LG Optimus G v Samsung Galaxy S III: Beast wars

GSMArena team, 27 October 2012.
Pages: 123456789

Screen comparison

We already mentioned that the two screens have different aspect ratios, but we didn't cover what difference that makes. The 16:9 aspect ratio of the Samsung Galaxy S III is more media oriented, while watching videos on the Optimus G will entail either letterboxing or cropping.

LG chose to focus on text instead - the 15:9 screen is taller in landscape orientation, which is more accommodating to reading web pages, emails, documents and so on.

LG Optimus G vs. Samsung Galaxy S III LG Optimus G vs. Samsung Galaxy S III LG Optimus G vs. Samsung Galaxy S III
LG and Samsung use very different screens

But there's an even more fundamental difference between the two screens - one is an LCD, while the other is an AMOLED.

The LG Optimus G has a True HD-IPS+ LCD screen with 768 x 1280 resolution. On a 4.7" diagonal, that means 318ppi pixel density, but the bigger advantage here is the full RGB matrix.

The Samsung Galaxy S III uses a Super AMOLED screen with 720p resolution, which combined with the slightly bigger diagonal makes for a slightly lower pixel density of 306ppi. It's a PenTile matrix though, so pixel densities shouldn't be compared directly.

We used a digital microscope to shoot the matrices of both screens up close. On the Optimus G, each RGB triplet is a pixel, while on the Galaxy S III pixels are composed of either an RG or a BG pair.


Note: not to scale

The macro shot of tiny white text is very telling when it comes to sharpness - the Galaxy S III has to use sub-pixel rendering, so the 1px-wide lines on the font come out 1.5px thick (it needs two pixels to get all three primary colors).

For normal-size text, the effect isn't very visible, though if you look up close you'll see a telling cross-hatch pattern. Text on the Optimus G remains sharp even on very low zoom levels.


Note: not to scale

The Super AMOLED screen may lose in sharpness, but it has some inherent advantages. The black levels are virtually 0, the contrast is superior and the colors are more saturated (though this might not appeal to everyone).

The LCD has a few tricks up its sleeves as well. For one, it's brighter (it scored 141 nits more than the Super AMOLED) and for another it's got a slightly more realistic colors.

Sure, there is light leaking through black colors and it's noticeable even in a well-lit room, but with the extra brightness, the contrast ratio still works out to an impressive 1438:1.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320
Apple iPhone 4S 0.14 205 1463 0.52 654 1261
LG Optimus 4X HD 0.34 369 1077 0.68 750 1102
LG Optimus G 0.14 197 1445 0.33 471 1438
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III 0 174 0 330
Samsung Galaxy Note II 0 253 0 478
HTC One X 0.15 200 1375 0.39 550 1410

An issue of the IPS+ technology are the viewing angles - the LG smartphone exhibits both contrast degradation and color shift when you view it at an angle. The color shift is most visible when it's rotated (i.e. having one of the four edges pointing at you), which isn't the case most of the time, so it's not a major issue.

The Super AMOLED screen shows a faint greenish tint at an angle, typical behavior for AMOLED screens, but it's no as bad to look at.

What is a major issue, however, is screen reflectivity. LG has been touting their ZeroGap technology that is supposed to minimize reflections, but it doesn't work quite as advertised. The Optimus G screen is way too reflective, giving it below average sunlight legibility.

The Super AMOLED screen on the Galaxy S III, on the other hand, is one of the best we have tested in this regard.

Contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.970
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.680
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • HTC Desire C
    1.300
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.180
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

To summarize our findings, the Samsung Galaxy S III screen loses on sharpness and maximum brightness (some people find it too dim), but it has great saturation, contrast, angles and sunlight legibility.

The LG Optimus G screen is still among the best though - it offers great sharpness, higher brightness and very good colors (though not perfect). Disappointing sunlight legibility is quite an issue however.

Battery life

We separate battery life into three important categories - talking on a 3G network, browsing the web over Wi-Fi and watching videos. Then we take those numbers, plus a standby reading and give each phone an endurance rating - how long last without needing a charge, if you do an hour of each activity per day.

It's important to note that both phones have 2100mAh batteries, but the LG Optimus G uses a next-gen chipset, while the Samsung Galaxy S III has the best of the outgoing generation of Exynos 4 chipsets.

Calling is generally a test of how efficient the modem of each phone is - the screen is off and the CPU has nothing to do. The LG Optimus G scores a major victory here, beating the Galaxy S III by 50%. While it's not the best score we have seen, the S4 Pro is certainly off to a good start.

