Mobile

Samsung S8 vs. LG G6: Which rival’s flagship phone do you want in your life?

galaxy s8 vs lg g6 comparisons 137
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
The hotly anticipated Galaxy S8 has finally arrived, and it’s just as impressive as expected. Samsung’s newest flagship features a curved screen, cutting-edge processor, a brand-new digital assistant, and more.

But the Galaxy S8 isn’t the only heavyweight on the mobile playing field. LG’s brand-new G6 is one of the best phones we’ve tested, and updates promise to make it better. To put an end to the debate, we pitted the two phones against each other in a specifications battle to the finish.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S8

LG G6

Size 148.9 × 68.1 × 8.0 millimeters (5.86 × 2.71 × 0.31 inches) 148.9 × 71.9 × 7.9 millimeters (5.86 × 2.83 × 0.31 inches)
Weight 5.47 ounces (155 grams) 5.75 ounces (163 grams)
Screen 5.8-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED 5.7-inch IPS LCD touchscreen
Resolution 2,960 × 1,440 2,880 × 1,440 pixels
OS Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage 64GB 32 (64GB in select markets)
MicroSD Card Slot Yes Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 9 Series 8895 (International)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM 4GB 4GB
Connectivity 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 4G LTE, HSPA+, 802.11ac/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera 12MP rear with OIS, 8MP front 13MP rear dual with OIS and wide-angle lens, 5MP front
Video 4K 4K
Bluetooth Yes, version 5 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Water Resistant Yes, IP68 Yes, IP68
Battery 3,000mAh 3,300mAh
Charger USB Type-C USB Type-C
Quick Charging Yes Yes
Wireless Charging Yes, Qi and PMA Yes, Qi and PMA (U.S. only)
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Black, silver, orchid gray, coral blue (international) gold (international) White, black, platinum
Availability AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
Price Starting at $720 Starting at $650
DT Review First Take 4.5 out of 5 stars

On the inside, the LG G6 isn’t all that different from the Galaxy S8. Both pack Qualcomm-made processors paired with an identical amount of memory (4GB of RAM). But generational improvements give the Galaxy S8 the edge, here.

The Galaxy S8 sports Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, the newest in the company’s chip arsenal. It’s built on a 10-nanometer process, which crams 30 percent more parts into the same space than the previous generation of Snapdragon processors. Qualcomm gave Anandtech a preview at its San Diego headquarters, and a reference device packing the new processor outperformed older chips by close to 40 percent in multi-threaded tasks. That doesn’t account for Samsung’s tweaks, of course, but it seems that in terms of raw numbers, the Snapdragon 835 is the one to beat.

LG’s G6, on the other hand, boasts the slightly older Snapdragon 821 processor — the same powering the OnePlus 3T and Google Pixel.

In most apps, benchmarks, and real-world situations, the Snapdragon 835 appears to beat the Snapdragon 821 handily. Anandtech’s testing shows it achieving a score of 3,844 in 3D Mark’s Slingshot Extreme test compared to the Snapdragon 821’s 2,106.

There’s no question when it comes to processing power: The Galaxy S8 is far and away the winner. We expect it to handle games, apps, and day-to-day tasks much more efficiently than the G6.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

Design

Galaxy S8
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Galaxy S8 is drop-dead gorgeous. The front of the handset is dominated by a 5.8-inch curved screen that extends from the phone’s right-hand bezel to its left. There’s no home button — it’s been relegated to on-screen icons. Short of the sensors flanking the top, it’s an exceptionally utilitarian — and attractive — look.

The back is a little busier than prior devices like the Galaxy S7, due to the placement of the fingerprint sensor near the rear camera, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less sleek. The Galaxy S8’s all-glass design makes it slippery, and a fingerprint magnet.

The LG G6 is exactly the same — it’s wrapped with glass on both sides, allowing it to easily pick up fingerprints. You would think the G6 is more compact than the S8, with its 5.7-inch screen, but that’s not really the case. The G6 is slightly thinner and wider, but it shares equal length with the S8 even though the S8 has a 0.1-inch larger screen.

On the back of the G6, a fingerprint sensor doubles as a power button below a dual-lens camera and flash unit.

It’s a close call between the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6, but the Galaxy S8 goes a step further in offering more screen in a similar-sized body. Bonus points for the lack of branding on the front of the phone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

Display

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Galaxy S8’s curved 5.8-inch AMOLED screen is one of the best we’ve seen, hands down. It’s bright and colorful, and boasts a resolution so high (2,960 × 1,440 pixels) that you’ll never have to worry about seeing a pixel.

The G6 shares a similar 2,880 × 1,440 pixel resolution, and both phones also have a similar 18:9 aspect ratio (the S8 has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio). The 5.7-inch LCD display panel on the G6 is great, and it even supports Dolby Vision HDR. Samsung’s is no slouch either, since the company worked with the Ultra HD Alliance to make sure the S8’s screen is premium HDR compliant. All of this means that you’ll be able to see accurate colors and enhanced contrast as intended by content creators on both smartphones.

LG has optimized several of its apps to make use of the 18:9 aspect ratio, so you can see more information. It’s unclear if Samsung has enabled such optimizations, so we’ll have to wait and see.

The LG G6’s screen is otherwise bright, beautiful, and colorful, but it can’t measure up to the Galaxy S8’s AMOLED panel, which can switch off individual pixels to achieve superior contrast and black levels.

