Each year or so we expect new and improved mobile devices from the biggest names in the business. In 2016, Apple, Samsung and LG unveiled new versions of their popular big-phone models. August saw the arrival of the Galaxy Note 7 while the iPhone 7 Plus was released in September. The LG V20 has already been announced but no retail version is available yet but is expected to be released sometime soon with a global release date sometime in the third quarter.
We have seen smartphones get better with each new model, but which of the three models highlighted here is the best?
Although the iPhone 7 Plus has new features, its look bears a striking resemblance to those that came before it. However, it’s water resistant but not exactly waterproof. But the biggest change of all was the elimination of the headphone jack.
It’s also tough to review the Galaxy Note 7 without bringing up the controversy surrounding it. Having just been released in August, a global recall of the device was done the following month after reports of overheating and even catching fire. As of this writing, about 60% of the faulty devices have been recalled in the US and South Korea and 57% in the UK. But prior to this debacle, the Note 7 was hailed as the best of the big phones. Then again, Samsung has always outperformed other big-phone makers.
The LG V20, on the other hand, sports a more refined look than its predecessor and it’s also lighter. The V20 is even thinner than the Note 7 but it does weigh more.
Even with a massive display, the Note 7 is surprisingly functional. It has curved sides that provide a flatter display area and less screen distortion. While the iPhone 7 Plus can’t compete with Samsung’s displays, certain enhancements have been made like being more bright and sharp and able to display a wider range of colors.
The V20 comes with a pixel density of 515 pixels per inch and still comes with two screens with the second reserved for notifications.
Processors, Graphics Cards & RAM
Both the iPhone 7 Plus and V20 have upgraded processors: the former is built with the new A10 Fusion chip that promises high performance with less battery consumption while the V20 is fitted with a combination of a Snapdragon 820 (up from the Snapdragon 808) and 4GB of RAM.
Both the V20 and Note 7 offer models with 64GB internal storage as well as the option to expand. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, has models with varying storage capacities starting at 64GB and ending with 256GB.
Apple has made great progress with the camera on the iPhone 7 Plus. The device comes with two sensors: an f/1.8 28mm wide-angle lens and an f/2.8 56mm telephoto lens and both operate simultaneously.
Samsung’s Note 7 has a 12MP camera with an optically stabilized f/1.7 lens that performs well in low-light situations. The V20, on the other hand, has moved the dual-camera approach to the back while the front is equipped with a 5MP f/1.9 wide angle camera.
The reason for the Note 7’s failures was traced to a flaw in the battery. The Galaxy Note 7 uses lithium batteries which have a tendency to overheat and have been the cause of issues in personal electronics and even Boeing’s 787.
But measures have been done to address the issue. Phone owners have been asked to power down their devices and take it to where they bought it so it could be replaced or they could get a refund.
Battery trouble hasn’t been reported for the iPhone 7 Plus or the LG V20 so far. The latest iPhone sports a bigger battery which combined with other improvements have increased its battery life. It can now run two hours more than the iPhone 6S.
Unlike the iPhone, the LG V2 has a removable battery. It is a 3,200mAh cell which makes it bigger than the one in the V10 and the LG G4. Battery life is also longer thanks to Android Nougat’s improved Doze mode. Heavy users will find that just like other smartphones, the battery drains quickly but getting it topped up is easy thanks to QuickCharge 3.0.