Talk time

  • Motorola RAZR MAXX (ICS)
    21:18
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    20:24
  • Motorola RAZR i
    20:07
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    16:57
  • LG Optimus G
    15:30
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    12:30
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    12:14
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    11:58
  • Samsung Wave 3 S8600
    11:07
  • HTC One X (AT&T, LTE)
    10:35
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    10:20
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III (JB)
    10:15
  • HTC One V
    10:00
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    10:00
  • HTC One X
    9:57
  • HTC One S
    9:42
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    9:40
  • HTC Sensation XL
    9:30
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    9:05
  • Motorola Atrix HD
    9:04
  • HTC Vivid
    9:02
  • HTC Rhyme
    8:48
  • Apple iPhone 5
    8:42
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    8:42
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    8:41
  • Meizu MX
    8:39
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    8:35
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    8:25
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    8:23
  • HTC Desire V
    8:20
  • Samsung Captivate Glide
    8:20
  • Sony Xperia T
    8:15
  • HTC Rezound (LTE)
    8:10
  • Samsung Galaxy Note (LTE)
    8:02
  • LG Optimus Vu
    7:57
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    7:41
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    7:41
  • Samsung i937 Focus S
    7:25
  • HTC Evo 4G LTE (LTE)
    7:21
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G
    7:14
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    7:09
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    7:09
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
    6:57
  • Nokia N9
    6:57
  • HTC Radar
    6:53
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos
    6:53
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    6:52
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    5:54
  • Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T (LTE)
    5:53
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    5:52
  • Sony Xperia P
    5:33
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    5:16
  • LG Nitro HD (LTE)
    5:16
  • HTC Titan II (LTE)
    5:10
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    5:00
  • Pantech Burst
    4:46

Surprisingly the Samsung Galaxy S III did a job at the web browsing part of the test, outlasting the Optimus G by about an hour and fifteen minutes. It did get a big boost from the Jelly Bean update (curiously, the boost is about an hour and fifteen minutes), so we suspect the LG phone might catch up when it gets the Android 4.1 update.

Web browsing

  • Apple iPhone 5
    9:56
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX (ICS)
    9:12
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    8:48
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    7:23
  • HTC Radar
    7:17
  • Motorola RAZR i
    7:06
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    6:56
  • HTC One V
    6:49
  • Motorola Atrix HD
    6:40
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    6:40
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III (JB)
    6:27
  • Samsung i937 Focus S
    6:15
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    5:56
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    5:53
  • Pantech Burst
    5:51
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G
    5:45
  • HTC Desire V
    5:44
  • HTC Evo 4G LTE
    5:41
  • Samsung Wave 3 S8600
    5:34
  • Sony Xperia T
    5:33
  • Samsung Captivate Glide
    5:33
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    5:28
  • Samsung Galaxy Note LTE
    5:24
  • HTC Sensation XL
    5:20
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5:19
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    5:17
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    5:16
  • HTC Rezound
    5:16
  • LG Optimus G
    5:15
  • HTC Rhyme
    5:08
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    5:07
  • HTC One X (AT&T)
    5:03
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
    4:50
  • LG Optimus Vu
    4:49
  • HTC Vivid
    4:46
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos
    4:45
  • Meizu MX
    4:35
  • Nokia N9
    4:33
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    4:24
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    4:20
  • HTC One X
    4:18
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4:14
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    4:10
  • Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T
    4:10
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    4:07
  • HTC Titan II (LTE)
    4:05
  • HTC One S
    4:03
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    4:02
  • LG Nitro HD
    4:00
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    3:59
  • Sony Xperia P
    3:59
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    3:51
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    3:47
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    3:35
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    3:23
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    3:01

The Samsung Galaxy S III rounds up the score in its favor with a two hour advantage in the video watching test. The Optimus G is three hours ahead of its Optimus 4X predecessor, so it's a good score too, just not good enough for the win here.

Video playback

  • Motorola RAZR MAXX (ICS)
    16:35
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    14:17
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    11:27
  • Apple iPhone 5
    10:12
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    10:01
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    9:53
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    9:42
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    9:34
  • HTC One S
    9:28
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III (JB)
    9:27
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    9:24
  • HTC Evo 4G LTE
    9:07
  • Nokia N9
    8:40
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    8:25
  • Motorola RAZR i
    8:11
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    8:00
  • Samsung i937 Focus S
    7:55
  • Samsung Wave 3 S8600
    7:52
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    7:45
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    7:38
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G
    7:33
  • Samsung Galaxy Note LTE
    7:30
  • LG Optimus G
    7:16
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    6:33
  • HTC Desire V
    6:26
  • HTC One X (AT&T)
    6:26
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos
    6:25
  • LG Optimus Vu
    6:23
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    6:21
  • HTC Sensation XL
    6:12
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    6:06
  • Samsung Captivate Glide
    6:04
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    6:03
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    6:02
  • Sony Xperia T
    6:01
  • Motorola Atrix HD
    6:01
  • HTC Vivid
    6:00
  • HTC Radar
    5:54
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    5:52
  • HTC Titan II
    5:50
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    5:47
  • HTC One X
    5:45
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
    5:44
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    5:38
  • Pantech Burst
    5:38
  • Meizu MX
    5:27
  • HTC Rhyme
    5:23
  • HTC One V
    5:20
  • Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T
    5:18
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    5:09
  • HTC Rezound
    5:03
  • Sony Xperia P
    4:30
  • LG Nitro HD
    4:17
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    4:14
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    3:28
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    3:27

In the end, the LG Optimus G scores an endurance rating of 45 hours, while the Samsung Galaxy S III earned a score of 50 hours. You can read about more our testing methodology here.




Talkative people will get better battery life out of the Optimus G, but for tasks that require the screen to be on and the CPUs working, the Galaxy S III will generally last longer. We have to say that the Galaxy S III was performing virtually identical to the Optimus G before the Jelly Bean update, so we suspect the two will be on par when the LG flagship get treated to the latest Android version.

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