Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Introduction


It is big, it is powerful, and it is destined to end up in the pockets of millions. There's no more fitting way to describe the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which we just had the chance to take through the in-depth review treatment. Simply put, it is a great _phone_ – one we would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a no-compromise, feature-rich Android device. But it is our job and obligation to consider the alternatives when dealing with a _phone_ of this rank. And one of the smartphones worthy of being stacked up against the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the LG G3. Right off the bat, the odds are against the latter – it is looking weaker on a hardware level and cannot quite match the feature set of the Note 4. But the LG G3 can be had for considerably less. Is the compromise worth it?

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Design


While not perfect, the Note 4 and G3 have a lot to stand out with. The former has a more premium feel and a richer feature set, while the latter is more compact and fits better in the hand.

Looking at the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 side by side, we're finding it hard to decide which one we like better. Both exhibit qualities that score them big points as far as design is concerned, yet leave room for improvement in other areas.

The Note 4, in particular, builds on top of the design principles instilled by the Note 3 by adopting the faux leather texture found on the back plate. The finish is still as resistant to fingerprints as before, which is great, but at the same time, it has lost some of its grip and feels more plasticky to the touch.
We must say that the handset's solid metal frame does a good job at spicing up the phone's design. It contributes to the phone's sophisticated appearance, while its beveled edge makes it easier to get a good hold on the handset. The curved edges of that scratch-resistant glass display make it a pleasure to slide your fingers across its surface.

We can't deny that the LG G3 is also a looker. The finish of its surface is smooth to the touch, but not too slippery. It retains no fingerprints, and its resemblance of brushed metal is very pleasing to the eye. As for the material the phone's outer shell is made of, things are a bit complicated. LG has made it clear that one of the back plate's layers is actual metal, but the top-most one is a polycarbonate one, so that's what your fingers will be actually touching. Nevertheless, although the LG G3 feels about as plasticky as the Note 4, it is also a handset worthy of attention.

So as we already said, the solid frame on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 makes the phone easy to grasp, and so do the tapered sides of its back. Still, we find the LG G3 more comfortable to hold. The latter's back side is curvier, and that improves the phone's ergonomics factor quite a bit. Given the sheer sizes of both devices, it goes without saying that single-handed use and carrying either in a tight pocket are challenging, if not impossible tasks. In that respect, the LG G3 has an advantage with its lesser height and smaller screen as there's less to reach for with your thumb. By the way, both phones have UI features that improve single-handed use by a considerable margin, but more on that later.

Speaking of ergonomics and ease of use, we have to highlight the excellent power and volume keys found on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Located on the phone's right and left sides respectively, they are exposed really well, and pressing any of them produces a satisfying click. In contrast, the power and volume keys on the LG G3 are placed on its back side, below the camera lens. The goal of this design solution is to place these keys under the user's index finger, where they'll be easy to press, all the while reducing the amount of components on the phone's left and sides. To be honest, the buttons' design isn't bad, but it takes some getting used to.

Below the screen of the Galaxy Note 4 we find Samsung's trademark button layout, with a hardware “Home” key in the middle and capacitive buttons for the “Recent apps” and “Back” functions. It is a tried and tested design feature that gets the job done. The LG G3 uses on-screen buttons instead of physical ones. On one hand, this has allowed the phone to be less tall as there's nothing occupying the area below its screen, but on the other hand, some might find it annoying that these virtual buttons hide automatically in certain apps and have to be brought back with a pull-up gesture if needed.

Before we can proceed further, we have to highlight all of the Galaxy Note 4's stand-out perks – perks that the LG G3 does not have in its feature arsenal. For starters, there's the S Pen stylus, tucked in its dedicated slot. The accessory is there for those times when you need to take down a note, but can also be used for sketching, for navigating through the UI, for selecting multiple items on the screen, and much more. There's also the fingerprint scanner embedded in the home button, which is used to lock the phone, to secure personal data, and to authorize payments. The scanner isn't the most convenient one ever placed on a phone, but it is better to have the feature in some form than not having it at all. On the phone's back, right below the camera lens, reside a heart-rate monitor, the use for which is self explanatory, and a UV sensor designed to measure the sun's intensity. There's no denying that the Note 4's abundance of extras is an advantage over the LG G3, but at the same time, we're pretty sure that some people would never actually need any of these features. At the end of the day, it is up to the user to decide whether they'd go with the G3's simplified solution or Samsung's “everything but the kitchen sink” approach.