There’s no denying that both smartphones offer a superior display than most of the competition. Still, we think the superior contrast and deep blacks offered by AMOLED panels are more beneficiary than optimized apps for the 18:9 ratio on the G6 — especially when apps need to add support.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

Battery life, camera, and software

Battery life and charging

LG G6 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Galaxy S8 packs a battery that’s largely on par with the competition. It’s 3,000mAh in capacity, and supports both wireless and Samsung’s rapid charging technology. The Galaxy S8’s Snapdragon 835 processor may also help boost battery life further thanks to efficiency optimizations.

The LG G6 has a slightly larger 3,200mAh battery that, like the Galaxy S8, supports rapid charging and wireless charging (in the U.S.). In our testing, battery life lasted roughly a full day.

The jury’s out on which phone lasts longer. While we want to say the G6 will come out ahead due to its capacity advantage, we don’t know what to expect with the Snapdragon 835. This one’s a tie.

Winner: Draw

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Galaxy S8’s camera is no different from the Galaxy S7’s camera, and that’s no joke. It’s the same 12-megapixel sensor found in last year’s model, down to the 1.44 micron pixel size and f/1.7 aperture. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily — it benefits from a dual-pixel design, which speeds up autofocus by using 100 percent of the sensor’s pixels (traditional smartphone cameras use less than 5 percent). Compared to the Galaxy S6, it captures 96 percent more light.

The G6 packs two 13-megapixel cameras in one. The first boasts a f/2.4 aperture and a 125-degree wide-angle lens, and the second has a 71-degree lens with optical image stabilization and a f/1.8 aperture.

We were impressed with the G6’s camera. It performed favorably against the Google Pixel in our testing, but sometimes struggled to manage contrast and resolve details in low light.

The wider-angle lens is the true standout. Used creatively, and with the right lighting, it lent fantastic perspective that competition like the S8 can’t match.

Choosing between the G6 and the Galaxy S8’s camera comes down to the former’s wide-angle camera. In our opinion, it’s unique enough to give the G6 an edge, here.

Winner: LG G6

Software

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 run Android 7.0 Nougat, the latest version of Google’s Android operating system — but you wouldn’t necessarily know it.

Comparing LG’s take to Samsung’s TouchWiz is effectively like comparing granny smith apples to golden delicious: They’re both apples, but remarkably different in terms of texture and taste. They do share many of the same settings options, and the same Google Play app store.

The Galaxy S8’s highlight feature is the Bixby assistant, which is activated with a dedicated physical button or by voice. It taps into the 10 apps that come pre-loaded on the Galaxy S8: Gallery, Contents, Settings, Camera, and so forth. You can delegate tasks with your voice, or use the Vision feature to have Bixby recognize objects in pictures (a bottle of wine, for example). Bixby Home, Samsung’s answer to Google’s Now hub, populates cards to the left-hand side of the home screen with contextually relevant information.

The Galaxy S8 also has DeX, a docking station that transforms the smartphone into a fully functional desktop when plugged into an external monitor (like Microsoft’s Continuum). You’ll get a Windows-like interface that supports mouse and keyboard input, and supported apps can be resized to suit your multitasking needs.

Apart from LG’s apps and multitasking mode making use of the 18:9 aspect ratio to show more information, the G6’s software is comparatively bare bones. That’s not a bad thing — LG’s skin is slick, smooth, and aesthetically-pleasing.

But Samsung’s ambition is enough to nab the win. We’ll have to see how Bixby holds up against Google’s AI-powered Google Assistant (you can also use Google Assistant on the S8), and it isn’t clear just yet if DeX can replace a desktop — but both features have transformative potential.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

Durability and pricing

Durability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Given the Galaxy S8 and G6 pack roughly the same combination of aluminum and glass, it’s tempting to assume they’re equally prone to bumps and scratches. That might not be the case.

The Galaxy S8’s Edge display offers a higher chance the screen will break when dropped. The G6, in contrast, has a slightly thicker metal frame that may offer better protection. Regardless, you should probably get a case for both of these phones.

Both smartphones are IP68 dust- and water-resistant, meaning you can dip them underwater up to 1.5 meters for about 30 minutes.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

LG G6 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Galaxy S8 isn’t cheap. Here’s a quick rundown of pricing for the two devices.

Samsung Galaxy S8 LG G6
AT&T $750 or $25 per month for 30 months $720 or $24 per month for 30 months
Sprint $750 or $31.25 per month for 24 months $708 or $29.50 per month for 24 months
T-Mobile $750 or $30 per month for 24 months with a $30 down payment $650 or $26 per month for 24 months
Verizon $720 or $30 per month for 24 months $672 or $28 per month for 24 months

The G6 is available for quite a bit less on the same networks, although that does depend on your network.

There’s no point beating around the bush: The Galaxy S8 is expensive. In terms of pricing, the G6 takes the crown.

Winner: LG G6

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

It’s close fight between the G6 and Galaxy S8. LG’s flagship boasts a wide-angle lens and 18:9 aspect ratio. Samsung’s new smartphone has an AI-powered assistant and cutting-edge processor. But there’s a clear winner.

The Galaxy S8’s sheer volume of features blow the G6 out of the water. There’s the Bixby assistant, the DeX docking station, a vibrant AMOLED screen, an iris scanner and even facial recognition technology.

It does all this will offering a 5.8-inch screen that’s nearly as compact as the 5.7-inch screen on the G6.

Editors' Recommendations