If you haven't gotten yourself a new phone in the last year or two and you feel like you're overdue for an upgrade, you're in luck: 2018 has produced some amazing new phones, and two of them come straight from South Korea.
The Galaxy S9+ is the current cream of the crop in Samsung's lineup, with a sleek and curvy design, dual cameras, and one of the best displays we've ever seen on a phone. It's not hard to see why it's already one of the most popular phones of the year. On the other hand, LG's new G7 ThinQ offers an alternative option for those who prioritize things like high fidelity audio and wide-angle photography, all without sacrificing anything in build quality or other premium features.
So what do you choose when both options are so compelling?
You shouldn't judge a phone based entirely off of its spec sheet — there's much more to a phone than the sum of its parts — but comparing the Galaxy S9+ and G7 on paper at least gives you a decent idea of where each device strides (spoiler alert: they're both almost identical).
|Category||Samsung Galaxy S9+||LG G7 ThinQ|
|Operating System||Android 8.0 Oreo||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Display||6.2-inch 18.5:9 Super AMOLED|
2960 x 1440, 529PPI
|6.1-inch 19.5:9 IPS LCD|
3120 x 1440, 564PPI
|Chipset||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, four 2.8GHz Kyro 385 Gold cores, four 1.7GHz Kyro 385 Silver cores||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, four 2.8GHz Kyro 385 Gold cores, four 1.7GHz Kyro 385 Silver cores|
|GPU||Adreno 630||Adreno 630|
|Expandable||Yes (microSD slot)||Yes (microSD slot)|
|Rear Camera||12MP f/1.5-2.4 + 12MP f/2.4, PDAF, 4K at 60fps||16MP f/1.6 + 16MP f/1.9, PDAF + laser autofocus, 4K at 30fps|
|Front Camera||8MP f/1.7, 1440p video||8MP f/1.9, 1080p video|
|Connectivity||WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, USB-C||WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, USB-C|
|Security||Fingerprint sensor (back), iris scanner||Fingerprint sensor (back)|
|SIM||Nano SIM||Nano SIM|
|Dimensions||158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm||153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm|
What the Galaxy S9+ does better
With the specs out of the way, now we can get into the good stuff. The Galaxy S9+ is the culmination of all of Samsung's design prowess over the years, with one of the best industrial designs in the business. The unique curved glass design and metal frame work together to make the phone feel incredibly well-machined, and it's built to withstand water and dust with its IP68 rating. That glass back also allows for wireless charging — just one of the many perks to Samsung's feature-packed hardware.
The display is also top-notch — actually, it isn't. The S9+ is one of the only flagship phones released so far in 2018 that doesn't feature a notch at the top of display, which is sure to please critics of the design trend pioneered by Apple and Essential. That notchless display is absolutely stunning, with incredibly rich colors and a wide range of brightness, letting you go from nearly pitch dark to bright enough to clearly view under direct sunlight. The curved edges are more about form than function, but they're entirely without purpose; Edge Panels have become increasingly useful over the years, and the curves help trim down the phone's width, making it easier to hold.
A few years ago, Samsung's software would've been considered a huge downside, but these days it's actually a nice add-on to the already great Android platform. Samsung Experience 9.0 is fast and responsive, and offers its own ecosystem of Samsung apps parallel to Google's, the most useful of which is arguably Samsung Pay, which uses MST to emulate a physical card swipe on terminals, allowing you to use it almost anywhere — even at locations that don't typically accept mobile payments.
Like the G7 ThinQ, the Galaxy S9+ touts dual cameras on the back, though Samsung's arrangement of cameras is a bit different than LG's. The primary camera is a 12MP sensor that's capable of dual apertures, allowing it to organically switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 — you can even watch it happen. In addition, the secondary lens allows for 2x zoom, and when combined with the main camera offers a pretty solid portrait mode. More impressively though, the S9+ takes absolutely stunning low light shots, and in video mode it's capable of shooting at a whopping 960fps for slow motion — though understandably, you'll have to settle for 720p to get those frame rates.
