Since Samsung launched the Galaxy S2 in 2011, its share of the Android market has been growing at a phenomenal rate. Its Korean sibling LG – despite success on other shores – always held a modest share of the UK smartphone market and has been fairly quiet until recently.
But in June, LG released probably its best smartphone to date, the G3. Yet, with Samsung having released its own flagship months before – the Galaxy S5, which has equally impressive specifications – many buyers have justifiably wondered which handset is most worth their attention and hard-earned cash.
Design and build
Both the Galaxy S5 and G3 have very different designs, despite both featuring removable polycarbonate backplates and metallic sides.
This is primarily because of the G3's button placement. Unlike the Galaxy S5 and most other handsets, the G3's volume and power buttons are on its back, rather than on the side and top. While this sounds slightly odd, the G3's button placement is a serious bonus. The buttons sit where your index finger naturally falls when holding the phone one handed. This, combined with its slightly curved back, makes the G3 significantly more comfortable to hold and use than the Galaxy S5.
This is surprising, as the G3 is slightly larger and heavier than the Galaxy S5, measuring in at 146x75x8.9mm and weighing 149g. By comparison the Samsung handset measures 142x73x8.1mm and weighs 145g.
The G3 also feels slightly better built than the Galaxy S5. The Galaxy S5 is IP67 certified, so unlike the G3 it's water and scratch resistant, but it is more prone to chipping than the LG phone. We also found the Galaxy S5's perforated, slightly rubberised backplate had a tendency to detach from the phone's main body if it was accidentally dropped.
That said, the Galaxy S5 does come loaded with a few design innovations differentiating it from the G3, chief of which are its fingerprint scanner and rear heart-rate monitor – more on these later.
Winner: The LG G3
LG made a lot of fuss about the G3's 5.5in, 1440x2560, 534ppi True HD-IPS+ (in-plane switching) LCD capacitive touchscreen when it unveiled the phone earlier this year. By pushing the screen's pixel-per-inch count past the 500 mark, the firm claims to have made the G3's screen the crispest and most vibrant currently available.
But, comparing the LG's display with the Galaxy S5's 5.1in, 1920x1080, 432ppi, Super Amoled touchscreen, we initially struggled to spot a difference. On both phones we found the colours wonderfully vibrant and both screens featured good brightness and contrast levels. Icons and text also appear sharp and crisp.
It was only after prolonged use and much staring intently at both phones' screens side by side that we began to notice any real difference. After prolonged use we found the G3's display slightly crisper, with better viewing angles. That said, both screens are great and no user will be upset with the display performance on either.
Winner: The LG G3
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