Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs LG G7 ThinQ

Introduction

Do we have a good one for you today – the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 takes on the LG G7 ThinQ. The Galaxy Note 9 is the more recent of the two smartphones, but is it worth the extra money? The Galaxy Note 9 is considered a specialty device due to its business-like design with the S Pen for taking notes, although it does serve many other purposes as well, such as jotting down a shopping list, your weight, medicines, or anything else. Samsung also included Bluetooth in the S Pen this time making it even more productive and useful. As for the price, its $1000 price tag is becoming more common among high-end price phones with a lot less features. The LG G7 ThinQ is a beautiful and modern-looking smartphone with dual cameras and the Snapdragon 845 – just like the Note 9 – but it doesn't have nearly as many features and comes in at around $750.

As different as these two devices are, there are several similarities. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 does contain the larger display of the two, but not by much. Both displays use the QHD+ resolution and a newer aspect ratio – 18.5:9 on the Note 9 and 19.5:9 on the G7 ThinQ. Both use Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back for protection, and both use the same SD845 processor and Adreno 630 GPU - at least in select markets including the US. While the two phones boast different amounts of RAM, each offers expandable storage. Both devices also make use of a dual camera, but different megapixels and features, as well as an 8-megapixel front-facing camera (FFC). Both phones feature a greater battery capacity, quick charging, and wireless charging. Both feature the usual suspects including Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth v5.0, and a 3.1 USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer. Both are IP68-certified for water-resistance, and tout Hi-Res audio, great sounding speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, facial recognition, and Android 8.0.

Please take a careful look at the detailed specifications comparison chart below and you will see just how these two high-end smartphones stack up against each other. After that, we will look at each mobile offering in more detail while pointing out some of the pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on overall specs, as well as the execution of design and functions.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung took its first shot at dual cameras on the Galaxy Note 8, improved them on the Galaxy S9 Plus, and forwarded those wonderful dual cameras to the new Galaxy Note 9. The exterior of the Note 9 looks almost identical to the Note 8, yet on the inside it has all of the technology upgrades of the Galaxy S9 Plus. The biggest changes to the Note 9 are the inclusion of stereo speakers and a new dual aperture feature. The Note 9 also sports a new Bluetooth S Pen that can be used as a remote ‘clicker’ to take a picture, click to forward a presentation, and so on. The fingerprint sensor was already on the back of the device, but Samsung relocated it from beside the flash, to below the camera lens making it harder to accidentally smudge the lens.

Samsung did enlarge the display from the Galaxy Note 8, but only going from 6.3-inches to 6.4-inches. The Note 9 uses Samsung’s near bezel-less Infinity Display, a 18.5:9 ratio, retains the QHD+ resolution with 2960 x 1440 pixels, and 516 pixels-per inch (PPI). Samsung carried over its excellent Always-On feature that allows the user to quickly check the time and date, or briefly see what notifications have arrived. This makes it extremely convenient for the user to quickly check notifications while easing the pressure on battery life. Gorilla Glass 5 covers the front and back of the Note 9 with a metal frame holding it all together.

The same processor used in the Galaxy S9 series, the Snapdragon 845 processor clocked at 2.8 GHz and the Adreno 630 are found in the Galaxy Note 9. Samsung includes 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage. If you need more power, you can order a model that packs 8GB RAM and 512GB of expandable storage. Samsung listened to the cry for a larger battery and increased the battery capacity to a non-removable 4,000 mAh level, which should result in enough power to last an entire day. If you find that you need to charge it, you can pick from Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charger or make use of quick wireless charging with support for both Qi and PMA formats.

Samsung’s newest camera on the Galaxy S9/S9 Plus found its way to the Note 9. The Note 8 had Samsung’s first dual cameras, and then upgraded for the S9/S9 Plus and this upgrade is now on the Note 9. Sporting 12-megapixel Dual Pixel cameras with one offering 2x Optical Zoom. The main camera uses a dual aperture – f/2.4 for bright shots and an f/1.5 for darker shots – with OIS, PDAF, and an LED flash. The secondary camera has a wider angle, an aperture of f/2.4, and live focus (bokeh). The FFC is 8-megapixels with a large aperture of f/1.7 for better low-light selfies, auto-HDR, along with its own autofocus. This is a great FFC for excellent selfies and video chatting.

Samsung has a habit of adding a lot of 'bloatware' to its devices and some of which is never touched by the user. Although two popular options that are included are Samsung Health and Samsung Pay. For those that exercise, the heart monitor, the SpO2 sensor, and the new blood pressure monitor will come in handy. Bixby is Samsung’s AI and is useful if you are keen on AI. An improved DeX will convert your smartphone to a desktop with a simple dongle. The side panels that roll on/off the display edge, each have ten contacts and ten app. In the US, the Note 9 is initially available in Lavender Purple and Ocean Blue, but is also available in Midnight Black and Metallic Copper elsewhere - depending on market and carrier. It comes with Android 8.1 (Oreo) out-of-the-box and the newest Samsung Experience 9.5 (UI). The device measures 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm, weighs in at 201 grams and will cost you a sweet $1,000 for the 6GB/128GB model.

