Do we have a flagship comparison today, the venerable Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus takes on the new and improved LG V30. We compared the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the LG V30 the other day and several readers thought it was an unfair comparison because of the S Pen – they thought the Note 8 was in a separate class and a fairer comparison would be the Galaxy S8 series. Once again, both devices are beautiful to look at and pack in the latest technology. The Galaxy S8 Plus (S8) is Samsung’s strong hold in the smartphone market – it is their flagship device and yields them the most sales. The Galaxy S8 series has an excellent camera and Hi-Res audio through a set of headphones. With the LG V30, LG is packing a dual camera setup to attract photo buffs and the audio buff with its four DACs. The audio only shines if you are wearing headphones because LG only includes one speaker rather than stereo. Today we are going look at these two high priced devices to determine a winner. Before we examine each individual device, we will first see what these two flagships have in common.
LG’s V30 joined the Samsung way of thinking when it finally dropped its LCD technology and turned to a P-OLED display. The 18:9 display ratio is another area where LG has followed Samsung. The displays are close to the same size as both devices hit the six-inch mark – 6.2-inches on the Galaxy S8 Plus. Although different types, both devices use a notification system on the primary display – Samsung uses the ‘always-on’ method and LG uses a floating secondary display. Both devices (sold in the US) use the Snapdragon 835 processor and Adreno 540 GPU. Each uses 64GB of expandable memory and both use a large battery and both have fast charging and wireless charging support. Both devices come with the improved BT 5.0 and both incorporate a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. They share Hi-Res audio, an IP68 rating, a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and both offer facial recognition. Even their prices are almost identical at around $840.
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. 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.
LG is always in a battle with its Korean competition, Samsung, and has a very innovative nature – we saw that with the LG G5’s module design, its jump to dual cameras, and four DACs. It comes as no surprise that this innovation would carry over when the company sat down to design the new LG V30. LG started with an all-metal stainless design for the LG V10 and on the V20 they switched to aluminum. For the new V30 they opted for a glass that takes away their long tradition of a removable battery, but it gains both an IP68 certificate and wireless charging. LG also broke its tradition of using the LCD display technology and jumped on the OLED bandwagon. The LG V30’s display also parted ways with the 16:9 aspect ratio and changed to the 18:9 ratio, which is a growing trend. This design difference allows the V30 to have a larger display than the V20, but a smaller footprint, although the display is a little narrower. LG included the top processor for its new flagship, the Snapdragon 835, while also retaining the Hi-Res audio circuitry that works great with a pair of headphones, but for some strange reason LG only includes a single speaker.
LG has used an OLED display on their limited flexible G Flex device, but this is the first time on their flagship. The LG V30 sports a 6-inch QHD display with a resolution of 2880 x 1440 resulting in a 538 pixels-per-inch (PPI). LG named their new display ‘FullVision’ as competition for Samsung’s ‘Infinity Display’. The display includes Dolby Vision and HDR 10 support, giving the user a better entertainment experience. LG jumped from the 16:9 aspect ratio to 18:9 which allows LG to give the user a larger display with a smaller footprint. Rather than use the fixed secondary display at the top of the main display like the LG V20, the LG V30 uses a ‘floating bar’ that can be moved or swiped out of the way. The LG V30 packs a Snapdragon 835 processor clocked at 2.45 GHz that adds speed, more capabilities, and better battery life. It uses the Adreno 540 GPU for stunning graphics. The V30 retained the standard flagship RAM of 4GB and 64GB of expandable memory.
LG started using dual cameras on the LG V10, and the LG V30 keeps that configuration, but they included some improvements. The primary camera used to take the majority of your photos sports a 16MP sensor, OIS, laser and PDAF for focusing, dual-tone LED flash, and a large f/1.6 aperture to help capture those lowlight shots. The secondary camera, used for your wide-angle photos, does not have all of the features of the primary camera, but uses a respectable 13MP sensor with a wide-angle 120-degree field and an aperture of f/1.9. The front-facing camera (FFC) is the same 5MP used on the LG V20, but adds facial recognition to go along with selfies and video chats. In the LG V30, you will find a 3,300 mAh non-removable battery that offers Quick Charge 3.0, as well as wireless charging. LG users will not be happy about doing away with the removable battery, but that is certainly the trend with most smartphones. On the upside, you are getting IP68 water-resistance and wireless charging.
