The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 was a major design transformation for the Galaxy series of smartphones, with the ‘phablet’ taking up specs that are less than those on a typical flagship and instead embracing improved camera quality and stylus functionality. LG made quite an impression at this year’s MWC by introducing the polarizing G5 which bundles a modular capacity which allows swapping out batteries as well as make use of the special hardware functionalities like the advanced camera modules along with enhanced speakers. With such unique features from both devices, how exactly do they stack up against each other.
In terms of design language, the Galaxy Note 5 retains the Galaxy S 2015 flagships tradition by featuring a metal and glass uni-body. Two glass panels cover the smartphone’s front and back with a binding metallic frame.
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On the other hand, the LG G5 bundles an all round metal chassis proving that metal bodies can also have removable batteries, this in contrast to what we’ve seen from other metallic built flagships. The LG G5 appears to have taken an approach to functionality over form, however the lack of a back glass panel means you won’t have to worry about a fingerprint smudge, as in the case of the Note 5.
The LG G5 caused mixed feelings among LG fans when it was initially launched, because of what appeared to be a downgrade in terms of display size. Though the preceding LG flagships, the G3 and the G4 boasted a 5.5-inch screen, LG reduced the G5’s down to 5.3 inches. Nevertheless, it rocks an IPS Quantum Display backed with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and a 554 ppi in pixel density, which is pretty decent.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 packs a huge 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. As expected the pixel density is a little less compared to the G5 at 518 ppi, nonetheless it offers crisp colors with sharp video playback. The comparison between these two devices can either be determined by size or the choice between an AMOLED and an LCD screen.
Hardware is the one department both devices have invested the most in. The LG G5 is equipped with the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor which gives it a significant advantage over the octa-core Exynos 7420 found in the Note 5. However, both handsets offer lightning fast performance with snappy user interfaces. With both devices having 4GB of RAM which means they can be really reliable when it comes to multi-tasking.
The two smartphones are complemented with fingerprint sensors, with the Note 5’s placed at the front and the G5’s neatly tucked at its back’s center and also acting as the device’s power button. Both scanners are very responsive.
The Note 5 design embraced the S-Pen functionalities with an aim to be the suitable smartphone for stylus use. The S-Pen can be found at the bottom of the device, which is easily accessible if you want to to take down notes at a moment’s notice or make the most of the Galaxy Note 5’s stylus specific software like the Smart Select and Screen Write.
The LG G5, however, takes a different angle altogether. The handset aims to bring modularity at the forefront of Android smartphones. Featuring a removable bottom which allows you to remove your battery and even swap it out in case the 2,800mAh battery is not enough for you. With the Note 5 however, the 3,000mAh battery capacity cannot be replaced or removed.
In addition to swapping batteries, the LG G5’s removable bottom also allows users to attach a wide range of modules to the device. For instance, the CAM Plus is capable of not only adding extra battery power to the smartphone, but also offers physical camera buttons. Alternatively, you can turn your G5 into a tiny boombox by using the Hi-Fi Plus module which acts as a dedicated amplifier with a 32-bit Digital to Analog Converter.
LG has pushed the envelope in the hardware category with its inclusion of an extra camera at the device’s back panel. It is complemented with an 8MP wide angle lens at the front with a primary lens of 16MP with the stock camera software making switching between the two a breeze. The Note 5 captures great shots with its 16MP main camera even though its stock camera app is slightly clunky.
Though it is soon to make a conclusion on the camera comparison between the Note 5 and the G5, the extra camera sensor and the possibility of taking advantage of a CAM Plus module makes the LG a superior contender.
Even though Samsung began pushing out the Marshmallow update to its Galaxy Note 5 last month, most users of the device are still running on Android Lollipop. Naturally, the fact that LG G5 comes powered by Marshmallow right out of the box, definitely gives an edge over the Note 5 in terms of operating system, aside from it also being a much newer generation smartphone. These two devices offer a relatively vanilla feel of Android versions. LG has added a more streamlined feel to the G5 interface, eliminating the dual window and Q Slide from its software overlay while offering a more organized settings menu.
Possibly a controversial move, LG gets rid of the app drawer in the G5. A similar move is witnessed on Samsung’s flagships, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge which included an option for users to disable it. This choice of design appears to be in anticipation of Google getting rid of the app drawer in the upcoming Android N. However, if you are a fan of the app drawer organization feature, then Galaxy Note 5 should be ideal.
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