Do we have a good one for you today – the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 goes up against the new LG G5. The newest from LG takes on the premier phablet of our time. Does the new all-metal LG G5 have what it takes to out-spec the very popular metal and glass Galaxy Note 5? It is always fun to watch the two South Korean powerhouses, Samsung and LG, go head-to-head in a phone comparison. Both of these devices are beautiful looking, premium in every respect and designed to be comfortable while holding. Let's look at some of the similarities of these two devices before we look at each one individually.
The Galaxy Note 5 and LG G5 have a few things in common – physically, they are very close in height, width and thickness, although the Note 5 weighs in at 12 grams heavier. They both have a Quad HD (QHD) display resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, but they use different technologies and are different in size. Both devices use 4GB of DDR4 RAM and both have a 32GB memory variant. Both main cameras start out at 16MP, but the LG G5 adds another 8MP camera as well. They both have a bottom mounted speaker and incorporate a fingerprint sensor as well as the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, a microUSB port (v2.0 on the Note 5 and Type-C on the G5) for charging and data transfer. Both devices have fast battery charging, although the Note 5 has a non-removable battery and the LG G5 has a removable battery.
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.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
When Samsung revamped their Galaxy Note 5 they tossed out the plastic backing and replaced it with glass and sculptured metal. These changes included the jettison of memory expansion and the removable battery in the redesign. This upset many power Note 5 users that ended up with a more premium looking device that was stripped of several features coveted by its followers.
The Galaxy Note 5 continues to sport the same size 5.7-inch display as the past two years, although Samsung continues to implement improvements in the display every year. It uses Samsung's Super AMOLED QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) This goes up against the 5.3-inch QHD IPS LCD 'always-on' display found on the LG G5 with 554 PPI. The Note 5 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 with the newest 14nm technology. This goes up against the newest 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor used in the LG G5. The Note 5 packs 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM as does the LG G5, and when it comes to internal storage, the Note 5 has a 32GB or 64GB option of much faster UFS 2.0 Flash memory and no room for expansion. The LG G5 offers only one option – 32GB with a microSD card expansion of up to 2TB.
The highly rated main camera on the Galaxy Note 5 has a 16MP Samsung ISOCELL sensor with fast startup, fast focus, large aperture at f/1.9 for better low-light photos, Live HDR and great software. The Note 5 also has a large 5MP front-facing camera (FFC) with the f/1.9 aperture and wide-angle and Live HDR for selfies and video chats. This compares to an equally apt 16MP main camera on the LG G5 to which LG added another 8MP wide-angle camera and an 8MP FFC. The Note 5 has a non-removable 3000mAh battery, but it has a quick charge feature as well as quick wireless charging capabilities. The LG G5 has a 2800mAh removable battery with a rapid charge battery.
The Galaxy Note 5 has a fingerprint sensor that is Samsung Pay and PayPal certified, heart rate and oxygen saturation sensors and built-in wireless quick charge. It comes with a much improved and more sensitive S-Pen with added features giving it even more functionality. The Note 5 has more flexibility with longer documents and you can send live broadcasts of your videos. It was running Android Lollipop 5.1.1, however, Marshmallow is already rolling out. It will cost you about $700 outright for a 32GB model and $790 for a 64GB model.
One really has to admire LG for their bold redesign their LG G4 – more so than what Samsung did last year in redesigning their Galaxy S6 and Note 5. LG G4 lovers may still be in disbelief, but they should be excited about this new design of their favorite smartphone. LG really put some thought into its LG G5 – they went from a plastic to metal body and yet were able to retain those features most important to users – memory expansion and removable battery. Not only that, but LG was able to whip a little innovation into the design as well.
The LG G5 sports a 5.3-inch IPS LCD QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 554 PPI that is slightly smaller than the Galaxy Note 5's 5.7-inch display and 518 PPI. The new G5 also incorporates the 'always-on' display feature, also implemented by Samsung on the Galaxy S7 models, but still absent on the Note 5. The LG G5 processor is the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor clocked with two cores clocked at 1.6GHz and two cores clocked at 2.15GHz with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory, expandable to 2TB via a microUSB card. This goes up against Samsung's own Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB or 64GB of faster UFS 2.0 flash memory with no expansion.
The LG G5 made big changes to their camera area and went from a single 16MP sensor to one 16MP sensor and another 8MP sensor, along with new software. The 8MP has a wider angle to it allowing the user to capture more in the photo. This goes up against a highly rated Note 5 camera area that uses a 16MP sensor. The LG G5 retains the 8MP FFC from the G4 for selfies and video chatting and the Note 5 uses a 5MP wide-angle FFC. LG dropped the battery from the 3000mAh found on the LG G4 to 2800mAh, but it is still removable and has quick charge capabilities. The Note 5 uses a non-removable 3000 mAh battery, but it has quick charge and built-in quick wireless charging.
What really makes the LG G5 standout are the modules that can be used with the device – by pushing a button on the side, you can slide out the bottom 'chin' of the device along with its battery and slide in different modules. One module adds a larger battery and camera controls that make it easy to hold and adjust the camera. There is another one by B&O for higher sound quality when you plug in your headset. LG kept its built-in IR Blaster and FM radio. LG finally added a fingerprint sensor at the expense of the rear set of buttons, although the sensor clicks inward and acts as an on/off switch as well. LG also followed Google's lead by starting to use the Type-C USB port on the G5. The LG G5 measures 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm, weighs in at 159 grams and comes in Silver, Titan, Gold and Pink. It should be available in April, with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and Best Buy already announcing they will carry the LG G5.
…And The Winner Is…
I will admit that I am a Galaxy Note fan, but I find it quite easy to pick the new LG G5 as the winner of this specification comparison. Yes, the Note 5 has the arguably better Super AMOLED display, heart and oxygen saturation monitors, Samsung Pay and the S-Pen, however, when it comes to the specifications that really matter, the LG G5 is the clear winner.
The LG G5 has the newest Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor and the Adreno 530 GPU – and tests show that these clearly outperform last year's Exynos 7420 octa-core processor in the Note 5. They both use 4GB of DDR4 RAM and the LG G5's internal memory is expandable by 2TB via a microSD card. The new dual camera on the LG G5 is turning out to be very interesting and the removable battery, coupled with the possibility of swappable modules is most innovative.
With pricing the way it is, it comes as a no-brainer to pick the LG G5 over the Galaxy Note 5. The Note 5 is an awesome device, and if you really need the S-Pen and take advantage of its many functions and enjoy a slightly larger display, then the Note 5 should serve you well. But if you want one of the most innovative designs in a smartphone, backed up with solid specifications, then the LG G5 is the clear winner.