LG’s G3 provides top screen resolution and HTC nails design, but Sony’s Xperia Z2 wins with water resistance, back camera, RAM, and battery life.

Now that LG has unveiled its latest flagship, it’s always time to reflect on the announcement and do another of what we love to do here at Inferse: spec wars. How does LG’s G3 lineup against other top flagships of the year (so far)? The HTC One M8 is praised for its aluminum design and gorgeous feel while the Galaxy S5 is praised for its water and dust resistance and DSLR camera. The Xperia Z2 is water, and dust resistant and also has a premium feel and design, and LG’s G3 is praised for its laser autofocus and thin bezels that wrap the 5.5-inch display in the palm of your hand. We’re here to compare and contrast these top contenders, so let’s get to it.

Display

The HTC One M8 comes with a five-inch, liquid crystal display and a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. The Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch display with the same full HD resolution (at 432ppi) but utilizes Samsung’s Super AMOLED display to make colors stand out. The Xperia Z2 has a 5.2-inch full HD IPS liquid crystal TRILUMINOUS display that takes advantage of Sony’s own technology to create a crisp and clear experience on-screen. As for the LG G3, you’re looking at a 5.5-inch, liquid crystal display that comes with an industry-leading Quad HD screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (538ppi). LG made it known at the G3 presentation that, contrary to the popular belief (stated by Steve Jobs) that humans can’t see beyond 300ppi, humans can indeed see better and often do. This is why smartphone screens have advanced to HD (high-definition), then full HD, and now, Quad HD. In this category, LG’s G3 wins with its large display (5.5 inches) as well as its screen resolution. As for Super AMOLED screens and LCD screens, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Processor and Memory

Behind every well-performing smartphone is a revved-up processor. The HTC One M8 boasts a 2.3Ghz (US) or 2.5Ghz (China, Asia) quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB of RAM while the Galaxy S5 boasts a 2.5Ghz quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB of RAM as well. The LG G3 features a 2.5Ghz quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 with Adreno 330GPU and 2GB RAM (16GB model) or 3GB RAM (32GB model), and Sony’s Xperia Z2 features a 2.3Ghz, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with Adreno 330GPU and 3GB of RAM. Sony’s Xperia Z2 slightly surpasses the LG G3’s RAM race, seeing that it offers 3GB of RAM for even the 16GB user. All four flagships have Snapdragon 801 processors, so you should be able to speed through games and the usual web browsing experience without a problem. As for which smartphone clocks in at a higher speed, the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy S5 tie with 2.5Ghz speeds.

We couldn’t let this section pass without comparing memory storage as well. The HTC One M8 offers 16GB or 32GB of storage with a microSD card slot that provides up to an additional 128GB of memory storage. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 provides 16GB or 32GB with the additional 128GB of memory available via a microSD card slot. The LG G3 offers either 16GB or 32GB with an additional 128GB of memory storage. The Sony Xperia Z2 offers a 16GB onboard memory storage with an additional 128GB of memory storage by way of its own microSD card slot. If you find 16GB or 32GB with microSD card slots to be fine with you, then any of these offerings will appeal. Sony doesn’t offer a 32GB Xperia Z2 out of the box so you may want to keep that in mind.

In the processor and memory category, then, Sony’s Xperia Z2 is commended for its extra RAM and both the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy S5 come out on top for their speed and performance. If you’re big on speed, you’ll select from either LG or Samsung, but if you prize RAM and multitasking, the Xperia Z2 will win out. Still, all of these phones provide a fine offering of speed and performance.

Camera

No matter how great the smartphone, the user experience would be incomplete without quality cameras. The HTC One M8 has a 4MP “UltraPixel” back camera with a front-facing, 5MP camera that was designed with “selfies” in mind. The Galaxy S5 shakes things up with its 16MP ISOCELL back camera and a 2MP front-facing camera. The LG G3 offers a 13MP back camera (with OIS+ technology) and a 2.1MP front-facing camera, while Sony’s Xperia Z2 offers a 20.7MP rear-facing camera and a 2.2MP front-facing camera.

The winner here, in specs, is Sony’s Xperia Z2, with its 20.7MP back camera. HTC fails miserably in the camera category, with its 4MP camera that can shoot decent photos up-close but struggles with pictures taken at a distance but does win the front-facing camera contest with its 5MP camera that is perfect for all those personal close-ups. If you’re a Twitter, Instagram, or social media junkie, you’ll find HTC’s selfie camera perfect for your interests. If you like more distant photos, Sony’s Xperia Z2 provides excellent lighting and zoom quality.

Size and Weight

Mobile devices are powerful in the palm of our hands, but some devices don’t feel so “mobile” – so we’ll put these smartphones to the test in a size and weight category. The HTC One M8 comes in at 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35mm and weighs 160 grams while the Samsung Galaxy S5 has dimensions of 142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm and weighs 145 grams. LG’s G3 has dimensions of 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9mm and weighs 149 grams, and Sony’s Xperia Z2 has dimensions of 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2mm and weighs 163 grams.

In the size and weight category, the Sony Xperia Z2 stands as the tallest and heaviest of the four flagships, but the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the lightest of the four devices. LG’s G3 manages to come close to Samsung here, but Samsung still wins by the slight margin of 4 grams (145 vs. 149g, respectively). At the same time, however, keep in mind that LG packs an additional 0.4 inches into its display (5.5 inches vs. the GS5’s 5.1 inches) and comes out slightly larger than Samsung’s Galaxy S5 – a rather impressive feat for LG.

