Do we have a good one for you today – the LG V20 goes up against the new ASUS ZenFone AR. Both devices are seeking an audience that enjoys photography and music. The LG V20 is crafted from aircraft grade aluminum and is designed with its dual cameras, as well as those that like good sounds coming through their earphones as it uses four DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters) that is a first for a smartphone. The ZenFone AR is a beautiful looking metal-framed device with a faux leather backing over plastic – like the Galaxy Note 3, and it is very reminiscent of a Samsung 'S' device in its general shape with its fingerprint sensor on the front. The AR is ready for both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Both devices use a 5.7-inch display and are in the same ballpark in pricing. We are looking to find out which device offers the best specifications and performance. Let's compare what they have in common first and then we will look at each device in more detail to pick the winner in this comparison.
The LG V20 and the ASUS ZenFone AR have several things in common. The displays are an identical 5.7-inches in size, which make their physical dimensions very close, and even the difference in weight is only 4 grams. The displays use the different technologies, but the same Quad HD resolution. Both use a Snapdragon 820/821 processor and an Adreno 530 GPU to handle any graphics thrown their way. They both have a 32GB variant, and both can expand their memory via a microSD card. The primary camera areas are extremely different, but both take great pictures. Both have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking your device with the LG V20's is located on the back and the ZenFone AR's located on the front. Both incorporate an NFC chip so they can make mobile purchases. The LG V20 has one speaker and truly beautiful sound with earphones, as does the ZenFone AR, with one speaker with some good sound technology. Both have large batteries – removable on the LG V20 and non-removable on the ZenFone AR – with rapid charge capabilities. Both come with Android Nougat, and both have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and both use the newer reversible Type-C port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful 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.
The angular look of the stainless steel LG V10 was well received; however, LG decided to use aircraft quality aluminum on the new LG V20 that has a smoother and more refined look than its predecessor. Gone is the silicone backing, but the silicone is still there as a pair of bumpers on the top and bottom of the LG V20. The LG V20 has a brighter secondary display for notifications than its predecessor. The LG V20 is attempting to find a home for those users interested in experimenting with photography or that demand a great sound through their earphones.
Some manufacturers, like Samsung, use a single display with the 'always-on' technology, but LG designed the V20 with two separate displays. The primary display is an IPS Quantum QHD panel that measures 5.7-inches with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and results in 513 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The secondary display measures 1040 x 160 pixels with the same density of 513 PPI. The secondary display saves battery life by allowing the primary display to stay off while the smaller display feeds you notifications. The LG chose the Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor for the V20. It runs dual cores at 1.6GHz and a second set of dual cores at 2.15GHz. The LG V20 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of faster UFS 2.0 expandable internal storage.
The LG V20 uses a dual camera arrangement that includes a 16MP primary camera and another 8MP wide-angle lens that acts as a secondary camera. The V20 defaults to the 16MP for regular shots, but when you need a wider perspective, the 8MP wide-angle sensor can step in. LG included both laser and phase detection autofocus (PDAF), added a large f/1.8 aperture on the primary camera and smaller f/2.4 for the secondary 8MP sensor, then included OIS, and a dual-tone LED flash. The front-facing camera (FFC) uses a single 5MP sensor with a f/1.9 aperture for selfies or video chatting. Unlike the LG V10, which quickly drained the battery, the LG V20 packs a 3200mAh removable battery that should last you throughout the day. The user has the option of using Quick Charge 3.0 for a fast charge, or you can just replace it with a new battery.
LG was targeting audio buffs with the V20 and included four DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters), which is a first for a smartphone. The V20 comes equipped with an EQ and left/right balance controls, and is B&O Play certified. This will enhance the sound on a good set of earphones, but begs the question why LG only included one speaker on the bottom of the device. They should have added dual front-facing speakers to take advantage of the technology. The LG V20 was awarded an MIL-STD-810G certification due to its rugged build. The V20 measures 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm and weighs in at 174 grams and cost about $670. The LG V20 is available in Titan and Silver, and it is running Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box.
ASUS ZenFone AR
The new ASUS ZenFone AR could become one of the most talked about devices of 2017. It comes in black only with a metal frame and a faux leather backing. Its look borrows a lot from Samsung with the back looking like Galaxy Note 3, and the front reminds you of the Galaxy S7 with its round corners and a fingerprint sensor that looks like a home button. This device stands out from the crowd because it is the first Tango-enabled smartphone that has both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in one smartphone. It has three camera lenses and built-in software to make it work. ASUS also gave it high-quality audio to use whether you listen to it through its five-magnet speaker (single) or earphones. Does it have the right stuff to beat out the LG V20?
The ASUS ZenFone AR sports a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 515 PPI. The ZenFone AR comes with the improved Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6 GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.35GHz, and it still uses the Adreno 530 GPU for its graphic duties. One version of the ZenFone AR packs 6GB of DDR4 RAM and offers 32GB/64GB of memory, with expansion up to 256GB via a microSD card. Another version will be coming out that packs 8GB of RAM.
The use of Tango and AR required ASUS to equip the ZenFone AR with a TriCam system that uses three rear cameras for its special effects. The main camera starts with a 23MP camera, and then adds a motion tracking lens and finally a depth-sensing lens with an infrared (IR) projector. It packs laser autofocus, a 3X Optical zoom, 4-axis OIS, dual-toned LED flash, and an aperture of f/2.0. For its FFC, the ZenFone AR uses an 8MP wide-angle lens with the same f/2.0 aperture, autofocus, and dual-tone LED flash for excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. The battery size is a non-removable 3300mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0.
The ASUS ZenFone AR should be a hot commodity as users try out its many capabilities. It is Tango-enabled and is the first smartphone design with both AR and VR capabilities as well as being Daydream ready and sports a fascinating camera area to accomplish those tasks. It includes a powerful five-magnet speaker for impressive sound as well as DTS Headphone X for virtual 7.1 surround sound and Hi-Res audio. With its NFC chip and fingerprint sensor, you can authorize Android Pay mobile purchases with a swipe of your finger. The ASUS ZenFone AR measures 158.7 x 77.7 x 9mm, weighs in at 170 grams and is available in Black with the faux diamond cut leather backing. It is a GSM device, so it will not work on Verizon or Sprint. It comes with Android 7.0 out of the box and should be available soon and should cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $600.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This was a tough decision, but I am siding with the ASUS ZenFone AR as the winner of this comparison. The AR's only drawback is it is a GSM device, and the Verizon and Sprint users are left out of the picture on trying this intriguing device on their network. Both devices cost about the same, so that doesn't even figure into our decision.
The ZenFone AR has the same sized display, QHD resolution, AMOLED technology for vibrant colors and deep contrasts, a faster processor, more RAM, fingerprint sensor and NFC for mobile payments, slightly larger battery, Tango, AR, VR, and Daydream ready. The LG V20 is an excellent smartphone with a secondary display and wide angle camera, better Hi-Fi stats, and a slightly higher price tag.
The excitement that the ZenFone AR offers along with its great specifications makes it too intriguing to pass up as the winner.