You won't be surprised to find three cutting-edge displays on these phones we have here. The G6's and the Xperia XZ Premium's are LCDs, while the Galaxy S8 is of course equipped with a Super AMOLED panel. Then, the Galaxy S8 and the G6 are in weird aspect ratios (18.5:9 and 18:9, respectively), and it's the Xperia that stands up for tradition.
Not in resolution, however, where the XZ Premium tops all charts with its 3,840x2,160 pixels and a bonkers 807ppi pixel density. It's not like the Koreans are lacking in pixels either - the S8's number is 570ppi, while the G6's is marginally lower at 564ppi. But the Galaxy S8's Diamond Pixel arrangement of the primary color dots makes its pixel density a debatable subject, while we can't find any fault with the standard RGB setup of the Xperia and the LG.
Whew - so much in common, yet so different. Here's what they look like under a microscope.
When it comes to peak brightness, the Xperia XZ Premium is a near perfect match for the G6, with the Auto mode engaged on the LG phone - maxing at around 560nits both are quite bright. The Galaxy S8 can even pump out some extra nits on top of them in Auto - to the tune of 10% more - so much for AMOLEDs trailing LCDs in maximum brightness.
The Galaxy S8 is hard to beat in contrast ratio, as well. Or, rather, impossible - with blacks pixels not being lit at all, the screen's contrast ratio is infinite. The G6 manages to achieve exceptional contrast ratio for an LCD - a value of more than 2000:1 is among the best in our experience. The Premium doesn't do such a great job at containing its blacks, which adversely affects the contrast ratio, but it still manages a respectable value in the whereabouts of 1200:1.
If you're into nighttime viewing, you'd be interested to know that the Galaxy S8 can go as low as an excellent 1.8nits in very dark environments. The G6's lowest white illumination is 4.1nits, while the Premium's minimum brightness is 5.8nits - not a problem, but may be just a little too bright under a blanket (we're not judging).
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
Out in the sun it's no contest really. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the absolute champ, thanks in part to the AMOLED panel and possibly a less reflective display coating. The G6 is no slouch either, posting quite the respectable number for an LCD in our testing. The XZ Premium is less impressive in absolute value, but let's face it - it is the best 4K smartphone display when it comes to outdoor visibility (a notable improvement over the single other such phone, Sony's own Z5 Premium).
On to the touchy subject of color rendering. The Xperia XZ Premium's average DeltaE is 6.2 in Normal display mode, and drops to 5.2 in sRGB. The G6 is marginally more accurate, posting an average DeltaE number of 4.8 in the only available display mode. The Galaxy S8 has a handful of modes, which add a lot of versatility. In the default Adaptive screen mode its DeltaE is 5.1, while in the sRGB-tailored AMOLED Basic that goes all the way down to 2.0. The gist being that if you want true sRGB reproduction, the S8 is the one that gets the closest.
All three phones are capable of displaying HDR10 content, while the G6 also complies to the Dolby Vision standard. Netflix has brought actual support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision on the G6 with version 5.0 of the Android app, while no support has been announced for the S8 or the Xperia XZ Premium. Amazon Video is where you should look for content for those, and there the Xperia also gets UHD resolution streaming. No LG G6 in the list of supported devices on Amazon Video, though.
Winner: Tie between the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. The S8 wins in brightness, contrast and outdoor visibility. The Premium is the sharpest by far, has the most usable screen area and allows streaming in 2160p across various services. The G6 supports Dolby Vision on top of the other two's HDR 10, but that's as much as it's got on the competition.
All three phones have exemplary connectivity credentials. The G6 with its Snapdragon 821 'only' supports Cat.11/12 LTE for download speeds up to 600Mbs, while the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 come with Gigabit LTE, though the list of countries and carriers that offer consumers such networks is still pretty short.
Dual SIM versions have been announced, but may not be available in all markets, and single SIM ones will certainly be most common. All three review units we have are single SIM versions.
There's Wi-Fi ac on all three phones, naturally. The phones support wireless streaming to DLNA, Miracast-compliant and Google Cast devices. All three feature NFC for payments and pairing, and whatnot.
