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Google/Huawei Nexus 6P vs LG Nexus 5X – specs comparison

They say the smartphone space is slowly but steadily getting too crowded for anyone besides Apple to post a constant profit. Tablets are dying, and conventional PCs linger in purgatory, yet an obvious market saturation seems to prevent handhelds from further growing.

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As such, it’s no wonder companies like HTC or Microsoft badly want to streamline their mobile product rosters, reducing the number of eerily similar Lumia and One models released year after year. Meanwhile, BlackBerry seeks an Android Hail Mary pass in utter desperation, and Samsung may soon need to enforce cost-cutting measures of its own to stop an abrupt, free fall in revenue.

Bottom line, everyone acknowledges the industry’s identity crisis, acting in accordance with various austerity tactics, except for Google. The search giant has adhered to the conventional 11 or 12-month hardware upgrade cycle and one phone a year launch standard since the very inception of the Nexus program, but all of a sudden, that’s no longer enough for Sundar Pichai & co.

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Enter the Huawei-made Nexus 6P and LG-produced Nexus 5X, the first duo in the family’s history to get a simultaneous announcement, and target different audiences. In case you’re confused regarding exactly what’s different, and what’s not, let us clear the air for you:

Nexus 6P vs Nexus 5X – design and build quality comparison

As the name suggests, the N6P is larger. Specifically, 159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm vs. 147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm, as far as the N5X is concerned. So, 12 mm taller, 5 wider, and remarkably enough, around half a millimeter thinner. Also, 42 grams heavier (178 vs 136), and most importantly, half an inch larger in screen diagonal (5.7 vs 5.2).

But of course, the aesthetical distinctions don’t stop there. In fact, size is the least important of them, with build material contrasts much more relevant for your buying decision. The higher-end, bigger Nexus 6P is arguably handsomer as well, courtesy of anodized aluminum use, compared to “premium injection molded polycarbonate.”

Translation – plastic for the Nexus 5X, and the same type of metal alloy employed in the aeronautical industry on the 6P. Too bad the latter’s rear camera looks God-awful, even though we wouldn’t exactly call the former’s main photographic unit a beaut either. Both stick out like a sore thumb, and the slimmed-down chassis around them seems a huge waste of space. Why oh why didn’t Google just make them thicker overall, and add extra battery capacity in the equation?

Display and cameras

No more racking their brains to come up with the “sweet spot” in terms of footprint and screen real estate for Google engineers! There’s no such thing, by the by, which is why it’s great phablet lovers and fans of smaller phones alike can finally come together.

The only catch is, if you’re into “diminutive” Androids, you’ll have to settle for 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution, LCD technology, 423 ppi, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The jumbo-sized new Nexus ups the ante across the board, to 2,560 x 1,440, AMOLED, 518 pixels per inch, and Gorilla Glass 4.

But surprise, surprise, the two primary cams are identical. Truly so, with the same 12 MP sensors, 1.55 μm pixels for superior details in low-light conditions, f/2.0 aperture, laser autofocus, dual LED flash, and 4K video recording capabilities at 30 fps.

Google-Nexus-6P-camera

Selfie addicts are better served by the Nexus 6P, which sports a pretty amazing front-facing cam too, despite lacking flash illumination. You get 8 generous megapixels, f/2.4 aperture, and 30 fps HD video capture, whereas the N5X barely offers 5 MP.

Processor, RAM and battery life

In the octa-core Snapdragon 810 vs hexa SD808 battle, the question is not who wins in the raw speed department, but whether the fiery hot 810 can at last be contained and cooled down. Hopefully, in a 2.1 iteration, it will.

Snapdragon 810

Likewise, the accompanying Adreno 430 GPU easily eclipses the 808’s 418 inside the Nexus 5X in graphics performance, yielding no stability concerns fortunately. The memory duel takes the Nexus 6P one step closer to total N5X annihilation, as the updated 5.2 incher merely matches the RAM count of its two year-old predecessor, at 2 GB.

In addition to packing 3 full gigs of the good stuff, Huawei’s rookie Nexus effort also touts the significantly heftier cell – 3,450 mAh, compared to 2,700. We’ll obviously have to wait for real-life battery tests before concluding which device lasts longer, but the good news is you get rapid charging features either way.

Nexus USB charging

The Nexus 6P should be able to keep the lights on for around 7 hours after 10 minutes of juicing activity, while the N5X can provide 4 hours or so endurance in the same timeframe.

Software, storage, and others

Say hello to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, possibly the most energy-efficient, security-focused variant of the world’s most popular mobile operating system, and hopefully, the smoothest, fastest, most stable too.

As you can imagine, Google doesn’t play favorites on this front in 2015 either, and loads up the same stock goodies on both new Nexuses. You have your intuitive Now on Tap function, Doze frugality, App Standby enhancement, customizable permissions, zippier and smarter Google Camera and Photos apps, plus native fingerprint recognition.

Nexus 5X fingerprint

Needless to highlight that latter feature would be useless without actual fingerprint sensors, located on the back of the 6P and 5X, and endowed with something called Nexus Imprint that “gets smarter with every touch” by “incorporating measurements each time you use it.”

What else? Well, since you predictably can’t expand the internal storage space via microSD cards, it’s vital to note the smaller handheld accommodates 16 or 32 GB data, whereas the Nexus 6P allows you to store up to 128 gigs, starting at 32 instead of 16.

Nexus 6P

Then you have dual stereo speakers on the 6P, and a single audio player slapped on N5X’s face, three microphones with noise cancellation for each model, LTE Cat. 6, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, dual-band across the board. Oh, and let’s not forget the two’s reversible USB Type-C ports, which help make super-fast charging possible.

Pricing and availability

Up for pre-orders straight from Google, the vanilla Android powerhouses look like phenomenal bargains, commanding tariffs of $379 and $499 respectively in “entry-level” configurations. Considering all the Nexus 6P’s fortes listed above, the 32 GB flavor isn’t a lot pricier than its 5X counterpart, which sells for $429.

Nexus 5X

Craving for 64 or 128 gigs of digital hoarding room? Then be prepared to spend $549 or $649. The ultimate deal sweetener comes in the form of free 90-day Google Play Music access, and complimentary $50 Google Play credit for orders placed before October 25. And yes, you’ll be able to activate the Nexus 5X and 6P on all four major US carriers, including Verizon.

LG G4 vs LG G3 vs LG G Flex 2 – Specs comparison

Quick show of hands, who here is disappointed by the knife LG just brought to the gunfight against Samsung’s “explosive” Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge? That many, huh? Well, we can’t blame you, as our gloomy recent G4 predictions essentially all panned out.

LG G4 vs LG G3

It’s like LG, HTC and Sony resigned themselves to eternal underdog status, and they’re not even trying to stay in the race for gold anymore. But maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way. It’s pretty obvious the G4 has nothing on the GS6 dyad, yet if it at least improves on last year’s phenomenal G3 and this year’s remarkable G Flex 2, it’s worth a bit of praise.

Evolution is good after all, no matter how marginal. So, is the G4 better than its predecessor and curvier “cousin”? Let’s dig in:

G4 vs G3 vs G Flex 2 – pricing and availability comparison

This wild rumor from last week called for a G4 tag exceeding the base S6 valuation and, until now, LG hasn’t come out to confirm or disprove it. Which could be interpreted as validation of its own. Yes, ladies and gents, the genuine leather version will most likely cost a whopping $800+ outright stateside in late May.

LG G4

Meanwhile, metallic gray, ceramic white and shiny gold models (read plastic-made variations) should be able to considerably lower the ask. $100 is the minimum gap, $150 seems like a possibility too, whereas $200 is a bit of a stretch. Bottom line, the no-contract G4 shall start at $650, give or take. With carrier agreements, we’d expect standard fares of $200 and $300 respectively.

It’s no shock ergo that both the G Flex 2 and G3 hold the affordability advantage, although you may find the two surprisingly inexpensive compared to the new Snapdragon 808 flagship. The former goes for $600 unlocked in red and silver and $690 in black via Amazon, as well as $100 with Sprint pacts in “platinum silver” and “volcano red.”

LG G Flex 2

The G3? It’s a bargain, a steal, and it’s this close to rivaling Moto G-grade budget heights. Silk white factory unlocked variants are $360 a pop, 9 bucks extra will buy you a G3 in metallic black, and the SIM-free gold config is $378. No charge needed if tying up to a 24-month contract ain’t a problem, regardless of your preferred network between Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.

