LG and Samsung have respectable camera divisions and compete in image quality as well as value-added features. We'll take a look at camera performance in the next chapter, but first we'll visit the multimedia apps each company has preloaded.
Both galleries feature a standard tile view that can be sorted by album or time, among others, while the thumbnails themselves can be enlarged with a pinch zoom.
The Samsung Gallery supports Facebook and Picasa, plus Dropbox. It can group photos not only by the people in them, but also in other categories: scenery, documents, pets, food, and vehicles.
The LG gallery is a bit more pedestrian, and doesn't have as many sorting options. Editing is done through Google's Photos app.
Both Music players are again very similar. They feature Now playing screens with prominent album art and playback options on the lockscreen and in the notification area. Both have great equalizer settings, with the G3 also letting you adjust pitch and playback speed.
The Galaxy S5 has a slight edge here with its Music square feature, which lets you build playlists automatically after you select a mood (Passionate or Joyful) and tempo (Exciting or Calm). The S5 also uses a similar square interface to simplify picking an equalizer setting, while Adapt sound can tune the settings automatically for your headphones by playing a series of beeps to assess which frequencies work and which don't.
The video player on the Galaxy S5 suffers from relatively poor codec support. Notably DivX is missing, though the XviD works, as do MP4 and MKV files, which have overshadowed AVI in recent years. Unless they have multi-channel audio that is, as only MP3 and AAC sound works here.
The video player on the G3 has a very simple interface, more so than Samsung's, but is still very powerful. It doesn't have as many features as those found on the S5, but it does make up for it with the ability to play all sorts of file types and video/audio codecs - virtually everything we threw at it.
Both phones support subtitles and carry over the sound options from their music players. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has Pop Up Play, which puts the video in a small, resizable window if you want to use another app while watching video. This is matched by the G3's QSlide function, which takes things a step further by letting you adjust the window transparency as well.
Winner: Tie. LG offers robust video decoder support, but Samsung's image gallery has more sorting and editing options and the music player is friendlier to beginners.
The LG G3 results in the first part of our audio quality test are nothing short of amazing. The smartphone produced the best numbers we've ever seen including a perfect -100 on the stereo crosstalk score. Sadly, the volume levels weren't quite up with the best so we can't unequivocally crown the G3, but it will be for those that value cleanliness above loudness.
Plugging in a pair of headphones tells a similar story - the output is almost perfectly clean (the stereo crosstalk reading while excellent on its own, is no longer the best we've seen), while the volume levels are slightly below average. The volume level difference is far easier to spot, though, and it's in favor of the Galaxy S5.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||+0.02, -0.08||-96.3||93.3||0.0017||0.0089||-95.2|
|Samsung Galaxy S5 (headphones)||+0.01, -0.08||-96.3||93.3||0.0095||0.018||-61.9|
LG G3 frequency response
Samsung Galaxy S5 frequency response
Winner: LG G3. While the majority of users will be perfectly happy with the output of either smartphone, the LG G3 has some of the best audio quality we've tested on a smartphone, despite being slightly edged out by Galaxy S5 when it comes to loudness.