LG V20 vs. Galaxy Note 7

LG's new V20 is designed to appeal to far more people than its predecessor, from its slick metal exterior down to its piles of specs and features inside. And any time you trot out a big 5.7-inch phone, you're going to be compared with Samsung's latest Note — even more so when the Note 7 is only a month old at this point.

We had an opportunity to use the LG V20 for a bit ahead of its launch, and it was natural for us to take time to compare it head-to-head with the latest from Samsung. Here's our first impressions of using the phones side-by-side.

On the inside

LG V20 and Galaxy Note 7 LG V20 and Galaxy Note 7 LG V20 and Galaxy Note 7

Considering that the Note 7 has been out for some time now, we're all generally familiar with its major specs and features. Though we're just getting to know the V20, nothing is immediately way off the charts internally. Both phones offer the same Snapdragon 820 processor (except some international Note 7s), 4GB of RAM, SD card slot, 5.7-inch QHD resolution display, USB-C port and single speaker on the bottom.

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Of course, there are a few differentiators here beyond that.

The spec showdown is nearly a tie.

The V20's display is an IPS "Quantum" Display — a fancy term for LG's special IPS technology — while the Note 7's is a Super AMOLED screen with dual curves on the sides. Then there's the little "Second Screen" above the V20's main screen, which shows you additional information. The V20 gives back the lead with a 3200 mAh battery against the Note 7's 3500 mAh — LG lets you remove the battery for a fresh one, though.

The camera comparison is a bit more complicated because the V20 has two rear cameras to the Note 7's one. The V20 has a 16MP f/1.9 setup with OIS, along with hybrid auto focus that combines laser, contrast and phase-detect systems to focus. The Note 7 is lower resolution at 12MP, but with a faster f/1.7 aperture and also OIS — focusing is accomplished with just phase detection here. But then you can also factor in the V20's secondary wide-angle camera — an 8MP f/2.4 camera with a 135-degree field of view for extra interesting shots. On the front, it's 5MP f/1.9 on the V20 versus 5MP f/1.7 on the Note 7.

Now, here's a complete breakdown of the internal specs for both phones:

Category LG V20 Galaxy Note 7
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display 5.7-inch IPS Quantum Display
2560x1440 (513 ppi)
Second Screen 160x1040
5.7-inch Super AMOLED
2560x1440 (513 ppi)
Dual edge screen
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core (U.S.)
Samsung Exynos octa-core (Intl)
Storage 64GB 64GB
Expandable microSD up to 2TB microSD up to 2TB
Rear Camera Main: 16MP f/1.8, OIS
Second: 8MP f/2.4 wide-angle
Laser AF, Phase-detect AF, Contrast AF
12MP f/1.7, OIS
Phase-detect AF
Front Camera Main: 5MP f/1.9
Second: 5MP f/1.9 wide-angle
5MP f/1.7
Audio 32-bit Quad DAC On-board Snapdragon 820 DAC
Battery 3200 mAh
3500 mAh
Charging USB-C
Quick Charge 3.0
Quick Charge 2.0
Water resistance No IP68
Stylus No S Pen stylus
4096 points of pressure sensitivity
Security One-touch fingerprint sensor One-touch fingerprint sensor
Samsung KNOX
Dimensions 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.7 mm 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm
Weight 173 g 169 g

On the outside

LG V20 and Galaxy Note 7 LG V20 and Galaxy Note 7 LG V20 and Galaxy Note 7

Comparing last year's V10 to the Galaxy Note 5 you saw two very different design philosophies. In 2016, the V20 and Note 7 are far closer together — both are sleek, simple and sturdy. They both feel extremely solid, and generally have the same footprint with mostly flat backs, well-rounded corners and minimal extra design flourishes. The V20 and Note 7 both go with the minimal aesthetic, especially in the grey and black colors pictured here.

Both phones take a sleek, solid and simple design approach

The V20 is primarily built on an aluminum body, sculpted smoothly all around and only broken by small pieces of plastic at the top and bottom to facilitate radio connectivity. The back is removable with the push of a button, though you wouldn't know just by seeing or feeling the exterior. The Note 7's aluminum structure is very much just a frame, as the real feeling you get from it is all glass with the two panes covering the front and back, down to the sides with their dual curves.

All of the basic components are more or less in the same place on both phones, with volume keys on the side, speakers and ports down on the bottom, and a camera pod high on the back — the one difference being the fingerprint sensor-button combo on the back of the V20 and front of the Note 7.

There's one big difference you can't see: water resistance. Even though the LG V20 has passed through testing for a MIL-STD 810G rating, that doesn't give it resistance to water like the IP68 rating (a different system) the Note 7 has. With a removable back waterproofing gets increasingly difficult, and that's one trade off that had to be made on the V20.

Finally, the size is important here. Even though the V20 is dramatically smaller than the V10, it's bigger than the svelte Note 7. The thickness and weight differences are negligible, but the Note 7 is several millimeters thinner and shorter than the V20 — and that can make a big difference in usability of these big phones.

Which phone offers the specs, features and design you're looking for? Let us know in the comments section below!

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