Design and build quality face-off

Despite a series of incremental performance upgrades, G4’s main claim to fame is without a doubt the reformed visual approach. You have your optional leather rear cover, which only one other OEM offers, base scratch-resistant “ceramic” coating, 3D back patterns, slightly arched chassis and an overall boxier, sharper vibe than G3’s.

LG-G4

A winning combination? We’ll see, but as elegant as LG deems natural leather, it’s no match for Samsung’s uber-premium glass-and-metal blend in terms of robustness and style.

Set side by side with its ancestor, G4’s “personality” clearly stands out. As for the G Flex 2, we’re afraid the “fully” curved phone has a big ace up its sleeve: self-healing rear protection.

LG G3

Dimension-wise, the three are extremely similar, sporting 5.5-inch displays with fairly narrow bezels. Still, the G4 is a couple of mm taller than the G3, 1.5 mm wider and 0.9 mm thicker. It’s also 6 grams heavier. Sounds like a step back to us.

Display and cameras

Wondering what a Quantum IPS screen is? According to LG, it’s 25 percent brighter, delivers 50 percent greater contrast and 20 percent superior color reproduction. We call BS. There’s no way you’ll be able to tell G4’s Quad HD panel apart from G3’s Quad HD display. Sure, pitted against G Flex 2’s 1,080p glass, you’ll notice better contrast and color reproduction and whatever. But that’s probably it.

LG G4 display

Moving on, we have two vastly improved photography champs that make G3 and G Flex 2’s 13/2.1 MP cam duos look ridiculous. Namely, a highly gifted 16 megapixel shooter on the fresh spearhead’s posterior, endowed with phase detection, laser autofocus, an enhanced optical image stabilization system, dual-LED flash and ultra-wide F1.8 aperture for cutting-edge low-light performance.

Plus, an “industry-leading” 8 MP front cam for “selfies good enough to frame.”

Processors, RAM and battery life

Here’s where things get… sensitive. Qualcomm says Snapdragon 810’s heavily publicized overheating woes did not lead to LG’s S808 adoption for the G4. In fact, the chip maker claims the call was made months ago.

LG G4 benchmark

Whenever it happened, we’d much more like to know why. As in, why in the world did LG settle for a processor that’s clearly not the best? It’s decently close, with six cores and 64-bit capabilities, but according to benchmarks run by GSM Arena, it’s behind the 810, Exynos 7420 and even S801 (!!!) inside Sony’s Xperia Z3 in certain synthetic speed tests.

Maybe it’s record-setting autonomy the G4 is after? Maybe, although LG modestly expects the “new” 3,000 mAh battery to last 20 percent longer than the “old” 3,000 mAh cell. Speaking of, the battery remains user-removable, unlike the one under G Flex 2’s hood.

LG G4 camera

A RAM war is basically futile, given the G4, G3 and G Flex 2 all pack 3 gigs of the good stuff. On the plus side (or maybe not), you no longer get a downgraded 2 GB alternative.

Software, storage and others

Hello there, Android 5.1 Lollipop! It’s good to check you out in the flesh in non-stock attire before you can replace the 5.0 builds on the G3 and G Flex 2. The “human-centric” proprietary UX 4.0 is at the moment exclusive to the G4 too, bringing neat add-ons to the table such as Gesture Interval Shot, Quick Shot, Manual Mode, Quick Help and a revised Smart Notice notification system.

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At the end of the day, the list of software modernizations isn’t impressive, and they’re all headed to older LG flagships anyway. But if you want them now (read next month), the G4 is the only way to go.

With 32 GB on-board space and external microSD support up to an additional 128 GB, the G4 matches its kins and nothing more. Then again, storage is a department you can’t tremendously boost right now.

LG G3 wireless charging

Any “other” features you should know about before concluding the G4 isn’t that big of a deal? Optional wireless charging, perhaps, plus Quick Charge 2.0 functions and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. Yawn!

LG G4 preview (updated) and quick Samsung Galaxy S6 comparison

This was supposed to be yet another rumor roundup. A closer to reality version of our rash LG G4 preview from back February, but still highly reliant on speculation, guesswork and unconfirmed gossip.

LG G4

Only the manufacturers of last year’s critically acclaimed G3 essentially put “professional” leaksters out of business. With one noteworthy exception, “inside” sources became useless as the Korea-based OEM gradually revealed sans any restraint G4’s display, cameras and Android-skinned user interface.

What’s left to do now is gather all the sure-fire and near-guaranteed intel and see how LG’s next big thing could stack up against 2015’s phone to beat. Yes, Samsung’s sizzling hot Galaxy S6. Here goes:

LG G4 – what we know for sure

  • April 28 – the big day. “See the Great, feel the Great”. New York, London, Paris, Seoul, Singapore and Istanbul. Six venues, one hour, one phone. A little too much fuss for a device that’s already so out in the open? Perhaps, but maybe some surprises are in store.

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  • 5.5-inch True HD-IPS+ LCD screen with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (aka Quad HD) resolution. Sounds familiar? Well, the numbers are identical to the ones boasted by G3’s panel. Diagonal size, pixel count and, obviously, ppi – 538. What’s new is 30 percent improved brightness, 50 percent “higher than conventional” contrast ratio, and “richer and more accurate colors.” With no impact on energy consumption, allegedly. Also, a subtly arched profile. It’s time we stopped caring so much about overkill figures, and concentrated on real-life enhancements, don’t you think?
  • 16 MP rear-facing camera with f/1.8 aperture. Again, at first glance, this doesn’t seem like a huge upgrade. Just three more megapixels than last year? Come on, LG, even HTC can do 20 MP these days. Yes, but HTC and Samsung’s aperture technology is inferior, so the G4 may well prevail in low-light photo activity.

LG G4 camera

  • 8 MP selfie-friendly front snapper. Now that’s a spec bump everyone can understand and support. 8 is bigger than 2.1, hence self-portraits should look better than ever.
  • Android Lollipop with LG UX 4.0 on top. Not sure about the pre-installed L version yet (it could be 5.0 or 5.1), but the proprietary UI is rather pretty. “Human-centric” and intuitive, it’s a bit on the intrusive side. Still, it favors camera customization and aims to bring important notifications and news closer to every particular user.

LG G4 – what’s yet to be confirmed (but looks fairly certain as well)

LG G4 leather options

  • Hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 CPU + Adreno 418 GPU. Not quite as zippy (on paper) as the 810/430 combo, it’s really LG’s only choice if the Snapdragon 810 indeed still suffers of overheating woes.
  • 3 GB RAM. Just 3, no 2 gig option this time around. No leap to 4 either, probably to keep production costs as low as possible.
  • Plastic construction with optional leather back covers and the same iconic rear physical buttons. Sad LG isn’t following Samsung’s suit on the premium metal path? We bet, but at least G4’s battery will remain user removable, and microSD support isn’t going anywhere. Also, how cool is genuine leather? Granted, Motorola did it before, but it’s still gorgeous… when not painted in pukey brown.

LG G4 battery

  • G Pen? No G Pen? Separate G Pen variant? That’s a key question we can’t answer at the moment.
  • 3,000 mAh battery with Qi wireless charging functions and Quick Charge 2.0. Nothing altogether revelatory or innovative, nothing disappointing here either. Autonomy should be decent, not record-breaking
  • 32 GB and up internal storage. The age of 16 GB flagship phones is finally reaching an end. Probably. Hopefully.

LG G4 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 – preliminary specs comparison

We’ll of course be back with a more comprehensive, rigorous versus post once the G4 goes official, but for now, let’s explore a few of the areas LG could handle the heavyweight bout in.

LG G4 front

Firstly, it’s obvious the expandable storage and replaceable battery will be extraordinary advantages. Cell capacity should also be a plus, at 3,000 vs 2,550 mAh. Then you’ll likely have a superior front cam, matching native storage space and slimmer bezels, resulting in a 75 percent or so screen-to-body ratio (the Galaxy S6 sits at a similarly respectable 70.7%).

In the screen sharpness department, it’s too early to proclaim a winner, though the slightly smaller footprint should stem a better ppi on the Galaxy S6. Under the hood, the Exynos 7420 chip will almost certainly outpace the Snapdragon 808, while the main photographical unit looks like a delicate subject we’d rather not approach so soon in the game.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Oh, okay, we have a tie as far as the megapixel count is concerned, and optical image stabilization across the board. But phase detection, laser autofocus and a wider aperture might allow LG to put another precious one in the win column.

Last but not least, there’s the retail cost matter. Since the G4 is clearly less premium than its arch-rival from a design standpoint, we wouldn’t be surprised if it were to go for roughly $600, which is $150+ south of Galaxy S6’s factory unlocked tag via Amazon. Bottom line, the race to gold is wide open.

Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge vs Galaxy Note 4/Note Edge – Specs comparison

Samsung has sure come a long way in just 12 months or so. The “more of the same” program came to a depressing end with the bitter disappointment that was known as the Galaxy S5, and the Note 4, Note Edge, GS6 and S6 Edge mark the dawn of a new era.

Galaxy S6 vs Note 4

 

An era of innovation (don’t laugh), radical redesigns and, market analysts project, colossal financial gains. Above profits though, the mobile overlords seem concentrated on delivering a superior user experience, which you can feel, touch and bask in sans a number of counterproductive past bells and whistles.

As we found in S6 and S6 Edge’s head-to-head comparison against HTC’s One M9, there’s no such thing as a perfect phone. But clearly, the four that come the closest are Samsung’s latest “compact” and phablet-sized flagship duos.

Galaxy-S6-Edge-Galaxy-S6

Footprint notwithstanding, a certain target audience overlap is unavoidable, and so, it’s important to clarify to our power user readers what are the essential differences between these giants, and each one’s fortes. Here goes:

Galaxy Note 4 vs Note Edge vs Galaxy S6 vs S6 Edge – pricing and availability

The prime distinction here is more than obvious. Two of our heavyweight contenders can be purchased and delivered in a matter of hours, while the other two are still on standby. Slated for a global debut on April 10, the S6s might be a little hard to find at first. And yes, they’ll be pricier than the Note 4 nowadays.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Specifically, $700 and $850 respectively outright (or so we presume), and $200 and $300 with carrier agreements. We mean, of course, “entry-level” S6/S6 Edge configurations, packing 32 GB internal storage space and no expansion possibility.

A factory unlocked international variant of the GNote 4 with octa-core Exynos 5 punch costs $619 on Amazon in white, $624 in gold, and $632 in black. Swapping the Exynos for a quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC and tying yourselves to 24-month pacts will lead to much lower price points, namely $200 with Sprint, or $230 at Verizon and AT&T.

Galaxy Note Edge vs S6 Edge

Finally, the Note Edge remains quite the extravagant buy – $750 and up factory unlocked.

Design and build quality comparison

They say appearances can be deceiving, but not as far as Samsung’s ultra-high-end quartet is concerned. These bad boys look special, and are special. They’re all elegant and robust, with metal frames across the board, soft-textured plastic back covers on the Notes, and glossy glass rears for S6s. Point S for style and Gorilla Glass muscle, and points S6 Edge and Note Edge for, well, edges.

Galaxy S6 S6 Edge back

Which is handsomer? The S6 Edge by a landslide, as it prolongs the central screen on both sides, keeping things glamorous and subtle with uber-slim secondary panel strips chiefly meant to improve aesthetics, not productivity.

Another point for S wasp waists (6.8 – 7 mm vs 8.3 – 8.5 mm), and a gold star for lightweight skeletons. Sure, the S6 and S6 Edge are a lot smaller, at 5.1 compared to 5.7 inches, but the weight gap is staggering nonetheless: 132 grams for the S6 Edge, 138 for the standard S6, 174 and 176 grams for the Note Edge and Note 4 respectively.

Display and cameras

Before sinking our teeth into the four’s non-construction-related specifications, let us highlight the S6 and S6 Edge on one side and Note 4 and Note Edge on the other are architecturally identical.

Galaxy Note Edge

That said, coincidentally, screen resolution is the same all around. Quad HD, 2K or 2,560 x 1,440 pixels x 4. Of course, the S6 pair has the potential to produce much sharper images and video than the Note dyad, courtesy of superior pixel density: 577 vs 515 ppi. The technology used is Super AMOLED everywhere, and Gorilla Glass protection has leapt from generation 3 to 4 between last fall and now.

The main photographic unit on the S6 may look like more of the same, as it clones Note 4’s 16 megapixel count, but in reality, it should be faster activated and slightly better for low-light performance. Besides, as the reviews start coming in, HTC One M9’s 20 MP “beast” is apparently no match for S6’s 16 MP “featherweight”.

Galaxy S6 camera

Selfie addicts, rejoice, and prepare your prettiest duckfaces, which the new, revised 5 MP front snappers promise to capture in great detail. Surely, greater than the 3.7 MP secondary cams on the Note 4 and Note Edge.

Processors, RAM and batteries

Snapdragon 805, Exynos 5433 or Exynos 7420? While it may feel premature to call this, we’ll go ahead and jump to conclusions. The 7420 is number one. It’s 64-bit-capable, 14 nm-based, octa-core, clocked at 1.5 and 2.1 GHz, and it’s terrific both for power-demanding and more casual tasks.

Exynos 7 Octa

Paired with 3 GB random-access memory, like Note 4’s S805 and Exynos 5, this can become a Speedy Gonzalez in need or slow down and save juice. Which you’ll be obligated to do pretty often, since the 2,600 mAh cell sounds a little on the skinny side. At least compared to Note 4’s 3,220 mAh behemoth, and Note Edge’s hearty 3,000 mAh ticker.

Wireless charging is however one of S6’s strongest suits, with fast charging also reportedly ameliorated.

Sensors, storage, connectivity and others

No S Pen, no microSD support, sealed battery and no noticeable connectivity upgrade. Good thing we’re so impressed with those design innovations and the CPU revision, because otherwise the Note 4 and Note Edge would have come out on top overall.

The expandable storage advantage alone makes the aging phablets pretty smart purchases to this day. True, the S6 and S6 Edge offer up to 128 gigs of space locally, or twice as much as the most generous Note Edge and more than thrice the only Note 4 config out and about.

Galaxy S6 Edge fingerprint

Connectivity-wise, there wasn’t much the GS6 could have added in the mix. You have your advanced LTE options, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC and microUSB 2.0. Also, a heart rate monitor and fingerprint recognition tech perfectly matching Note 4’s sensor range.

On the bright side (for future S6 buyers), the “next big thing” replaces the glitchy swipe fingerprint system with a much smoother (on paper) touch-reliant solution.

Software and conclusions

Technically equal in the eyes of Google, the almighty god of software support, the four rivals/siblings differ in subtle but relevant ways. The S6 and S6 Edge shall see daylight with pre-loaded Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, while the Note 4 and Note Edge, launched on KitKat, are slowly being brought up to date.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

More importantly, a good deal of TouchWiz bloatware is removed on the former duo, with a resulting UI that’s not only cleaner and more minimalistic, but also smoother and zippier. Bye-bye, clutter, bye-bye, unnecessary “proprietary add-ons”.

Wrapping up, we probably don’t need to point out the Galaxy S6 isn’t to the Note 4 what it is to the S5. It’s just marginally better, plus a lot more compact, and it merely improves a few areas. But look at the S6 Edge. It’s so jaw-droppingly beautiful! You can’t look away now, can you?

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus – Specs comparison

Again with the new iPhone(s)? Isn’t The Droid Guy supposed to be an Android-centric website? Leave droid fans alone. Be honest, you were thinking or wondering one of these things before you even finished reading our headline.

iphone-6-plus-vs-galaxy-note-4

And we completely understand your frustration. For the past two weeks or so, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus rumor roundups, previews, hands-on explorations and finally reviews have inundated the tech-focused part of the interwebs.

Just one more reason to keep your online activity fixated on funny cat pics and (human) porn, huh? Not so fast. Because like it or not, iPhones make the Android scene better. And vice versa. Who do you think got Tim Cook to infuriate Steve Jobs from beyond the grave by embracing “phablets”?

iPhone 6 Plus

Anyhoo, the bottom line is it’s wholly necessary to give credit where credit is due, and dissect the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus along with everybody else until reaching the conclusion we can do better. Not to mention cheaper.

But above all, better. Enter Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, the definitive top-of-the-line 2014 jumbo-sized smartphone. A phablet worth waiting for. And here’s why:

Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – design and build quality comparison

Call me rash, reckless, whatever, I’m calling it – it’s the last year Apple ever wins an aesthetics battle against a Samsung flagship. Come spring of 2015, it’s bye, bye, metallic iPhone domination. That’s because the Note 4 is clearly meant to transition users from the old, ill-advised plastic-reliant design direction to a new approach, revolving around aluminum and possibly, other premium materials.

Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 6 Plus

So yeah, the 6 Plus still looks a little more elegant and feels a little stronger than the GNote 4. Emphasis on little, as the half-metal/half-plastic Samsung spearhead is significantly shorter, at 153 mm (vs. 158). Outstanding engineering feat, given it also offers the larger usable screen real estate (5.7 vs. 5.5 inches).

