Introduction

Sometimes the biggest rivalries are between neighbors. The newest additions to clan LG and clan Samsung are from two different worlds - the organic LG G4 and the industrial Galaxy S6. One is curved with soft leather, the other is a cool glass and metal sliver.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung had a misstep with the S5 so it had to reboot the design for the Galaxy S6. Meanwhile LG G4 is an evolution from its well-received predecessor. Both flagships took steps towards a luxury design though they are on very different paths.

The LG G4 opted for premium leather and a slightly curved design (to stand apart from the Moto X). Samsung took the popular route and designed a slender metal frame sandwiched between two panes of glass.

LG G4 over Galaxy S6

  • Larger screen - 5.5" vs. 5.1"
  • Higher res selfies - 8MP vs. 5MP
  • Expandable storage
  • Removable battery
  • microUSB SlimPort and FM radio
  • Laser autofocus and Color spectrum sensor
  • Optional leather back

Samsung Galaxy S6 over LG G4

  • More compact, much thinner
  • Faster chipset - more CPU cores and better GPU
  • Sharper screen with better sunlight legibility
  • Better battery life
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Metal construction
  • Heart rate and blood-oxygen (SpO2) sensor
  • Wireless charging - Qi and PMA (may not be available in some regions)

Consumer sentiment is highly important in this business and this time it seems like it's on LG's side. Users stuck with homely Galaxys because they were practical - light durable plastic, user-serviceable storage and battery. The Galaxy S6 design while beautiful introduced more glass that might get scratched and worse, it locked up the back panel.

There were plenty of furrowed faces when battery and storage access was taken away so LG scored brownie points with the G4 that gives you full access to both. It has some longevity worries of its own though, Moto X's leather backs age pretty badly. It will be months before we know if the G4 will suffer the same fate, but at least you can always change the back with a fresh one. Not so with a scuffed Moto X or a scratched Galaxy S6.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6 square off

An overview of the two phones quickly reveals the points of contention. The LG comes with the bigger screen, but Samsung has perfected Super AMOLED. The G4 has unique camera features and a retooled camera software. The Galaxy S6 focused on getting the fingerprint sensor right and improving the health-tracking hardware.

The Samsung also has the upper hand in processing muscle, thanks to Samsung's semiconductor fabs, while LG had to work around Qualcomm's difficult transition to next-gen processors.

We'll dive into the details of these skirmishes, but we'll start with a mile high view and compare the hardware.

Hardware comparison

Samsung designers used to put practicality above all and even tried to appease those who didn't like the plastic look with faux leather designs. That didn't work out so the Galaxy S6 brings the favorite combo of the corporate world - metal and glass. Such designs have been around for years so it's not very innovative, but there's a reason the combo has stuck around for so long.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

The Samsung Galaxy S6 brings business-like metal and glass

LG isn't treading new ground with the leather back either, but Motorola's former laser focus on the US means the Moto X is still quite rare. LG's design with the back buttons was already recognizable, but the company added a decorative stitching and a slight curve to the phone's body to make it truly unique.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 offers optional leather, but the default is a plastic back

Note that while we keep mentioning the leather back it's only an option - and an expensive one at that. By default the LG G4 comes with a plastic back, which isn't nearly as nice. Actually, we prefer G3's brushed metal-effect plastic. The Samsung is more consistent in this regard, your only worry is availability of the color you picked.

The Galaxy S6 has an optional extra in a way too, the double-curved screen of the Galaxy S6 edge. Unlike the gentle arc of the G4, the sides of the S6 edge screen slope off to offer both a unique look and additional functionality. You pay the early adopter fee for that one though.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has a unique double-curved screen

Despite the tangible 0.4" difference in screen size, the two phones aren't that different in size. The Galaxy S6 measures 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm and weighs 138g, while the LG G4 is 148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8mm and weighs 155g.

The extra width on the G4 will affect handling, if you have smaller hands you may find it difficult to hold the _phone_ and use it with one hand. The thickness adds to the bulk as well, while the slight curve makes it seem even thicker.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

iPhone 6 Plus, LG G4 and Galaxy S6 size comparison

The Galaxy S6 is not the most compact device possible either, but the lower screen bezel holds the fingerprint reader (aka hardware Home key) and the capacitive Back and App switcher keys. The LG uses on-screen keys, which leave the lower bezel empty and eat into the screen real estate.

If you have used a 5" _phone_ before you shouldn't have issues with either of these. The LG G4 curved, rounded back fits well in the hand. The curve also makes it hug your leg more easily if you keep it in your pants' pocket.

The Galaxy S6 sits well in the hand too, the front and back glass panels have beveled edges, as does the aluminum rim. This makes side-swiping gestures smooth and make for a sleek in-hand feel. However, the flat, smooth glass on the back doesn't offer much grip. Neither does the aluminum for that matter.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 and Galaxy S6 in the hand

The curve of the LG G4 is so slight it may be hard to see unless you have something straight to compare it against. So its impact on usability is fairly small, but it's there reaching for the top and bottom edges of the screen is just a bit easier because the screen curves forward to meet your finger.

Both phones have capable selfie cameras above the screen, both with 4:3 sensors (despite the widescreen main cameras). The LG G4 brings 8MP with 1080p video, while the Galaxy S5 is down on still resolution - 5MP - but wins on video resolution - 1440p (aka QHD).

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Selfie's best friend - a good front camera

Around the back are the impressive 16MP main cameras of both phones. We'll cover them in detail in a later chapter, for now we'll just point out the hardware differences. The thin Galaxy S6 has a protruding camera, that doesn't really add to the bulk, but you need to be careful with it. Next to the camera is LED flash and the heart rate sensor.

The LG G4 camera also protrudes slightly, despite its thicker body. It also comes with a single-LED flash as the second LED that was on the G3 has been replaced by the Color Spectrum Sensor. The G4 camera carries over the IR emitters for the Laser autofocus.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Two advanced 16MP cameras • the one on the Galaxy S6 protrudes more

Also here are the only three hardware buttons on the LG G4. They are placed on the centerline of the phone, just below the camera. Some find this positioning more natural as their index finger lies right on the buttons when they hold the phone. Depending on your grip they may be a bit hard to reach though.