 

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

LG G3
LG G3
5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

LG G3



Display


With their high-resolution, QHD displays, both phones deliver an amazing amount of details. Still, the Galaxy Note 4 stands a few steps ahead with its more accurate color reproduction in Basic mode.

If there's one thing that both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 have to offer, that's screen space. There's a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED panel on the former, while the latter packs a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display. And having all this real estate is a major advantage – it makes it easier and more convenient to watch photos and videos, browse the web, play games, and use the on-screen keyboard with two thumbs. While the Note 4 offers a slightly more spacious screen, we don't think that a difference of 0.2 inches is significant given the two phones' large caliber.

Furthermore, the Note 4 and G3 are on the same page when it comes to resolution. Their display panels pack a whopping 1440 by 2560 pixels, producing jaw-dropping pixel densities of 515 and 538 PPI respectively. This extreme resolution makes it virtually impossible for the naked eye to spot any pixelation without looking at the screen under a magnifying glass. That's why high-resolution graphics displayed on either screen look nice and detailed. There's one thing that bothers us, however. The LG G3 is set to boost the sharpness of its screen by a notch, which increases the legibility of small text, but produces visible distortion around the edges of words and graphics. That's no deal-breaker by any means, but perfectionists might find it annoying.

As far as color reproduction goes, we are happy to report that the Super AMOLED screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 produces extremely accurate colors. There's a catch, however. You see, there are several display modes on the Note 4, accessible from the phone's settings menu, and by default, a mode called “Adaptive display” is applied. This particular mode tweaks image reproduction based on what content is being viewed, and the actual result is a an increase in color saturation. There's nothing terribly wrong with that – in fact, many would be impressed by the colors' vibrancy and won't even think about tinkering with the display modes. Still, if you demand having a screen that's as color-accurate as possible, you can totally have it by switching to Basic mode. When it is enabled, the screen produces a color temperature of about 6650 K, as shown by our measurements, which is extremely close to the reference value of 6500 kelvins. In plain words, colors are neither warm, nor cold, and great balance between red and blue has been achieved, producing accurate whites.

The IPS LCD display on the LG G3 produces colors with slightly pumped-up saturation, but thankfully, the boost is within moderate margins. Our measurements returned a color temperature of around 7100K, and that's very close to the ideal 6500K value. Accuracy is lower than that of the Note 4's screen in Basic mode, but the deviation is not bothering at all.

For a smartphone to be usable outdoors, it is important for its screen to have a high brightness output. Thankfully, both phones do a good job in that respect – the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 maxes out at 468 nits, and the LG G3 peaks at 455 nits. Another factor that's not to be overlooked is screen reflectance – how much of the sun's light bounces off of the screen's surface – and to the naked eye, the Note 4 has the less reflective screen. If you're of the folks who enjoy using their smartphone under the bed sheets, you should be glad to know that the Note 4 has a minimum brightness of around 1 nit, so its screen goes very easy on your eyes in dark environments. The LG G3 goes down to about 9 nits, which is sufficiently low.