And yes, the rear on the iPhone 6 Plus is decidedly sexy, but the bulging camera is a vexing blemish on an otherwise spotless chassis. Good for us.

Galaxy Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – display duel

Sure, iFans, the Quad HD screen resolution on the Note 4 is a gimmick. Unlike your “Retina” iPad panels, which are all about real-life, naked-eye-noticeable image and video reproduction quality. Keep telling yourselves that. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to constantly remind yourselves 1 gig of RAM is plenty for a 2014 high-end smartphone.

GalaxyNote4

At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is Note 4’s display boasts 515 ppi pixel density, and the iPhone 6 Plus 401. So much win!

Processing speed and RAM smackdown

Early benchmarks show the new iPhones heavily outperforming their main Android-running rivals. Apple-friendly benchmarks, that is, like SunSpider or Kraken. Meanwhile, 3DMark, for instance, puts both the 6 and 6 Plus behind the Galaxy S5 and Note 3 in overall performance.

No Quadrant scores, no Vellamo and, of course, no way to compare any of the existing results to what the Note 4 can pull off.

snapdragon-805

Either way, we know benchmarks aren’t worth very much, and in real life, the 6 Plus and Note 4 are both beastly slabs. Perhaps the zippiest in the world, alongside maybe the LG G3. As always, we expect Apple to have invested thousands of man hours and nearly limitless resources in carefully optimizing every little line of software code, whereas Samsung has Qualcomm’s fastest SoC and a whopping 3 gigs of RAM to take care of business.

Granted, the 64-bit architecture of Apple’s A8 chip is impossible to ignore, and bound to offer up the 6 Plus an important advantage. Then again, the scanty 1 GB RAM is even impossibler (not a real word, I know) to ignore, giving back the overall edge to the Note 4.

iPhone 6 Plus teardown

Final verdict: Samsung wins.

Software, battery life and storage

Our love for all things Android is no big secret, and neither is our bias in favor of Google’s mobile OS. But even the most rabid droid fan has to admit iOS 8 looks pretty good. Clean as a whistle, very minimalistic and a wee bit more customizable than before.

iOS 8 vs KitKat

That said, pretty much everything iOS 8 can do, Android 4.4 KitKat does better. And the next version, L, likely on its way to the Note 4 by the end of the year, should further increase the smoothness gap. Multitasking, personality, versatility, even ease of use, L has it all, at least on paper.

Which brings us to the autonomy bout. Impossible to call at the moment, it’ll probably be a very evenly matched contest. Yes, the Note 4 does pack the larger cell (3,220 vs. 2,915 mAh), but it also comes with the bigger, higher-res, more power-demanding screen in tow. And possibly, the less frugal processor too.

Galaxy Note 4 back

Moving on, the storage battle would be close too… were it not for Cupertino’s aversion for external microSD card slots. Which once again makes Android look good. Really good.

Cameras, sensors and others

Don’t you even start. We don’t want to hear it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Apple is the very best in the biz at optimizing software for better battery life, smoother performance and superior camera capabilities. But there’s only so much that can do for a mediocre 8 MP sensor-toting rear snapper.

For crying out loud, the main cam on the Note 4 sports twice the megapixel count, plus every single add-on the iPhone 6 Plus brings to the table: optical image stabilization, autofocus, LED flash. And let’s not forget 2K video recording, which the iPhone can’t do.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-camera

As for selfie nuts, they’d better not give the 6 Plus a second thought, what with its sub-par 1.2 MP front shooter. The Note 4? It’s all about self-portraits, rocking a generous 3.7 MP sensor on the front and 1,080p video shooting support.

And now, for the grand finale. Both contenders tick the fingerprint scanner box, but only one the heart rate monitor category. And guess which one comes with a bundled S Pen and stylus support? How about a UV sensor?

Galaxy Note 4 UV sensor

Meanwhile, Apple is going on and on and on about NFC inclusion, a feature that’s been around in the Android universe for years. Including on mid-rangers.

Pricing and availability

If there’s one battle Apple wins without great resistance, it’s the availability fight. Good thing that’s something to build a successful war campaign on, not an atomic bomb. And clearly, the iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t have enough weapons to survive the war, let alone win it.

iPhone 6 line

Go ahead, buy your fancy, uber-hyped, underwhelming iPhones today, iSheep iFans, because we’ll have the last laugh come mid-October, when Note 4s start shipping. Prices? $300 with AT&T and Verizon contracts, available now on pre-order through Amazon, ditto on Sprint, and $700 or so outright.

Remember, the iPhone 6 Plus also goes for $300 and up, only their $300 variant sports half of Samsung’s $300 Note 3’s internal storage – 16 GB. Oh, look, the 6 Plus is down for the count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, you’re done!

LG G3 vs HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – Specs comparison

Samsung took the wraps off its “next big thing” in February, HTC evened the score a month later by showcasing and then releasing the One M8, and Sony… well, Sony tried to keep up with the big fishes, but ultimately drowned in a sea of manufacturing woes and distribution hostility.

LG G3 vs One M8 vs Galaxy S5

Meanwhile, LG kept an unusually low profile given the sudden boost of popularity earned after Nexus 5 and G2’s launches, observed and waited for the perfect opportunity to enter the high-end mobile arena with another heavyweight contender.

Did their patience and care for detail pay off? Is the LG G3 too late to the H1 2014 top-notch smartphone party? Was your patience a smart call or would you have been better served boarding the One M8 or Galaxy S5 bandwagons early? Let’s see:

LG G3 vs HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – design and build quality comparison

I know what you’re thinking. Aluminum trumps plastic and fake metal (read also plastic) any day of the week, so why are we even having this discussion? Well, because maybe it’s not so simple. As it happens, G3’s back cover has a thin layer of robust alloy under the chintzy polycarbonate to make it stronger, more durable and, perhaps, handsomer.

LG G3 vs One M8

Admit it, the G3 is one handsome son of a gun. Incredibly compact too. Although it incorporates extra usable screen real estate compared to both its rivals (5.5 inches vs 5.0 and 5.1), it’s a measly 4 mm taller than the GS5 and, get this, just as tall as the M8. Also, thinner (8.9 vs 9.4 mm). The S5 is even slimmer, at 8.1 mm, but Samsung has no excuses for its all-plastic exterior and no redeeming build qualities.

Sure, the GS5 is the only of the three to resist contact against water, but strictly from an aesthetical standpoint, the G3 and One M8 are neck and neck way ahead of Samsung’s spearhead.

Display face-off

Right, here’s where things get tricky. On paper, the M8 and S5 have nothing on the G3 in terms of screen resolution. 1,920 x 1,080 pixels may have been state-of-the-art a year ago, but now’s the time of Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440).

LG G3 Galaxy S5 One M8

The tricky part is determining if Quad HD actually makes a difference. A palpable, perceptible, real difference. Personally, I’m not convinced it does. But at the end of the day, at least LG freed up some space with uber-slim bezels and rear physical buttons and made the panel larger without impacting on the overall footprint. So you see, the G3 wins no matter how you spin the Full HD vs 2K debate.

Processing speed, RAM and cameras

LG execs were surprisingly straightforward vis-à-vis their rationale to go plastic, not metal (it’s all about the moneys), and they’ll no doubt advocate the Quad HD cause for as long as it takes. But why choose Snapdragon 801 when 805 is also available? That, they’ll have a hard time explaining and defending.

LG G3

I mean, sure, the 2.5 GHz quad-core SoC is enough to tie the S5 in raw power and slightly trump the M8. And boosted by 3 GB RAM, it should deliver superior overall performance to both. But only by a whisker. Besides, the 2 GB RAM config, which we’re hearing might see daylight on certain US networks, is theoretically S5’s match. Just its match.

Camera-wise, the G3, like the One M8, comes with an innovative, never-before-seen add-on. Laser auto focus. Sounds neat and all, but we’re afraid it may be a worthless gimmick in the end, not unlike the “Duo Camera” setup.

lg-g3-laser-autofocus

Oh, well, at least the actual shooter packs 13 megapixels, not four, plus upgraded optical image stabilization. So it clearly thrashes the M8’s Ultrapixel “powerhouse”, but does the OIS system weigh enough to make up for the 3 MP deficit against the S5? Impossible to tell so soon. For the time being, let’s call this a draw.

As for you selfie addicts, it’s no debate. The M8 has the best front-facing cam, a 5 MP unit, whereas the G3 and GS5 keep things fairly modest, courtesy of 2 MP duckface snappers.

Software and battery life

With pre-loaded KitKat across the board, the software battle comes down to UIs and Android skins. It’s TouchWiz vs Sense vs whatever LG calls its user interface nowadays. Is it still Optimus? No matter, the important thing is it’s flatter, simpler and less intrusive than ever before.