The Galaxy S6 sticks to the classics - the Power button on one side, the volume controls (this time separate buttons) on the other. They are easy to reach and the volume buttons can be used as a hardware shutter key for the camera (this isn't very comfortable with the G4 buttons).

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Galaxy S6 keeps its controls on the side, along with the nanoSIM card slot

Both phones have IR blasters on top, used to control TVs and other AV equipment, air conditioners even.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

IR blasters on top

Neither company went for stereo speakers, though both companies have plenty to say about how loud they've made their sole speakers. We'll check those claims later, but note the positioning. The Galaxy S6 places its speaker on the bottom (so it doesn't get muffled as easily). The LG G4 speaker is on the back, but the curved design gives it a bit of breathing room.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Single loudspeakers: on the back of the LG • on the bottom of the Samsung

Samsung caused a big upset when it permanently affixed the back cover, which means you can't access the battery. The company also dropped the microSD card slot, citing the performance hit users may experience with cheap cards.

LG stuck to its guns though and is now one of few companies that give you access to the battery and let you expand your storage at your leisure.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

The back cover and battery can easily be swapped • a selection of back covers for the G4

Samsung does offer wireless charging though, supporting both Qi and PMA standards. This makes it more likely that you'll find a venue - restaurant, airport or something else - that offer your brand of wireless charging. The LG G4 can gain Qi charging capabilities too with the right back cover.

Winner: Tie. Samsung went back to the drawing board and produced its best-looking design yet. The Galaxy S6 is a very attractive phone made of quality materials, thin too if that's your thing. The sealed battery and no memory expansion are deal-breakers for some though.

The LG G4 - if you get the optional leather back - can look very upscale too. It may be a bit too large for some, it's certainly thicker than it needed to be. The curve doesn't add much to usability. Even if the leather back gets scuffed, you can easily replace it, battery and memory card too.

Display

QHD screen resolution is a necessary spec these days, but for both our contenders it's more than just marketing. The LG G4 fills a roomy 5.5" screen with 2,560 x 1,440px resolution, at that diagonal 1080p is slightly less than perfect and nothing less than perfect will do for flagships.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a smaller screen, 5.1", but the Super AMOLED display has a PenTile matrix so the extra resolution goes towards keeping the sub-pixel sharpness up to par.

The G3 screen impressed with its size and resolution last year, but the contrast and color rendering were fairly disappointing. The new Quantum Dot display addresses both of those concerns and the phone now displays vivid colors. LG collaborated with DCI (which normally works with Hollywood) and achieved 98% coverage of their standard.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG also hints that Super AMOLED's ability to go over 100% causes oversaturation, but Samsung left that as a choice to the user - the AMOLED photo mode aims for perfect, while other modes offer richer (if less accurate) colors.

Viewing angles on both screens are perfect, with no noticeable color shift from any vantage point.

Color aside, LG pushed the screen contrast ratio above 1,200:1, which is pretty great for an LCD and a massive improvement over the sub-800:1 of the G3. It shows too, combined with the better color rendering the LG G4 offers a much more vivid picture than its predecessor.

LG couldn't fix the maximum brightness though, it still hovers around 550nits. That's not all that much and the brightness slider isn't very helpful for fine tuning. When it's at the 50% position the screen only does 110nits, which is nearly unusable. This leaves you the other 50% to go the rest of the 400+ nits.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

The Super AMOLED on the Samsung Galaxy S6 tops out at under 500nits if you want to set brightness manually, but it's best to leave the Auto toggle on. It conserves battery by reducing the brightness, but it can push it all the way up to 750nits if needed. That's beyond what you get from the manual setting or from the LG G4 for that matter.

Super AMOLED screens used to be darker than most LCDs so well done Samsung. Contrast is infinite, not accounting for ambient light reflections.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy S6 (Auto brightness) 208 753
Samsung Galaxy S6 208 473
LG G4 0.09 108 1240 0.43 532 1238


The LG G3 screen was quite reflective so reading off it was difficult in direct sunlight. Even though LG didn't improve the brightness, it cut down some of the reflectivity making the screen noticeably easier to read.

It's still nowhere near the Galaxy S6 display though, which is much easier to use in broad daylight. Note that the S6 score was done with brightness set manually, if you leave it on Auto it will stay legible in even more difficult conditions.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy E7
    4.485
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3.543
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • LG G Flex2
    3.465
  • YotaPhone 2
    3.453
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    2.892
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Sony Xperia Z3+
    2.824
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    2.765
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • vivo Xshot
    2.465
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC Desire 820
    2.372
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • HTC One M9
    2.334
  • LG G4
    2.317
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo R1x
    2.281
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
    2.149
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia C3 Dual
    2.12
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • ZTE Blade S6
    1.927
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Acer Liquid Jade S
    1.734
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Microsoft Lumia 532
    1.615
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Microsoft Lumia 435
    1.598
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Sony Xperia E4
    1.467
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

For protection, the Galaxy S6 uses Gorilla Glass 4 (also used for the back glass panel), while the LG G3 is on Gorilla Glass 3. Corning advertised GG4 as better at surviving drops, but LG has its own trick up its sleeve - the concave curve of the screen means the glass - at least the center, certainly not the edges - is kept away from the surface when the phone falls on its face.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. While smaller, the Super AMOLED offers the better viewing experience - the performance outdoor is much better and images are generally slightly punchier (or not, if you choose so).

The LG G4 could have done more to increase brightness and sunlight legibility, though the contrast and colors are great. If you're looking for screen real estate, the G4 is closer to the Galaxy Note 4 than the S6. It still remains one of the most compact phones with a 5.5-inch screen so if you absolutely want the biggest screen on a phone that you can still fit inside your pocket, the G4 might as well be the better choice.

Connectivity

Qualcomm traditionally had the upper hand when it comes to connectivity, but Samsung's Exynos line has since caught up. This leaves the Galaxy S6 and LG G4 pretty evenly matched on connectivity, but there are some key differences.

Let's start with the basics, if you can call 400Mbps Cat. 6 LTE that. Both phones have it and fall back to 42Mbps HSPA+ if there's no LTE around. Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is also supported, as is HD Voice (both features need support from your carrier).