What the LG G7 ThinQ does better
Not to be outdone, LG has thrown every feature it possibly could, new and old, into the G7 ThinQ. It adopts new trends like the display notch — for better or worse — yet it still provides the company's incredibly impressive Quad DAC, which offers better sound through the phone's 3.5mm headphone jack than any other phone can hope to match. Whether you're after wireless charging, water resistance, or something else, the G7 ThinQ almost certainly offers it, along with just about every other hardware feature and the kitchen sink.
Perhaps one of the G7's biggest hardware advantages over the Galaxy S9+ is its fourth hardware button, beyond the power and volume keys. While users and reviewers alike have bemoaned Samsung's Bixby button since it first emerged on the Galaxy S8 last year, LG is taking a different approach with a dedicated shortcut key to the more popular and often more useful Google Assistant. It's also positioned quite a bit lower than Samsung's extra button, making it harder to mistakenly press — that's a big win if you ask me.
Some of the most high profile benefits of the G7 ThinQ come in the form of the cameras. Most people who have used both will agree: wide angle on a phone is more useful and allows for more creative shooting than a zoom lens. LG's phones have been making use of wide-angle secondary sensors for years, and the G7 has the company's best implementation yet. Wide angle isn't all the G7 is good for, though; like the Galaxy S9+, it excels in low light thanks to pixel binning technology, and the phone's AI enhancements (this is where the ThinQ moniker comes from) help it better understand when to automatically switch to different shooting modes to optimize for settings like food, outdoors, and portraits.
The G7 ThinQ pulls ahead in various smaller ways, as well. Though it only has a single rear-firing speaker, the output is shockingly loud — loud enough to fill a room, and with good sound quality to boot. The G7 also provides excellent haptics, maybe the best on Android, and while it seems like an inconsequential factor (and for many, it probably is) it makes the software feel more interactive, more alive; particularly in the camera software, you can feel the interface ticking and clicking at you while you adjust certain settings, almost as if you were interacting with a physical dial.
Oh, and let's not forget LG's renewed commitment to timely and consistent software updates. That's hugely important for users that want to stay up to date with the latest versions of Android and the most recent security patches, and it's something that Samsung historically just can't match.
Which is right for you?
Both phones are absolutely incredible devices, each an accomplishment of different design philosophies. Where the Galaxy S9+ feels like an evolution of last year's S8+, the G7 ThinQ takes a different direction than LG's previous models with a display notch and a larger focus on AI. As for which phone is worth your hard-earned dollars, that'll depend on where your priorities lie in a few key aspects.
If you just can't yet cope with the idea of a notch at the top of your display, the choice is obvious — get the Galaxy S9+. On a less superficial note, you should also grab the S9+ if you're interested in Samsung's ecosystem as much as you are in Google's; Knox is a huge boon for the security-focused, and Samsung Pay allows for more flexibility than any other mobile payment service. The Galaxy S9+ also offers more options for security than LG; in addition to the fingerprint sensor, the Galaxy S9+ touts both iris scanning and facial recognition, and can use all three methods in tandem to quickly authenticate you in any situation.
On the other hand, the G7 ThinQ could be the better option for creative minds that really want to make use of that wide-angle secondary lens. Save for attaching huge and clunky third-party lenses to the back of your phone, there's just no way to get that wide-angle effect on the S9+, and it allows the G7 to capture shots that no other phone can. The G7 is just as great for media playback, as well, thanks to its incredible Quad DAC that was once exclusive to LG's V series, and the loud speaker output. If you're equal parts creator and consumer of content, it's hard to argue with the G7 ThinQ.
If you were stuck trying to choose between these two powerhouses and this comparison helped you make your decision, let us know in the comments below! What phone would you choose, and if you're already rocking the S9+ or you're planning on pre-ordering the G7, what feature or trait do you wish you could take from the other phone?
Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.
Isn't the LG speaker bottom firing? Genuine question. I want to upgrade but the G7:
1. Had that silly "Thinq" moniker
2. Has the notch The second is a more serious gripe. I understand that I can fiddle with the settings to make it nearly invisible but it's not the same. It's the principal. Why copy apple? I also can't see giving up my G6 because of the 2nd year promise warranty that LG offered shortly after it's release. S9 seems nice but I like a flat screen and using my wife's S8 makes the Samsung feel sort of bland.
Manufacturers have been chasing screen to body % for years and the "notch" gives this.
Essential did it first. Samsung technology made it possible and Apple used Samsung screens to do it too.
Fortunately most android manufacturers are doing it better letting you hide it (very well)
I don't see everyone complaining about copying touch screens from Apple.
I like the look of the S9 but think I'll wait for the Note.
The notch is optional.
No it's not. LG doesn't sell you a version of the phone without it. So it's not optional. And that pathetic software trick to put a black background on the sides only works on LG's apps.
No one has added a notch they have just removed some bezel from ether side of the camera, proximity sensor and mic.
If you're desperate for this bezel back you can colour this area black and continue as if it was a full bezel again.
This will work with all apps and when viewing media.
The notch IS completely OPTIONAL. I’ve seen and used the G7 already and 100% it is optional.
I think at this point it doesn't matter which of these you buy, between these two it's got to be about which company you favor.
Smaller battery in the g7 is gonna hurt it alot in this comparison. Id pass on it for that reason alone
Just because it has a smaller battery doesn't mean that the battery performance will definitely be in favor of the Samsung. A lot goes into optimizations to prolong the battery use in every device, so it depends how successful they are in that regard. It requires real world testing and usage to really see which phone is going to get the most efficient performance.
You forgot Samsung pay which in my opinion is the best feature phone could have. I have no wallet I only use my phone and it's much safer than physical cards
The LG will have Android pay.
Yeah, but Samsung pay has MST, so you can pay on readers that don't support tap-to-pay yet, which is fantastic. Samsung also gives you reward points for using Samsung Pay, which can result in real, extra dollars in your pocket.
Agreed, Samsung pay & the the infinity display are two of the best reasons they get my money. Plus the most premium features of any phone on the market!
The LG is much cheaper. The compromise is the LCD screen and the smaller battery. If you can live with that - I think it's an excellent option. Who doesn't charge their phone over night anyway...?
No one should ever comprise about battery, especially not high end phones, that's why the G7 is not viable to me at all.
Coming from Mate 9 to any 2018 phone(except P20 Pro), seems like a downgrade.
Shouldn't the S9 be compared with the LG V30S? That's it's correspondent, not the G7.
No brainer. S9+, of course.
Thanks but i will stick to my note 8 for a while.It still rocks,you know?
"Oh, and let's not forget LG's renewed commitment to timely and consistent software updates. That's hugely important for users that want to stay up to date with the latest versions of Android and the most recent security patches, and it's something that Samsung historically just can't match." I'm sorry, what? The LG G6 which came out last year is still on Nougat even though it came out before the Galaxy S8. And mine is also on the October 1 2017 security update. So I just don't know what you're talking about here. LG said they would update the G6 in late April, but no sign of it here. Please make your homeworks before you start saying something misleading like this.
What they wrote is true they just put it wrong LG has contract with google for the g7 that insures the things written down unortunatley our g6's arent in this contract
My G6 is downloading Oreo right now, so the wait is finally over, at least on Verizon. The G7 appears to be a great phone, and the notch is a notch is a notch, but like most things you get used to it!
