Do we have a good one for you today – we will be looking at five devices – the LG G5, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, the HTC 10, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and the Lenovo Moto Z Force…with special emphasis on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Just how do these flagship smartphones stack up against one another? Most of these devices have been out a while except the Note 7 and the Moto Z Force.
The Samsung Galaxy Note series has been around for a while – the first Note was an AT&T exclusive, but thankfully, all of the major carriers decided to sell the Note 2, Note 3, Note 4, Note 5, and now the Note 7. Yes, Note 6 was skipped over to better align their numbering system. This year’s Galaxy Note 7 is really nothing more than a stretched out Galaxy S7 Edge – add an S-Pen and Iris Scanner – and you have your Note 7.
Let us look at the Galaxy Note 7 and see just how it stacks up to the LG G5, S7 Edge, HTC 10, and the Moto Z Force.
The Galaxy Note 7 keeps the same theme going as the Galaxy S7 Edge – metal trim and a glass backing, although the Galaxy Note 7 is the first smartphone to use Gorilla Glass 5 for added protection. Compared to the Note 5, the Note 7 definitely looks classier with its slightly curved display. The LG G5 went to an all-metal body this year and added the ability to slide out the ‘chin’ of the LG G5 and slide in different modules. It seemed like an innovative idea at the time, but LG sales have not been impressive. The HTC 10 is the most complete flagship HTC has delivered in recent years. The outside was changed to a chamfered look and they finally jumped to a QHD display and did the HTC 10 justice in the camera area. The new Moto Z Force is a new member sold exclusively on Verizon. It has an all-metal body, a new camera area, a QHD display, and comes with their exclusive ShatterShield display. This is quite a lineup we have here and it seems like all of the manufacturers – Samsung included – are starting to get on an equal footing.
The display on a high-end Samsung device is something that will never disappoint – the Galaxy Note 7 uses a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED QHD display that will squeeze out 518 pixel-per-inch (PPI.) The display took on a slight dual curve, which is still noticeable and adds a nice and sexy look to the Note 7. The LG G5 comes with a 5.3-inch IPS LCD QHD ‘always-on’ display with 554 PPI. The Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED QHD display, dual curved edges, and 534 PPI. The HTC 10 comes with a 5.2-inch Super LCD5 QHD display with 565 PPI. The Moto Z Force comes with a 5.5-inch AMOLED QHD display with 535 PPI.
The Galaxy Note 7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge sport a Snapdragon 820 here in the states and an Exynos processor in other countries. They both sport 4GB of DDR4 memory with the S7 Edge having a choice of 32/64GB of internal UFS 2.0 memory and the Galaxy Note 7 has 64GB of UFS 2.0 memory – both have expandable memory via a microSD card. The LG G5’s Snapdragon 820 comes with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal storage that is expandable to 2TB via a microSD card. The HTC 10 comes with the Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage that is also expandable. The Moto Z Force follows the crowd and uses the Snapdragon 820 processor, packs in 32GB/64GB of internal storage and room for expansion via a microSD card. It was quite a year for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820!
It is funny how just a few years ago, nobody took mobile cameras very seriously – now they are one of the first things we look at when rating or buying a smartphone. We are happy to say that you can use your smartphone camera as an everyday point-and-shoot camera and the results should be quite satisfying. The Galaxy Note 7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge use the same camera - a new Dual-Pixel 12MP with a large f/1.7 aperture, quick phase detection autofocus (PDAF), OIS, auto HDR and LED flash as its main shooter and a 5MP, f/1.7, 22mm wide-angle and auto HDR for its FFC.
The LG G5 reworked their camera area this year with a 16MP primary camera, an aperture of f/1.8 and an 8MP wide-angle duo camera with an aperture of f/2.4. It comes with laser autofocus, 3-axis OIS, and an LED flash. The FFC is 8MP with an f/2.0 aperture for selfies and video chatting.
After years of experimenting, HTC finally got its camera are in check on the HTC 10 – a 12MP UltraPixel 2 sensor with laser autofocus, dual-tone LED flash, an f/1.8 aperture, and OIS. A 5MP FFC with an f/1.8, 23mm, autofocus, HDR, and OIS should allow for some great selfies and video chatting.
Motorola phones were never known for their cameras, but for the Lenovo Moto Z Force, they pulled out all of the stops. It uses a 21MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and uses both laser and phase detection autofocus (PDAF), OIS, and a dual-tone flash. The FFC uses a 5MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and LED flash for selfies and video chatting.
While we were hoping for a 4000mAh+ battery in the Galaxy Note 7, we received a 3500mAh non-removable battery with rapid charge built in as well as quick wireless charging. This was a nice upgrade in size, but Samsung is always worried about their devices being too ‘fat.’ The Note 7 does have the new reversible Type-C plug for charging and data transfer. The LG G5 has a smaller 2800mAh removable battery – the only one of the group – with Quick Charge 3.0 and v3.0 Type-C reversible connector. The Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a large 3600mAh non-removable battery that offers rapid charge and quick wireless charging as well and the older microUSB v2.0 connector. The HTC 10 comes with a 3000mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and v3.1 Type-C reversible connector. The Moto Z Force has a 3500mAh non-removable battery with Moto Turbo Charging 2, as well as a Type-C reversible connector.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 measures 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm and weighs in at 169 grams. It comes with a Dual curved edge display and does benefit from time, date, and alarms scrolling on the edge. One of the nicest upgrades to the Note 7 is its ability to expand its internal storage. It also received the coveted IP68 certification against dust and water – you would not want to take it for a swim, but those occasional drops in a puddle will all be taken care of from now on. The camera is the same as the excellent S7 Edge, so there should be no issues or complaints in that department. You also have access to Samsung Pay. A unique feature is the Iris Scanner for added security – how well it works will determine our excitement.
The LG G5 measures 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm and weighs in at 159 grams. Its LCD features the always-on display that saves battery life and allows the user to glance quickly at the time, date, and notifications. The most innovative feature is its ability to use modules that add versatility to the device – extra battery life, a physical camera grip, and controls, and a B&O sound module with more promised in the future. This appeared like a great idea, but third-party manufacturers must design and build modules. Will they be too expensive and can you use them on the next LG G6, or do you have to buy new ones? From sales figures, it appears that customers are leery of purchasing an LG G5.
The Galaxy S7 Edge measures in at 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, and weighs in at 157 grams. The Galaxy S7 Edge is the only other device with IP68 dust and water resistance. Its dual curved display features, the always-on mode that saves battery life and allows you to grab a quick look at the time, date, or notifications. The Galaxy S7 Edge also has a heart rate monitor, oxygen saturation sensor, built-in quick wireless charging and offers Samsung Pay.
The HTC 10 measures 145.9 x 71.9 x 9.0mm and weighs in at 161 grams. It features a new BoomSound Hi-Fi sound with one ‘woofer’ speaker at the bottom of the device and a ‘midrange/tweeter’ at the top front of the device. It now sports a physical home button that doubles as the fingerprint sensor. The HTC 10 is available at Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile stores.
The Moto Z Force measures 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm and weighs in at 163 grams. It comes with ShatterShield glass to protect it from drops. Its claim to fame is that it is the first Motorola/Lenovo build and it turned out very successful. It also uses Moto Mods, which add features to the device – larger battery with wireless charging, JBL speakers, and more. The nice thing about Moto Mods over the ones that the LG G5 use is that Moto Mods do not invade the phone – they simply snap onto the back via magnets and metal contacts. You can also pick up five covers that will help protect the metal back.