The spring season is always an exciting time for Android smartphones as Samsung and LG always release their best for the first half of the year.
Last year LG was the first major manufacturer to jump into the modules game, but that concept has all been abandoned for 2017. That might leave a sour taste in many consumer’s mouths who went with the G5 as they were hoping to get add-on modules that could boost sound, enhance battery life or project video. Whatever happened to the LG Rolling Bot from last year?
The design is the big change for the LG G6 this year where glass replaces painted metal. LG was one of the last manufacturers to keep removable batteries, but the G6’s battery is locked in this go around. At least it has wireless and fast charging built-in for US-based consumers. The phone touts a massive 5.7″ display with tiny bezels, while offering water resistance (IP68) like the Samsung flagships. Internal specs are probably good enough to play lag free, but enthusiasts aren’t going to want to pay a premium price for an older processor in the Snapdragon 821. Other than those changes, there isn’t a ton to be excited about this year. The G6 is expected to go on sale in the US on April 7th.
Samsung on the other hand has found success with a premium all metal and glass design with its Galaxy S lineup and is continuing down the same road. It is also looking to rebound from a rough end from 2016 with the recall of the Galaxy Note 7. The S lineup has always been Samsung’s best seller, and this year looks to be another good one based on the rumors of the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Samsung is expected to do away with the standard flat version of the S series and stick with the dual edge display for the S8 and S8+. Similar to the LG G6, the S8 smartphones will feature minimal bezels on their 5.8″ and 6.2″ screens that will be called the “Infinity Display”. They will no doubtedly rank high in visual tests with QHD resolution and Super AMOLED technology. Last year’s Note7 had a 5.7″ display which has always been bigger than the S series. With a massive display, fit into a similar sized body as last year’s S7 edge, the S8 does away with the home button in favor of on screen controls. Expect the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone too.
The S8 looks to employ the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 which uses the 10nM FinFET manufacturing process. It offers a 27% improved performance and up to 40% less power consumption over the last generation. Waterproofing and the 3.5mm audio jack should be carried over from the S7, with a minor change from microUSB to USB C. Samsung is also expected to announce its new voice assistant Bixby for the S8 too. It should offer similar capabilities to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The official announcement of the S8 and S8+ is just around the corner on March 29th with an expected launch date of April 28th in the US.
So which one should you get? They’re both pricey, and specs have yet to be confirmed for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, but the rumors have been pretty reliable the past couple of years. For my money, I’d go with Samsung mainly because LG abandoned its users from 2016. Kudos to Samsung for updating the S7 and S7 edge to Android Lollipop in a reasonable amount of time too.
- Expected release date (US): April 7, 2017
- Price: Unknown for US, expected $500-800
- Color: Black, White and Platinum
- Dimensions: 5.86″ x 2.83″ x .31″
- Display: 5.7″ IPS LCD
- Resolution: 1440 x 2880 pixels (564 ppi)
- OS: Android 7.0 with LG UX 6.0 UI
- Processor: Snapdragon 821
- Battery 3300mAh
- GPU: Adreno 530
- Memory 32/64GB expandable via microSD up to 2TB, 4GB RAM
- Cameras: dual rear 13MP with dual LED flash, front 5MP
- USB C 3.1, fingerprint reader, wireless charging
Galaxy S8 and S8+
- Expected release date (US): April 28, 2017
- Price: Unknown, expected $700-900
- Color: Black, Silver, Gold, White, Blue
- Display: 5.8″ and 6.2″ Super AMOLED
- Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels
- OS: Android 7.0 with Touchwiz
- Processor: Snapdragon 835 (US) or Exynos 8895 (international)
- Battery: 3000mAh or 3500mAh
- Memory 64GB expandable via microSD, 4GB RAM
- Cameras: rear 12MP DualPixel, 8MP front
- USB C, fingerprint reader, wireless charging, IP68