LG G7 ThinQ

LG added the ‘ThinQ’ to the end of the G7 name, put in a newer processor, increased the display size and the camera sizes, as well as the battery capacity. The display ratio has moved to a newer 19.5:9, and this gives the LG G7 ThinQ a more modern look with its slightly taller and more narrow display. LG still uses the LCD technology and added a notch. LG did carry forward its excellent Always-On feature to help save battery life. LG stirred the pot on the G7’s dual cameras and increased the megapixels, but then decreased the wider angled lens on the secondary main camera.

One of the few items LG changed on the G7 ThinQ is the display size as it increased from 5.7-inches to 6.1-inches, and slightly changed the aspect ratio from 18:9 to 19.5:9. This provides a taller and narrower display for a better viewing experience for movies, games, but also for multi-tasking. LG kept its FullVision and LCD setup along with its QHD+ resolution with 3120 x 1440 pixels and a density of 564 (PPI), and added a notch. Gorilla Glass 5 is used all around for protection. The LG G7 also uses the company's version of an Always-On display by utilizing a floating, bar-like display. For better outdoor viewing, the new display can go up in brightness to 1,000 nits, but only for 3 minutes before dropping back down to save battery.

The Snapdragon 845 processor and an Adreno 630 are the combo that most 2018 flagships are using, and features in the G7 ThinQ just like the Galaxy Note 9. It's an octa-core processor clocked at 2.8 GHz, and this is accompanied by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. Those looking for even more can opt for a model boasting 6GB RAM and 128GB expandable storage. The LG G7 ThinQ will present you with a fast and smooth user experience, although the battery capacity decreased year-over-year with the G7 ThinQ equipped with a 3,000 mAh battery. The LG G7 uses Quick Charge 3.0, and supports wireless charging.

The LG G7 ThinQ sports two 16-megapixel sensors. The main camera has a large f/1.6 aperture, Laser and PDAF, OIS, and LED flash. The secondary camera is better for group pictures or a landscape shot due to it having a slightly wider angle, although it does also feature a smaller f/1.9 aperture. Just like the MP count, the quality and camera software have also been increased with the G7 ThinQ. In addition, LG upgraded the FFC from a mere 5-megapixels with a small aperture of f/2.2 to an 8-megapixel sensor with a larger f/1.9 aperture for better selfies and video chatting.

LG may advertise ‘Life is Good,’ but sometimes its smartphones fall somewhat short. For instance, some may find the notch an unnecessary addition to the display, or dislike the use of the LCD technology, the decreased wider angle of the secondary camera, or the removal the on/off button from the fingerprint sensor. On the other hand, LG did keep the 3.5 mm headphone jack, and improve the audio through the use of a Boombox speaker that resonates throughout the body of the phone. The LG G7 has the usual suspects – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v5.0, NFC, Google Pay, and an USB 3.1 Type-C port for charging and data transfer. The LG G7 ThinQ measures 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm, weighs in at 162 grams and comes in Platinum Gray, Aurora Black, Moroccan Blue, Raspberry Rose. It will cost you about $750 for the 64GB model.

...And The Winner Is...

The Final Word

This was a tough one because of the specialized features of Galaxy Note 9, not to mention the $250 price difference. However, I'm picking the Galaxy Note 9 as the winner of this comparison. It may cost more than the LG G7 ThinQ, but the larger Super AMOLED display, more RAM/storage, Super Dual Pixels, adjustable aperture, 2x Optical Zoom, FFC autofocus, DeX, Samsung Pay, Bixby, Samsung Connect, Iris Scanner, Intelligent Scan, greater capacity battery, heart rate sensor, SpO2 sensor, Samsung Knox, and the infamous Bluetooth S Pen make up for that difference.

The LG G7 ThinQ is a great smartphone but the smaller notched LCD display and its lesser capacity battery are a few reasons to go with the Galaxy Note 9. It does have the Boombox speakers, but the Galaxy Note 9 also has stereo speakers. The LG G7 ThinQ does carry the MIL-STD-801G rating for military specs, but this is a smartphone after all and for most users is unlikely to see any heavy duty encounters.

The Galaxy Note 9 is the pinnacle of smartphone design and function. Yes, it may have an S Pen that you believe you will never use, but the rest of the device is enough to love. The pricing is higher, but many deals are ongoing at dealers, allowing you to purchase this powerhouse at below the retail cost.

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