Glove Mode on the Galaxy Note 4 is a feature that allows its display to be used, you guessed it, even when the user is wearing gloves. This should come in handy in the winter-time as you won't have to take those mittens off in order to make a call. The LG G3, however, does not offer the option for its screen to be used with gloves on.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
2.61
(Good)
3.1
(Good)
LG G3 455
(Good)
9
(Average)
1:997
(Average)
7099
(Good)
2.26
3.60
(Good)
2.86
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 68.8%
0%
unmeasurable
35.4%
1%
127.6%
231.9%
LG G3 84%
88.9%
88.6%
10.5%
6.2%
8.6%
73.8%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Introduction


It is big, it is powerful, and it is destined to end up in the pockets of millions. There's no more fitting way to describe the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which we just had the chance to take through the in-depth review treatment. Simply put, it is a great phone – one we would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a no-compromise, feature-rich Android device. But it is our job and obligation to consider the alternatives when dealing with a phone of this rank. And one of the smartphones worthy of being stacked up against the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the LG G3. Right off the bat, the odds are against the latter – it is looking weaker on a hardware level and cannot quite match the feature set of the Note 4. But the LG G3 can be had for considerably less. Is the compromise worth it?

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Design


While not perfect, the Note 4 and G3 have a lot to stand out with. The former has a more premium feel and a richer feature set, while the latter is more compact and fits better in the hand.

Looking at the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 side by side, we're finding it hard to decide which one we like better. Both exhibit qualities that score them big points as far as design is concerned, yet leave room for improvement in other areas.

The Note 4, in particular, builds on top of the design principles instilled by the Note 3 by adopting the faux leather texture found on the back plate. The finish is still as resistant to fingerprints as before, which is great, but at the same time, it has lost some of its grip and feels more plasticky to the touch.
We must say that the handset's solid metal frame does a good job at spicing up the phone's design. It contributes to the phone's sophisticated appearance, while its beveled edge makes it easier to get a good hold on the handset. The curved edges of that scratch-resistant glass display make it a pleasure to slide your fingers across its surface.

We can't deny that the LG G3 is also a looker. The finish of its surface is smooth to the touch, but not too slippery. It retains no fingerprints, and its resemblance of brushed metal is very pleasing to the eye. As for the material the phone's outer shell is made of, things are a bit complicated. LG has made it clear that one of the back plate's layers is actual metal, but the top-most one is a polycarbonate one, so that's what your fingers will be actually touching. Nevertheless, although the LG G3 feels about as plasticky as the Note 4, it is also a handset worthy of attention.

So as we already said, the solid frame on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 makes the phone easy to grasp, and so do the tapered sides of its back. Still, we find the LG G3 more comfortable to hold. The latter's back side is curvier, and that improves the phone's ergonomics factor quite a bit. Given the sheer sizes of both devices, it goes without saying that single-handed use and carrying either in a tight pocket are challenging, if not impossible tasks. In that respect, the LG G3 has an advantage with its lesser height and smaller screen as there's less to reach for with your thumb. By the way, both phones have UI features that improve single-handed use by a considerable margin, but more on that later.

Speaking of ergonomics and ease of use, we have to highlight the excellent power and volume keys found on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Located on the phone's right and left sides respectively, they are exposed really well, and pressing any of them produces a satisfying click. In contrast, the power and volume keys on the LG G3 are placed on its back side, below the camera lens. The goal of this design solution is to place these keys under the user's index finger, where they'll be easy to press, all the while reducing the amount of components on the phone's left and sides. To be honest, the buttons' design isn't bad, but it takes some getting used to.

Below the screen of the Galaxy Note 4 we find Samsung's trademark button layout, with a hardware “Home” key in the middle and capacitive buttons for the “Recent apps” and “Back” functions. It is a tried and tested design feature that gets the job done. The LG G3 uses on-screen buttons instead of physical ones. On one hand, this has allowed the phone to be less tall as there's nothing occupying the area below its screen, but on the other hand, some might find it annoying that these virtual buttons hide automatically in certain apps and have to be brought back with a pull-up gesture if needed.