LG G3-2

All while bringing a couple of valuable goodies to the table. Like Smart Notice and Smart Security. Granted, that’s nothing compared to S5’s bundle of health-oriented apps, security functions, air gestures and Ultra Power Saving Mode. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Speaking of power and batteries, that particular duel is wide open, with G3’s juicer tipping the scales at 3,000 mAh, 200 mAh north of S5’s cell and 400 of M8’s ticker. Remember, both Samsung and HTC went the extra mile to optimize autonomy, especially during the final stage of discharge, while G3’s battery needs to handle loads of extra pixels. Bottom line, the three are neck and neck here too. Or so they seem.

Audio, sensors, storage and pricing

Look, G3’s Dolby mobile sound enhancement system, with a 1 Watt speaker, is cool and all, but M8’s BoomSound audio is hands down the best solution of its kind in today’s mobile landscape. As far as sensors go, LG kept things as simple as possible, giving the cold shoulder to S5’s built-in fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor.

HTC M8 BoomSound

Then there’s the storage bout, where I’m glad to see all three contenders offer 16 and 32 gig options with expansion capabilities via microSD. Finally, some on-contract G3 price tags remain up in the air, though it’s obvious the cost gap between the 5.5-inch giant and its adversaries will be nonexistent.

So I guess it’s time for conclusions. Answers. Let’s start from the beginning. Was LG wise to put off the introduction? Nope, sorry, I don’t see it. Is the G3 overall better than the M8 and GS5? Barely. It’s phenomenally compact, slim and sleek, punchy as hell, the display is a beaut and so is the camera, but it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. A wow element. Something to make us not want to wait for Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Prime.

LG G3 vs LG G2 – Specs comparison (Worth the upgrade?)

Now that the LG G3 is finally here (as in officially unveiled, because actual shipments only begin in June), it’s time we put a stop to the hypothetical debates and got down to business. No more ifs, no more what ifs, no more speculating, no more assuming.

LG G3 vs LG G2 front

Questions, meet answers. Did LG dish out a fresh flagship worth going berserk about it and forgetting OG top dogs for it? Will all of the OEM’s judgment calls, tough decisions and, yes, sacrifices work out for the best? Only one way to find out:

G3 vs G2 – design and build quality comparison

Simple is the new smart? Damn straight, if simple means replacing chintzy, glossy plastic with… not as chintzy, matte polycarbonate. Clearly, the brushed metal feel can’t fool anyone with half a brain. But this is one of the judgment calls I was talking about.

LG G3

Could have LG mimicked HTC and delivered a “premium”, aluminum-made slab? Sure. Was it the right call? Probably not, due to a bundle of reasons. Like costs. Or potential yield issues. And ultimately, the end user doesn’t care if it’s metal, plastic, titanium or kryptonite he’s holding. He just wants something elegant, sturdy, handsome.

The G3 is all that and more, trumping the G2 with grip, an amazing form factor, just enough curves to look distinguished, not tacky, smoother rear keys, and a removable back cover. LG’s designers really outdid themselves on those bezels, managing to increase the screen real estate by 0.3 inches and keep the proportions and G2’s winning size to body ratio in check.

LG G3 vs LG G2

The G3 is a measly 7.8 mm taller than its forefather, 3.7 mm wider, exactly as thin and, incredibly, six lousy grams heavier. Dayum!

Display face-off

Ah, the quad HD screen talk. How I dreaded it since the very first whispers started to make themselves heard. Yet another controversial judgment call on LG’s part, though one I can’t fully defend. Apparently, the bumped up panel pixel count won’t harm battery life, thanks to special optimizations of sorts.

LG-G3-Display

So I guess we can’t critique the OEM’s choice too much, despite the move from Full to Quad HD having little to no real-life benefits. The hell we can’t! Think about it. The Koreans are capable of amazing autonomy improvements via unique optimizations and they waste them on making this pointless transition smooth.

Why not keep things the way they were resolution-wise and, oh I don’t know, boost the actual running time between charges? Anyway, back to the point, G3’s display is larger (5.5 vs 5.2 inches), higher-res and all-around better… by a whisker.

Processing speed, RAM and cameras

A quad-core 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 chip outpaces a 2.2 Snapdragon 800 any time of the day, especially when paired with 3 GB RAM in lieu of 2. The thing is LG’s most controversial and potentially harming choice is to offer 2 gigs of random-access memory as standard instead of 3.

LG-G3-specs

The whole RAM/storage configuration business is blurry at the moment, but rumor is the variant packing 2 and 16 gigs respectively shall roll out globally, and the one with 3/32 will get a limited run in a handful of markets. Mostly in Asia. Ooh, bad, bad call!

Moving on to the cams, they preserve G2’s megapixel counts (13 and 2.1), but add crazy features like laser autofocus, Magic Focus and a wider aperture for the secondary, front-facing unit in the mix. Also, optical image stabilization is upgraded (OIS+), and you can shoot 4K videos no problem. Neato.

LG G3 vs LG G2 – software and battery life

We already covered the battery life area, where capacity stays the same (3,000 mAh), and, regardless of Quad HD power needs, autonomy allegedly sits tight. Or does it? Well, we won’t know until the reviews start coming in, but personally, I’m fairly pessimistic.

LG G3 battery

Let’s not forget the panel is also larger, the CPU slightly punchier and thus hungrier for “juice”. I’d love for LG’s claims to pan out, but I don’t think it’s possible.

As far as software goes, the G3 naturally comes with the newest Android flavor, 4.4 KitKat, out the box, though right now, so does the G2. Both copies of Android are customized and skinned, with LG’s Optimus UI in tow, but as expected, G3’s user interface is flatter, cleaner, simpler, more minimalistic.

Smart Notice

Fresh add-ons include a particularly useful Smart Notice personal assistant (known on the inside as LG Concierge), and some may enjoy LG’s Smart Keyboard and Smart Security functions too. While definitely not innovative, the two should come in handy for non-purists.

Pricing and others

Like I said, it’s unclear if the G3’s top configuration, featuring 3 GB RAM and 32 GB built-in storage, will ever see daylight on the Western hemisphere. If it does, expect it to be priced around $250 with pacts and $700 outright.

Meanwhile, the lower-end flavor shall cost $200 in subsidized form and roughly $600 off-contract, which is right in G2’s ballpark from last fall.

LG G3 camera

The “others” section sees the G3 trump its forerunner in two final departments, namely expandable storage (yay for microSD card slots) and audio, courtesy of a booming 1 Watt speaker.

Enough to warrant that upgrade? To be frank, LG had me at brushed metal exterior. And redesigned rear physical buttons. And then they swept me off my feet with the OIS+ laser-assisted camera. You’ll really need to blow my socks off with the S5 Prime and One M8 Prime, Samsung and HTC, to win back my vote of confidence.

LG G3 need to know: final rumor recap and preview

LG far from reinvented the wheel when unveiling the funky-looking, slim-bezeled, rear physical button-toting G2 last summer, but somehow the gigantic 5.2 incher felt like the biggest mobile innovation in years.

LG-G3-rear

Sure, it nowhere near challenged Galaxy S4 or Note 3’s booming sales numbers. Yet it once and for all put LG on the map, building on the (mild) successes of the Optimus G and Nexus 4. Then came the equally as spectacular, cheaper Nexus 5 and, just like that, LG became Sammy’s main rival in the Android décor.

Forget HTC, forget Sony, forget Motorola. This is the battle right here. LG against Samsung. G3 against Galaxy S5. Probably, also against S5 Prime before long. But first things first, the actual, formal announcement. T minus 24 hours.

lg-g3-teaser

Proving it indeed has what it takes, the G3 has been making the rumor rounds constantly (as in almost every day) for the good part of the last two or three months. And no one’s bored. Or uninterested in the formality that is tomorrow’s unveil.

Instead, everyone wants to see it in the flesh, touch, handle, feel it and conclude if the S5 Prime is worth waiting for. Here’s exactly what to expect:

Design, build materials and dimensions

It’s odd, isn’t it? I’ve lost count of all of G3’s revealing photo shoots, including in press-friendly form, yet we’re still not sure if it’s full metal we’re dealing with, an aluminum-plastic blend of some kind, or plain old polycarbonate.

lg_g3_press

Whatever it is, it looks outstanding. Thin, elegant, distinguished, with a personal, unique identity and personality, no longer similar to Samsung flagships and unmistakable, even when compared to its predecessor.

