Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG V20

Introduction

Do we have a good one for you today – the venerable Samsung Galaxy S7 takes on the new LG V20. The Galaxy S7 feels like a second rendition of the redesigned Galaxy S6, and the LG V20 is the second rendition of the LG V10 from last year. Which one of these devices did enough to make it the clear winner in this comparison? The Galaxy S7 retained its metal frame and uses Gorilla Glass 4 front and back, while the LG V20 switched its heavy stainless steel body to lighter, high-grade aircraft quality aluminum. The devices do share many of the same internal parts and specs, although the devices look and feel different. The Galaxy S7 is designed as a premium everyday driver, whereas the LG V20 is geared more toward photography buffs and those that listen to a lot of music over earphones. Let’s take a look to see just what these two devices have in common and then we will take a closer look at each device.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG V20 are certainly different when it comes to displays and the physical size of the device – the LG V20 is larger all around except in the thickness department where the LG V20 is slightly thinner but weighs in at 22 grams more. The Galaxy S7 uses the Super AMOLED technology versus the LCD used on the LG V20. Both displays use the QHD resolution, and each has an extra battery saving feature – an always-on display used on the Galaxy S7 and a second display on the LG V20. The US version of the Galaxy S7 uses the same Snapdragon 820 and Adreno 530 GPU found in the LG V20. They both use 4GB of DDR4 RAM and faster UFS expandable memory. The main camera area is quite different, but they both have a 5MP front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chatting. They both have Hi-Res audio for listening through earphones, but the LG V20 takes that Hi-Res to new heights in a smartphone with four DACs and is even B&O Play certified. Both devices have a quick charge capability for charging the battery. Both sport a fingerprint sensor to unlock the device and authorize mobile payments. The usual suspects are there – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a UBS port – a microUSB v2.0 in the Galaxy S7 and a Type-C reversible in the LG V20 – for charging and data transfer.

Please take a careful 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 device in greater depth 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.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S7

Every year users and manufacturers look to see what the new Samsung Galaxy S series will bring to the table. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge set the bar this year by outselling all other Android smartphones. Other than the new processor, the Galaxy S7 is a refinement of last year’s complete makeover. The same metal and glass construction can be found on the outside with just small changes to the details. The camera area worried many people – we all expected to see a 21MP, but instead, Samsung served up a Dual Pixel 12MP shooter – after all, more is usually better.

The Galaxy S7 sports a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with 577 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Samsung improved the display by adding an ‘always-on’ display, to help save battery life – you can glance at the time, date, and notifications without turning on your main device. If you purchased your Galaxy S7 in the US, you would get the newest 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz. For other countries, Samsung will use their Exynos 8890 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6GHz and four cores clocked at 2.3GHz. The Galaxy S7 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and has 32GB of the faster UFS 2.0 memory, as well as possible expansion up to 200GB via a microSD card.

Samsung has always increased the megapixels in its camera area every year – however, this year the complete opposite occurred. Samsung is using a new Dual Pixel 12MP camera that has a larger sensor than the old 16MP. Samsung increased the aperture to f/1.7, included a faster phase detection autofocus (PDAF), auto HDR and they retained the OIS. The Galaxy S7’s FFC comes with a 5MP sensor, a wide-angle lens, the same f/1.7 aperture as the primary camera, and Live HDR, which allows excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. The non-removable battery increased to 3000mAh and features Quick Charge 2.0 and Quick Wireless Charging.

Being a Samsung device entitles the Galaxy S7 to have both Android Pay as well as Samsung Pay to make mobile purchases just about anywhere you can swipe a credit or debit card. It has IP68 certification against dust and water; it sports a heart rate and oxygen sensor and has wireless charging. The Galaxy S7 measures 142.4 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm, weighs in at 152 grams and is available in Black, White, Gold, and Silver and costs about $670 – although, special promos are being run all of the time.

LG V20

LG kept the LG V20 all-metal, but they switched up from stainless steel to aircraft grade aluminum giving it a much smoother and more refined look. They moved the silicone from the back to the top and bottom of the LG V20 as ‘bumpers’ for added safety if dropped – a great idea. The V20 still uses a 5.7-inch primary display and smaller secondary display over the top – only much brighter this time around. The LG V20 is designed for those that are interested in experimenting with photos or that want a device with great sound through earphones.

The LG V20 sports a primary IPS Quantum QHD display that measures 5.7-inches with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 513 PPI. It also sports a secondary display, near the top of the device and is a 1040 x 160-pixel display that is also 513 PPI. The purpose of the secondary display is – like the always-on display on the Galaxy S7 – to function while the main display is locked. This year LG seriously brightened the display making it easier to see your notifications. The LG V20 uses the best processor out there and the same one found in the Galaxy S7 – a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with dual cores running at 1.6GHz and dual cores running at 2.15GHz. The LG V20 packs 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM and 64GB of faster UFS 2.0 internal storage with room to expand.

The camera area is a complete redesign – the primary 16MP sensor is still there, but LG added another 8MP wide-angle lens that operates independently for those times when you need a wider view. LG included two forms of focusing - laser and phase detection autofocus (PDAF.) LG added a large f/1.8 aperture (f/2.4 for the 8MP sensor), OIS and a dual-tone LED flash. LG decided to go back to the single 5MP FFC with a f/1.9 aperture for selfies or video chatting. The LG V20 packs a 3200mAh removable battery that should last through the day, and Quick Charge 3.0 makes charging faster.

The LG V20 includes four DACs (Digital-to-Analog Convertors) to improve the sound quality and also provided an excellent EQ with left/right balance controls that is B&O Play certified – it is a shame that LG did not do more with the built-in speakers. The LG V20 is built so soundly that it has achieved the MIL-STD-810G certification. The V20 measures 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6 mm and weighs in at 174 grams – cost should be around $800, but rumors have them coming with a pair of B&O earbuds ($249) to help ease the cost. The LG V20 is available in the colors Titan, Silver, and Pink. Last, but certainly not least, the LG V20 will be running Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box.

...And The Winner Is...

The Final Word

This decision was a real tough one - they always are at this level of performance - but I am picking the LG V20 as the winner of this comparison. This situation happens when a device like the Galaxy S7 comes out early in the year and goes up against a device like the LG V20 that has just come out - there is bound to be some added excitement.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a rock solid device and would be a terrific primary driver for the most demanding user, and could be a real bargain with the many promos. It does have the more favored Super AMOLED display, but a much smaller screen size. It is IP68 certified against dust and water, which is nice to have, but not a deal breaker. It has a heart and oxygen sensor if you use them, and of course, Samsung Pay.

The all-metal LG V20 is built so well it has an MIL-STD-810G certification. It has an excellent 5.7-inch display, the secondary display, the dual camera area for taking standard shots or wide-angle, the newer reversible Type-C plug, more advanced Hi-Res Audio, and a larger battery with Quick Charge 3.0. The LG V20 is also the first non-Nexus device to run Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box - who knows how long it will take Samsung to push Nougat to the Galaxy S7 series.

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