Before we can proceed further, we have to highlight all of the Galaxy Note 4's stand-out perks – perks that the LG G3 does not have in its feature arsenal. For starters, there's the S Pen stylus, tucked in its dedicated slot. The accessory is there for those times when you need to take down a note, but can also be used for sketching, for navigating through the UI, for selecting multiple items on the screen, and much more. There's also the fingerprint scanner embedded in the home button, which is used to lock the phone, to secure personal data, and to authorize payments. The scanner isn't the most convenient one ever placed on a phone, but it is better to have the feature in some form than not having it at all. On the phone's back, right below the camera lens, reside a heart-rate monitor, the use for which is self explanatory, and a UV sensor designed to measure the sun's intensity. There's no denying that the Note 4's abundance of extras is an advantage over the LG G3, but at the same time, we're pretty sure that some people would never actually need any of these features. At the end of the day, it is up to the user to decide whether they'd go with the G3's simplified solution or Samsung's “everything but the kitchen sink” approach.


Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

LG G3
LG G3
5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

LG G3



Display


With their high-resolution, QHD displays, both phones deliver an amazing amount of details. Still, the Galaxy Note 4 stands a few steps ahead with its more accurate color reproduction in Basic mode.

If there's one thing that both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 have to offer, that's screen space. There's a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED panel on the former, while the latter packs a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display. And having all this real estate is a major advantage – it makes it easier and more convenient to watch photos and videos, browse the web, play games, and use the on-screen keyboard with two thumbs. While the Note 4 offers a slightly more spacious screen, we don't think that a difference of 0.2 inches is significant given the two phones' large caliber.

Furthermore, the Note 4 and G3 are on the same page when it comes to resolution. Their display panels pack a whopping 1440 by 2560 pixels, producing jaw-dropping pixel densities of 515 and 538 PPI respectively. This extreme resolution makes it virtually impossible for the naked eye to spot any pixelation without looking at the screen under a magnifying glass. That's why high-resolution graphics displayed on either screen look nice and detailed. There's one thing that bothers us, however. The LG G3 is set to boost the sharpness of its screen by a notch, which increases the legibility of small text, but produces visible distortion around the edges of words and graphics. That's no deal-breaker by any means, but perfectionists might find it annoying.

As far as color reproduction goes, we are happy to report that the Super AMOLED screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 produces extremely accurate colors. There's a catch, however. You see, there are several display modes on the Note 4, accessible from the phone's settings menu, and by default, a mode called “Adaptive display” is applied. This particular mode tweaks image reproduction based on what content is being viewed, and the actual result is a an increase in color saturation. There's nothing terribly wrong with that – in fact, many would be impressed by the colors' vibrancy and won't even think about tinkering with the display modes. Still, if you demand having a screen that's as color-accurate as possible, you can totally have it by switching to Basic mode. When it is enabled, the screen produces a color temperature of about 6650 K, as shown by our measurements, which is extremely close to the reference value of 6500 kelvins. In plain words, colors are neither warm, nor cold, and great balance between red and blue has been achieved, producing accurate whites.

The IPS LCD display on the LG G3 produces colors with slightly pumped-up saturation, but thankfully, the boost is within moderate margins. Our measurements returned a color temperature of around 7100K, and that's very close to the ideal 6500K value. Accuracy is lower than that of the Note 4's screen in Basic mode, but the deviation is not bothering at all.

For a smartphone to be usable outdoors, it is important for its screen to have a high brightness output. Thankfully, both phones do a good job in that respect – the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 maxes out at 468 nits, and the LG G3 peaks at 455 nits. Another factor that's not to be overlooked is screen reflectance – how much of the sun's light bounces off of the screen's surface – and to the naked eye, the Note 4 has the less reflective screen. If you're of the folks who enjoy using their smartphone under the bed sheets, you should be glad to know that the Note 4 has a minimum brightness of around 1 nit, so its screen goes very easy on your eyes in dark environments. The LG G3 goes down to about 9 nits, which is sufficiently low.

Glove Mode on the Galaxy Note 4 is a feature that allows its display to be used, you guessed it, even when the user is wearing gloves. This should come in handy in the winter-time as you won't have to take those mittens off in order to make a call. The LG G3, however, does not offer the option for its screen to be used with gloves on.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
2.61
(Good)
3.1
(Good)
LG G3 455
(Good)
9
(Average)
1:997
(Average)
7099
(Good)
2.26
3.60
(Good)
2.86
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 68.8%
0%
unmeasurable
35.4%
1%
127.6%
231.9%
LG G3 84%
88.9%
88.6%
10.5%
6.2%
8.6%
73.8%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface

Feature-rich custom interfaces on top of the latest Android version is what you'll get from either phone. Undoubtedly, the Note 4 is packed with more bells and whistles, but the LG G3 is more streamlined and “mature” with its presentation.