Back to materials, plastic made to resemble metal is the safest bet. Or maybe plastic with actual metal on the sides. Dimensions? Incredibly enough, 146.3 mm long and 74.6 mm wide. At 5.5 inches of usable screen real estate. For contrast, the 5-inch HTC One M8 is 146.4 mm long and the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5 72.5 mm wide.

LG G3 Korea

Oh, and let’s not forget the wasp waist (8.9 mm thick), or the smoothly redesigned rear keys, seasoned with a one-of-a-kind laser focus camera sensor.

Display rumors

Rumors? What rumors? It’s a guarantee. The G3 sports a vibrant 5.5-inch LCD panel with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels resolution, aka Quad HD, or 2K. End of story.

LG G3 T-Mobile

CPU, RAM and cameras

Last we rounded up the speculation, we were still hoping for a Snapdragon 805 chip while fearing an S800. Ultimately, it looks like we’ll have to settle for what’s in between – an S801 with four cores, each clocked at 2.3 GHz.

LG G3 leak

Technically, that’s a tad less punchy than what the Galaxy S5 packs (a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801), but the G3 will no doubt up the memory ante, to 3 GB RAM. A 2 GB variant is also possible, in a combination with 16 GB built-in storage (the 3 GB model shall feature 32 GB of space).

As far as cameras go, I already slipped the biggest innovation. Laser auto focus. How exactly does it work? No idea, but LG will probably explain it over and over again, trying to make up for the fact the rear-facing camera’s megapixel count (13) is inferior to GS5’s (16) or Xperia Z2’s (20.7).

Front snapper? Not that it makes much of a difference, but apparently, a run-of-the-mill 2.1 MP sensor is in the cards.

Software, battery life and others

Pre-loaded Android 4.4 KitKat was obviously a guarantee right off the bat, but what’s interesting to see is exactly how much LG plans to customize and tweak vanilla KK. A few LG-specific features popped up in the rumor mill here and there, along with some of the UI modifications, yet all in all, I presume there’s more to come.

LG G3 widgets

More accessories too, in addition to Quick Circle cases and wireless charging docks, plus maybe a 2 TB microSD card. Wait, what? Sorry, I was dreaming with my eyes open and thinking out loud. Yes, the G3 might technically support 2 TB of external storage. But the most you can add nowadays is 128 gigs and that won’t change anytime soon.

What else? Ah, battery life. Rumor is G3’s cell will tip the scales at 3,000 mAh, 400 and 200 mAh north of M8 and S5’s tickers. But exactly as large as G2’s juicer, so I wouldn’t anticipate drastically improved autonomy. Maybe drastically damaged, due to the Quad HD display. Guess that’s one risk LG needed to take.

LG-QuickCircle-Case-for-G3

The good news is the battery will be removable. No confirmation on fingerprint recognition or water protection yet, so they’re automatically long shots, while a complex Dolby sound enhancement solution with 1 watt speaker is a must.

Pricing and availability

The “when” of the equation is, as usual, the last tidbit expected to break cover, although LG can’t afford to wait. Ideally, they’d launch the G3 immediately after its intro. But we don’t live in an ideal world, so at best, I assume the big guy will see daylight in late June. Worst case scenario, July.

What LG also can’t afford is raise the pricing bar too much. A premium compared to the G2 is a certainty, but let’s hope the Koreans will manage to keep outright costs below $700 stateside. $650 would be positively dreamy. As would $200 with 24-month Verizon, AT&T and Sprint contracts. Can they pull it off? Stay close and you’ll find out here first.

Fresh Korean report calls for mid-June Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime release

A new day, a new Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime rumor. Make that two. Or three. Um, you get the point. Everybody’s talking about the ultra-high-end smartphone, even though no one knows exactly how it will look and despite official assurances the “basic” GS5 won’t get upgraded anytime soon.

Galaxy-S5-prime

Yeah, right. Then I guess all the tipsters and leaksters that have spilled their guts of late are either crazy or complete frauds. Which is surely not the case with Naver, for instance, whose sources tell them the premium S5 shall see daylight “as early as the middle of next month”.

Mind you, they’re talking an actual commercial release in mid-June, at least on Samsung’s domestic shores, so apparently, the S5 Prime and LG’s G3 are indeed to go toe to toe before long. Interestingly, Naver hints at nearly simultaneous launches on all of Korea’s major wireless carriers – SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ – , which would clash a bit with allegations of limited early stocks.

Of course, it’s still entirely possible the Quad HD 5.2 incher won’t be able to keep up with Western demand. Even worse, it could remain a Korean or Asian exclusive for a while until finally landing in a handful of European and North American markets in short supply.

But hey, the Korean tri-launch gives us hope. And so do fresh pricing rumors. The S5 Prime will reportedly cost the equivalent of $880 (KRW 900,000), which sounds like a lot at first, but really isn’t.

Samsung_Galaxy_S5

It’s actually what Samsung planned to charge for the standard S5 in the very beginning, albeit a pre-release discount saw the price drop to $847 (KRW 866,800). Bottom line, if the speculation pans out, I’d expect the US GS5 Prime to go for $650 outright. $700, tops.

With a 2,560 x 1,440 pixels resolution display, quad-core Snapdragon 805 CPU, 3 GB RAM, pre-loaded Android 4.4.3 KitKat, 16 MP rear-facing camera, beefy 3,000 mAh or so battery, LTE-Advanced connectivity (where available), fingerprint recognition technology and a built-in heart rate monitor.

The outer shell, meanwhile, is the biggest question mark, as Samsung is yet to solve the “plastic or metal” conundrum. Truth be told, if the Galaxy S5 Prime would cost no more than $700, I think I’d be fine with another polycarbonate, perforated exterior. What about you?

Via [Naver]

LG G3 swings by Indonesian FCC as D855 , FHD display still on the table

And so the plot thickens… again. The LG G3 plot, which we thought was only going to become thinner from here on out. But alas, that’s not the case, as Postel, Indonesia’s FCC counterpart, has given its blessing to a D885 G3 version possibly headed to European and Asian markets.

LG G3

Remember, LG’s next-gen flagship device is known on the inside as the D850, D850, LS990 and VS985, each label designating a model conceived for a different US carrier. Namely, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, in order of appearance.

With me so far? Good, because I’m about to lose you. A series of G3 User Agent Profiles have surfaced these past few weeks, revealing conflicting information on the Android top dog’s specs. At the end of the day, we were ready to bet UA Profs hinting at Full HD screens and Snapdragon 800 chips were fake or markers of early prototypes, but a new one has cropped up.

This lists the D885 as carrying a 1,920 x 1,080 pix res panel, although back in the day, it suggested a superior 2,560 x 1,440 (Quad HD, or 2K) pixel count was in the cards. Now, there are two possible explanations for this unforeseen adjustment.

Either LG tested Quad HD and decided to play it safe with 1,080p once more, since the upgrade comes with multiple critical downsides (battery life drawbacks, mostly), or the Koreans are playing us, trying their best to keep the mystery going.

LG G3 event

Either way, Snapdragon 800 is out. S801 is plausible, and S805 desirable. Likewise with 3 and 4 GB RAM respectively. Meanwhile, the rear-facing camera will boast a 13 or 16 MP sensor with optical image stabilization and 4K video capture, and Android 4.4 KitKat shall run the software show, aided by “advanced personalization features” exclusive to LG.

Back to the Postel certification, which dates from April 22, it could be a sign the LG G3 is slated for an early June commercial release around those parts. Stateside, it’s probably going to land a little later (by the end of June nevertheless), while the formal introduction is definitely scheduled for May 27.

An interesting tidbit also came to our attention when browsing LG’s Q1 financial report, as the OEM predicted “higher revenues in the second quarter with the release of the flagship LG G3 smartphone”. Not that we had any doubts, but I guess the handheld’s market name is now set in stone.

As are redesigned physical rear buttons, razor-thin front bezels and a sensor that’s either a fingerprint recognition mechanism or heart rate monitor a la the Galaxy S5. All in all, I’m psyched out of my mind about the LG G3 no matter if it comes with Full HD or 2K display resolution. Who’s with me?

Via [Postel], [LG], [Eye on Mobility], [Android Central]

LG G3 preview and rumor roundup

Danger comes from where you least expect it, or so it seems to be the case for today’s mobile world tycoons. Samsung’s domination over the Android landscape is possibly not as threatened as we anticipated by the likes of Sony or HTC as it is by up-and-coming Oppo and OnePlus.

lg-g3

Yet one historical Sammy rival might still be in contention. A local antagonist. Yes, we’re talking LG, always a step behind the Galaxy makers, but not anymore. Well, technically, they’re still behind, as the G3 will roll out months after the Galaxy S5.