You can finally download oreo when we could almost skip to p. Never an LG again for me... (the G6 is still on 7.0 btw)
OK, it updated to 8.0 yesterday. Not yet 8.1, but it's a start. Nice to have it after 9 months after release 😊
1.) The notch is my enemy. I truly loathe that "innovation." It's purely aesthetic, and actually detracts from the utility of the device. You wouldn't buy a TV with a big notch out of one side, and I wouldn't buy a phone with one either. 2.) LG has burned me too many time with bad software and slow updates. They've committed more than once to being better about it, but I'll believe it when I see it. Samsung isn't terribly fast either, but they've been consistent of late, and, in my personal experience, far more stable. 3.) As others have pointed out, there's a smaller battery in the G7. I'd say that'd be OK if LG threw in less bloatware, but both LG and Samsung are bad about that, so my guess is that they didn't. So, battery is a concern. 4.) I'll definitely give you the the Bixby button thing. I don't really use Bixby, I don't hate it like some do, but I don't use it either (GA is better). The button placement is terrible in any case, and I like what LG has done on the G7 with their extra button.
Really don't get this notch hate thing.
No one has added a notch they have just removed the bezel that didn't have the camera, proximity sensor and mic in it.
(Things my TV doesn't have.)
This area (that was bezel) is now used to hold the status bar giving a little extra screen.
So you don't get why having a notch intrude on a rectangular screen would be unwelcome? It doesn't matter that your TV doesn't have those sensors--what matters is that the viewing space is clean and clear of obstruction. I don't get how anyone is OK with the notch. My s9+ has a very high screen-to-bezel ratio, and it doesn't have a notch. It also has a sensor that the G7 doesn't have. So, why not make a thinner bezel and an unobstructed rectangular screen?
No one has added a notch!
They have removed bezel.
If you're missing the bezel that has been removed you can colour the area that used to be bezel black and continue as normal.
Basically when hidden the phone will behave in exactly the same way as if it had a full bezel.
Your S9 doesn't have a notch because it has a full bezel.
A notch is just a little bit of a bezel that can function as a full bezel if required.
so a notch adds a sliver of screen on either side... how does that enhance the user experience?
It doesn't really. Status bar icons can be moved up into this area giving a few more mm of screen when held in vertical.
Manufacturers can claim extra screen to body %.
Only downside if you really need a full set of icons these would need to go back under the bezel like a normal phone.
I'm no great fan and I would rather have speakers in a normal bezel, but as it does no harm and I can just ignore it I can't hate it.
Joe, I think you need to give one a shot. I was against it until I bought the Essential.
I just dont see how it improves the picture you are are looking at or the video you are watching
That's because it doesn't.
Just a way of manufacturers to claim more screen to body %.
Fortunately it can be ignored and life can go on.
THANK YOU! Oh man, these people complaining about having more usable screen is driving me crazy! Look at it like this...the battery % indicator, time, etc, is up higher, making more room for the actual content. Without a notch, you have solid bezel, which means that those same indicators mentioned above have to be listed below that bezel, which pushes everything down a bit. Remember the ultimate goal is go have NO bezel. There's no tech yet to get around the earpiece and front camera, so...notch!
The S9 without a doubt. But I wouldn't buy either the LG G7 ThinkQ or the Galaxy S9 over a Pixel 2 XL.
Buy the thing already so we don’t have to read “pixel 2 XL” anymore. Geeesh.
I was thinking the same thing. It's the same thing post after post
No kidding, I'm about ready to buy it for him just for him to cease with the GoogleBot stuff.
Wait till October so you can get him the 3
Yeah, always talking about the same phone! Lol
Bingo! Thinking the same thing.
If the asking price for the G7 is 750.00 which I've read it is they will have trouble selling at that price. There is no way I would pay 800.00 for an LG phone. Why would you ask more than the Samsung s9? This spells trouble in LG land!
LG need to price their phone no more than 600$ at the worst case scenario, 500 to 550 would be great, as they face hard competition not only from Samsung, who beat them years ago.
