Do we have a good one for you today – the new Samsung Galaxy S8 takes on the Google Pixel XL, the new LG G6, and as an added bonus we will look at how the Apple iPhone 7 stands up to its Android competition. The other models have been out for a while, but the most anticipated device, the Samsung Galaxy S8, has just been announced and it is a perfect time to see what kind of job Samsung did to try to stay ahead of the competition. The Google Pixel XL is Google’s first attempt at breaking away from their old Nexus moniker, and it was designed and built from the ground up as an entirely new device to be part of Google's ecosystem. The LG G6 is also a total revamp of LG’s poor selling LG G5 – gone is the all-metal painted body, modular configuration, and in is an all-glass backing. The Apple iPhone 7 is an evolution of their previous iPhone 6S and offers the same all-metal body construction with internal improvements. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is also a brand new phone, and while it continues with its all-glass backing, it looks nothing like its processor – gone is the flat display, and now Samsung is using its dual curved display on all models with the tiniest of bezels. Let us take a look and see which one of these devices deserves your special attention.
When we get to this high-end of a smartphone, we are looking at designs that tend to use either all-metal or all-glass for outside materials. All of these devices look and feel like a premium device, although the Samsung Galaxy S8 would probably win for sexiest design and it comes bearing the most features.
The new Samsung Galaxy S8 is staying with an all-glass design, but the entire device looks completely different. It has a dual-curved display with very small bezels top and bottom, and gone is the home button on the front, and the fingerprint sensor is now located in the back, next to the camera. The display jumps from 5.1-inches to 5.8-inches, and it is one of the first devices to use the new Snapdragon 835 processor.
The Google Pixel XL, and its smaller brother, the Google Pixel, have a combination of polished glass and metal on the back, although the front is typical looking with a wide bezel across the top and bottom even though their fingerprint sensor is on the back. It has water splash resistance to it and a non-removable battery.
The new LG G6 went to an all-glass design this year, which added an IP68 certification and wireless charging but also did away with LG’s trump card, a removable battery. The display increased as did the battery size. The dual primary cameras changed sizes on the LG G6, and the front-facing camera (FFC) got smaller.
The Apple iPhone 7 looks similar to its predecessor with only modest tweaking of certain areas. The antenna bands are now moved from the back to the edges for a cleaner look, and a dual camera was added to only the Plus model. Apple has done away with its physical home button, although it is still located where the home button was previously and is now a touch button. It is IP67 certified and still retains its non-removable battery.
The displays on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are much larger than their predecessors are and now sport a 5.8-inch screen (up from 5.1-inch) and a 6.3-inch display (up from a 5.7-inch). Both displays use the dual-curved design, Super AMOLED technology, Quad HD resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels and 568 pixels-per-inch (PPI) on the Galaxy S8 with an 18:9 ratio. It keeps the always-on display, Gorilla Glass 5, and adds 3D Touch.
The display on the Google Pixel XL starts out with a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 534 PPI. Google did not give the Pixels any special functions like always-on, and protection is from Gorilla Glass 4.
LG sticks with their IPS LCD technology, with the display measuring in at a larger 5.7-inches versus the 5.3-inch of the LG G5. It retains its Quad HD resolution of 2880 x 1440 pixels and 564 PPI using an 18:9 (2-to-1 ratio). It uses the always-on technology, includes Dolby Vision, and Gorilla Glass 3 protects the display.
The display on the iPhone 7 is only 4.7-inches, and it uses an LED-backlit IPS LCD affair with an HD resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels and 326 pixels-per-inch (PPI), or as Apple likes to call it, Retina Display. It features Apple’s 3D Touch from last year, Display Zoom, and Ion-strengthened glass.
This comparison has an array of processors that range from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 to the newer Snapdragon 835 to the Exynos 8895 to the A10 Fusion chip used in the only non-Android device, the Apple iPhone 7.
The US version of the Galaxy S8 uses the newest Snapdragon 835 octa-core clocked at 2.45GHz with an Adreno 540 GPU while the international version uses the Samsung Exynos 8895 processor. They both come with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB/128GB of expandable memory.
The Google Pixel and Pixel XL both come with a Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor clocked at 2.15GHz with an Adreno 530 GPU. They both pack 4GB of DDR4 RAM and offer 32GB or 128GB of non-expandable memory. Qualcomm claims that the 821 gives a 10-percent increase in power when compared to the 820.
The LG G6 uses the Snapdragon 821 octa-core processor clocked at 2.35GHz and an Adreno 530 GPU along with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB/64GB of expandable storage.
The iPhone 7 uses Apple’s new A10 Fusion quad-core chip clocked at 2.34GHz with 2GB of RAM and either 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB of non-expandable internal memory.
Smartphone cameras are nothing as they were in flip-phones – they are our go-to camera for any occasion – birthday parties, for a get-together, or even for something as important as a wedding. The front-facing cameras (FFC) have expanded our use of selfies and video chatting. The smartphone cameras have become so good that the old point-and-shoot cameras are a dying commodity.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 uses the same great camera found on the Galaxy S7 – a new Dual-Pixel 12MP primary camera with a large f/1.7 aperture, quick phase detection autofocus (PDAF), OIS, auto HDR and an LED flash. It uses a new and larger 8MP, f/1.7, 26mm wide-angle and auto HDR for its FFC.
