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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: 2016’s Best Android Phones Duke It Out!

Well this is interesting. Both Samsung and LG have now reveald some details about their respective flagship sales and performance since launch. For LG, things are looking a bit grim with the company confirming in a statement that the G5 had “failed to generate sales,” but didn’t clarify what that means; analysts and pundits can only assume that certain expected internal sales targets were not met. In terms of why the LG G5 has failed to take off, this is also wide open to interpretation, but some suspect the expense of the handset’s optional modules, something of a USP for the device, may have been offputting. Samsung has now also commented following positive reports of its shipments of Galaxy S7 units in Q1. Apparently Q2 is looking just as peachy, after analysts estimated an operating profit of $6.8 billion for the quarter, ahead of the firm’s reveal of actual figures in the coming weeks it has said it estimates somewhere closer to $7 billion from sales of 26 million (across both S7 and S7 EDGE) to the tune of $43.2 billion in sales revenue. Samsung’s mobile division is thought to account for as much as 49% of the firm’s total profits for the quarter at around $3.5 billion.

It’s been quite an exciting year so far, from the outset 2016 has seen some really rather fantastic handsets launched and the vast majority have been part of the Android space. We’ve now seen the HTC 10 and the Huawei P9 (together with the Huawei P9 Plus) emerge as seriously compelling contenders, but things kicked off quite impressively at MWC in late February when both Samsung and LG unveiled their respective flagships. On the very same day, February 21, mere hours before the expo began, LG unwrapped the LG G5 with its modular base compartment, premium metal build, and a dual-sensor camera; while Samsung took the wraps off both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, fashioned from metal and glass, with waterproof construction and the best display technology on the market. Of course the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge pack a lot of the same tech, hardware and features, but they’re not completely identical; the Galaxy S7 edge is a bit larger with a curved edge display, and it packs a slightly bigger battery cell too. Here we’ll be focusing on the regular Galaxy S7 though.

The LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 are arguably two of the biggest Android handsets of the year. As of April 4, reports have emerged from analysts in Asia who estimate Samsung has shipped as many as 10 million Galaxy S7 series handsets during March, the one month period since the phone launched onto the market. These are just estimates, of course, and Samsung is yet to release sales and shipping figures, and it has not commented on the reports yet either. However, assuming there’s some authenticity here, that is an impressive bump up from earlier estimates of 7 million, and much more in-line with Samsung’s own predictions from pre-order figures that it will outsell its earlier Galaxy S flagships. Analysts have now raised their 2016 forecasts for Samsung as a result, and the firm’s shares have seen a bit of a boost too.

But which of these two handsets is the best? Let s find out!

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Design & Display

We’re getting pretty familiar with this scenario now: most of the rumours for both handsets were pretty much spot on, so design wise there aren’t many surprises. Starting with the Galaxy S7, as per the rumour mill the design is very similar indeed to last year’s Galaxy S6, near identical, in fact, with just a few extra subtle curves on the back panel that you might miss if you blink. This is all fine, of course, you won’t hear a peep of criticism from me about the aesthetics of the Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S7 as I think they’re both stellar looking devices with a very interesting shape, as well as being solidly well-made from high-end, premium feel materials; glass and metal. There are some differences though, and they’re of the more hidden variety, such as the return of a microSD slot and full IP68 waterproofing. That latter is achieved through coating the components and ports with a protective layer, so there’s no need for any of those daft port covers.

The Galaxy S7 is a 5.1in handset with a Super AMOLED display featuring a QHD (2560 x 1440 pixel) resolution at 577ppi. Samsung has also added an “Always On” display feature, allowing the phone to make full use of the ability of OLED tech to selectively power individual pixels to show a limited set of information on-screen. Basically, even when the phone is asleep it can show notifications, a clock, or a calendar in a low-power mode. All of the above pretty much applies to the Galaxy S7 edge as well, although obviously this model has the curved edge display and design from the Galaxy S6 edge, giving it a slightly different look which is very refined and sleek. The Galaxy S7 edge is larger than its predecessor and its Galaxy S7 stable-mate, however, with a bigger 5.5in display at 534ppi. Samsung has also expanded the edge display screen functionality to allow for more apps, shortcuts and information to be stored and displayed on the edge panel.