Then again, maybe that’s the right strategy. If an S5 Prime is in the cards, everyone will forget all about the original, half-assed GS5 and look towards the next big thing’s ultra-high-end flavor and G2’s greatly anticipated sequel.

LG G3 concept

At the same time, the LG G3 is shaping up to be a key piece of the Google Nexus 6 puzzle, with all signs pointing to the former being the latter’s basis and inspiration. So you see, there’s really a lot riding on the powerhouse we intend to preview in the following lines:

LG G3 rumor roundup, part 1: Design and build quality

As G3’s formal announcement undoubtedly draws near, the aesthetical riddle is easier and easier to crack. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell G2’s rear physical button experiment worked, and so the newly leaked images come as no surprise.

LG G3 rear

What’s (pleasantly) surprising is the key layout looks far more refined than last year, smoother and extremely polished. A tiny fingerprint scanner is nearly guaranteed to help decorate the plastic backplate too, while the front, oh, what lovely front we think the G3 will boast.

Urging you to take the scoop with a solid grain of salt, LG’s next-gen flagship is tipped to sport almost no vertical bezels, a minuscule upper horizontal border and a slightly thicker lower screen verge. All in all, if the gossip pans out, the G3 should easily move up the ranks of the most compact phones around. Too bad LG isn’t warming up to aluminum or a better-looking build material than crappy plastic.

Display rumors

Throwing caution aside, LG is poised to move beyond Full HD screen resolution in a matter of months and adopt the so-called Quad HD, or 2K, pixel count. The Koreans may go all-in on size as well, raising the bar from 5.2 inches to 5.5, albeit you’re probably not going to notice anything.

LG-isai-FL

One of the many benefits of microscopic bezels is the ability of fitting superior screen real estate into a smaller overall package, and we reckon LG will do just that. Design a 5.5-inch G3 as easy to handle as the 5.2-inch G2.

Back to res, let’s mention if we’re right about everything, the resulting pixel density is, wait for it, 534 ppi. Overkill? Maybe. But I still want one. Bad!

CPU, RAM and cameras preview

Snapdragon 800, 801 or 805? Let’s rule the first chip out, despite User Agent Profile information. It’s way too old. And then there were two. Three, if we choose to question hearsay on Odin’s sluggish development.

LG-G3-Concept-Render

Well, even if LG’s homebrewed processor will be ready in time, it’s a gamble. So we’re back to S801 or S805. Don’t ask me why, but my money’s on the latter. I just feel it in my gut.

RAM? 2 GB is, like S800, a thing of the past. 3? 4? The former is clearly more plausible, yet we can’t help but root and hope for the latter. It’s implausible, mind you, but not impossible.

Galluscam

As for cameras, current speculation circles 13 and 2.1 megapixel sensors. Hogwash! LG will definitely upgrade the MP count on at least one. And improve optical image stabilization again. They have to if they want to compete with Samsung and especially Sony.

Software, battery and other features

LG’s user interface has been traditionally subtler and less intrusive than Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense, keeping things much closer to a stock Android experience. No reason to believe the software approach will drastically change, however a flatter UI is in the cards, along with mysterious “advanced personalization” features.

LG G3 user interface

Of course, all of that will spice up Android 4.4 KitKat and, hopefully, a “vanilla” Google Play Edition shall follow the standard version sooner or later.

We don’t have much to report on the battery life front at the moment, though we’d expect capacity to be increased from 3,000 to at least 3,300 mAh, while “other” features nearly set in stone include water protection and 4G LTE speeds. MicroSD storage expansion? File it in the possibility section.

Release date and pricing

It’s no secret mobile production and upgrade cycles have diminished over time, so just because the G2 went official in August 2013, it doesn’t mean the G3 will break cover this August. On the contrary, we’re pretty sure the next-gen spearhead is to get a formal announcement in May or June and start selling in early July, at the latest.

Lg G3 water

The pricing structure obviously depends on uncertain specs like RAM, fingerprint recognition or storage options, but at the end of the day, you know the drill. $200, $250 with 24-month contracts stateside, roughly $650, $700 unsubsidized. Sounds fair? Why don’t you elaborate in the comments section below?

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 wishlist and things to expect

The first-gen was an experiment, the second-gen an instant classic, the third-gen a refinement of an instant classic and all-around force of nature, so obviously Samsung has a lot riding on the success of the forthcoming Galaxy Note 4.

Galaxy Note 3 S Pen

Will the pressure get the better of the latest entry in a franchise that practically invented the word “phablet”? Could Galaxy S5 Prime development, if real, hinder Samsung from focusing on the Note 4? Are we in for a full-on upgrade or minor rehash?

I wish I had answers, but unfortunately it’s too early. Way too early, as the Note 3 is barely seven months old. Sure, a precocious Note 4 launch is always a possibility, yet again, if the S5 Prime exists, this high-end portfolio expansion has to take a toll on manufacturing cycles.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-concept

Bottom line, the best case scenario calls for a September introduction in keeping with tradition. But forget timetables. We’re far more interested in what Samsung has in mind as design, hardware and software updates and tweaks and here are a few scenarios based on existent speculation, history and, well, hunches:

Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the cautious scenario

Even the most pessimistic Android geeks have to be envisioning next fall’s S Pen-toting big kahuna as packing 4 GB of RAM since the technology is all ready and, while not quite desperately needed, certainly welcomed.

Design-wise, if Sammy decides to play it safe… one more time, the Galaxy Note 4 shall rock a plastic exterior, maybe with a perforated back pattern a la the GS5 or a faux leather rear unchanged from last year. Where might innovation enter the picture? Remember, this is the cautious, safe outline, so it doesn’t call for innovation across the board.

samsung-ram

And yeah, it sounds like potentially half-assed work and a great disappointment in the making, but the S5 is hardly innovative from an aesthetical standpoint and I don’t hear buyers complaining that much.

Moving on, the least we can expect from the GNote 4 in processing speed is to ditch its predecessor’s Snapdragon 800 chip for an ever so slightly punchier 805 clocked at 2.7 GHz. Likewise, the rear camera will definitely get a megapixel bump, at worse to 16 MP.

Galaxy Note 4 concept

What else? Oh, yeah, the footprint could stay the same or grow by around 0.2 inches, water and dust resistance is clearly a must, an on-board 128 GB storage option may be added in the mix, microSD support isn’t going anywhere, and battery capacity will increase to 3,500 mAh. Worst case scenario.

Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the optimistic version

The great strides made between Note and Note 2 releases and subsequently Note 2 and Note 3 allow Samsung to put the brakes on Note 4 development a little. But only a little. As such, a combination of our realistic and optimistic sides predicts the Koreans will look to take one or two gambles come September.

Galaxy Note 4 concept-2

The safest bet is of course a shift in build materials we’ve been anticipating ever since… 2012, with aluminum replacing plastic at long last. Then again, one of the very few rumors already floating around vis-à-vis the Note 4, and a credible one at that, says the jumbo-sized smartphone may sport a so-called “three-sided” display.

Aside from the obvious advantage, of extra screen real estate and the ability to illustrate short messages on the handheld’s sides, that entails the first-time using of flexible Youm panels on a wide scale. Naturally, we don’t expect a fully bendable device right off the bat, however the plastic’s malleability should help it handle drops with extra elegance and strength.

Also sitting somewhere between realism and optimism, we have a 20 MP camera with optical image stabilization. And a purer copy of Android, probably 5.0 or 4.5, with less Touchwiz-specific “bloatware”. Speaking about software, air gestures need to be improved, S Health as well and the user interface… nah, it’s okay the way it is.

Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the mind-boggling fanciful scenario

Okay, it’s time to let our imaginations run wild. Were Samsung to go crazy in the forthcoming months, throw all caution aside and decide to design the ultimate ultra-high-end Android, how would that look?

Fully flexible, bendable, curved panel, along with a stretchy battery and internals to result in an ensemble you can literally roll up your sleeve? We’re probably years away from seeing anything resembling such a futuristic gizmo, but we can always dream.

galaxy-note-3

Ultra HD display resolution, aka 3,840 x 2,160 pixels? That’s skipping a logical step, namely Quad HD, or 2,560 x 1,440, but again, there’s no one stopping us from daydreaming. 64-bit processor? It’s not as bonkers, unless we’re talking one of Qualcomm’s explosive Snapdragon 808 or 810 CPUs, expected out in “H1 2015”.