At home you can make use of the latest Wi-Fi routers with 802.11ac support. Other local connections are handled over Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX for better quality if you use Bluetooth speakers. The Galaxy S6 also has ANT+, which is used in some sport sensors.

Wired connectivity is handled by the USB 2.0 port at the bottom of both phones, but the LG G4 has the upper hand thanks to SlimPort 4K. It allows you to control a UHD TV from your G4 via the wired HDMI connection. The Galaxy S6 lacks even basic MHL support, so only wireless video streaming would work for it.

LG has also kept the FM radio receiver on board, while Samsung did not.

For positioning both phones can rely on GPS, GLONASS and Beidou, with a barometer to help in dense urban environments.

Winner: LG G4. The 4K wired TV out is a big deal even if most 4K TVs are smart enough to stream the file over DLNA. The FM radio is nice thing to have too.

The Galaxy S6 is well-stocked aside from those two use cases. It has ANT+ too, which might come in handy if you have some compatible sports sensors lying around.

Battery life

While we pointed out the thickness of the LG G4 we should be fair and note that it has the bigger battery too - 3,000mAh. That capacity hasn't changed since the LG G2 though, so some movement on this front would have been welcome.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 actually went back compared to its predecessor, 50mAh but still it's a clear sign that the company is looking to its more efficient chipset and the screen to use less power.

And that strategy proved effective. The 14nm manufacturing process of the Exynos 6 chipset is a great advantage, the Super AMOLED screen advancements help too. Note that we run the tests with the brightness slider at 50% where the Galaxy S6 puts out nearly double the brightness compared to the LG G4.

Even without that the Galaxy S6 scores a very definitive victory, enough to last you three days of casual usage rather than the two you'll get from the G4. The S6 wins in all three individual tests, with crushing victories in the Web and Video tests.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

The Samsung Galaxy S6 lasts 3 hours more browsing the web, 5 hours more playing video. If that wasn't enough, it lasts 3 hours longer in the call test too.

Basically any use pattern you may have, the S6 will last longer. The LG G4 would have depleted its battery even faster if the test was done at even brightness.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. With better brightness and longer battery life, this was a strong victory for the Samsung.

LG G4 endurance degraded compared to the G3. Maybe Qualcomm deserves some of the blame, but either way it's not what you want to hear about a new flagship - "almost as good as the old one."

Interface comparison

Currently the Samsung Galaxy S6 runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, while the LG G4 benefits from launching a little later and the company had time to prepare 5.1 Lollipop for launch. The difference isn't that big though, both phones come with pretty heavy customizations to stock Android.

Lockscreen

The lockscreen shows notifications by default, but you can hide them for privacy reasons. LG kept a row of notifications on the bottom, while Samsung placed only Camera and Dialer shortcuts.

There are better ways to launch the camera - double press the Home key of the Galaxy S6 or the Volume down key on the LG G4 (note that this also takes a photo). These work from even when the screen is off.

Both companies implement custom security measures for the lockscreen. The Galaxy S6 boasts a fingerprint sensor on the Home key, which just requires you to place your finger on the key for a second. It's less sensitive to the position of your finger than the old swipe sensor of the Galaxy S5.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung lockscreen with fingerprint protection

LG meanwhile relies on their Knock Code, essentially a tap based password that lets you tap a pattern in four quadrants. Double tapping wakes up the screen or you can do the Knock Code, which bypasses the lockscreen altogether. You can check the time and notifications with a simple swipe from the top while the screen is off.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG lockscreen • shortcuts • KnockCode • swiping from the top while the screen

Security

The Samsung Galaxy S6 uses the fingerprint sensor to secure Private mode. This mode creates a secure section of storage that can hold sensitive files and photos. When you are not logged on to Private mode, this storage becomes inaccessible for anyone else using your phone until you unlock it again with your finger.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Setting up private mode

The fingerprint sensor can also be used to replace passwords for certain apps. It works with PayPal for authorizing transactions and you can sign into web pages using your key, which is much faster than the typing your password (especially if it contains special symbols).

LG has a similar feature, Content lock, though it's limited to PIN or Pattern protection. You can "lock" photos and videos from the Gallery and Qmemo+ notes, those will be hidden from anyone who doesn't know the PIN/pattern.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG's content lock

Notifications

Both companies follow the same model for the notification area. The top row contains the date and basic shortcuts, below are the Quick toggles, below that the brightness slider then additional widgets and only then the actual notifications.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung's take on the notification area

Both companies waste a good deal of space. Samsung has kept things somewhat more compact, adding only the S Finder and Quick connect buttons to the formula (no, you can't remove them).

Meanwhile LG has added a Volume slider and if you happen to enable the QSlide apps, then an extra row is reserved for their shortcuts, leaving you with about a third of the screen for actual notifications.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 notification area with QSlide enabled

Neither TouchWiz nor LG UX lets you do a two-finger swipe to view all quick toggles, but on the Galaxy you can tap the edit button and use the toggles there.

Multiple users

Multi-user support was first supposed to arrive with Android 4.2, then again with 5.0, but it's still a rare sight. The LG G4 does support an additional guest account (just one). This account gets its own homescreen and Play Store account, though app installs/updates affect the phone as a whole.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Multi-user support on the LG G4

So, it offers no protection against malicious users, you can use it to create Personal and Work accounts or a Guest account you can hand over to a friend (with Content lock keeping private things private).

The Samsung Galaxy S6 doesn't have such functionality, which is a shame since we imagine it would have worked great with the fingerprint sensor, opening the right account for the right person.

Themes

Samsung introduced theming support with the Galaxy S6 and has created a dedicated Theme store. It's a bit light on content right now, but it's growing fast. Themes can change wallpapers, icons, affect Samsung apps (dialer, contacts, messages) and the notification area).

Themes can also add matching audio elements - ringtones, notification tones, alarm sounds and so on.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

The Avenger theme is pretty extensive

LG used to have themes on previous models, though this option is gone on our review unit. Interestingly, a quick online search revealed that there are models out there that still offer a Themes menu in the Homescreen settings so we guess it's an odd regional limitation.

Multitasking

Both companies use the standard 3D rolodex look for their app switcher and implement their own multitasking solutions, which turn out almost identical.

