Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. LG G2: What We Know So Far

We found the LG G2 to be a compelling Samsung Galaxy S4 alternative. But how will it stack up against the Galaxy S4′s likely successor, the Samsung Galaxy S5? Here, we take a look at how the rumored Galaxy S5 currently stacks up with LG’s current flagship, an LG G2 that remains a solid option on U.S. carriers.

Last year, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was one of the first major smartphone launches of the year when it arrived at a March launch event in New York City. The Galaxy S4 was also one of the first major smartphone launches of the year as it arrived in April alongside the HTC One, another flagship that debuted in early 2013.

Late in the year, the Galaxy S4 and HTC One got some serious competition in the form of the LG G2, LG’s replacement for the LG Optimus G, a device that garnered solid reviews the year before. The LG G2 is arguably one of the best Android devices on the market and one that should, at the very least, be a solid blip on the radar for smartphone shoppers.

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While the LG G2 is currently pitted against the Samsung Galaxy S4, it’s probably going to face some stiffer Galaxy S opposition soon. Rumors put the Galaxy S5 launch in late February, at the start of Mobile World Congress 2014. There are LG G3 rumors swirling around, the Galaxy S5 will likely beat it to launch and thus, we want to take a look at how the rumored Galaxy S5 is stacking up against the LG G2.

With credible rumors in hand and a launch just weeks away, we feel that it’s appropriate to start taking a look at how the rumored Samsung Galaxy S5 stacks up against some of the current competition.

The reason we’re doing so is because there are those that, despite the arrival of new flagships, might be looking at older devices like the LG G2 due to their price tags. There are also current owners that might be thinking about replacing their current device with the Galaxy S5 and we want to keep them as informed as possible.

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That said, here is how the rumored Galaxy S5 stacks up with the current flagship LG G2.

Release Date

Current LG G2 owners thinking about ditching their device already and prospective LG G2 buyers who want to weigh the device against the Samsung Galaxy S5 should not have too much longer to wait.

Samsung hasn’t confirmed anything just yet though it has sent out invites for an Unpacked 5 event that is set to kick off on February 24th, the day that Mobile World Congress begins. While nothing is set in stone, Samsung purposefully left out what it will be announcing on the invites, a report from The New York Times suggests that it will indeed be an event geared toward the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S5.

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There were rumors, credible rumors, that pointed to a launch inside the month of March but it’s looking like Samsung may have changed its mind because all signs point to an announcement on February 24th.

It’s on that day that we should learn about the Samsung Galaxy S5 release date. Current Galaxy S5 rumors point to a release inside of the month of April and Gotta Be Mobile has learned that late April is a distinct possibility. We have been unable to secure a specific release date though rumors currently point to the last half of the month. Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S4 was released in late April.

The important takeaway here is that the Galaxy S5 launch is close, in February or March, and that a release to compete with the LG G2 should be weeks away at most.

Design

The LG G2, like Samsung’s Galaxy S4, is dominated by a plastic design. It possesses a form factor that is a mere 8.6mm thin and the device weighs about 143 grams, fairly standard for a large flagship smartphone. While the LG G2 design may not look too much different from other smartphone designs when viewed in the front, it does possess something unique on the back.

LG opted to move the volumes and power button to the rear of the device. Most power buttons and volume keys reside on the sides of a smartphone making this vastly different from most smartphones on the market. As we noted in our review, there is a bit of a learning curve here and even after a few weeks, it still feels awkward.

LG’s flagship does not come with expandable storage or a way to remove the back for use with an extended battery.

Just how it will compare to the Samsung Galaxy S5 remains a mystery. Samsung always does a fantastic job of keeping its flagship designs under lock and key prior to launch and thus far, we have not seen the Galaxy S5 design, as a whole, leak out. What we have seen are rumors suggest a number of different design components.

In early January, a Samsung executive told Bloomberg:

When we moved to S4 from S3, it’s partly true that consumers couldn’t really feel much difference between the two products from the physical perspective, so the market reaction wasn’t as big.

For the S5, we will go back to the basics. Mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.

As we’ve pointed out, the mention of the cover seems to point to a design change from the Samsung Galaxy S4. This isn’t too surprising given that Samsung makes design changes to its Galaxy S with every release. Exactly what those design changes might be remain unknown.

Galaxy S5 rumors suggest that Samsung will be releasing two models, something that was backed up by a recent benchmark leak. SamMobile believes that the premium model will come in metal while the budget model will come in plastic.

The Galaxy S5 design is up in the air, but expect a lot of attention on the back cover.

The Galaxy S5 design is up in the air, but expect a lot of attention on the back cover.

Respected KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo thinks that while there will be two models, they will both come in plastic. South Korean brokerage firm KDB Daewoo Securities believes that the Galaxy S5, at the very least, will come in metal. So at this point, while two Galaxy S5 models appears to be a near certainty, the build material, dimensions and overall look remain a mystery.

A recent leak from Chinese microblogging site Weibo maintains that Samsung will introduce both a black and white Galaxy S5 though that is still unconfirmed.

As we noted in our LG G2 review, its design suffers from the same criticisms that were made on its rival, the Samsung Galaxy S4, that the plastic feels a bit cheap for a late 2013 flagship phone model. From the looks of things, Samsung may not be keen on making that same mistake twice.

Display

The LG G2 uses a full HD 1080p IPS display measuring 5.2 inches diagonally which is the standard for a flagship smartphone from 2013. The LG G2′s screen offers good looking content, solid viewing angles, and widescreen content that make it a solid choice for those that love to watch content while on the go.

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For the moment, Samsung Galaxy S5 rumors still point to a display that measures around 5.2-inches in size. Kuo, like SamMobile, believes that the screen will measure 5.2-inches diagonally, and KDB Daeweoo Securities’ research note agrees on that. If true, it means that the Galaxy S5 display could match the LG G2′s size.