By the by, should Samsung decide to make the move from 32 to 64-bit, what’s its best option? That’s a toughie. The Snapdragon 610 and 615 will roll out for sampling in Q3, but they’re not exactly high-enders. Which only leaves the Koreans a homebrewed Exynos concoction, or an Intel-made SoC. Snapdragon 805 it is then.

Back to our fantasies, maybe the Galaxy Note 4 will incorporate both a fingerprint sensor and another biometric security feature – eye scanning technology. And maybe, just maybe solve the nasty Android top dog battery life conundrum somehow.

samsung-eye-scanner

Want to hear something crazier? How about a 41 MP camera with OIS to rival Nokia’s PureView shooters? Octa-core 64-bit power? 6 inches of bezel-less glass? 6.5? Alright, I’ll take a breather now, but if you can think of anything else, feel free to sound off below.

LG G3 for Sprint shows up in User Agent Profile with Quad HD display, 3 GB RAM

And just like that, LG’s next-gen flagship device, probably dubbed G3, is as good as confirmed. What, you didn’t really think the creators of the sensational G2 would sit idly by while Samsung’s Galaxy S5, Sony’s Xperia Z2 and HTC’s One (M8) got all the media and user attention, did you?

LG-G2

True, they already rolled out a top-tier handheld in 2014, however it’s obvious the G Pro 2 was always envisioned as something to help pass the time until the real spearhead came to light. Like a prelude. An appetizer to precede the big, juicy steak.

And here she is, detailed quite thoroughly by a User Agent Profile sighted on Sprint’s website after a bit of digging. Of course, we can’t be sure this is G2’s legitimate heir, though the model number leaves little room to doubt.

LS990 is the logical follow-up to LS980, the alias of the G2 available on America’s Now Network. And no, there’s no way this LS990 is a G Pro 2 or another half-assed spin-off, since display resolution is listed at, wait for it, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.

LG LS990

Otherwise known as Quad HD, QHD or 2K, the breathtaking pixel count has so far been adopted by Oppo’s Find 7 and the Vivo XPlay 3S. No Samsung, no Sony, no HTC. I know, it’s overkill, but then again, what if isn’t?

What if LG finds a way to put the extra pixels to use? Their screens have always been amazing, and if there’s anyone capable of pulling Quad HD off splendidly, it’s them. The UA Prof makes no clear mention of size, yet if the G3 is to up the res ante beyond Full HD, I reckon they’ll go over the 5-inch mark too. Maybe stop at 5.5 inches.

Meanwhile, on the raw speed side of things, 3 GB RAM appears to be taking care of multitasking business, and a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8974AA of processing power. Wait, that can’t be right. MSM8974AA is Snapdragon 800’s designation.

LS990

And with a few months still left to LG G3’s introduction, you’d think at worse a Snapdragon 801 would run the hardware show. Maybe an S805. Or who knows, one of those unique homebrewed Odin thingies.

Bottom line, I presume it’s a typo. Or hope, hope sums it up better. The camera sensors don’t look so hot on paper either, at 13 and 2.1 megapixels, so it’s entirely possible this G3 variant is a (very) early, unfinished, unrefined prototype.

The last few tidbits the UA Prof reveals is Sprint’s LG LS990 runs Android 4.4 KitKat, offers 32 GB built-in storage and a microSD card slot for 64 GB expansion. That sounds legit, but for everything else I’d expect further confirmation. Probably soon to come.

Via [Sprint]

Google Nexus 6 wishlist and things to expect

The Android landscape has been taken over by the spring fever, as Samsung’s Galaxy S5, HTC’s One (M8) and Sony’s Xperia Z2 lock horns with each other disputing the high-end mobile crown. But a feeling of slight unease and anticipation for something yet to come makes many a power user reluctant to settle.

Nexus 5 back

Settle, yeah, I said it, and stand by it. All those three flagships, while clearly the best of the best nowadays, feel like transitional devices. Something to help pass the time until the real spearheads of 2014 roll out.

You know, the Galaxy S5 Prime, LG G3, Galaxy Note 4 and, last but not least, Google Nexus 6. Thus, as eager as we looked forward to spring, autumn becomes the season to anticipate, save money for and depend on for a new phase of the mobile revolution. Heck, maybe a new revolution entirely.

nexus6concept

And sure, Nexus gadgets continue to be deemed by some ideal for hardcore geeks, not so much for the masses. But my gut tells me N5’s sequel will once and for all alter that distorted view. How? If you’re listening, Google, here’s what I think would seal the deal for non-geeks while keeping the existent fan base intact:

Keep your eyes on the prize price

In other words, don’t overdo it. A number of upgrades are to be employed, of course, but no one expects the Nexus 6 to edge out, say, the GNote 4 in raw speed. It’d be nice, sure, however if you need to sacrifice affordability in order to do it… don’t.

Nexus 5

The market is over flooded with “top-tier” smartphones that look the same, pack identical sets of specifications and cost an arm and a leg, so no reason to follow the crowd. Be smart, Big G, be original, keep it simple, keep it cheap. $400 outright, tops.

Don’t let Apple slip through your fingers

Just when we thought the iPhones were down, Cupertino baffled us all by launching the world’s first 64-bit-powered handheld. Let’s not beat it around the bush, Google, you didn’t see that coming. But now you know better than to underestimate Apple ever again.

Nexus 6 concept

Bottom line, be ready for anything and everything, including an iPhablet release in the summer, and do your thing while keeping a close eye on Tim Cook and the gang. Learn from their mistakes, polish their strong suits, and the sky is your limit.

Namely, get a 64-bit-supporting Android 5.0 copy done by August, fit a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip inside Nexus 6’s hood, along with at least 3 GB RAM. I realize all that would come at a cost, but you can cut corners elsewhere.

Aluminum unibody? Fingerprint sensor? Iris recognition? Quad HD display? No, thanks

Look, Google, the Nexus 6 doesn’t need to be fancy. Forget revolutionary or groundbreaking. Or, rather, forget revolutionary in the conventional sense. You can start a revolution opposing trends as much as following or initiating them.

Personally, I’d love, love, love it if HTC was invited back in the Nexus game and the N6 would resemble the One (M8) aesthetically, with a beautiful all-metal chassis. But is it the wise thing to do? Don’t think so.

HTC Nexus 6

Designing and producing metal gizmos is time-consuming and money-grabbing and, if the N6 is to take over the mainstream mobile world, Google needs to manufacture millions of units fast and cheap. Period. Besides, was there anything inherently wrong with N5’s design or build quality? In short, no.

Meanwhile, upping the display resolution ante to Quad HD, or adding bells and whistles such as fingerprint or iris recognition in the mix would make even less sense as long as Mountain View targets a sub-$400 price point.

nexus6-concept

Also, a quick wake up call. Quad HD ain’t a real, palpable, beneficial upgrade. It’s a worthless gimmick. That goes double for the ultra-hyped finger and iris sensors.

Energy is the future

Show of hands, who’s sick and tired of having to plug their phones in every frigging evening to get them through the next day? Better yet, who carries around their chargers everywhere they go fearing these little wickedly fast computers could yield under the pressures of quad-core chips, Full HD displays, etc., etc. any minute?

Nexus X

Everybody? Then why don’t Google, LG, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Apple, someone get it through their thick skulls already people want autonomy, not spec wars? Endurance, not Quad HD resolution. And don’t tell us you can’t pull it off. You can, you just don’t want to.

But maybe the Nexus 6… Now that would be an ideal way to usher in a new revolution. The age of the super-battery phones. We’ll work on the name.

The devil is in the detail

Last year’s Nexus 5 was an outstanding slab of silicon, with an incredible bang for buck factor, stunning design and solid hardware. Was it perfect? They never are. But besides the weak battery, LG and Google didn’t mess up any major features.

nexus-6-concept

Instead, they got a few minor details wrong. For one thing, where’s Verizon’s N5? You do know Big Red is the nation’s largest wireless provider, eh, Google? 105 million potential customers you lost with that stunt. Don’t let it happen again.

Also, I get this is somewhat against your policies and whatnot, but you’d show a lot of flexibility, boldness and initiative if you’d just pack a microSD card slot on the Nexus 6. Alternatively, maybe offer versions with 64 and 128 GB on-board storage, though that’s clearly not the same thing.

Nexus 5 camera

Finally, camera. This is one of the departments you can probably afford to cut a few corners, but not too many. Don’t even think of ditching optical image stabilization, be sure to bump up the sensor to 13 megapixels and, oh, bring 4K video recording to the table.

Got all that, Google? Good, now get cracking and make the Nexus 6 legendary. Purists and light Android users will flock to the Play Store come October. Or September. On second third thought, make it August. Who’s with me?