The quest for smartphone dominance is on.
In one corner we have Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. These Android flagships sport a stunning redesign that’s almost all screen up front, along with a new virtual assistant and a very intriguing docking station.
However, the LG G6 is a formidable competitor, because it also squeezes a big screen into a small, sexy body. Plus, it sports a gorgeous 18:9 HDR (high dynamic range) display and impressive dual cameras that beat the Google Pixel in a recent shootout.
If you’re looking to buy a new Android handset or you simply want to know what to expect from this year’s smartphone Battle Royale, read on to see how these two heavyweights stack up.
The Galaxy S8 is easily one of the sleekest phones we’ve seen yet. The curved Infinity Display takes up the majority of the front, which means you get a 83 percent screen-to-body ratio. That’s even higher than the LG G6’s 80 percent.
It’s not that the LG G6 isn’t a looker, as we like its glass back, metal frame rounded corners. It’s just not as stunning as the S8. Plus, the Samsung phone comes in three colors (Midnight Black, Orchid Gray and Arctic Silver) versus two hues for the G6 (Black and Ice Platinum).
The Galaxy S8 is also slightly thinner, though the weight of the G6 falls in between the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
However, the G6 scores some points for putting its fingerprint sensor in a less awkward location on the back of the phone; the Galaxy S8’s fingerprint reader is right next to the camera, which could result in smudging. On the LG, the sensor is below the lens.
Winner: Galaxy S8. The LG G6 is a major improvement over the G5, but Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is even more of a head-turner.
The LG G6 has a 5.7-inch LCD screen with a quad-HD 2880 x 1440 resolution. The phone has an 80 percent body-to-screen ratio, allowing LG to make the display taller without sacrificing width. That translates to an 18:9 aspect ratio.
After watching video on this screen, we can confirm that the 18:9 panel delivers an immersive experience. Plus, the G6 supports HDR and Dolby Vision, both of which translate to more colors and better contrast. Both Amazon and Netflix now offer HDR content.
As for Samsung’s phones, they come in two different sizes, both with AMOLED technology, which is designed to offer richer colors and better black levels than LCD can produce. On our testing, the S8 produced 183 percent of the sRGB color gamut, compared to 134 percent for the G6.
The Galaxy S8 sports a 5.8-inch Super screen and the S8+ a 6.2-inch panel, so both are larger than the G6. The resolutions are slightly higher at 2960 x 1440. Like the G6, the S8 also supports HDR.
Winner: Galaxy S8. The G6’s screen is beautiful, but the S8 offers more resolution, richer colors and slightly bigger sizes.
The LG G6 features dual 13-MP cameras on the back. One of the lenses captures impressive wide-angle shots, and you get a 2x optical zoom. The G6 is off to a very good start, beating both the iPhone 7 and the Google Pixel in recent camera shoot-outs.
On the front of the G6, you’ll find a 5-MP camera, which also can snap wide-angle images. The front-facing camera also supports Gesture Shot, allowing you to take a selfie with just a gesture. An Auto Shot feature snaps a selfie as soon as a face is detected.
The Galaxy S8 has a 12-MP dual-pixel camera on the back for faster autofocus and good low-light performance, but it’s a single-lens setup. That means you don’t get optical zoom. Samsung has made some software tweaks, which have improved image processing.
Based on our testing, the Galaxy S8’s rear camera offers the best image quality overall, especially in low light. In addition, the S8’s font camera is sharper than the LG at 8-MP. We will update this face-off with more direct comparisons soon.
Winner: Draw. The S8’s photos look great, but the G6 offers more versatility with its dual cameras.
Specs and Performance
LG’s G6 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of onboard memory. You’ll also find 32GB of storage in the device, though you can boost your storage with a microSD card.
LG’s decision to offer the Snapdragon 821 has been criticized by those who wanted the Snapdragon 835, a newer Qualcomm chip that’s inside the S8. It’s not just about more speed, though; the 835 CPU also delivers better VR performance and is more efficient, which results in longer battery life.
On Geekbench 4, which measures overall performance, the Galaxy S8 notched 6,294, which is significantly higher than the 4,073 the G6 turned in. It was a similar story on 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, with the S8 hitting 36,508 to the G6’s 29,611.
The Galaxy S8 also offers double the standard storage of the G6 by starting with 64GB. You get microSD expansion, too.
Winner: Galaxy S8. This round is no contest.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 offers a number of special features you won’t find in other Android phones. There’s the Bixby assistant, which leverages the camera to look up info on the fly. (The Bixby voice assistant is coming later this spring.) The Samsung Connect app is another perk, which enables you to control multiple smart home devices from a single app.
The coolest special feature is an optional accessory called DeX. It’s a $149 desktop dock that puts Android on a bigger monitor and lets you use the phone as a mini PC, complete with mouse and keyboard support.
The G6 doesn’t have much in the way of truly special features compared with the S8, with the exception of its dual cameras.
As with the S8, there’s Google Assistant on board, which Google’s answer to Siri, Cortana and, yes, Bixby. You can ask Google Assistant to help you make plans, find products and much more. And because it’s getting smarter all the time, it gets better with additional use.
However, Google Assistant is coming to most other modern Android phones running Android 6.0 and higher.
Beyond that, the LG G6 is both dust- and water-resistant, and can be immersed in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes without being damaged. LG has also bolstered the G6’s defenses with MIL-STD-810G standards that should safeguard the handset when it’s accidentally dropped. Samsung’s phone is similarly water-resistant, but Samsung doesn’t say anything about how it can handle drops.
Winner:Galaxy S8. The G6 seems a bit more durable, but the S8 has more exciting special features.
The LG G6 comes with a 3,200-mAh battery that the company says can last all day on a single charge, but it didn’t impress in our testing. The phone lasted just 8 hours and 39 minutes on our 4G web surfing battery test, which is about a half hour less than the average.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus include 3,000-mAh and 3,500-mAh batteries, respectively. The S8+ endured for 11:04, and the regular S8 also outlasted the G6 with a runtime of 10:39.
After dealing with the fallout from last year’s Galaxy Note 7 battery debacle, Samsung has promised that it’s addressed the problem and that it will offer safe and effective batteries. The Galaxy S8 needs to live up to that promise.
Winner: Galaxy S8. We’re talking about at least a 2-hour delta.
Price and Value
This is one area where LG stands out.
The LG G6 is between $650 and $720, depending on the carrier. And if you order one before April 30, you can get a free Google Home smart speaker, which is a $129 value. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
The Galaxy S8 is pricier than the G6 by a bit at $720 to $750, and the S8+ is considerably more expensive at $840 to $850. That’s nearly $200 more than the cheapest G6 you can find.
Winner: LG G6. The LG G6 gives you a bit more bang for your buck.
The Galaxy S8 is the stronger smartphone overall. It wins based on its superior design, faster performance, special features and more colorful Infinity Display. Samsung’s flagship really pulls ahead when it comes to longer battery life.
However, the G6 is more than a worthy opponent, as it offers a versatile dual-lens camera and a fairly compact design given its large 5.7-inch screen. We also like that it’s a bit cheaper than the S8.
If we had to a choose, we’d go with the Galaxy S8, but the G6 is still a pretty strong value.