It would have made no sense for a high-end Android phone, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or the LG G3, to run anything but the latest version of the platform, and sure enough, both handsets come with Android 4.4. But to no surprise, the system has dropped its stock appearance in favor of highly customized UIs pre-loaded by the phones' manufacturers.

If you've ever used a Samsung smartphone before, you should be feeling right at home while handling the Galaxy Note 4 as it runs the familiar TouchWiz user interface. It is packed with more features than ever without omitting those we knew from the Note 3, including the option to run two apps side by side, to customize our app drawer, to stay on top of the latest news with My Magazine, and to toggle the phone's numerous settings from the buttons placed in the notification panel. With the built-in fingerprint scanner, you can protect your Note 4 from prying eyes, and the S Health application acts as your personal health and fitness assistant.

The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4


The S Pen stylus bundled with the Note 4 has improved in sensitivity and now recognizes up to 2048 pressure levels. It still does not feel as precise and natural as writing with a pen on paper, but it has improved in that respect compared to previous S Pen generations. Using the built-in features like Action Memo or Screen Write, you can take down quick notes on the fly or take an instant screenshot and write your notes and comments on it instead. Furthermore, you can crop areas of the screen and save them in your notes library as images.

On the LG G3 we find a custom interface that's also loaded with plenty of goodies, although the selection isn't quite as expansive as that of the Note 4. Yet you do get plenty of useful perks – one of them is the KnockCode security feature, which can be used instead of a lock screen PIN or password. Like the Note 4, LG's flagship can also run multiple apps simultaneously in their own window. If you're into customization, you'll be happy to know that LG gives you the freedom to apply and download UI themes and to change application icons. At the same time, we find LG's UI simpler and less distracting than the flashy and colorful TouchWiz.

Homescreen - LG G3 interface - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
LG G3 interface - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
App drawer - LG G3 interface - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
LG G3 interface - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Homescreen

 

App drawer

 

LG G3 interface


As we mentioned earlier, both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 come with built-in UI features facilitating single-handed usage. On the latter, you may squeeze the on-screen keyboard to the side of the screen for better reach. Also, you may enable a button that brings down your notification panel instantly, without you having to reach for it. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4, however, takes the single-handed matter a step further. Using a simple gesture – swiping in and out from the side edge of the screen – you enable a mode that shrinks the entire UI to a fraction of its size and brings it closer to your thumb.

Samsung's on-screen keyboard is easy to use given the phone's generous width and comes with all the features one would expect out of it, including multiple language support, predictive text input, and the ability to populate its custom dictionary by learning new words on the fly. Still, we're a bit happier with LG's Smart Keyboard. It gives you the option to set its height to your liking, and by doing so, you can increase or decrease the keys' size. Also, inputting word predictions is done with a swipe on the respective side, not only with a tap on the word you want to enter.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - On-screen keyboards - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
On-screen keyboards - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
LG G3 - On-screen keyboards - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
On-screen keyboards - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

 

LG G3

 

On-screen keyboards


Processor and memory

With one of the most powerful SoCs out there, the Note 4 is slightly more capable than the G3. The latter leaves room for improvement as far as UI performance is concerned.

No Android phone can be considered a member of the high-end class if it doesn't pack a beefy chip under its hood. And to ensure the high-end status of the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung has equipped it with the best SoC Qualcomm has to provide right now – the Snapdragon 805, model APQ8084. The silicon has a quad-core Krait 450 CPU configuration with a maximum clock speed of 2.7GHz, and an Adreno 420 GPU handles all the graphics. 3GB of RAM ensure the handset's flawless multitasking performance.

