Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs LG G5 – Mark explains why he picked one of the flagships over the other!

Mark Peters, @MarkDotPeters5 on Twitter, has written a superb article explaining why he choose either the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or LG G5 as his next phone.

Mark writes –

The Beginning

This should be easy. I mean, you’ve read the reviews. The G5 is a misguided mismatch of ‘friends’ and poor battery life, with an average screen, right? Well not so fast, you see I really think LG have done something wonderful here.

This is not a review article for the LG G5. Nor is it a review article for the Galaxy S7 Edge. This is a comparison between the two, there are certainly things other phones do better, and lots they don’t. These are my thoughts and findings about two Android flagships that (in my opinion at least) both deserve your cash.

First of all, let’s talk about the basics. Battery life, screens, call quality, speakers.. you know the stuff that makes a phone, a GOOD phone.

Display

No surprises that Samsung easily walk away with the best screen of the two, the S7 screen is beautiful, brilliant outdoors and just terrific. The LG panel isn’t as legible in sunlight, doesn’t ‘pop’ as much, and is generally poorer. I use it at 100% brightness, which I’ve never done on any handset, ever. It’s also smaller (which is a negative for me, but may not be for you) and loses real estate due to the ‘virtual’ buttons LG use instead of physical buttons below the screen on the S7. (Although credit to LG for allowing these buttons to be automatically ‘hidden’ per app if you want to maximise real estate. A simple ‘swipe up’ from the bottom of the screen re-enables them). It is, in fact, the poorest aspect of this otherwise terrific phone.

Battery life

The S7 has a longer lasting battery (it should, it’s bigger) but the G5 charges more quickly. The G5 also has the ability to use a spare battery, whereas the S7 does not. The G5 still lasted into the evening despite being in a very poor signal area all day and taking lots of photos. Either handset is a solid performer here.

Speakers / call quality

Both phones performed just fine handling calls (reception is great on either handset), but the loudspeaker on the G5 is head and shoulders above the S7. This is apparently the price one has to pay for water resistance in a phone.

Performance / miscellaneous

The LG G5 runs a Snapdragon 820 whilst the S7 Edge I used has the Exynos chip from Samsung. Whilst neither handset could ever be accused of being sluggish, the G5 takes the lead here in terms of responsiveness. Samsung have improved massively in this area since the S6, but still have some work to do.

The fingerprint reader on both phones perform well, although I had some misfires with both handsets. Neither seem as reliable as the iPhone fingerprint sensor, but both are fine. The reader is on the ‘home’ button on the S7 Edge, and on the rear on the G5. Whichever location you prefer is probably down to personal preference, both have their pros and cons. I happen to prefer the ‘home’ button approach, but can happily use the G5’s rear sensor too. That said, I wish LG hadn’t moved the volume rocker to the side of the phone, although it is useful for quick launching the camera.

The S7 is ‘water resistant’, and will survive a dunking. The G5? Not so much, and I doubt it’d fare as well as other phones too, given the ‘friends’ port at the bottom. Needless to say, I didn’t test it.
Double tap to wake is just brilliant, and should be a standard feature on every modern smartphone. Seriously Samsung, sort this out.

The always on display is more functional on the LG handset. All apps can show a notification icon, whereas the Samsung display is limited to only a subset of Samsung apps and the calendar. Not great.

Cameras

This is the part you really came for, right?

Anyone that knows me will know the camera is the main feature I look for in my smartphone. I have two young children, and creating memories is precious to me, and I want to get the best pictures I can. I find smartphones are incredibly versatile and give more than I could ever get from a ‘normal’ digital camera. So which is better, the LG or the Samsung? Well, somewhat predictably, it’s not that easy.. you see both have various strengths, and, depending on exactly what you’re shooting may dictate which phone is for you.

Rather than construct a massive paragraph, which, let’s face it, you probably won’t read, I’ll just cut to the chase and provide a list per phone, of which I think is better.

First up is the Samsung…

It is considerably faster at shooting in low light conditions, not just focusing, but the larger aperture allows photos with less ‘blur’ than the LG, even when using ‘pro’ mode to compensate adjusting the ISO and shutter speed.

The Samsung is also faster generally. Shot to shot times are much quicker, burst mode starts capturing instantly (there is a slight delay on the LG, so much so I started to ‘pre-empt’ my burst shots, by around half a second – with fast moving small people this can make all the difference! The Samsung also takes more pictures per second in burst mode, and because of the insanely fast focus, more of them are usable.

Slow motion on the S7 is much nicer. The LG produces lower resolution footage, with horribly tinny audio, although at least LG now allow you to adjust when the footage ‘enters’ and ‘exits’ slow motion, and at what speed. The S7 is a much better phone if you’re interested in producing slow motion footage.

Panorama shots have much better “stitching” on the S7. Samsung really nailed this, and have the only comparable panorama mode to the iPhone in my experience.

