistake. The front-facing secondary is the first to feature built-in autofocus, however. The camera also integrates with Bixby allowing you to do things like point the camera at a product and then buy it online via Samsung Pay.

The LG G6 sports an updated camera from the LG G5 and LG V20’s hardware, with both of its dual-sensors being rated at 13MP. One is a wide-angle lens with an f/2.4 aperture while the other is a regular lens using an f/1.8 aperture with optical stabilisation – the duo uses laser autofocus too.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6: Verdict

A very tough one to call to be honest. I think design wise there’s not a lot in it, with both phones featuring gorgeous metal and glass exteriors with sweeping curves and massive displays dominating the front fascia. On a practical point they’re both sealed unibody devices with IP68 water and dust proofing, which is great to have, and each has both a Type-C USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack. So far, it’s a tie.

The Samsung Galaxy S8’s camera is seriously impressive and goes to show that a single sensor can still pack a hell of a punch. However, having seen what good quality dual-sensors are capable of, I have a feeling the LG G6’s dual-sensor setup is going to outclass the Galaxy S8’s imaging capabilities time after time. I think the LG G6 wins out on photography.

Swinging back in the Samsung Galaxy S8’s favour are a couple of key points though. Firstly, the superior qualities of Super AMOLED technology; there’s a good reason why as many OEMs are switching over to OLED as can afford it, and why Samsung is a market leader in this regard.

Secondly, Samsung really has a massive advantage here in the processor department, with a far better and more up-to-date CPU, featuring more cores on a more modern, more efficient architecture. There are some differences in battery size but I have a feeling the use of a more efficient CPU and Super AMOLED tech in the Samsung Galaxy S8 may offset the LG G6’s bigger battery cell being drained by a noticably thirstier processor and screen combination.

I think at this point the Samsung Galaxy S8 just about edges in front, not by a huge amount, but for the most part this is due to the processor technology at play here. The LG G6’s Snapdragon 821 is last year’s technology, it’s still viable now, but it’ll age quicker than what Samsung is offering.

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