Can’t wait until fall for a new Apple iPhone or Google Nexus device? You’re in luck. The top two makers of Android handsets in the United States are both releasing new flagship phones in the next month.
For Samsung, the latest Galaxy phones represent a refined return to form, while LG’s new model introduces modular capability that could really shake up the industry.
Performance-wise, the phones are roughly equivalent. All feature eight-core processors over 2GHz, 4GB RAM, and high-resolution displays – 1440 x 2560 pixels. Where they differ is feature set and design philosophy.
Of course the S7 gets a spec bump over the S6, which in turn was higher-specced than the S5. But design elements of each predecessor are synthesized into the latest family members.
Last year’s Galaxy S6 was the first phone in its series to not feature a microSD slot for expanding onboard storage. Both S7 phones bring that slot back, so users can swap inexpensive memory cards to their hearts’ content.
The S6 also eschewed strong water resistance, but the S7 works that feature back in too. A front fingerprint reader, NFC, and wireless charging are standard as well.
The Galaxy S6 edge was the same size as the S6, with both sporting a 5.1-inch screen; the S6 edge+ was larger at 5.7 inches. The Galaxy S7 base model still has a 5.1-inch display, but there’s only one Galaxy S7 edge, and it’s a compromise 5.5 inches.
LG has a less regular release schedule for its G series phones than Samsung’s Galaxy S line, and each generation tends to look a bit different, too. The G5 doesn’t look radically weird or anything – far from it – but its support for modular components makes it unique in the mainstream handset market.
Like the Galaxies, the LG G5 combines its high-end specs with a microSD memory card slot, NFC, and a fingerprint reader (on the back, though). There’s no wireless charging, but there is a 5.3-inch display that stays on in a low power mode to display the time and notifications. Two camera lenses offer standard and wide angle views.
The bottom bezel disconnects to reveal a removable battery. That part of the phone can be replaced with accessory modules – or “Friends” as LG is calling them. So far, one module is a camera grip with hardware controls and more battery capacity, while another is an enhanced digital-to-analog converter for high fidelity audio.
Other “Friends” attach by cable or Bluetooth, like the LG Rolling Bot and LG 360 Cam, both of which record video, and the LG 360 VR headset.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge come out March 11 for about $650 and $750, respectively.
The LG G5 will be released in April, with a price somewhere near $700.
Of course, cellular service providers will have their own financing setups and installment plans and discount deals. Either Galaxy S7, for example, includes a free Gear VR for virtual reality experiences. Neat.
Are you ready to upgrade? Will it be one of these, or something else?
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