The two new Google Pixel and Pixel XL both use the same 12.3MP sensor, f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, and a dual-tone flash as well as a large 8MP FFC with a f/2.4 and 1080p capabilities.
The LG G6 uses a dual setup for its primary camera and a change from last year when the LG G5 had a 16MP and an 8MP wide-angle lens. The new LG G6 uses two 13MP lenses, with PDAF, OIS and dual-tone LED flash. It uses a smaller 5MP with a f/2.2 aperture for its FFC.
The Apple iPhone 7 uses a new 12MP sensor with a f/2.2, PDAF, Quad-LED True Tone flash, and OIS for its primary camera and a 7MP FFC with the f/2.2.
All of the devices this time around are leaning toward the trend of a non-removable battery, including one of the last holdouts, LG. It is much easier for a manufacturer to give us IP68 water and dust protection and wireless charging with a non-removable battery. Now that most of the smartphones offer a quick charge option of some sort, the need to replace a battery, though nice, is becoming less of a necessity.
The Apple iPhone begins with the smallest battery at 1,960 mAh with no fast charge capabilities. The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a relatively small battery at 3,000 mAh but comes with Quick Charge as well as Quick Wireless Charging. The LG G6 packs in a 3,300 mAh battery with Quick Charge and Wireless Charging capabilities, while the Google Pixel XL also has the largest battery at 3,450 mAh battery with fast charge capabilities.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 measures 140.1 x 72.2 x 7.3 mm, is the only one of the group that has a dual curved edge display, and is the only device in the group that offers Samsung Pay as an option. The Galaxy S8 also has a heart rate and oxygen saturation sensor, iris scanner, always-on feature, 3D Touch, and a new rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. Samsung even threw in some Hi-Res audio.
The Google Pixel XL measures 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5 mm and weighs in at 168 grams. It comes running Android 7.1 Nougat right from the box. You will have a choice of Really Blue, Very Silver, or Quite Black. It comes with Google Assistant built into the device.
The LG G6 uses a dual setup for its primary camera – two 13MP lens with the second one being for wide-angle use. It now uses an 18:9 display ratio that is Dolby Vision certified and uses an always-on display to save battery life. It incorporates Hi-Res audio and includes wireless charging and Google Assistant. It measures 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm and weighs in at 163 grams.
The new Apple iPhone 7 comes with a few refinements – most of the good stuff is only on the iPhone 7 Plus. It has a new quad-LED flash, improved 3D Touch, improved stereo sound, IP67 dust and water resistance, and 2GB of RAM with non-expandable 32GB of memory now being the smallest option available. Starting the trend of removing the headphone jack, you will not find one on this iPhone, but Apple supplied a lightning adapter. It measures 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm and weighs in at 138 grams. Pricing starts out at $769 for the 32GB model. While it has NFC, it can only be used for Apple Pay.
The Final Word
This has been a quick comparison, looking at a few of the top smartphones available today. The Apple iPhone was thrown into the mix to see how it held up against some of best Android has to offer. There are no speed tests here, as both iOS and Android Nougat operate quickly and smoothly in everyday use. We compared only the design and features that these phones offer when compared to one another. The most striking difference between the iPhone and the Android devices has to be iOS versus Android 7.0 Nougat. The battle wages on, but after spending a day with both operating systems, most people will agree that the Android OS allows the user a lot more flexibility and power in its design and the ability to customize the display to look the way you want it to look, and the placement and use of widgets on the displays. iOS is a great OS if you want to follow Apple’s more restrictive design, but for many of us, that is just not enough. We like to make our smartphone’s our own personalized device and Android allows you to accomplish that goal.
The Google Pixel and Pixel XL were released in October 2016 and are the oldest of the Android smartphones compared. The LG G6 is just arriving on the scene, and the newest Samsung Galaxy S8 has just been announced as of this morning and has an expected arrival date of April 21st. Other than being the first smartphone to arrive with Google Assistant baked in, the Google Pixel XL is a solid smartphone but is expensive for the features you get. Although it is an AMOLED display, it is the smallest of the three, and there is no IP68 certification, no memory expansion, and no wireless charging. The LG G6 has a few more features and a larger display with Dolby Vision, albeit of the LCD variety. You do get an IP68 certification, the always-on display, memory expansion, dual cameras, Hi-Res audio, and wireless charging. The LG G6 does use the same Snapdragon 821 processor found in the Google Pixel XL, which means it is from 2016. The Samsung Galaxy S8 offers the largest dual-curved display, the newest Snapdragon 835 processor, IP68 certification, always-on display, 3D Touch, Hi-Res audio, an iris scanner, heart rate monitor, Oxygen Saturation sensor, quick wireless charging, and Samsung Pay.
All three of these flagship Android smartphones offer something a little bit different. The Google Pixel XL will get the fastest software updates and carries Google Assistant, while the LG G6 offers a larger, always-on display, dual cameras, wireless charging, and Google Assistant. The Samsung Galaxy S8 offers a dual curved display, the largest display with Super AMOLED and always-on feature, the best processor/GPU of the group, wireless charging, Samsung Pay, heart and oxygen sensors, and iris scanner. It is up to you to pick the features and the price you can afford - all three devices should satisfy your needs.