We must note that in select markets, the Note 4 will be offered with an octa-core Exynos 5433 processor and the same 3GB of RAM. This SoC is equipped with a octa-core CPU configuration consisting of four high-powered 1.9 GHz Cortex-A57 cores and 4 Cortex-A53 cores that kick in when lesser amounts of processing power are needed. The excellent ARM Mali-T760 GPU pushes the pixels around.

With the LG G3 you get the slightly less powerful Snapdragon 801 SoC, model MSM8974-AC. The 2.5GHz quad-core Krait 400 CPU handles computational tasks, and an Adreno 330 GPU is responsible for the graphics. In addition, up to 3 gigabytes of RAM are packed inside for all your heavy multitasking needs. (A cheaper variant with 2GB of RAM is offered in some markets.)

So, what do these figures translate to in real life? Well, let's say that both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 pack quite a punch. But the Note 4 has the upper hand and does a better job at handling the high-resolution of its display. Its performance is fluid and snappy, with no bottlenecks holding the phone down. The LG G3 is no slouch either, but every once in a while, lags and dropped frames can be seen while browsing the interface. Synthetic benchmarks also confirm that the Note 4 is the better-performing phone, and chances are you'll be getting better framerates in those demanding, cutting-edge 3D games.

Storage space should not be an issue with either handset. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 offers 32GB of built-in storage space, plus the option to add a microSD card of up to 128GB. The LG G3 comes with 16 or 32 gigabytes built in, and if you need extra space, just throw a microSD card of up to 128GB in there.

Performance benchmarks

Quadrant
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 24053
LG G3 23551
AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 41185.33
LG G3 30634
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1230.33
LG G3 1322
Sunspider
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1087.87
LG G3 947.2
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 25.9
LG G3 20.7
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 11.2
LG G3 7.5
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1038.67
LG G3 951
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Internet and connectivity

Expect nothing less than a great browsing experience from either phone.

No matter which phone you pick, you should be expecting nothing less than a pleasant web browsing experience. The large, high-res screens of the phones combined with the excellent performance of their browsers make surfing the web a pleasure.

On the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 we find Samsung's own web browser, which has a stock feel, but spices things up a bit with a navigation tool bar that pops up at the bottom of the page. Text is slightly inflated, which makes it easier to read. Alternatively, you may use the Chrome browser, which also comes pre-installed. Google's solution is no less responsive and also handles even heavy pages with ease. Plus, you get the option to sync data between devices and to have web pages pre-compressed, thus consuming less data.

Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4


The stock web browser on the LG G3 behaves in a similar manner, with smooth scrolling and zooming performance, although some text inflation would have been nice to see. Like on the Note 4's stock Internet app, you get a navigation bar which pops up at the bottom. Chrome comes pre-loaded in case you'd rather use Google's browser instead.

LG's own browser on the LG G3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
LG's own browser on the LG G3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
LG's own browser on the LG G3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
LG's own browser on the LG G3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

LG's own browser on the LG G3


Needless to say, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 supports every connectivity feature you can think of, including Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, and ac protocols, GPS with GLONASS support, the newest Bluetooth 4.1 standard, NFC, and a built-in IR port for controlling TVs and set-top boxes. If you're on a carrier supporting LTE Cat. 6, you may enjoy blazing-fast download speeds – up to 300Mbps in theory – and up to 50Mbps on the uplink. The LG G3 does not lag far behind with its support for Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, and ac, NFC, GPS/Glonass, and LTE Cat. 4 on a variety of bands.

Camera

The Galaxy Note 4 is the clear leader here with its more detailed and color-accurate photos. But the LG G3 has a better flash and a simpler to use interface.