The Galaxy S8 and Xperia XZ Premium support the latest Bluetooth 5.0 which means faster transfer speeds at longer ranges compared to the G6's older BT4.2. On top of that, with the Galaxy S8 you can output audio to two Bluetooth devices at the same time.
On the S8 and XZ Premium satellite positioning can use all four major platforms: GPS, GLONASS, BDS (Beidou), and GALILEO. The G6 omits the last one.
Only the G6 comes with a built-in FM radio receiver, but not if you're buying one in the US, Canada, and South Korea - another one on the list of region-specific features.
Charging is done via a USB-C port, which can also be used for wired connectivity. All three adhere to USB 3.1 spec for a theoretical maximum transfer speed of 5Gbps. MirrorLink is supported for connection to car infotainment systems. The S8's USB-C can also output video at 4K/60fps with the right type of cable.
The S8 can also turn into a desktop computer, sort of, if you supply your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse. In addition to the DeX docking station, that is.
Thankfully, all three phones have a 3.5mm jack - on the bottom of the S8, and on the top of the other two, if that's a thing you care about.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8. The G6 takes a hit for its older chipset that lacks Gigabit LTE and Bluetooth 5.0, while the S8 and XZ Premium sport the chips of the day and are mostly tied. Until the S8 pulls out its DeX trump card - of course, a handful of people will get one, but the option is there for those that want to.
The LG G6 has the highest-capacity battery of the bunch, but just barely - its 3,300mAh power pack is merely 2% larger than the Sony's 3,230mAh. The Galaxy S8 looks underprepared then with its 3,000mAh cell.
Ask it if it cares, though. The S8 posted the highest overall endurance rating in our testing, beating the other two in the three individual disciplines too. Okay, it lasts just a minute longer than the Premium in web browsing, well within the margin of error, but still.
The G6 calls it quits first while reloading pages over Wi-Fi and its 8:31h longevity being only average. The Premium and the S8 both do better here, at just over 10 hours. The Xperia only makes it past the 8-hour mark in video playback, where the G6 redeems itself with a 10:27h time. At which point the Galaxy S8 will have 4 hours of potential video playback left in it. If you still care about actual voice calls, the Samsung flagship will outlast its rivals in this as well.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
All three phones have some sort of battery saving modes, the G6's being the most basic one. Its Battery saver reduces brightness and disables vibration, plus it keeps background processes in check. It can be set to kick in at 5% or 15% battery left, or switched on manually.
Both the Galaxy and the Xperia take a two-tiered approach. The Xperia's Stamina mode can be set to engage at a battery level of your choosing (above 15%) disabling non-essential features like GPS and vibration, and taking performance down a notch. Medium power saving mode on the S8 limits CPU speed and background network usage, turns off the Always on display, lowers the brightness, but also switches the UI resolution to 1,080x2,220px. Those are just the default settings, and you can alter them all.
Then there's Ultra Stamina mode on the Xperia and Maximum power saving mode on the Galaxy. Ultra Stamina takes you back to basics where you get a single homescreen with access to the dialer and contacts, text messages, camera, clock. Going out of Ultra Stamina requires a restart. The Samsung spares you the restart, and other than switching the screen resolution to 720x1,480, does pretty much the same as the Xperia.
The LG G6 and Galaxy S8 support wireless charging if you're buying the US versions. If not, only the S8 has the feature, which is the roundabout way of saying that only the US version of the G6 has the induction coil built in. No such thing on the Premium regardless of region.
The Xperia and the G6 support Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0, while the Galaxy S8 is stuck on QuickCharge 2.0 with Samsung's Adaptive Fast Charging on top. The cold numbers we got for 30-minute charges from flat on the three phones are 47% for the G6, 42% for the Xperia XZ Premium and 40% for the Galaxy S8.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8. The Samsung handset manages the best endurance with the smallest battery and has comprehensive battery saver options. The Xperia is similarly well-equipped in terms of battery saving features, but it's not as long lasting. The G6 is just average in both areas.