Samsung Galaxy S5 vs LG G2: the weigh-in

The two South Korean superphones go head to head in our pre-fight slanging match

The Samsung Galaxy S5 impressed us during our brief hands-on review at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and we're expecting a full review unit to drop by Stuff HQ shortly.

In the meantime, we're pitting it, on paper, against the current best smartphone in the world - LG's mighty G2.

Bring on round one:

READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy S5 preview: specs, price, release date

Plastic wars

Both the Galaxy S5 and LG G2 lose out to the likes of premium-built devices like the iPhone 5s, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z2.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs LG G2: the weigh-in

Forged from plastic, neither handset feels as expensive as their metal/glass-clad rivals, so we're looking at a straight up plastic vs plastic fight here.

The Galaxy S5 has received plenty of criticism for arriving with a very similar design to its predecessor, but one area it has improved on is its rear. Gone is the slippery plastic backside of the S5 and tacky looking faux leather of the Galaxy Note 3.

Instead, the Note 3 has a rubbery matte dimpled polycarbonate rear panel which is wonderfully grippy, and much less likely to slip out of the hands than the slippery G2. Just try not to think about all the plaster jokes when you're holding it.

While we're not fans of the two-tone alien blue colour, the plain Black S5 looks and feels rather smart.

The G2 fights back with its innovative rear power and volume buttons however, and we applaud LG for cramming in a slightly larger 5.2in screen into a smaller body with super-slim bezels.

The Galaxy S5 has another weapon in its arsenal though: IP67 waterproof and dustproof certification, meaning it'll battle through a British downpour with ease.

Overall, this round goes to the Galaxy S5. It's got a grippier rear, and its removable cover means you've got access to a microSD slot and swappable battery - both of which are missing from the LG G2. Throw in the fact that it's waterproof and there's not much the G2's pretty slim bezelled face can do about it.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5

Tasty extras

The Galaxy S5 brings two big features to the ring. First up is its Home button, which has an in-built fingerprint scanner.

Swiping our fingers to lock and unlock the Galaxy S5 worked well during our hands-on review, but LG's Knock On feature (a double tap to wake up the screen) almost seems faster, as it can detect your fingers when the screen is off.

Still, you can use your fingerprint to encrypt protect sensitive files on the Galaxy S5 and you can even use your digits to buy things online via PayPal in an instant.

The rear of the Galaxy S5 also has a heart rate sensor. Although it's arguable how useful a feature this is on a phone (it makes more sense on a smartwatch like the Gear 2 or Gear Fit), it's an extra feature for developers to take advantage of.

For pushing the boundaries and for cramming in tech into every available inch of space, the Galaxy S5 wins this round too.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5

READ MORE: Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo hands-on review

Super screens

While both devices have 1080p displays, Samsung is sticking to its Super AMOLED guns while LG has gone the IPS+ LCD route.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs LG G2: the weigh-in

In person, both screens look superbly sharp with vivid colours and good viewing angles.

The Galaxy S5 serves up true blacks while the LCD panel of the G2 offers purer whites with respectable (but not quite pure) blacks.

The G2 manages to cram in a slightly larger 5.2in display compared to the S5's 5.1in screen but features Gorilla Glass 2 as opposed to Samsung's Gorilla Glass 3 display.

AMOLED versus LCD is often down to personal preference and when both screens look this good, were' going to have to call this a draw until we carry out our full in-depth Galaxy S5 review.

Winner: draw

More after the break...

Snap happy

The LG G2 has one of the best Android smartphone cameras around but Samsung's not taking any chances with the Galaxy S5. 

It offers 16 megapixels to the G2's 13MP camera and Samsung boasts that the Galaxy S5 has the world's fastest smartphone  autofocus at up to 0.3 seconds.

While the S5 doesn't feature the G2's impressive optical image stabilisation, it does offer Lytro-like post-shot refocusing, thanks to its ability to snap two shots at once at different focal lengths before combining them into one photo.

The Galaxy S5's camera also has a live HDR mode which lets you see what a HDR shot or video will look like in real time.

Throw in 4K video recording (which the G2 lacks) and it's impossible not to give the S5 the imaging victory, on paper at least.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5

Power race

Being the newer device, the S5 naturally wins the power round by default, thanks to its newer, slightly higher-clocked Snapdragon 801 innards. 

Both devices had 2GB of RAM however, and until we've got our Galaxy S5 review unit on hand to see how it fares in the real world, it'll be impossible to say which one really is faster.

For the time being however, the S5 clinches this round, on paper specs alone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5

Android tweaks

Both Samsung and LG are guilty of bogging Android down with tonnes of software extras, but some are actually genuinely useful.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs LG G2: the weigh-in

the Galaxy S5 and G2 let you lock off your personal section of the phone, allowing guests to use your device without prying into your files, folders and apps.

The G2's excellent Knock On unlock feature it's also expected to be updated with the G Pro 2's Knock Code skills which will let you tap out a pattern across the screen to unlock it.

It worked really well when we tried it out at Mobile World Congress and we're looking forward to it landing on all of LG's major devices this year.

The S5 however has a very impressive (on paper at least) battery saver mode which can supposedly squeeze out an extra 24 hours of battery life with only 10% charge left on the battery.

Once activated, the menus and screen become black and white, and all apps are frozen. You can however still make and receive calls and text messages, and we can see ourselves making full use of it on a night out, stranded from any power cables.

The Galaxy S5 also features Samsung's updated S Health app which is built into the latest version of TouchWiz. It offers detailed information on calories burned, steps taken and even calories consumed, if you can be bothered to scan in every little thing you eat all day.

Thanks to the heart scanner on the rear you can even measure your heart rate to ensure you're not feeling too poorly. Or too excited. Or too... dead.

Samsung's download booster mode also sounds very interesting. It's able to use both 4G and Wi-Fi connections simultaneously to download large files faster than Wi-Fi or 4G alone. If it works, it could change our Starbucks working habits for good.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5

Initial verdict

It's no surprise to see the newer phone win this weigh in. On paper the S5 has better specs, impressive camera features, more sensors than a Star Trek Communicator and innovative software features.

In the hands we still prefer the G2's design, but there's no ignoring Samsung's grippier back, waterproof body and expandable memory and replaceable battery.

Things could change when carry out our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S5 review however, so stay tuned.

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