Not a single Galaxy Note phone has ever disappointed us with its camera, and the Note 4 follows the trend. Equipped with a 16MP camera that's nearly identical to the one on the Samsung Galaxy S5, it is capable of taking excellent photos. From a technical perspective, you get a large, 1/2.6" sensor with a 16:9 aspect ratio, F2.2 optics, phase-detection auto-focus and optical image stabilization. The LG G3 stands its ground with a camera that seems less capable, at least on paper. It has 13MP of resolution at a 4:3 native aspect ratio, a smaller sensor, with a size of 1/3.06", and a narrower aperture of F2.4. But like the Note 4, the LG G3 offers optical image stabilization. In addition, a laser-assisted auto-focus system ensures short focusing times, and a dual-tone LED flash for more color-accurate photos in low-light scenes.

Of course, specs are not all that matters. Software and ease of use play a key role in the photo-taking process as well. In that respect, the Note 4 and G3 differ drastically – the former is loaded with modes and settings, while the latter sticks only to the bare essentials. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 you may switch between various modes, depending on the effect you wish to achieve – Selective Focus, Panorama, Beauty Face, Burst Mode, and more. Also, you may manually control the metering method, ISO and exposure, as well as the white balance. Shortcuts to frequently used toggles can be configured manually in the camera interface. The LG G3, on the other hand, lets you control little more than the image's size in pixels and to toggle HDR mode on or off. Among the extras that you get are Magic Focus for playing with the focus after you take a shot, Dual Mode for shooting with both the front and back cameras at the same time, and Cheese Shutter for triggering the shutter with a voice command.

The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4


Camera UI of the LG G3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Camera UI of the LG G3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Camera UI of the LG G3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Camera UI of the LG G3


Specs and theory aside, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is an excellent cameraphone, as can be seen from its photo and video samples. Viewing images at their full size (100% zoom) reveals plenty of details with only faint trails of digital noise and artifacts. The LG G3, in comparison, produces softer images and loses some of the finer detail as a result, but you won't see that much of a difference between the two phones' detail reproduction unless you look at their images from up close. As far as color goes, the Note 4 balances colors better, while the LG G3 has a tendency of producing slightly colder shots every once in a while.

In low-light scenarios, the Note 4 once again has the upper hand, especially when it comes to color reproduction. The Note 4 does a better job at reproducing them faithfully, be it in an indoor or night environment. However, when a flash is used, the LG G3 is the one getting the colors right, while the Note 4 produces images with a colder tone. As far as details go, the Note 4 has a very slight advantage over the G3, and both phones' images are more than usable.

If you're into selfies, then the Note 4 is the phone that might grab your attention. Its 3.7MP, wide-angle front-facing camera takes very decent photos, and a built-in camera mode allows you to easily take self-portraits with the main camera – the shutter activates itself when it detects your face in the screen. The LG G3 has a decent, 2.1MP front cam, which also gets the job done, but trails behind the Note 4's front snapper.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
LG G3 2.7
4.3
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 2.8
2.8
353
273
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Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 produce great 1080p videos with good image stabilization, but if we had to pick, we'd go with the Note 4. Its videos have more accurate colors, while the G3 tends to boost the contrast in its videos, thus making dark areas appear darker and light areas appear lighter than they are. Plus, the G3's sound is audibly digitized. Speaking of videos, the two phones let you take videos in 4K resolution, as well as slow-motion videos.



Multimedia

With their large screens, the Note 4 and G3 are ideal for watching videos and photos. Their speakers, however, are pretty mediocre in terms of quality.

With their large, high-resolution displays, both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 are ideal for multimedia consumption – watching videos, viewing images, playing games, you name it. However, we can't really recommend their built-in loudspeakers for listening to music. The two are of average loudness and the sound quality is mediocre at best.