I preordered this phone with Verizon, yeah it's 750 but they are giving 100 off right now, and up to 50% off with your trade in. I only got 35% for my iPhone 6, but that's still 262.5 for a phone that I paid 179 for last year. Then throw in that their also giving military, veterans, and their family members an additional 200 MasterCard until the 31st, and I'm paying 187 for a phone that I literally can't wait to get my hands on.
I looked at the S9's and the +, and they are nice phones, but for me the G7's look and feel were by far better. Just my opinion though.
Fyi...the s9's are 300 off right now at best buy!
I'd go for the G7, I'm a bigger fan of the LG UI than TouchWiz any day. Plus the wide angle is much more useful than telephoto. The sound is a big one for me, the phone is my music hub and LG nailed it this year. Plus the haptics, that's a big win for me, I love a phone with awesome haptic response. The pixel one has terrible haptics and it actually bothers me every time. As for the notch, I don't hate it. Kinda like it. But what wasn't mentioned in the article is that the notch is 100% optional. If you choose to turn it off, than the notch area just displays your standard notification bar stuff with a standard black background or whatever you choose. Another great choice. I prefer Google Assistant any day over bixby. Just not loving that 3000mAh battery. Could've upped it, should've upped it.
Agreed - the battery is the only down side. But - these review models probably aren't running the final, optimised software. The battery might be fine... Has to be better than my flagging 6P.
Does the G7 have a flat screen ?
LOL no one should get the G7 over the S9+
LG G7 $750, S9+ $930 @ VZW. ---- plus Verizon's Fathers Day Sale gives you a free G7 or a free S9.
Purchasing a G7 is lower tax amount paid for the phones on purchase day, lower price per month for the G7, the notch is optional, and either phone is amazing.
Also, if you can't stand the curve on the Samsung screen, the flat LG G7 screen is for you.
Going to look at these phones today, and I thinQ (see what I did there...?) I just might have to pull the trigger on the G7........
The S9 has a curved screen and the G7 doesn't. G7 wins for me.
Neither! Tbh, the V30s thinQ works great for us, we love them. No notch means a buy for us. Our G5's did get 1 OS update to Nougat and security patches stayed up to date.
I'll take a flat screen with a notch over a notch-less curve screen any day.
Yeah me too. The curved screens are so awful.
Save over a hundred quid and buy a Note 8 instead
LG g7 is a beast, I don't like buying phones everybody else has so I'm skipping Samsung 💯
People saying they didn't add a notch are talking nonsense. They didn't "remove bezel" if I take apart my phone I'm not gonna find more screen under the bezel. They added more screen with a notch in the middle
Where their was bezel there is now screen.
The notch is OPTIONAL. It is literally just a visual preference setting in the phone.
OK look at it like this:
The area to the right and left of the front camera and front speaker is a dead zone.....no screen, no notifications.
All notifications are on the screen directly below this area of 2 dead zones and the camera-speaker area.
The "notch" is already on all phones.
The "notch" is flanked by the 2 dead zones already.
Now, on phones with a notch, manufacturers just stretched the screen up into these 2 dead zones.
AND they moved the notifications up into these 2 new screen areas, freeing up a LITTLE bit of screen where the old notifications area was.
They did add screen up into the dead zones.
LOL that was a fun explanation.......
If i had to choose between the two, then only S9+, despite the G7 have a great DAC, the cameras wouldn't be great just passable, low amount of battery, lack of support shortly after launch. I wouldn't buy S9+ nor the G7, the only high end phone i'll buy is the Mate 10 Pro or the P20 Pro, as i've learnt with my mate 9, the battery life is so great, you can rest your mind at ease, something that can not be done by those two.
I wish this article was updated: the notch on the G7 everyone is having a fit about is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. I have used the new G7 already and it can be used with or WITHOUT the notch.
« Most people who have used both will agree: wide angle on a phone is more useful and allows for more creative shooting than a zoom lens » It’s highly debatable! A good zoom is as useful if not more than this...
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