Samsung has been doing Multi-Window for ages, it splits the screen in two and runs an app in each half. You can drag and drop an image or a paragraph of text between apps. Only certain apps are available, but the most used apps work - Facebook, Hangout, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, Gmail, Maps and others.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Multi-Window • floating mini apps

The LG solution, Dual Window, works the same way, except without the drag and drop functionality and even fewer apps are supported - WhatsApp and Facebook are not supported, for example.

The alternative is small floating apps. This was LG's original attempt at multitasking, the QSlide feature. It creates floating, resizable apps and lets you make them semi-transparent.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Dual Window and QSlide in action

Samsung also allows floating apps, but adds a cool gesture to the mix - a swipe from the upper right corner will minimize a full screen app into a floating state. All apps that support Multi-Window can work in this mode, but not all Dual Window apps work with QSlide.

Staying in touch

HTC started the trend of dedicating a homescreen pane to news and Samsung followed up with the Briefing pane. It's really Flipboard on your homescreen (you can remove it if you like). Unlike HTC's solution, this one can't show social networking notifications.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

The Flipboard-powered Briefing homescreen pane

LG has Smart Bulletin, which doesn't really do news but focuses on you instead. It shows a column of widgets, starting with LG Health (counting your steps), then Calendar (a peek at your schedule), the Music player, Smart Settings, QRemote and so on.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Smart Bulletin homescreen pane • and as a widget

Settings

Samsung puts a selection of commonly used settings on top (you can customize the list) and below that a list of all settings. It's best to use the quick settings on top or hit the Search button instead of digging through layers of settings.

LG gives you two options - a list or a tabbed view of the settings. There's no search functionality though, which can make things tougher if you don't know where you need to go for a specific option.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. It's a minor Android version behind for now, but the security options enabled by the fingerprint sensor and the more mature multitasking options tilt the scales in its favor. The theming support is great to have too.

LG's multi-user implementation is welcome, while the Knock Code and Content lock feature provide an alternative to Samsung's features (though not as good). And how come themes is a regional feature?

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S6 starts off with an advantage - two extra CPU cores (of the big kind) and a GPU better suited for the QHD resolution of the screen. Not to mention manufacturing the chipset at an advanced 14nm node, thanks to Samsung's own foundries.

LG had to rely on Qualcomm as its in-house chipset never quite manages to launch. It stepped down from the Snapdragon 810 (and its thermal issues) to the Snapdragon 808, which is built on an older 20nm process.

Let's count the troops. The Exynos 7420 inside the Galaxy S6 brings four Cortex-A57 cores at 2.1GHz, four Cortex-A53s at 1.5GHz and an octa-core Mali-T760.

The Snapdragon in the LG G4 has only two A57 cores at 1.82GHz, four A53s at 1.44GHz and Adreno 418, which should deliver a 20% boost over the Adreno 330. Both phones pack 3GB of RAM.

Storage performance is also important - it's the reason Samsung dropped "underperforming" microSD cards. The Galaxy S6 uses a proprietary UFS 2.0 system, which promises 2.7x the performance of eMMC 5.0.

Let's start with the processor. The Samsung Galaxy S6 makes short work of the LG G4. Single-core performance is slightly better as the big Cortex-A57 core is clocked higher. When all cores are engaged, however, the two additional A57s open a wide gap, the S6 beats the G4 by a good 50%.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    5215
  • LG G4
    3509

Basemark OS 2.0 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    6306
  • LG G4
    5871

Basemark OS 2.0 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    26799
  • LG G4
    17739

Overall performance also goes in favor of the Galaxy S6. AnTuTu 5 shows a huge difference, while Basemark OS 2.0 reports barely any. Still, given the individual scores we're willing to side with AnTuTu.

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    69396
  • LG G4
    49295

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    1674
  • LG G4
    1584

The LG G4 boasts a QHD screen though it doesn't bring the fastest GPU on the market. Still, if you used the LG G3 and it was fine, the G4 should be a bit faster.

Compared to the Galaxy S6, however, games have a lot less resources to work with. We'll look at just the on-screen scores since the resolutions are equal.

The older GFX Bench 2.7 shows a 50% advantage in framerate for the Galaxy S6. It makes the difference between a playable 38fps and a stutter 25fps. The newer GFX Bench 3.0 shows a similar difference in framerate of 50%.

Basemark X shows an even greater difference, awarding the Galaxy S6 an 80% higher score than the LG G4.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    38
  • LG G4
    24.7

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    14
  • LG G4
    9.4

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    27169
  • LG G4
    15090

For web browsing LG dropped its customized browser and went for Chrome instead, while Samsung maintains its own fork of the vanilla Android browser. JavaScript is single-treaded by nature so it falls to the fastest core, the Cortex-A57. Kudos to LG, despite the clock disadvantage it practically matches the Galaxy S6 on the Kraken 1.1 test.

Still, the Snapdragon 808 starts to sweat when it renders pages in QHD resolution and the BrowserMark 2.1 score shows a pretty decent advantage for the Galaxy S6.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • LG G4
    4085
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4154

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    2718
  • LG G4
    1990

Let's see if the UFS 2.0 storage lives up to expectations. Storage speed is measured for reading (e.g. launching an app) and writing (e.g. recording 2160p video). It also falls in two categories - sequential (say videos and music) and random (a game loading data as you move through the level).

The Samsung Galaxy S6 smokes the LG G4 in read tests, both sequential and random. The difference for writing is definitely visible though not quite as big. While recording 2160p video even on much slower microSD cards is not an issue, the better random performance will help multitasking as apps move data to and from the storage.

Sequential Read, MB/s

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    311
  • LG G4
    246

Sequential Write, MB/s

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    139
  • LG G4
    102

Random Read, MB/s

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    77
  • LG G4
    28

Random Write, MB/s

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    20
  • LG G4
    14

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. Essentially it won on all individual tests, the difference in performance will perhaps be most tangible for games. If you use the split-screen multitasking often then the CPU and storage advantage will be of better help too.