The Samsung has more video modes, 1080p@60fps is absent on the LG G5 for example. The Samsung has ‘motion photos’, which is basically a copy of Apple’s ‘live photos’. It’s a nice addition, although not really a deal breaker. It’s good at contextualising shots, and occasionally produces a nice moment you’d otherwise have missed. I like it, and kudos to Samsung for updating the S7 software with the ability to share the image or video in any app.

It occurred to me today, that to a certain extent it’s possible to emulate the wide angle lens camera by using the panorama function on the S7. Of course, this is only for stills, and only for stationary subjects.

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The two panoramas shown above are from the S7 Edge. One was taken when the merry-go-round was stationary, the other whilst it was moving. You can see that didn’t turn out terribly well… so it’s only useful in certain scenarios.

Now, the revenge of LG ☺.

The G5 produces more detailed shots. There’s no escaping it, Samsung have a 12mp sensor, the G5 has a 16mp (main) sensor, and it works well. If you’re interested in cropping from your shots, the LG will perform better for you.

The G5 is much better at macro shots. I’ve no idea why, but the S7 isn’t good at macro shots, at all. Below photos from the G5 in standard and using the wide angle lens.

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The G5 has a 16:9 sensor. Personal preference here, but personally, I prefer it. The wide angle lens is just brilliant. So brilliant, it really deserves two points here rather than just one. I’ve expanded on this below. More shots below from the G5.

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The X-Factor.

No, not that dodgy TV warbling show, I mean the phrase before Simon ruined it. The LG has it, in the form of the second lens. It really is terrific and genuinely useful in loads of circumstances.. allow me to explain.

You’re in the garden, the kids are kicking a ball to each other. For once, they’re not kicking seven shades out of each other, so you think ‘this is nice, I’ll record this’. You take out your phone, and hit record, you move the phone backward and forward as they kick the ball to each other. With the LG, you can just record the video with the wide angle lens, and get them both in the frame, no panning. Brilliant.
I’ve included various shots with this article, a good example of the wide angle lens is the ‘Merry-Go-Round’. I wasn’t able to ‘zoom with my feet’, i.e. walk backwards to get a better shot, but one tap and the wide angle lens produced a cracking shot.

In short, the second lens gets ‘the shot’ where no other smartphone could. Sure it’s not every other shot, or even every day, but when you need it, it’s fantastic, and you wonder why it’s not on every phone.

It’s also worth mentioning you can start recording a video, and switch between lenses without interrupting the recording. Very cool.

So.. crunch time. Which would I keep? I’m going with the Samsung, but I don’t expect this to be the best choice for everyone.

If you’re primarily interested in still shot quality, not fussed about video or slow motion and your subjects are generally less fidgety than your average 5 year old boy, get the LG. The camera is fantastic, albeit without the ‘bells and whistles’ the Samsung offers.

If you (like me) use your phone to capture pictures of your kids more than anything else, get the Samsung. Honestly, it’s lightning fast autofocus will mean you never miss a shot. Take 45 pictures in seconds with your kid on a swing? They’ll ALL be in focus. Only the Samsung can do that.
So that swings it for me, but one thing’s for sure.. I’ll sure miss that wide angle lens.

Thanks to Mark for sending this article in. A really great read.

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7 thoughts on “Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs LG G5 – Mark explains why he picked one of the flagships over the other!

  1. Fantastic write up.
    After being initially quite cynical about the G5’s wide angle lens, I think I finally get it. Loads of shots that I have seen with it are just not possible with other phones. Those photos really draw you in to the subject (might be the lens effect) and frame it very nicely.

    A question for MarkDot:
    One thing that drives me crazy about camera reviews is that they never address one of the biggest use cases people have for their cameras: taking photos of people who don’t always stay still. I wish there was a review site that included a standardised test for how well the camera is able to freeze action in less than ideal conditions. Maybe taking a pic of a moving fan indoors or something?

    Anyway, my question to MarkDot is: which phone is the best at freezing action of moving kids in less than ideal lighting conditions? I mean any phone, and not just the G5 or S7.

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. hi Lutin,

      thanks for the question. The answer (as is usually the case) isn’t straightforward. The best flasghip phone for this right now is probably the S7/Edge due mostly to the 1.7 aperture.

      However, phones with Xenon flash are MUCH better at “freezing” action. Unfortunately manufacturers seem to have fallen out of love with Xenon flash modules, presumably due to their size/cost to battery life.

      I have some shots taken with my old Lumia 1020 that would just be a blurry mess on other smartphone cameras. I *REALLY* wanted LG to include a Xenon flash in their camera module, for me, that would have made this phone killer.

      Hope that helps!

      Mark

      Like

      1. Do have a question for you Mark ?

        What shutter speed does the s7 pick with flash, in auto ?

        Usually I find led flash phones pick a slow shutter speed but in one review I saw it picked an unusually fast one, 1/100 which would freeze action well.

        Never saw a led flash phone pick shutters like that usually it’s 1/30 and little more.

        Manual is different as you can choose what you want.

        Like

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