What Samsung Galaxy S5 rumors can’t agree on is the screen resolution. While SamMobile and Kuo believe Samsung will put a QHD (2560 x 1440 resolution) display on board the premium version of the Galaxy S5, the report from The New York Times suggests that the feature will skip the device altogether.

A high-resolution 2560 x 1440 resolution display could be a flagship feature.

A high-resolution 2560 x 1440 resolution display could be a flagship feature.

Kuo and the report from SamMobile were backed up today by alleged benchmarks for the Samsung Galaxy S5 which show a device with a known Galaxy S5 model number sporting a QHD display. Another Galaxy S5 variant was shown utilizing a full HD 1080p display, same as the LG G2′s display.

With rumors of two Galaxy S5 variants going around, it’s possible that we could see the premium variant emerge with a QHD display with a more budget option emerging with full HD. At the very least, the Galaxy S5 display should be on par with the LG G2′s.

Battery, Processor, Camera

There is more to a smartphone than just the display and the design. The LG G2 utilizes a number of other hardware components to bolster the experience. While it may not have a removable battery, the LG G2′s massive 3,000 mAh battery offers some spectacular battery life. Battery life is key for any smartphone and the LG G2 excels here.

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It also features 2GB of RAM and a top of the line Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor from Qualcomm that comes in handy when it comes to things like gaming and multitasking. The LG G2 delivers solid all-around performance and thanks to the high-end chip, it should provide a fantastic experience for years to come.

Finally, the LG G2 comes with a 13MP camera that is capable of taking some solid photos and video. LG has added optical image stabilization, or OIS, to its 13-megapixel camera sensor which means that the camera offers advantages in two areas: Taking photos in low light conditions without the use of a flash and for videos when walking around town. OIS is not found in most smartphone cameras.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will almost certainly match the LG G2 in some of these areas. It will more than likely have a 16MP camera sensor though details about the sensor itself remain scarce. Rumors point to Samsung’s ISOCELL technology on board but the device isn’t thought to have OIS on board.

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Galaxy S5 battery rumors are all over the place at the moment. While Kuo believes that it will have an 2,850 mAh battery, PhoneArena believes the device will have a fast-charging 2,900 lithium ion battery that is capable of holding 20% more charge than other batteries its size. KDB’s research note points to a much larger 3,200 mAh battery. This spec remains in flux and likely will remain that way until launch or until an FCC filing is discovered.

The processing power of the Galaxy S5 will likely be on par with the LG G2′s. Rumors are still undecided on the exact processor or processors inside the Galaxy S5 though they suggest two of four possible chips. A Exynos 5 Octa processor, a Snapdragon 800 or a new Exynos 6 or a Snapdragon 805 from Qualcomm. A recent benchmark points to the former processors though it confirms nothing. The benchmarks could be for Galaxy S5 prototypes and not the real deal.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will bring a 16MP camera to the party according to multiple sources.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will bring a 16MP camera to the party according to multiple sources.

We should also point out that the LG G2 comes with 24GB or 32GB of space but that the Galaxy S5 is thought to have 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options. There is also a rumor that suggests a 128GB model.

Software

As we pointed out in our review, the LG G2′s software features a lot of the same functionality found on Samsung’s Galaxy devices though we find the LG G2′s experience to be richer at times. An in-depth look at the LG G2′s software can be found in the video below.

One thing that we should point out is that LG, in years past, has been awful about updating its devices with software. Devices often get left behind in the United States without warning and the company does not keep its customers in the loop when it comes to timing. This kind of support should make prospective buyers feel a little uneasy. It certainly does nothing to instill confidence.

The Samsung Galaxy S5′s software is going to look and perform differently than the software found on the LG G2. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 software should offer a new look to users upgrading from the Galaxy S3 or Note 2. Leaks show a flatter overall design that could borrow from the card layout popularized in Google Now. The image below shows a possible Galaxy S5 Touchwiz screen shared by @evleaks.

Galaxy S5 Software

In addition to a new look across the phone, it appears that Samsung will update at least some of its core apps to deliver a flatter, modern look. SamMobile shared several screenshots that show a new version of S Voice and other apps that could debut on the Galaxy S5.

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There should also be a focus on the eye-tracking and gesture controls that debuted in the Galaxy Note and recently shifted to the Galaxy S series with the Galaxy S4. Rumors specifically point to Samsung improving Air Gesture and Air View functionality.

Carriers

In the United States, the LG G2 is available on the likes of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, the nation’s four largest carriers. The LG G2 is not found on U.S. Cellular, the nation’s fifth largest service provider. This means that the device is a little bit limited but does provide a number of options for consumers in the U.S.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 rumors suggest that the Galaxy S5 will, at the very least, land on the five largest carriers in the United States. Samsung also has made it a point to release its Galaxy S on a wide swath of regional and smaller carriers so we should see a release beyond the core group of carriers as well. What this means is that the Galaxy S5 could have an advantage over the LG G2 when it arrives.

Price

The LG G2 is getting older which means that its getting cheaper. Retailers are offering it for virtually nothing and carriers have dropped the price down to $99.99 on-contract. That’s extremely cheap for a smartphone of this caliber.

We’re not entirely sure how much the Galaxy S5 will cost just yet but consumers can bet on the price being more than $99.99. Samsung typically releases its Galaxy S with a $199.99 price tag that competes with the iPhone and it’s hard to think that it will go cheaper with a premium Galaxy S5.

A budget option could compete at $99.99, an price point that just so happens to house Apple’s iPhone 5c, a device that is likely on Samsung’s radar.

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