Multimedia package

Gallery

You can say that LG's Gallery app is heavily influenced by the iOS app. It shows all photos on a timeline and you can use pinch zoom to get closer - from a yearly view down to the day by day. One great feature here is that cloud services are supported out of the box - Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and Box can be used to store your photos and videos. DLNA is also available from the menu.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG gallery with great cloud storage integration

Samsung's Gallery app borrows from HTC instead and creates Video highlights, automatically generated slideshows from your photos. It can also organize photos by Time or by Event (time + location). Only Picasa is supported from the cloud services, DLNA works too.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung gallery with Video highlights

Music player

Samsung had one of the best music players around, the version on the Galaxy S6 has all the same functionality but with a simplified UI to make it easier to use. It features SoundAlive tuning with two dials - bass/treble and instrument/vocal. You can use the manual 7-band equalizer instead or let the Adapt Sound feature adjust it automatically with some help from you.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

TouchWiz music player with extensive audio options

The best feature on the LG G4 music player is the same as on the gallery - cloud integration. You can sync your music library with your computer and other devices, without signing up for a service like Google Play Music (not available in some countries) or Amazon Music. There's a 7-band equalizer and audio presets too.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4's music player also features cloud integration

Both the LG G4 and Galaxy S6 support FLAC audio out of the box, but lossless albums will eat into your storage pretty quick so the microSD card slot is a great advantage.

Neither phone has FM radio.

Video player

The LG G4 video player is quite capable. It handled every popular video format and codec all the way to 2160p, which it can output over a cable thanks to SlimPort 4K. Even the multichannel AC-3 audio format worked, though not DTS. Subtitles are supported with customizable looks.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Capable video player with subtitles and great codec support

The Samsung Galaxy S6 video player also works with 2160p videos, both phones support the new H.265/HEVC codec, which is slowly gaining popularity (the G4 works with it too). It won't play multi-channel audio though (you'll need a third-party app for that) and you can't use wired TV out, leaving you only DLNA. Subtitles work flawlessly though.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Galaxy S6 video player with great subtitle support and floating app version

Both players can move the video to a small floating window so you can continue working while watching, say, a music video.

Winner: LG G4. We loved the prevalent cloud services integration and the video player works slightly better with audio.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 music player is better-suited for audiophiles and its multimedia apps are quite good.

Audio quality

When connected to an active external amplifier, the clarity of the output of the two smartphones is on par, but the LG G4 taking an advantage due to its notably louder output.

Plug in a pair of headphones however and things change dramatically in favor of the Samsung Galaxy S6. The glass-clad flagship continues to produces excellently clear output, while its leather-back rival experiences quite a bit of deterioration. Worse still for the G4, its volume levels drop to below those of the Galaxy S6 and it's this scenario when loudness matters more.

Anyway, here go the results so you can do your comparisons.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
LG G4 +0.04, -0.07 -93.4 93.3 0.0021 0.050 -92.6
LG G4 (headphones) +0.93, -0.13 -91.4 91.9 0.013 0.244 -50.4
Samsung Galaxy S6 +0.01, -0.04 -95.6 92.8 0.0024 0.0094 -94.5
Samsung Galaxy S6 (headphones) +0.02, -0.05 -92.6 91.9 0.0025 0.042 -83.4

LG G4 frequency response

LG G4 frequency response

Samsung Galaxy S6 frequency response

Samsung Galaxy S6 response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. The LG G4 took an early lead, but its headphones performance is sub-par for a 2015 flagship, costing it the victory here.

Loudspeaker

Both phones score a Good mark and they perform quite evenly. The LG G4 speaker is better optimized for playing music, while the Galaxy S6 does better with human voice (for hands-free calls). Both are even on a generic ringtone.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Samsung Galaxy S6 68.1 66.3 73.7 Good
LG G4 66.9 71.8 74.7 Good


The LG G4 has an interesting feature called Ringtone ID, which can compose a unique ringtone for each of your contacts. It works by transforming the phone number digits into notes and the results are surprisingly pleasing for an auto-generated piece.

Winner: LG G4. We might have called it even, but the Ringtone ID shows some innovation. Also, we prefer using the loudspeaker for music (you won't use the hands-free option in a noisy environment, so loudness is not a priority).

Still camera

The LG G4 camera comes adorned with the most features yet. It has a brand new sensor with 16MP resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio, it sits behind a new lens with a wider f/1.8 aperture that also features 3-axis stabilization (up from 2-axis on the G3) and is backed by a Color Spectrum Sensor for improved color accuracy, in addition to the laser autofocus.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has an updated camera too, building on the Galaxy Note 4 camera. It's a 16MP 16:9 sensor too, behind a similar f/1.9 aperture and optical stabilization. The S6 camera supports tracking autofocus, which makes it easier to keep moving objects in focus.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Even the front-facing cameras on these two are impressive. The Samsung has a 5MP selfie shooter with an f/1.9 aperture and digital image stabilization. The LG packs an 8MP shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. Both sensors are old-school 4:3, unlike their backside counterparts.

The LG G4 has one major advantage in software - it has manual control mode that can shoot RAW DNG images for later manual editing. There's a histogram too to guide you while adjusting the settings.

The Galaxy S6 has a manual mode as well, both phones let you adjust focus, ISO, white balance, the S6 also lets you tune contrast and colors. It lacks the helpful histogram and the ability to shoot RAW, though that one is expected with the Android 5.1 update.

Photo quality: daylight

First off, the field of view for both cameras is essentially identical. The LG G4 nails the white balance, while the Galaxy S6 daylight photos have a very slight blue tint. This doesn't mean the G4 has perfect color rendering though, reds come out closer to orange. The S6 reds look better though sometimes they lean towards purple. The Galaxy also oversaturates colors a bit.

For fine detail there's a shifting balance between camera sharpness, noise reduction and digital sharpening. There are areas where the LG G4 manages to resolve more detail than its opponent, however the noise reduction sometimes smears the captured detail. The LG G4, for instance, struggles with foliage, turning it into cotton candy.

The crop below shows the primary colors, you can also look at the full images for more examples.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Also, corner sharpness is just not as good as on the S6. Look at this crop taken from the left fourth of the camera samples. The S6 might be have stepped up the sharpening, but no sharpening can fix the lens softness of the LG G4.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

At full magnification (like these crops) it's pretty easy to spot the heavier sharpening applied by the Galaxy S6. However, most photos will not be viewed at 100%, a 4K TV has an 8MP screen. When a photo is downscaled to match the display resolution, the end result looks better if some sharpening was applied beforehand.

