Samsung and LG just unveiled the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 at Mobile World Congress 2016. It's time to take a look at how the new Android flagship smartphones compare and stack up to Apple's top of the line iPhone 6s.
In case you haven't heard, Samsung and LG took the wraps off of their next-gen flagship smartphones. Samsung launched the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge, which bring three notable upgrades compared to last year's Galaxy S6 and S6 edge: microSD slot, water-resistant metal and glass case (and larger batteries).
LG finally got the memo that most consumers prefer their smartphones to be built out of premium materials like metal and glass and not plastic that tries to look like those materials. The LG G5 brings a new metal modular case that not only retains the much loved ability to swap out batteries by simply sliding the bottom of the smartphone's case off, but also adds new hardware and accessories to the handset, like a digital camera and Hi-Fi audio player for audiophiles.
Now that Samsung and LG have launched new handsets, it's time to take a look at how the new Android flagship smartphones compare to each other and to Apple's iPhone 6s, which most smartphone fans will ultimately be considering when choosing a new phone.
Samsung is a company known for the quality of its displays, and it does not disappoint with the ultra sharp 5.1-inch 2,560 x 1,440 Quad HD Super AMOLED display, which has a pixel density of 577 pixels per inch it is using in the Galaxy S7. LG is also famous for its displays and has outfitted the G5 with a 5.3-inch 2,560 x 1,440 Quad HD IPS/LCD display and a pixel density of 554 pixels per inch. Apple's iPhone 6s features a 4.7-inch 1,334 x 750 Force Touch Retina IPS/LCD display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 both easily outdo Apple's iPhone 6s in terms of resolution and pixel density, making for sharper displays.
Where the iPhone 6s trumps the Galaxy S7 and G5 is its 3D Touch display, which allows users to perform quick actions and adds a whole new way for iOS users to interact with their smartphone through it.
Samsung and LG top the iPhone 6s in size for some users who prefer larger displays. The pair also adds a new "Always On Display" which displays time, notifications and more without waking the device, something Apple Watch and iPhone users would certainly appreciate.
Samsung adopted Apple's iPhone design philosophy with the launch of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge last year, bringing premium metal and glass in place of cheap plastic to its former flagship devices. LG caught up to Apple and Samsung with the G5, and some may consider it surpassed its rivals with its modular design that allows the metal-cased smartphone to include a hugely important feature, removable battery, something Samsung and Apple can't offer with their flagship phones.
Luckily, Samsung managed to bring back two features in the Galaxy S7 that last appeared on the Galaxy S5 – a microSD expansion slot and a water-resistant case. While Samsung doesn't offer the ability to swap out the Galaxy S7's battery, it makes that up by including a large 3,000 mAh battery.
The Galaxy S7's dimensions come in at 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 millimeters (5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches) and it weighs 152 grams (5.36 ounces).
The LG G5's dimensions are 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 millimeters (5.88 x 2.91 x 0.30 inches) and it weighs 159 grams (5.61 ounces).
Apple's iPhone 6s measures 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 millimeters (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches) and weighs 143 grams (5.04 ounces).
The Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, and Apple iPhone 6s all offer users a premium glass and metal-designed smartphone that fits comfortably in the hand, but Samsung and LG add extras that Apple doesn't have. Water resistance is the standout feature of the Galaxy S7's design, while the modular design of the LG G5, which allows users to easily replace its battery and add hardware modules to the smartphone, will certainly appeal to consumers looking for such features.
Samsung and LG both chose to use Qualcomm's latest quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor in the Galaxy S7 and G5 and a very generous 4 GB of RAM. Apple uses its own dual-core A9 processor in the iPhone 6s and 2 GB of RAM, which runs just as fast and efficiently and multitasks on the same level in most cases as the Galaxy S7 and LG G5.
This is partly due to Apple's strict control over the iPhone's hardware and software. It doesn't need to contend with an OS from Google, adding extra software skins and features to Android like Samsung's TouchWiz UI and LG's Optimus UX, which have been known to slow down devices in the past, but have both been updated in the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 and run very snappy according to early reports.
When it comes to smartphone cameras, it's no longer about having high megapixels in the quest for supremacy. Apple's iPhones were the most popular cameras used on Flickr in 2015, beating out traditional camera manufacturers by a large margin. Samsung and LG appear to have Apple's title in mind and have included upgraded cameras and features in the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 that Apple's iPhone 6s lacks.
The Galaxy S7 features a 12-megapixel rear camera with a wide f/1.7 aperture for improved low-light performance, OIS (optical image stabilization), and Dual Pixel autofocus, which allows for ultra fast focusing. It packs in a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter for video chat and selfies.
LG brings a unique rear camera to the LG G5, which includes a dual-lens setup; an 8-megapixel camera captures wide angles and the other is a 16-megapixel shooter with laser autofocus and OIS (optical image stabilization). It boasts an 8-megapixel front-facing camera for selfie and video chat fans.
Apple's iPhone 6s includes a 12-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash, autofocus, ability to capture 4K video, but lacks OIS (optical image stabilization). It includes a 5-megapixel front-facing HD camera that uses the iPhone 6s' Retina display to act as a flash, which produces better looking selfies.
So, which is the best flagship smartphone for you right now? One of the main differentiators will be whether you prefer an Android or iOS-based smartphone, which narrows your choices down considerably. If iOS is your mobile OS of choice, the iPhone 6s is your best bet, although you may want to wait until September for a completely redesigned iPhone 7.
If you chose Android, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 have virtually the same impressive specs but set themselves apart enough with features that the Galaxy S7 and its water-resistant case and expandable memory will win many fans. The LG G5 and its modular design maintains the removable battery from smartphones' past while looking to the future with expansion modules that are sure to keep your smartphone fresh.
Which flagship smartphone are you planning to purchase? Let us know in the comments below.