Do we have a good one for you tonight – the fan favorite LG G4 goes up against another fan favorite, the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5. I realize that the LG G4 does not have a Stylus – how many smartphones do – however, with a 5.5-inch display on the LG G4 going up against the 5.7-inch display on the Note 5, it is a very reasonable comparison. The LG G4 has nothing to be ashamed of…it has a great display, decent processor, fantastic camera – the only one that comes close to the S6/Note 5 – and is nice looking, especially with the leather back. The Galaxy Note 5 is certainly a premium device in design, materials and specifications…so we have a great battle brewing between these two devices.
Surprisingly, we can find some common ground between these two devices. For starters, they are almost the same physical size, although the metal and glass on the Note 5 make it a little heavier, but it is thinner. The displays are only .2-inch different with the Note being slightly larger with its 5.7-inch display. Speaking of displays, they both have a Quad HD (QHD) resolution with 2560 x 1440 pixels. The base internal memory is 32GB – however the LG G4 has room to expand via a microSD card slot, whereas the Note 5 has a 64GB option, but no room to expand. They both are packing 3000mAh batteries, but the LG G4’s is removable and the Note 5 is non-removable.
One area there is a lot of competition is the camera – both devices have a 16MP sensor and all the goodies that go with a great camera…autofocus (Laser on the G4), OIS, wide apertures for better low light shots, LED flash and terrific software. They both have larger front-facing cameras (FFC) with the G4 sporting an 8MP and the Note 5 with a 5MP, along with wide-angle and wide aperture. They also have the usual suspects – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.1 on G4 and 4.2 on Note 5), GPS, NFC and a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data transfer. They both offer fast battery charge and wireless charging (optional on the G4 and standard on the Note 5).
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
The QHD display on the G3 was impressive as a statistic, but quality-wise it was rather dull looking. LG concentrated on improving the display on the LG G4 by switching to a new IPS Quantum display technology. LG claims this improvement creates a 25-percent brighter display with a 50-percent increase in the contrast and 56-percent improvement to the color accuracy. The new LG G4 sports a 5.5-inch QHD LCD Quantum display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 538 pixels-per-inch (PPI)…this compares to the QHD Super AMOLED display and 518 PPI found on the Note 5.
LG used the Snapdragon 810 in their LG G Flex 2, but made a decision to pass on it for the LG G4. They stayed with Qualcomm, but chose the 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor in the G4. Optimized by LG and Qualcomm for the LG G4 it should offer the user a dependable experience and be easier on its battery than the Snapdragon 810. In contrast, Samsung decided to use their 64-bit Exynos octa-core processor in the Note 5. The LG G4 is packing 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage in the G4 and 4GB of RAM and 32GB in the Note 5, as well as a 64GB option. The LG G4 has room for expansion via a microUSB card and the Note 5 does not.
The LG G4 has a top-rate camera area with a 16MP sensor, laser autofocus, dual-tone LED Flash, a wide f/1.8 aperture and OIS for their main camera. LG also included a huge 8MP FFC with the f/1.8 aperture that should take excellent selfies and provide great video chatting. The Note 5 has a 16MP main camera with all of the amenities and a 5MP FFC. The G4 uses a 3000mAh removable battery, compared to the non-removable 3000mAh on the Note 5 – both batteries should get you through a day. They both offer a quick charge feature.
The LG G4 does offer a FM Stereo radio, a built-in IR Blaster, and comes with controls that are easily accessible on the back of the device. It also incorporates some great software features in the camera app and on the device itself. The LG G4 is available in a variety of colors in either the standard ceramic-coated plastic back or genuine leather. It is running the latest Lollipop, will cost you about $200 on a two-year contract and about $550 off contact, and is available on all major US carriers.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
The Galaxy Note 5 is sporting the same 5.7-inch display as the past two years with 518 PPI and was just chosen by Display Technologies as the best display on the market. This goes up against the QHD LCD display found on the LG G4 with 538 PPI. It uses Samsung’s 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and the other four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. This goes up against the 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor in the LG G4 The Note 5 packs 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM rather than the 3GB of DDR3 found in the LG G4. When it comes to internal storage, the Note 5 has a 32GB or 64GB option and no room for expansion. The LG G4 offers up 32GB, but also offers a microSD card slot for expansion.
The main camera on the Galaxy Note 5 is a carryover from the Galaxy S6, which means it is one of the best in the business. It is 16MP with a fast startup, faster focus, larger aperture at f/1.9 and better software – and it will take some of the best pictures found on a smartphone. The Note 5 also has a large 5MP FFC with the f/1.9 aperture and wide-angle and Live HDR for selfies and video chats. This compares to the 16MP main camera on the LG G4 and a 8MP FFC. The Note 5 has a non-removable 3000mAh battery, but it has quick charge and quick wireless charging capabilities, while the LG G4 has a 3000mAh removable battery.
The Galaxy Note 5 has a fingerprint sensor, heart rate sensor, is Samsung Pay capable and PayPal certified, has its speaker on the bottom of the device, a much more sensitive S-Pen with added features giving it even more functionality. It has more flexibility with longer documents, can send live broadcastings of your videos and you have an optional slip-on physical, BlackBerry style keyboard. It is running Android Lollipop 5.1.1 and will cost you $300 on a two-year contract and about $700 outright.
…And The Winner Is…
Oh, this was a real tough one for me, but I picked the Galaxy Note 5 as the winner of this comparison. Based strictly on specifications, the Galaxy Note 5 is the superior device – it has a better display, a faster processor with 14nm technology, more and faster DDR4 RAM, faster USF 2.0 flash memory. The Note 5 has an equally good or better camera, built-in quick wireless charger (Qi and PMA), a fingerprint sensor that is PayPal certified and Samsung Pay ready, speaker on the bottom and a heart rate sensor for the health conscious and the incomparable S-Pen and all of the great software that adds to productivity. However, for all of these features it will cost you about $700 off contract.
The LG G4 is a great device and loved by many – it has a great display, a hexa-core processor, one of the best cameras, expandable memory, removable battery and a great build…but it is missing a fingerprint scanner and wireless charging standard. These two items really should be on a 2015 device. It still has its speaker on the back – it should at least be on the bottom or even better (I hope Samsung and LG are both listening) on the front of the device. It does have a built-in IR Blaster as well. It will cost you about $550 off-contract.
Now lets factor in two things – the price and the features. Obviously, the LG G4 is $150 less than the the Galaxy Note 5, but for the $150 you are getting much more technology and a device that can be much more productive…if you use the added features such as the S-Pen and software.
Is the LG G4 more a daily driver than the Galaxy Note 5…quite possibly, but remember, these two devices are almost identical in size and the Note 5’s curved sides on its backside make it easy to hold and use, even with one hand. If the Note 5 was $300 more, then this decision would have been different, but for the $150, you get a lot of extra smartphone.