So far this year, the Galaxy S4 has been Androidís poster child. Since the GS4 launched, companies have tried to offer something slightly different rather than go head-to-head with the GS4. Motorola has focused on their touchless voice activation while Sony has been experimenting with making their phones water resistant. After all, out-Galaxying the Galaxy S4 is a tall task.
Still, it now looks like Samsung now has some competition in the LG G2, the first phone that really takes the GS4ís strengths and tries to improve on them.
I already mentioned that the G2 is aimed squarely at the GS4 but people who are looking at the G2 are probably also going to take a look at the HTC One, the Apple iPhone 5s and the Sony Xperia Z.
vs Samsung Galaxy S4:
While the GS4 is a very fast phone, the G2 is even faster. When you pay top dollar for a phone, one thing youíre hoping is that youíre getting the most performance for your dollar. So, while itís debatable whether youíd notice the extra performance right now, thatís not the point.
Performance from both cameras is very similar but the G2ís rear camera has a stabilized lens which makes it a much better choice for video plus it extends itís still photo performance.
If youíre into media, the G2 supports 24bit audio though I was disappointed with its built-in speaker so I donít give the G2 much of an advantage here.
Where the GS4 really differentiates is itís earpiece volume. The GS4ís earpiece is a lot louder.
While the GS4ís battery life isnít as good as the G2ís, the GS4ís is removable. The GS4 also has a MicroSD slot while the G2 has 32GB of built-in storage (which should be enough for most users)
In terms of software both are loaded to their proverbial gills. Itís hard to say which software is better: both come with a lot of extra fluff. Samsung has a bunch of useless air gestures which should be turned off right away while LG has their messy notification pull down.
I will say that one of my favorite features on the GS4 is multi-view which lets view 2 compatible programs on the same screen. As for the G2 you can view video in a window which floats on top of your other programs. The GS4 has this features too but on the G2 you can make your video transparant.
One feature missing from the G2 is something equivalent to Samsungís multi-window which lets you view 2 programs at the same time on one screen. Unless Android implements this sort of feature natively, I donít think anyone else has the scale and marketshare to offer their own version of this feature.
There are 2 clear differentiators for the G2: The display and ergonomics.
If the GS4ís display is great, then the G2ís is awesome. Itís just a lot better. The only area where the GS4ís display is better is when it comes to displaying black. Otherwise the G2ís is better outdoors, has better viewing angles and better colour.
As for the ergonomics, the G2 runs circles around the GS4 because itís much easier to handle. The GS4 has 2 menu buttons at the bottom corners which drive me crazy because I always hit them accidentally. Ditto for the buttons on the side - when a device is this big with such a small bezel you need to clean things up a little. The G2 with its on-screen buttons and rear mounted volume and power buttons simply doesnít have these problems.
It looks like LG has managed to out-do the GS4.
vs Apple iPhone 5s:
Admittedly I havenít actually tried the 5S so this is really more of a G2 vs 5 comparison. As good as the G2 is, Iíd say if youíre already invested into the iOS ecosystem Iíd stay with it.
If youíre deciding between the two, there are 3 main points where the G2 really stands out: Text size, the stabilized lens, and battery life.
If you have a hard time seeing the iPhoneís small text youíll love the G2ís large, almost cartoonish font. If thatís not enough, thereís a global setting for text size in settings plus some of the built-in apps can be pinched zoomed to make text larger.
While the 5s is supposed to have an awesome camera (I donít doubt this, my 5 has a very good camera too) it doesnít have a stabilized lens. If you take a lot of video thereís just not replacement for a stabilized lens unless you have a steadicam or something similar.
I use my iPhone 5 regularly and it has terrible battery life. Iím sure given identical usage patterns the G2 will last 2 or 3x longer than the 5s for 9/10 users.
Thereís a lot more to both phones but those are the 3 areas that jump out at me when I compare the two of them.
I still think iOS has higher quality apps but Androidís ecosystem is much more open so there are a lot of apps (like video players, file managers, etc) which will run better on it.
vs HTC One:
This is a tough one. As much as I praise the HTC Oneís camera, I donít actually like it that much. Itís wonderful indoors plus itís stabilized but thatís where my praise ends. I find many of my pictures look dull plus the Oneís camera is clearly optimized for indoors and not out. When Iím outside I actually find that itís a little noisy plus there are times that I find the lens is too wide (I donít like to use digital zoom). Still, itís hard to ignore the Oneís indoor performance; the One runs circles around the G2 but outdoors Iíd take the G2 every time.
Surprisingly, while LG is touting the G2ís high quality 24bit audio, itís built-in speaker is pretty weak. Here, the HTC One is the clear winner.
Both have outstanding displays - both are probably the best on the market but the G2ís is just slightly better.
There is the issue of metal vs plastic body but honestly, both are solid phones.
Both companies have taken a very different approach to their software. HTCís customizations are more oriented to managing data you read while the LG is more centered around content consumption. Iím not a big fan of the latest version of Sense on the One but the G2ís is a little too messy. While neither overlay is outstanding, I prefer LGís content-centered approach.
vs Sony Xperia Z:
If you want a water resistant phone then take the Z. The Z is also blessed with a microSD slot. Otherwise, aside from cost I donít see a reason why Iíd pick the Xperia Z over the G2 unless youíre prefer Sony.
Screen, software, performance, battery size, LTE band support, etc. Itís a bit of a blow out.