The two phones' audio players are pretty similar in terms of layout and functionality. Music is organized in tabs, playback can be controlled from the lock screen, and equalizer settings let you fine-tune the reproduction to your liking. One neat trick in the G3's sleeve is its support for 24bit, 192kHz audio files, also referred to as high-res audio. Its built-in ability to stream music from a cloud service, Dropbox or Box, is also neat. Meanwhile, the Note 4 gives you a broader spectrum of sound adjustments, including the AdaptSound feature, which automatically adjusts audio output to match your earphones and hearing.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Music players - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Music players - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
LG G3 - Music players - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Music players - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

 

LG G3

 
Music players - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Music players - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Music players - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Music players - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Music players


In one of the previous paragraphs we mentioned that the Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3 have built-in IR blasters. These are used for controlling TVs and other electronic appliances – for the purpose, both phones come pre-loaded with the necessary apps. After a relatively straight-forward configuration process, you can set either as a replacement for the remote of your TV or set-top box.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
LG G3 0.57
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 0.41
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
LG G3 81
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 85
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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
Call quality


It is hard to pick a clear winner in this category since both phones sound great during calls. The Note 4, in particular, has a loud earpiece producing clear, undistorted sound, and extra loudness during calls can be had at the tap of a button. We are no less satisfied with the performance of its microphone, which delivers clear voice tones on the other side of the call. The LG G3 also comes with a loud and clear earpiece. Its microphone can easily pick up your voice and send it undistorted to the other end of the line.

Battery life


Any phone of this size deserves to be equipped with a large battery. Sure enough, there's a 3220mAh battery cell inside the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 has a slightly smaller, 3000mAh cell. Both phones' batteries are user-accessible and can be easily swapped with a fresh one.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3
In terms of longevity, Samsung is claiming that the Note 4 can provide 20 hours of talk time, which is an excellent figure. The LG G3 is rated at 19 hours of talk time, which is also great. But there are more factors that a phone's battery life depends on – screen brightness, software configuration, and what the phone is being used for. That's why your mileage may vary. To give you a more accurate comparison between the two phones' battery lives, we put them through our custom battery benchmark. The Note 4 scored remarkably well given its hardware configuration, with a final time of 8 hours and 43 minutes. We got just 6 hours and 14 minutes out of the G3, which is not terrible by any means, but it is considerably less that what the Note 4 delivered.

Battery life

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.

name
Time
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
8h 43 min (Excellent)
LG G3
6h 14 min (Good)
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Charging time

name
minutes
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
95
LG G3
120
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Conclusion


As much as we like the LG G3, we have to admit that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the better phone, at least for the most part. It isn't leading by a mile, but overall, we find it a step ahead of LG's flagship in almost every major aspect – from design and display quality to hardware and camera performance.

Made of metal, curved glass, and textured plastic, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a sophisticated phone with lots of character. Simply put, it is an eye-catching phone. The G3 is not a bad-looking phone by any means, and its metallic design also does a good job at drawing attention. Besides, the G3 is slightly smaller and fits better in the palm.

Then there's the display quality – the Note 4 has a display capable of meeting the needs of both people who demand color accuracy, and those who are into vibrant, punchy colors. The LG G3 does not lag far behind with its equally detailed IPS LCD display, but it will take something better than this to beat what Samsung has made.

On the hardware side of things, both phones can handle anything thrown at them. Powerful processors and lots of RAM ensure that you won't necessarily need to upgrade for at least a year or two. Still, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 packs more silicon muscle and as a result handles its screen's high resolution better than the G3. With LG's flagship, lags or dropped frames can be a bit more frequent, and these should not occur on a phone of this class.

The Note 4 is also the phone to choose if great photos and videos are your priority. Sure, the LG G3's 13MP camera gets the job done, but at the end of the day, image quality is a bit better when shooting with the Note 4. This applies to videos as well.

As for the experience of using these handsets, it is up to the user to decide what they'd rather have at their disposal. With a fingerprint scanner, a heart-rate monitor, the S Pen stylus and tons of software perks, the Note 4 is the phone to choose if bells and whistles are your cup of tea. The LG G3, on the other hand, feels a bit more “down to earth”, with a simpler interface and less getting in your way.

Still, the LG G3 has one key advantage that shouldn't be ignored – its lower cost. Pricing varies from one carrier to another, but if you're not too picky about who provides you with service, you can get one for as low as $99 on a 2-year contract or under $600 outright. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 costs $299 on a 2-year contract, or over $800 with no obligation. Whether the better hardware and extra features are worth the additional cost is up to you to decide.