Water and Dust Resistance

Water and dust resistance are valuable for any smartphone, and those without them put consumers at risk of losing their investment. When it comes to water and dust resistance, the HTC One M8 can survive some small time underwater – but pales in comparison to the water and dust resistance of Sony’s Xperia Z2 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5. Sony’s Xperia Z2 takes home the prize here, since its water and dust rating is higher than Samsung’s (IP55/58 rating versus IP67, respectively).

Either of these devices should help you’ve fun in the sun and underwater. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 provides up to 30 minutes of use in 3.3 feet of water (1m), but Sony’s Xperia Z2 lets you keep your phone in the water for 30 minutes in 1.5 meters of water (nearly 5 feet). If you buy Samsung’s Galaxy S5, you may want to stay a little closer to shore than with Sony’s Xperia Z2.

Battery

Battery life is essential to any flagship device. What would the user experience be if battery life weren’t a factor? The HTC One M8 features a 2,600mAh battery, while the Galaxy S5 features a 2,800mAh battery life. LG’s G3 houses a 3,000mAh battery and the Xperia Z2 features a 3,200mAh battery.

In the battery category, Sony’s Xperia Z2 wins, since it has the largest-sized battery of any of these four flagships, not to mention its 5.2-inch screen and full HD resolution could provide better battery life than LG’s G3. LG has said that its “3A” technology should prevent battery life from slipping away too quickly, but higher-resolution screens (Quad HD with LG’s G3 versus the full HD resolution of its three competitors) is likely to take away more battery life than the others. Tests must bear this out, but the G3’s size and resolution are sure to impact battery life in some way. In many ways, battery life varies; those who don’t use their phones as much will have better battery life than those who use their phones most of the time. Technology is advancing at such a level that eventually, the amount of usage will become irrelevant.

Who’s the Winner?

Sony’s Xperia Z2 wins the battle of the four flagships, with its 20.7MP back camera, 3GB of RAM, and its 3,200mAh battery – all in a 5.2-inch device. Sony also has an IP58/55 water and dust resistance rating, outpacing Samsung’s Galaxy S5 with its IP67 certification for water and dust resistance. While LG’s G3 does come in second place with its gorgeous Quad HD screen resolution and screen real estate (5.5-inch display), a number of consumers may find the 5.5-inch screen too large to hold or simply not prefer a screen as large. LG’s 5.5-inch screen places the phone more in the phablet category, which means that the G3 should’ve been the G3 Pro. In the small phone category, the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5, and Sony Xperia Z2 all have 5-5.2-inch screens, and a number of consumers will deem the incremental display increases sufficient for use. Using Samsung’s Galaxy S5 on a regular basis, I’ve yet to notice the dramatic impact of any screen above the GS5’s 5.2 inches – even when I compare it to Samsung’s 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3.

While we make this declaration of Sony’s Xperia Z2 as the winner, we’ve to say that there are other factors that may influence your decision to buy one of the other three flagships. The Xperia Z2 isn’t available on all carriers worldwide, and a worldwide customer who can’t buy an Xperia Z2 in store on-contract may consider one of the other phones that is more accessible. For consumers who are forced to buy Sony’s smartphone off-contract, however, a $700 or $800 price tag may not be ideal when you could afford the HTC One M8 or Galaxy S5 for just $199.99 with a two-year contract, or get a $99 deal for either of these two top-tier smartphones.

While Sony’s Xperia Z2 is the most water and dust-resistant of all these devices, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is available in over 150 countries and still provides a water and dust resistance rating that is sure to encourage you in your summer fun.

As with all other factors, it boils down to preference. Some individuals enjoy larger screens and brighter screen resolutions, and LG’s G3 (or Samsung’s Galaxy S5, for AMOLED lovers) will likely win out against the other flagships. Some prize design, and would rather feel the HTC One M8’s aluminum in their hands than the glossy plastic metal of the LG G3. Some may believe that a quality audio sound is important, so buying the HTC One M8 will be a priority to you. Others want something more than vanilla Android, and deem Samsung’s Galaxy S5 the best when it comes to finding pleasure in richly-packed functionality. When it comes to the all-around top smartphone that provides a little of everything you enjoy, however, the Sony Xperia Z2 is the best all-around device.

Key specifications:

Phone LG G3 Samsung Galaxy S5 HTC One (M8) Sony Xperia Z2
Display 5.5 inch Quad HD 2560×1440 display, 534ppi 5.1-inch 1920x1080p Super AMOLED, 432ppi 5.0-inch 1920x1080p Super LCD 3, 441ppi 5.2-inch 1920x1080p Triluminos Display, 424ppi
Processor 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 801 processor 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core
OS Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4.2
Memory 2GB/3GB of RAM,16/32 GB internal storage 2GB of RAM, 16/32GB internal storage 2GB of RAM, 16/ 32GB of internal storage 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage
Micro SD support Yes, upto 128GB Yes, upto 128GB Yes, upto 128GB Yes, upto 128GB
Size 146.3×74.6×8.9mm, 149grams 142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm, 145 grams 146.36 x 70.60 x 9.35mm, 160 grams 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm, 163 grams
Cameras 13MP rear camera , 2.1MP front camera,
Dual LED
16MP rear, 2.1MP front 4 Ultra pixel camera (dual Rear camera), 5MP front, Dual LED 20.7MP rear, 2.2MP front
Video Recording 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps 1080p@60fps, 720p@60fps
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC,USB .0HDMI Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G, IR Blaster, USB 3.0 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G, USB 2.0 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G, USB 2.0
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, gesture, heart rate Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Battery 3,000mA 2800 mAh 2600 mAh 3200 mAh
Water and dust resistance None IP67 dust and water resistance None IPX5 and IPX8 (waterproof), IP5X (Dust protected)

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