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Which powerhouse phone should you buy? Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs. LG G5

galaxy note  vs lg g samsung
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung took the wraps off the Galaxy Note 7, the latest handset to grace its long-running Note series, in early August, and it’s as impressive as expected. The Note 7 has adopted the curved appearance of the Galaxy S7 Edge, and picked up unique hardware all its own. It’s equipped with an iris sensor that lets you unlock your phone with the blink of an eye, along with a stylus that performs the functions of a magnifying glass, translator, and note-taker.

But the Note 7 has competition. LG’s newest phone, the G5, may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it still packs a punch. It’s got a specialized, secondary wide-angle camera, and its standout feature are Friends — unique modules that extend its functionality. There’s also a camera mod that improves the clarity of snaps, a speaker mod that improves the fidelity of sound, and a battery attachment that extends your battery life.

Related: Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 packs the legendary S Pen, an iris scanner, and USB Type-C

It’s almost apples and oranges, really. Both phones sport the same resolution, but the Note 7’s display is slightly curved at the edges. They contain the same processor, too, but the Note 7 packs more internal storage. Ultimately, the value of some features is more subjective than others — after all, modular add-ons and iris scanners won’t appeal to everyone. But some hardware, like battery capacity and screen size, can be compared a little more objectively. With that in mind, we’ve pitted the two handsets against one another in a battle of hardware.

Specs

LG G5

LG G5 Thumber

Galaxy Note 7

Galaxy Note 7 THumber

Size 5.88 x 2.91 x 0.30 inches 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm (6.04 x 2.91 x 0.31 in)
Weight 5.61 ounces (159g) 5.96 ounces (169g)
Screen 5.3 IPS LCD Dual-edge, 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED
Resolution 2,560 x 1,440 pixels 2,560 × 1,440 pixels
OS Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Storage 32GB 64GB
MicroSD card slot No Yes, up to 256GB
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 Qualcomm MSM8996, Snapdragon 820 (U.S. Models),
Exynos 8890 Octa (International Models)
RAM 4GB 4GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE-A Wi-Fi, GSM, 4G LTE, HSPA
Camera 16 MP primary, 8 MP secondary Front 5MP, Rear 12MP
Video 2160p@30fps primary, 1080p@30fps secondary 2,160p 4K UHD
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Iris scanner No Yes
Misc. “Friends” mods S Pen
Water resistant No Yes
Battery Removable Li-Ion 2800 mAh battery Non-removable Li-Po 3,500mAh battery
Charger USB Type-C USB Type-C
Quick charging Yes Yes
Wireless charging No Yes, Qi and PMA
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Silver, titan, gold, pink Black, white, gold, silver
Availability AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
DT review 4 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Galaxy Note 7 and LG G5 may have debuted months apart, but both pack nearly identical hardware. They share a processor, Qualcomm’s quad-core 820 chip, and feature the same 4GB of RAM.

The two are practical twins in terms of sensors, too. Both the G5 and Note 7 sport fingerprint modules — the Note 7’s on the home button and the G5’s on its rear panel, beneath the camera module — and both feature USB Type-C connectors. That’s significant: USB Type-C, a multipurpose port that’s just beginning to appear in earnest on smartphones, laptops, and desktops, packs an extraordinary amount of potential. On supported hardware, it’s capable of bidirectional power and data transfer — that is to say, it can supply power to or receive files from a device connected to it — and can theoretically carry high-definition audio.

Related: Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

The G5 and Note 7 have other silicon in common, too, including a gyroscope sensor, accelerometer, proximity sensor, compass, and barometer. And both feature dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. But that’s where the similarities end.

The Note 7 has a larger battery than the G5 — 3,500mAh versus the G5’s 2,800mAh — which should translate to a tangible longevity advantage. In our battery tests of the G5, we found it often struggled to last all day when checking social media, browsing the web, and snapping photos. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 7 easily made it through a day’s use and then some.

Both the G5 and Note 7’s battery pack also support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 standard, which means that, on paper, they’re capable of charging from zero to 80 percent in about 35 minutes. But the Note 7 can pull a card trick that the G5 can’t: it can charge wirelessly via the Qi standard or Samsung’s proprietary tech. The G5, thanks to its solid aluminum unibody, cannot.

Related: Huge pre-order numbers mean Samsung can taste success with the Galaxy Note 7

Storage space is yet another point in the Note 7’s favor. The Note 7 sports a generous 64GB of internal storage, while the G5 slots in line with the rest of the Android crowd with 32GB. Both, however, have similar expandable storage options, which allow you to bring the capacity up to 256GB via a MicroSD card. This round is more or less a tie.

Winner: Tie

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