Okay, so today we're talking about the best devices LG, Samsung, and Sony have and as such, they are all destined for stardom. The three makers are pushing their top models to every corner of the world and not exactly keeping a low profile. What we mean is you're more likely to have seen each of these handsets on a billboard or banner than not.
The LG G6 is the most affordable, but whether the price difference is meaningful depends very much on where you are. And when you add carrier subsidies, contracts, installment plans and promo codes and it gets even more complicated to compare them head to head price-wise.
The Galaxy S8 comes bundled with a pair of really nice AKG earbuds, which Samsung says cost $99 on their own - all S8 units get them regardless of the market. There are also a couple of Type-C adapters in the box making the transition to the new connector easier. The charger is the company's trusty Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0-compliant Adaptive Fast Charger, rated at 9V/1.67A and 5V/2A.
The G6, on the other hand, has a more modest set of accessories, limited to just the QC 3.0 9V/1.8A charger and a cable. That is, in two of the three units that came our way - the third one, the Korean spec, did come with a headset.
The Xperia XZ Premium arrived in a reviewer's box, which might sound like a whole lot of niceties, but in this case, it was only the bare necessities - a USB cable and charger. Even so, with Sony's policy to tailor the retail package to each market individually, it's hard for us to guess what your particular box will have. That being said, some markets will get a free pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones (market value of €300, mind you) with pre-orders of the XZ Premium.
Winner: Tough call, and we're leaning towards a tie. The G6 has half the storage, a last year's sillicone and will likely show up at your door with no headphones, but it is much cheaper than the other two and packs a second camera. The S8 comes with expensive AKG headphones, but it's the priciest of the bunch. The Xperia XZ Premium is a steal if you manage to snatch the pre-order bundle with the Sony MDR-100ABN wireless noise-canceling headphones.
Tall screens are the new craze this season, and by the looks of it, it's going to stay that way a while. LG and Samsung are the pioneers in this trend with the G6 and the Galaxy S8, each doing it their own way - they couldn't even settle on a common aspect. Whether it's 18:9 or 18.5:9, both handsets prove that a phone doesn't need to be huge to have a large (okay, tall) display.
Sony, on the other hand, is staying true to the conventional aspect ratio with the Xperia XZ Premium. When it comes it looks, it's both premium and traditional. This means that it's got plenty of meat around its 5.5-inch 16:9 display at a time when bezels are almost considered vulgar - the Xperia is simply massive next to the Korean phones.
It's the heaviest handset here too, and the 32g separating it from the G6 are very tangible, let alone the 40g difference when compared to the S8.
In the XZ Premium's defense, it comes with stereo speakers and it does offer the most screen real estate of the three regardless what the screen diagonals might suggest (remember these screens have different aspect ratios).
Gorilla Glass 5 front and back and nylon sides make up what Sony calls Loop Surface. The nylon may not be known as a premium material in cellphone manufacturing but it will bounce back upon impact without deforming. It's also really smooth and slippery and that's why its surface feels the same as the glass on the front and back. The top and bottom plates are made of double anodized aluminum, their chamfered edges contrasting with the smoothness of the sides.
You won't find sharp edges on the Galaxy S8, that's for sure. A signature dual-curved display (also GG5-protected) almost melts into the polished aluminum frame, a similarly shaped rear panel (why, yes, GG5) on its other side.
The G6 is flat on the front, where it's also covered with GG3 (that's 'three'). It's got the most aluminum for you to fondle - the metal frame is more substantial than on the S8, which does offer a more secure grip. There's some of Corning's latest on the G6 as well - Gorilla Glass 5 is reserved for the back of the phone, with LG having their reasons.
All those Gorilla Glass fronts and backs are heavily fingerprint-prone. There's little you can do about it other than pick a lighter body color. And maybe stay away from the mirror-finished Xperia XZ Premium - that thing looks stunning until you actually touch it, and we're thinking you will be touching your smartphone every now and then.
All three phones have fingerprint readers, except the Xperia XZ Premium in the US. Which is a bit of a bummer, as the reader itself works fast and is in a position where it can be accessed even when the phone is lying on its back.
Try to unlock the G6 or S8 with your fingerprint in those circumstances. You can't because their fingerprint sensors are on the back. The G6's is at least in a sensible location along the central axis of the rear, unlike the S8's which is on the right side of the camera and is best found by flipping the phone and looking for it, rather than feeling your way and smudging your camera.
While aiming for that bezelless look neither Samsung nor LG found room to fit stereo speakers - single, bottom-firing solutions on both of them. The Xperia phone has a set of those and Sony claims their stereo effect is as balanced as it gets. There is also support for virtual surround.
Once a differentiator, and one in Sony's favor, dust and water protection is now the norm in the flagship category and the three phones are IP68-rated. LG claims the G6 is also sea-water safe, but we wouldn't try, while Sony explicitly states that you shouldn't try. Samsung is super chill about it and doesn't have any disclaimers on the subject.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8. In this most refined incarnation of the dual-edge concept the Galaxy S8 is the most posh looking phone here, all the while being reasonably comfortable to handle. The fingerprint reader is obviously in the wrong place, though. The G6 feels bulkier, but offers a more secure grip thanks to fatter sides and flat screen, and undoubtedly a better placed fingerprint sensor. The XZ Premium isn't keeping up with the edge-to-edge trends this year when even Sony's own XA1 Ultra has gone on a diet and has shed the side bezels for a more modern look.