The LG G4 has a wider dynamic range, which shows when there are a lot of shadows alongside brightly lit areas in the shot. The Galaxy S6 is a good performer in this area, though it underexposes shadows quite often while highlights get overexposed rarely, but still more often than the G4.

Here's a look at the problem areas - red spots are overexposed, teal bits are underexposed. The histogram is quite telling as well, the Galaxy S6 photos bump up against both the upper and lower bounds while LG G4 photos have some breathing room.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Note that we had some issues with missed focus from our LG G4 unit, we even had to go back and reshoot a couple of locations even though we take multiple shots of each and pick the best one.

You can view the full images used for the crops if you want a deeper look into the image quality.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 camera samples

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 camera samples

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. It's a precarious victory that LG could steal with a software update. The Galaxy S6 handled the balance between noise reduction and sharpening better, leaving more of the fine detail.

The LG G4, however, has the better dynamic range and it resolves slightly more detail (which gets lost in the post processing). The Color Spectrum Sensor results in a more accurate white balance, though color rendering is still off. The missed focus is worrying.

HDR

Let's give the Galaxy S6 a chance to earn back some points on the dynamic range front and enable HDR. Both phones have Auto HDR modes so you can leave it always on and not worry about it. The effect on both phones works with a very light touch, focusing on rescuing some shadows.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 pulls it off better, bringing in more detail. The LG G4 is far from stitching the multiple frames perfectly, which softens the image and can cause some artifacts.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

You can see the artifacts in the balcony railing on the white buildings.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4: HDR off • HDR on

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6: HDR off • HDR on

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. It brought out more detail in the shadows while introducing less artifacts in the photo.

This is something else LG can improve on with a software update, the G4 is working with the better dynamic range to begin with.

Panorama

Another big improvement in the LG camera software, beside manual mode, is the panorama. The LG G4 can shoot panos up to a whopping 104MP. Those have a vertical resolution of about 5,000px, depending on how steady you hold the phone.

The Galaxy S6 tops out at 60MP with a vertical resolution of around 3,000px. The yet-to-come 8K TV standard plans on 4,320px resolution (4K TVs are at 2,160px) so the LG G4 is quite futureproof in this regard.

LG G4's dynamic range is very important here since panoramas are so wide they always capture well-lit and shadowy areas. The Galaxy S6 panorama looks sharper at 100% magnification (the G4 mangles foliage again), but the sheer number of pixels in LG G4 panoramas allow it to capture noticeably more detail.

Stitching issues on both phones are mostly minor, though the G4 panorama has a problem area on the left (we have two shots with a very similar defect).

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 panorama

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 panorama

Winner: LG G4. Despite the stitching issue, the panorama turned out stunning. We could zoom in on various part of the image and enjoy the wealth of detail.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is down on resolution, but the superior image processing is pretty evident in foliage and other fine detail.

Selfie cameras

The selfie cameras on these phones are better than the main shooters of some lower-end phones so we had to try them out. As we mentioned earlier, both take 4:3 photos and the LG G4 has a resolution advantage - 8MP vs. 5MP.

We took these photos from the same distance, it's easy to spot the wider field of view of the Samsung Galaxy S6. It can push this advantage further with the Wide selfie mode, which stitches three images (something like a panorama).

Both phones mess up the white balance with a slight reddish tint, but the S6 is further off the mark. The resolution advantage allows the LG G4 to capture more detail, though the noise reduction takes away some from fine detail (like the fur).

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 selfie • Samsung Galaxy S6 selfie

Winner: LG G4. The higher resolution captures more detail, which is most important for quick selfies. There's also a hand gesture that lets you snap a selfie without reaching for the key.

The Galaxy S6 can capture you and your friends (a groupie), especially with the Wide selfie mode.

Photo quality: night

A wide aperture allows more light to reach the sensor, which makes the camera that much better at shooting in low light. LG went from f/2.4 on the G3 to f/1.8 on the G4, which translates to roughly 80% more light reaching the sensor. Samsung went from f/2.2 on the S5 to f/1.9 on the Galaxy S6, which gets 34% more light. The G4 and S6 however are pretty equal in this respect.

Then it's down to the sensor (helped by optical stabilization) to make the best of the available light. Some software too - LG has an automatic night mode (that you can't control in any way) that greatly reduces the noise. It makes capturing images quite slow though and it won't work for moving subjects.

Speaking of speed, the Galaxy S6 snaps photos faster since the G4 occasionally gets slowed down by the night mode. Our LG G4 unit also missed the focus on a few shots.

Both phones drop down the speed to a sluggish 1/10s, but the Galaxy S6 typically uses lower ISO to keep the noise down. In the first scene it shot at an optimistic ISO 200, while the LG G4 went up to ISO 500. The upper left shot is one where night mode triggered and ISO wasn't recorded, but the noise is visibly down without taking away from the fine detail.

Even with all the noise, the LG G4 captured more detail. Night mode cleans out most of the noise and even manages to bring in some extra detail. The Galaxy S6 photo is quite dark, which hides some of the detail, but you can go into Pro mode and boost the exposure compensation.

There's no Night mode though, so you have to do this manually. We edited a copy of the photo, brightening the shadows, to make it easier to compare to the G4.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 night shots: Normal (1/10s, ISO 500) • Night mode (1/10s), ISO unknown)

You can view the full resolution images for a closer look.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 night shots: 1/10s, ISO 200

Winner: LG G4. We wish we had manual control over the night mode, but it does an excellent job. Even if it doesn't get activated automatically, the night time shots are better exposed and have more detail than the Galaxy S6 managed.

The Galaxy S6 proved the more reliable shooter of the two though, with no out-of-focus shots. A night mode control would have been helpful here too, as photos turn out too dark and you have to either use Pro mode or retouch them after the fact.

Video quality: daylight

Both phones adhere to the current gold standard of 2160p at 30fps, but they have lower resolution modes as well. The LG G4 is a bit light on options here, offering only 1080p and 720p, plus a high framerate option. It lacks a 60fps mode though.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 offers 60fps mode at 1080p in addition to QHD and high framerate options. Note that it uses a combination of optical and digital stabilization, but the digital portion gets disabled when you go over 1080p @ 30fps.

