The quest for smartphone dominance is on.
Easily two of the most anticipated phones of the year, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, will be unveiled at a press event in New York City on March 29. Samsung’s flagship is expected to sport a stunning redesign that’s almost all screen up front, along with a new virtual assistant and a very intriguing docking station.
Illustration: Tom’s Guide
However, the LG G6 is a formidable competitor, because it 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. Note, however, that the Galaxy S8’s specs are subject to change until Samsung unveils its devices.
LG G6 vs. Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: Specs Compared
|LG G6||*Galaxy S8||*Galaxy S8 Plus|
|Display||5.7 inches||5.8 inches||6.2 inches|
|Resolution||2880 x 1440||2960 x 1440||2960 x 1440|
|CPU||Snapdragon 821||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835|
|Back Camera||Dual 13 MP||12 MP||12 MP|
|Front Camera||5 MP||8 MP||8 MP|
|Battery||3,200 mAh||3,000 mAh||3,500 mAh|
|Size (inches)||5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31||5.5 x 2.8 x 0.29||TBD|
* Galaxy S8 specs are not official. Source: Phone Arena
A wave of Galaxy S8 photo leaks suggests that Samsung is planning to offer a thin handset featuring a curved screen that slips over the edges on both the left and right sides. Samsung has decided to ditch a flat screen in favor of exceedingly thin bezels.
The front of the Galaxy S8 is nearly all screen. Credit: Slash Leaks
Reportedly, those incredibly small bezels above and below the screen will require Samsung to remove the home button and create a virtual home button in the software. Unfortunately, it looks like Samsungmoved the fingerprint sensor next to the rear-facing camera lens, which could result in smudging.
The Galaxy S8’s display might top out at 6.2 inches, but despite its large size, it should allow for one-handed use.
LG’s G6, on the other hand, tries to bridge the gap between traditional and forward-thinking designs. We really like the glass back and sturdy metal frame.
The G6 sports an elegant glass-and-metal design. Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom’s GuideAt 5.75 ounces and 5.9 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches s, the G6 is light and compact, even if it’s a bit thick. Plus, its back-mounted fingerprint sensor is in a better location: below the camera. However, LG’s device offers only a flat screen, so if you’re hoping for a curved option, you’re out of luck.
The G6 is also dust- and water-resistant to protect it against accidental spills. Expect the same from the S8.
Outlook: The LG G6 is a major improvement over the G5, but Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will probably turn more heads.
The LG G6 has a 5.7-inch LCD screen with a quad-HD 2880 x 1440 resolution. LG noted that the G6 has an 80 percent body-to-screen ratio, allowing it to make the display taller without sacrificing width. That translates to an 18:9 aspect ratio.
The LG G6 has an impressive 18:9 screen. Credit: Philip Michaels/Tom’s Guide
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.
Reports suggest that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will come in two different screen sizes, both with AMOLED technology, which is designed to offer richer colors and better black levels than LCD can produce.
A leaked Galaxy S8 photo. Credit: BGRThe first option, the Galaxy S8, will likely feature a 5.8-inch display with a 2960 x 1440 resolution, according to PhoneArena. The Galaxy S8 Plus will offer a 6.2-inch screen with the same resolution. Both devices are expected to have an 18:9 aspect ratio, thanks to their size.
Outlook: In general, we prefer AMOLED screens and more pixels, so Samsung could have the edge here. But HDR support on the G6 is a big plus, and it’s not clear if Samsung will offer the same.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are expected to include 12-megapixel rear cameras, along with 8-MP front-facing lenses.
The big question, however, is whether Samsung will try to offer a dual-lens camera in at least one model. Though it looks unlikely right now, a rumor surfaced in early March suggesting that Samsung could offer the feature in any Exynos-powered options. Most leaks suggest that a dual-lens camera isn’t coming to the Galaxy S8.
The LG G6, however, 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.
The dual cameras on the G6 produce compelling photos. Credit: Sam RutherfordOn 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.
Outlook:LG could take the lead here with its dual-camera setup.
Specs: CPU, RAM and Storage
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 widely panned by those who wanted theSnapdragon 835, a newer Qualcomm chip with more power. It’s not just about more speed, though; the 835 CPU is also supposed to deliver better VR performance and be more efficient, which should result in longer battery life.
The Galaxy S8 should be the fastest phone on the market. Credit: Evan Blass/Venture BeatSamsung was reportedly given exclusive access to the 835 processor. Although other companies will get access to the chip after April, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus will be the first handsets to ship with the chip inside.
In addition, Samsung is expected to include 4GB of RAM in its devices. The handsets will likely come in your choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage. And like the LG G6, the Galaxy S8 models will have microSD card slots.
Outlook:Samsung should have the edge with the latest Snapdragon chip inside.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 should come with several special features we won’t find in other Android phones. For instance, the device is expected to offer a virtual home button to replace its physical key. And according to a recent report, the virtual home button will be able to open different menus within the operating system based on how hard you press down on the screen.
Arguably the biggest special feature in the Galaxy S8 is Bixby, the company’s new virtual personal assistant.
The Galaxy S8 will likely feature a dedicated Bixby button. Credit: PhoneArena
Based on leaked images, users will activate Samsung’s Bixby by pressing a physical button on the right side of the device. This will trigger the assistant to pop up, allowing you to issue commands, set up appointments, search the web and more.
Last but not least, the Galaxy S8 will reportedly have a DeX desktop dock accessory, which will allow people to use the phone as a desktop, complete with mouse and keyboard support.
LG also notes that the G6 will come with Google Assistant.
First offered in the Google Pixel, Google Assistant is the company’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.
The G6 has a water-resistant design. Credit: Samuel Rutherford/Tom’s Guide
However, Google Assistant is coming to most other modern Android phones running Android 6.0 and higher, so this won’t be a differentiating feature for long.
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.
Outlook: It seems like the Galaxy S8 will offer 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. Although LG’s device is still being tested, some reports have suggested that it can last for more than 22 hours of continuous talk time.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus will reportedly include 3,000-mAh and 3,500-mAh batteries, respectively. While it’s unknown how long they will last on a single charge, the efficiency gains in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip should help.
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.
Outlook: We’ll have to wait to see the results of our web-surfing battery test.
Price and Value
This is one area where LG can really stand out.
The LG G6 will be priced between $650 and $672, 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.
Price is still a big question mark surrounding the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus.
A Galaxy S8 concept. Credit: iPhone-Crash YouTubeSome reports have suggested that the devices will cost somewhere between $700 and $900, depending on the version, but Samsung hasn’t confirmed pricing. The S8 Plus could approach $1,000 for the model with the highest storage capacity.
Outlook: LG will need to price the G6 significantly lower than the Galaxy S8 to shake things up, and it looks like that could happen.
The LG G6 will be available for pre-order on Verizon starting March 17, and the device will hit shelves March 30. T-Mobile will begin selling the phone April 7.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 release date has been a moving target for weeks now. Most reports now agree that the device will ship to stores in mid- to late April. Several reports now say April 21 is the big day, but it could slip to April 28.
Outlook: A head start could help LG, but if you want a Galaxy S8 you’re going to have to wait a few weeks.
On paper, the Galaxy S8 looks like the stronger smartphone in terms of its design, specs and special features. 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.
The Galaxy S8 will be tough to beat, but the LG G6 could win on value. Credit: Evan Blass/Venture BeatAssuming it lives up to the rumors, the GS8 looks like the phone to beat overall. But if it winds up commanding a hefty premium, a more affordable G6 could very well win over price-conscious shoppers. And getting a free Google Home (albeit for a limited time) could prove pretty tempting.