The LG V30 kept many of the good features of the LG V20 – the four DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converters), the EQ with left/right balance controls and B&O Play certifications and even with a glass back on the V30, you still have the MIL-STD-810G certification. The glass back forced LG to use a non-removable battery in the V30, but now offers IP68 water-resistance and wireless charging. The smartphone public is being forced into a non-removable battery as more and more models include that feature. The improvements start with the P-OLED technology used for the larger display. It gives you blacker blacks and richer colors. The main camera area improves all around and now adds facial recognition to the V30’s voice recognition. The non-removable battery is slightly larger at 3,300 mAh and will easily make it through a day. The device measures 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4 mm and weighs in at 158 grams. The V30 comes in your choice of Cloud Silver or Moroccan Blue and will come with Android 7.1.2. The LG V30 will cost you approximately $840 outright.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Earlier this year Samsung launched their two flagships, the Galaxy S8 and a larger version dubbed the Galaxy S8 Plus. These devices use the new Samsung Infinity Display that has dual curved edges that wrap around into the sides of the device and its Gorilla Glass 5 back. This beautiful and sexy design has no side bezels whatsoever, and only small top and bottom bezels. Samsung changed up the aspect ratio from the standard 16:9 to 18.5:9 that allows the Galaxy S8 Plus, with a 6.2-inch display to have a smaller footprint than many devices with a 5.5-inch display. The Galaxy S8 series was about the first smartphone to use the Snapdragon 835 processor and Adreno 540. Samsung did away with their iconic Home Button and moved the fingerprint sensor to an awkward position by the camera on the back. Navigation keys are now located on screen and only show up when you need them.
The Galaxy S8 Plus sports a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED ‘Infinity Display’ that comes with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9, a pixel resolution of 2960 x 1440 and 529 PPI. To protect that beautiful display, Samsung uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5 – the same material protects the back of the device. Samsung sells two models of the Galaxy S8/S8 Plus – the US/China model uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 clocked at 2.35 GHz and an Adreno 540 GPU. The EMEA model sold in most regions around the world is powered by an Exynos 8895 clocked at 2.3 GHz and a Mali-G71 MP20 GPU. The Galaxy S8 sports 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB built-in UFS 2.1 storage that is expandable via a microSD card.
The Galaxy S8 Plus camera area is among the highest rated among smartphones. It includes a primary camera with a Dual Pixel 12MP sensor with a large f/1.7 aperture, phase detection auto focus (PDAF), LED flash, auto HDR and OIS. The FFC is an 8MP sensor with auto-focus, the same f/1.7 aperture, and wide-angle lens with HDR. The Galaxy S8 Plus packs a 3,500 mAh non-removable battery with support for Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging and wireless charging for both Qi and PMA formats.
Samsung added some new features in its Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. With all of the appliances that Samsung sells, it is only natural that they would add a Connect feature allows you to control Samsung’s appliances and other home controls. Personal assistances seem to be the rage, so Samsung introduced its own AI personal assistant called ‘Bixby.’ You can ask Bixby simple questions and receive an answer as well as more advanced features such as the ability to get information from a picture via the camera of architectural landmarks. You can also point the camera at a sign written in a foreign language and Bixby will translate it for you. Samsung added a new accessory – DeX – that allows you to hook up your Galaxy S8 Plus to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for a ‘desktop’ experience. The Galaxy S8 Plus also comes with IP68 water and dust resistance, an iris scanner, heart rate monitor, and SpO2 sensor. It is available in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold, and Rose Pink depending on what market you live in and what carrier you use. It comes with Android 7.0 (Nougat) out-of-the-box. The device measures 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm and weighs in at 173 grams and will cost you about $840.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
This was a tough decision to make. The LG V30 is supposedly targeting a different crowd; however, as flagship phones continue to improve, the lines become more blurred. Even though the LG V30 has dual cameras, the Galaxy S8 Plus may actually take better pictures. While the LG V30 has not yet been tested on DxOMark, the V20 and the new LG G6 scored way below the Samsung devices. They both use the same processor, the same amount of memory and expandable storage, as well as OLED display, although the Galaxy S8 Plus is larger, Super AMOLED, and edge-to-edge. Both offer quick charge and wireless charging, as well as an IP68 rating. Both of these flagships deserve your attention and consideration.
However, there is something about the Galaxy S8 Plus that grabs your attention. The Infinity Display is absolutely gorgeous and it makes the device look even more modern than the LG V30. The Galaxy S8 Plus has a slightly larger and the better Super AMOLED display. It also packs a larger FFC with autofocus, an iris scanner, offers Bixby, Samsung Connect, a larger battery, a heart rate monitor, SpO2 sensor, and Samsung Pay.
The LG V30 is a solid device and does offer dual cameras and four DACs or great sound, but only out of a pair of headphones. It has a smaller display, small bezels, a smaller battery, and MIL-STD-810G certification. These two devices cost the same amount of money and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus seems to offer more options, as well as better looks, so I am choosing it for the winner of this comparison.