The Galaxy S6 uses a higher bitrate for its 2160p videos, 48Mbps, while the LG G4 shoots at 30Mbps. This means a minute of S6 video eats up 360MB, while G4 videos take 225MB per minute. The flipside of this is that the higher framerate has the potential to keep more fine detail. For 1080p videos both settle on 17Mbps.

Sound is important to note here. The Samsung Galaxy S6 records 256Kbps audio, while the LG G4 is capped at 156Kbps. Even so, the LG G4 seems to have the better mics and the audio sounds better. It's also less susceptible to wind noise.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

While the still camera field of view was equal for both phones, in video mode the Galaxy S6 is slightly wider, capturing more of the scene. The LG G4 dynamic range allows it to capture more detail in the shadows and highlights. It white balance sensor helps out again, the S6 videos have a cool tint.

Foliage and other fine detail in LG G4 videos still get smudged a bit and Galaxy S6 videos generally come out sharper.



The clouds rolled in by the time we got to the 1080p samples. So videos from both have washed out skies, but the underexposure problem in the Galaxy S6 videos becomes more pronounced.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Unlike 2160p videos, the LG G4 leans on the sharpening (more than the S6), which creates some visible halos.



You can download untouched samples from both in case you don't trust YouTube's compression.

LG G4 Samsung Galaxy S6
2160p 2160p
1080p 1080p


Winner: LG G4. We wish 2160p videos were sharpened more and 1080p videos less, but with better dynamic range and color rendering, plus better audio, the LG G4 provides the better overall experience.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 videos are sharper with more detail, in part thanks to the higher bitrate. It takes up precious, un-expandable storage though. We were surprised to hear the higher bitrate audio sound worse.

Stabilization

Both the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6 feature optical image stabilization for photos and videos. Digital stabilization is rarely any good and even when it is, it eats up too much of the field of view so OIS is a vital feature for both.

The effects of OIS are most visible in video, so we attached the two phones together and shot 2160p videos simultaneously on both. Here's what that looks like side by side.

The Galaxy S6 warns that it can't do additional video stabilization at 2160p - for 1080p videos it uses a combination of optical and digital stabilization. Even without that boost, the S6 video appears smoother while the LG G4 has some slight jerkiness in places.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. Both phones do a very good job at absorbing the worst of handshake jerks, but the Galaxy S6 does it slightly better.

Video camera: night

The LG G4 showed a strong performance in the dark, but when it comes to videos it can't lean on a hidden night mode. Videos shot at 2160p resolution look soft, with a heavy-handed noise reduction that creates smooth blotches throughout the image.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 videos have a good deal of noise too, though the phone retains noticeably more detail. White balance is a bit off and colors are slightly oversaturated, while the G4 nails the white balance but colors are slight undersaturated.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Here are the YouTube samples:



Moving down to 1080p helps the LG G4 deal with the noise and the image is sharper, though the Galaxy S6 still captures more detail.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

And more YouTube samples:



Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. The videos look sharper, with more detail and the colors (while a bit off) look better.

The LG G4 videos look soft, with washed out colors and the noise reduction needs work.

120fps videos

Both phones can do slow-motion videos, by dropping to 720p resolution they achieve 120fps. Neither result is pleasing.

LG G4 videos appear jaggier, upscaled from much less than 720p. The Samsung Galaxy S6 preserves more detail, though nowhere near the advertised 720p either.



Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. Just barely though, both phones disappoint here. It's just that LG G4 videos are terribly jaggy.

Video selfies

The selfie cameras produced pleasing stills, now we're turning them in video mode. The Galaxy S6 regains lost grown with higher resolution - QHD versus the 1080p that the LG G4 records. The bitrates are 25Mbps and 16.6Mbps respectively.

Another advantage the Galaxy S6 has digital image stabilization for selfie videos. Still, the numerical resolution advantage doesn't account for much since both phones capture about the same amount of detail.



Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6. While it didn't make the best of the higher resolution, it has a wider field of view and optional stabilization, which will come in handy often.

Final words

The Hatfields and McCoys are legendary rival neighbors from the New Continent, but South Korea has two tech giants instead - Samsung and LG. Their flagship phones, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4, will compete for every inch of ground gained on the market.

These two are quite different in nature and will appeal to different crowds. The thin metal and glass design of the S6 goes after the iPhone, while also catering to Galaxy faithfuls who weren't happy with the faux leather. The LG G4 steers away from the "smartphone slab" design with a uniquely curved body and provides a soft answer to Apple's and HTC's metal.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Those two fought tooth and nail in each chapter and in the process it became clear they are quite different in philosophy.

The LG G4 goes after the power user. It brings a huge screen in a compact body, giving you two options for multitasking and a modern OS with no bloat. The camera saw the biggest upgrade and it's friendly to new users, letting advanced hardware do most of the work, while remaining quite flexible in the hands of somebody who know what they are doing.

LG knows better than to coach you about storage and allows you to expand it with a microSD card. The removable back cover lets you change the battery as necessary and makes adding a wireless charging cover or a flip case easy.

Speaking of cases, the optional leather cover elevates the basic plastic design to a rare premium experience. True, the Moto X did it first, but genuine leather is very rare - much more so than the metal/glass combo of the Galaxy S6.

LG G4

LG G4

As for the Samsung Galaxy S6, it moves away from power users (the target of previous S flagships) and goes after the fashionable/business crowd. The S6 comes with a sleek design to rival the iPhone, offering no geeky distractions.

It does multitasking too and the camera is an upgrade from the Note 4, with a wider aperture and better software. The fingerprint sensor is much better too, ready to handle login and authorization tasks, while the hardware inside the phone is lying in wait for Samsung Pay to launch around the world.

The wireless charging is also an answer to the sealed battery issue - many venues have added chargers, so you can top up your phone during a business (or just office) lunch.

The Galaxy S6 edge is an interesting alternative. Pricy, but while G4's curved design is so subtle it's near invisible, the dual-curved screen of the S6 edge is instantly noticeable and unmatched by another device (the G Flex2 is curvier than the G4, but the Note Edge has only one curved side, not two).

Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung thought it knew the audience it was playing to, but the Galaxy S5 slump proved otherwise. The company regrouped and rebooted its flagship line and the Galaxy S6 is one serious phone - no plastic and no gimmicky features.

LG had just hit the right note with the G3 and with the LG G4 the company is doubling down on that base design. Including some of that G Flex DNA gives it an advanced feel, while the leather backs give you a premium option few phones can match.

So, suit and tie or leather pants?

Hardware comparison

Samsung designers used to put practicality above all and even tried to appease those who didn't like the plastic look with faux leather designs. That didn't work out so the Galaxy S6 brings the favorite combo of the corporate world - metal and glass. Such designs have been around for years so it's not very innovative, but there's a reason the combo has stuck around for so long.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

The Samsung Galaxy S6 brings business-like metal and glass

LG isn't treading new ground with the leather back either, but Motorola's former laser focus on the US means the Moto X is still quite rare. LG's design with the back buttons was already recognizable, but the company added a decorative stitching and a slight curve to the phone's body to make it truly unique.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 offers optional leather, but the default is a plastic back

Note that while we keep mentioning the leather back it's only an option - and an expensive one at that. By default the LG G4 comes with a plastic back, which isn't nearly as nice. Actually, we prefer G3's brushed metal-effect plastic. The Samsung is more consistent in this regard, your only worry is availability of the color you picked.

The Galaxy S6 has an optional extra in a way too, the double-curved screen of the Galaxy S6 edge. Unlike the gentle arc of the G4, the sides of the S6 edge screen slope off to offer both a unique look and additional functionality. You pay the early adopter fee for that one though.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has a unique double-curved screen

Despite the tangible 0.4" difference in screen size, the two phones aren't that different in size. The Galaxy S6 measures 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm and weighs 138g, while the LG G4 is 148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8mm and weighs 155g.

The extra width on the G4 will affect handling, if you have smaller hands you may find it difficult to hold the phone and use it with one hand. The thickness adds to the bulk as well, while the slight curve makes it seem even thicker.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

iPhone 6 Plus, LG G4 and Galaxy S6 size comparison

The Galaxy S6 is not the most compact device possible either, but the lower screen bezel holds the fingerprint reader (aka hardware Home key) and the capacitive Back and App switcher keys. The LG uses on-screen keys, which leave the lower bezel empty and eat into the screen real estate.

If you have used a 5" phone before you shouldn't have issues with either of these. The LG G4 curved, rounded back fits well in the hand. The curve also makes it hug your leg more easily if you keep it in your pants' pocket.

The Galaxy S6 sits well in the hand too, the front and back glass panels have beveled edges, as does the aluminum rim. This makes side-swiping gestures smooth and make for a sleek in-hand feel. However, the flat, smooth glass on the back doesn't offer much grip. Neither does the aluminum for that matter.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

LG G4 and Galaxy S6 in the hand

The curve of the LG G4 is so slight it may be hard to see unless you have something straight to compare it against. So its impact on usability is fairly small, but it's there reaching for the top and bottom edges of the screen is just a bit easier because the screen curves forward to meet your finger.

Both phones have capable selfie cameras above the screen, both with 4:3 sensors (despite the widescreen main cameras). The LG G4 brings 8MP with 1080p video, while the Galaxy S5 is down on still resolution - 5MP - but wins on video resolution - 1440p (aka QHD).

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Selfie's best friend - a good front camera

Around the back are the impressive 16MP main cameras of both phones. We'll cover them in detail in a later chapter, for now we'll just point out the hardware differences. The thin Galaxy S6 has a protruding camera, that doesn't really add to the bulk, but you need to be careful with it. Next to the camera is LED flash and the heart rate sensor.

The LG G4 camera also protrudes slightly, despite its thicker body. It also comes with a single-LED flash as the second LED that was on the G3 has been replaced by the Color Spectrum Sensor. The G4 camera carries over the IR emitters for the Laser autofocus.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Two advanced 16MP cameras • the one on the Galaxy S6 protrudes more

Also here are the only three hardware buttons on the LG G4. They are placed on the centerline of the phone, just below the camera. Some find this positioning more natural as their index finger lies right on the buttons when they hold the phone. Depending on your grip they may be a bit hard to reach though.

The Galaxy S6 sticks to the classics - the Power button on one side, the volume controls (this time separate buttons) on the other. They are easy to reach and the volume buttons can be used as a hardware shutter key for the camera (this isn't very comfortable with the G4 buttons).

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Galaxy S6 keeps its controls on the side, along with the nanoSIM card slot

Both phones have IR blasters on top, used to control TVs and other AV equipment, air conditioners even.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

IR blasters on top

Neither company went for stereo speakers, though both companies have plenty to say about how loud they've made their sole speakers. We'll check those claims later, but note the positioning. The Galaxy S6 places its speaker on the bottom (so it doesn't get muffled as easily). The LG G4 speaker is on the back, but the curved design gives it a bit of breathing room.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

Single loudspeakers: on the back of the LG • on the bottom of the Samsung

Samsung caused a big upset when it permanently affixed the back cover, which means you can't access the battery. The company also dropped the microSD card slot, citing the performance hit users may experience with cheap cards.

LG stuck to its guns though and is now one of few companies that give you access to the battery and let you expand your storage at your leisure.

LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6
LG G4 vs. Galaxy S6

The back cover and battery can easily be swapped • a selection of back covers for the G4

Samsung does offer wireless charging though, supporting both Qi and PMA standards. This makes it more likely that you'll find a venue - restaurant, airport or something else - that offer your brand of wireless charging. The LG G4 can gain Qi charging capabilities too with the right back cover.

Winner: Tie. Samsung went back to the drawing board and produced its best-looking design yet. The Galaxy S6 is a very attractive phone made of quality materials, thin too if that's your thing. The sealed battery and no memory expansion are deal-breakers for some though.

The LG G4 - if you get the optional leather back - can look very upscale too. It may be a bit too large for some, it's certainly thicker than it needed to be. The curve doesn't add much to usability. Even if the leather back gets scuffed, you can easily replace it, battery and memory card too.

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