Do we have a good one for you today - the LG G4 goes up against the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Active. We have two of the top smartphones for 2015 going head-to-head - one is the beauty and the other one a beauty in wolf's clothing. With some of the best specs, best cameras and advanced technology, these two devices deserve to be compared to one another. A few features, such as the fingerprint scanner are lost on the S6 Active in place of three physical buttons, and you gain water and dust resistance, as well as military specs for durability. The LG G4 may lack some of these extra features, but it is a beautiful flagship, meant to be showed off, not taken on the hiking trail.
Both devices have a few things in common, starting with the physical dimensions with the LG G4 coming out slightly larger. Both devices have a QHD resolution, but use different technology. The G4 and S6 Active both use 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory...again, using different technology. Both devices have the same size main camera and large front-facing cameras - and both are the best that a smartphone can offer at this time. The batteries are both fairly large - 3000mAh on the G4 and 3500mAh on the S6 Active.
They both have the usual suspects - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC, an IR Blaster and a microUSB port for charging and data transfer. They both have a fast charge battery option, the S6 Active has built-in wireless charging, and the G4 has it as an option. Both devices also cost right around the same, on either a two-year contract or off contract.
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 new LG G4 is an evolution of the popular LG G3 - it is slightly larger and LG added a slight curve to the device - nothing like the LG G Flex 2 kind of curve - but just enough to make it more comfortable to hold. LG improved the rather dull display on the G3 by adding more brightness and contrast. Along with an improved metallic looking back or an optional real leather one in several colors with real stitching up the back. While the LG G4 does appear very similar to last year's LG G3, it does look and feel even better.
The LG G4 sports a 5.5-inch QHD LCD Quantum display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 538 PPI...and right in line with the Galaxy S6 Active's QHD display with 576 PPI. LG claims their improved technology allows for a 25-percent brighter display with a 50-percent increase in the contrast and 56-percent improvement to the color accuracy. You can really tell the difference over the duller display on the LG G3. The panel is much brighter than last year's and the colors really do pop out...very similar to the Super AMOLED display on the S6 Active.
LG decided to pass on using the Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor for the LG G4 and instead decided to go with the Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor. The 808 is slightly below the 810, however, it is was optimized for the LG G4 and should be easier on its battery and offer steady performance. This goes up against the Exynos 7420 octa-core processor in the Galaxy S6 Active. Both devices are packing 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, but the LG G4 also has room for expansion via a microUSB card.
The camera on the LG G4 is one of the two best out there on a smartphone and the Galaxy S6 Active is the other. The LG G4 sports a 16MP sensor, laser autofocus, dual-tone LED Flash, and a wide f/1.8 aperture for better shots in low light, along with OIS. The LG uses a large 8MP FFC camera that also includes the wider f/1.8 aperture lens and it should take excellent selfies and provide great video chatting. LG also provided excellent camera software as well, especially in the Pro Mode. The Galaxy S6 Active matches up very nicely to the LG G4 in this area - 16MP camera and 5MP FFC (see more details in S6 Active section). The LG G4 uses a removable 3000mAh battery, compared to the non-removable 3500mAh on the Galaxy S6 Active, although the S6 Active does offer built-in wireless charging and they both offer a quick charge option.
The LG G4 does offer optional wireless Qi charging, with its controls easily accessible on the back of the device and includes a built-in FM stereo radio. The LG G4 comes in a variety of colors, both in the metallic and leather backs. It will cost you about $200 on a two-year contract and about $600 off-contract.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
The Galaxy S6 Active is not your normal Galaxy S6 - stripped away is the pretty glass and metal body and replaced by shock-resistant plastic that looks like you put a plastic case on your Galaxy S6. It will protect your device from drops and most damage, although the camo blue and camo white is just downright ugly to me...the gray version is much more tolerable. Most of the technology of the S6 is ported over to the S6 Active, but are a few changes - gone is the fingerprint sensor and capacitive buttons, which are replaced by three physical buttons. There are some added benefits as well, such as IP68 certification for dust and water resistance up to 1.5 meters and up to 30 minutes under water, but also adds a MIL-STD-910G certification, which means it is resistant to salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation, transport and is thermal shock resistant.
The three mechanical touch buttons provide a nice click and feedback to the user. It also has an extra programmable button on the left side just above the volume rocker that defaults to the Samsung Activity app, but you could reset it to be a camera button or to perform one of many other duties. The Activity app is designed for the camper or hiker and immediately brings up a menu with a flashlight button, the weather, compass and other features an outdoors person might need to use.
The Galaxy S6 Active has the same display of the normal Galaxy S6, a 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and about 576 PPI - this compares to the 5.5-inch QHD IPS display with 538 PPI on the LG G4. The S6 Active uses the same processor in the Galaxy S6 - a 64-bit Exynos 7420 processor...the first one to use 14nm technology. It is an octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. This is somewhat more advanced technology than found in the LG G4's Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor. The both have 3GB of RAM, but the S6 Active uses the faster DDR4 RAM and they both have 32GB of internal memory, although the S6 Active uses a new and faster UFS 2.0 flash memory. The Galaxy S6 Active comes with only one 32GB internal memory option - gone are the 64GB and 128GB options offered in the normal S6, and it has no room for expansion. The LG G4 comes with 32GB of memory, but has a microSD card slot for expansion.
The Galaxy S6 Active comes with a 16MP main camera with autofocus, LED flash, real-time HDR, f/1.9 aperture and OIS. It also has a 5MP FFC wide angle with the f/1.9 aperture and Live HDR for great group selfies and video chats. This compares to a 16MP main camera and a 8MP on the LG G4 - these two cameras are the best that any smartphone currently offers. The Galaxy S6 Active carries a huge 3500mAh battery, replacing the smaller 2550mAh battery found in the Galaxy S6, and should last into a second day of heavy usage. The LG G4 has a smaller 3000mAh battery, but it too will get you easily through a day. Both devices offer a fast charge option and the S6 Active has built-in wireless charging.
Other things that the Galaxy S6 Active has the LG G4 does not, would be the heart rate sensor, the oxygen saturation sensor, built-in wireless charging for both Qi and PMA standards - it is optional on the LG G4. The price is the same as the regular Galaxy S6, so if you want this rugged device, it will cost you about $200 on a two-year contract or about $700 off-contract.
...And The Winner Is...
This was a real tough one, as both of these devices are exceptional smartphones. Oh one hand you have a flagship spec'd device wrapped in a protective shroud, making it more durable and rugged, but not a device I could see myself using as a daily driver. If you were an avid outdoors person, then the Galaxy S6 Active would be a winner and the most practical of these two devices for that type of life style.
I am choosing the LG G4 as the overall winner of this comparison because it makes the most sense as a daily device - it is great looking, has a beautiful QHD display, good processor, the same amount of RAM and memory as the S6 Active, and the memory is expandable. It has one of the best cameras available on a smartphone and a fairly large 3000mAh removable battery.
While it doesn't have the water or shock resistance of the S6 Active, nor the heart rate or oxygen saturation sensors, with all of the LG G4's other attributes and its ability to look at home in a boardroom, I am picking the LG G4 as the winner, not necessarily because it is a better device, but because it is the more practical of the two.
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