The LG G5 is in some ways familiar alongside older LG models like the LG G4, but also quite distinct at the same time. For starters, the whole thing is fabricated from metal – magnesium, to be precise – which is a first for LG, and almost the entirety of the thing is a sleek unibody design, with some elegant curves and refined angles here and there to spice things up. The only noticable break in the chassis is where the LG G5’s mega-party-trick comes into play; a removable modular base segment which allows access to the battery and card slots, but has also been developed with modular accessories in mind. So far, LG has demonstrated some XXL battery packs, a Bang & Olafson audio unit, and a custom camera module with built-in physical keys, but this is open to third-party developers so the possibilities are quite tantalising.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Specs & Hardware

Samsung Galaxy S7:

Dimensions: 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm, 152g (Galaxy S7 edge: 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm, 157g) Display: 5.1in Super AMOLED, QHD 2560×1440 pixels, 577ppi (Galaxy S7 edge: 5.5in, 534ppi)OS: Android MarshmallowChipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820/Samsung Exynos 8890Memory: 4GBStorage Options: 32GB/64GBSD-Support: YesImaging: 12 MP, LED flash, f/1.7 aperture, 1.4um pixels, 100% dual-pixel phase detectionBattery: Non-removable Li-Po 3000mAh battery (Galaxy S7 edge: 3600mAh)

LG G5:

Dimensions: 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm, 159g Display: 5.3in IPS LCD QHD 2560×1440 pixel, 554ppiOS: Android MarshmallowChipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820Memory: 4GBStorage Options: 32GBSD-Support: YesImaging: 16MP/8MP dual-camera, OIS, laser autofocus, dual-LED flashBattery: Removable Li-Po 2800 mAh battery

Samsung has been a bit irritating this year by “pulling an Apple” on some of the hardware specs, that is to say; not fully disclosing them and instead selectively dropping stats it wants us to hear. The pre-launch rumours told us for some time that with the Galaxy S7 series, just as with previous models, there would be both Qualcomm Snapdragon-based and Samsung Exynos-based processor variants, with 4GB of RAM. Samsung hasn’t officially talked about any of that, instead preferring to tell all that CPU performance is 30% faster, while GPU performance is 64% faster. Despite the lack of detail, these assertions, if true, are undoubtedly good news.

What’s also neat is the addition of a PC-style liquid-cooled heat pipe and heatsink to dissapate heat away from the processor when under heavy workloads. Samsung also didn’t mention the onboard storage space, although earlier leaks have implied the base model is a 32GB setup. There’s also no Type-C USB port, instead you get the old type (not exactly a deal-breaker, mind), but you do get up-to-date 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC, just as you do inside the LG G5. The Galaxy S7 handsets, as expected, don’t have removable battery cells, but you do get a fairly hefty 3000mAh inside the S7 and 3600mAh inside the S7 edge. Meanwhile, LG was pretty upfront about the use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC with 4GB of RAM to power things along nicely, putting it on a similar footing to at least one of Samsung’s device variants.

The battery is smaller than Samsung’s, and smaller than rumour implied at only 2800mAh, but you can remove and replace it – so swings and roundabouts.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Camera

Cameras are really getting a makeover in many 2016 handsets and both Samsung and LG have gone to efforts to come up with something interesting. Samsung has actually reduced its megapixel rating down to a 12MP sensor, but has tweaked things in other areas that count for more – like a world first dual-pixel sensor with 100% phase-detection autofocus, a very wide f/1.7 aperture, and a larger light-absorbing 1.4um pixel size. Reportedly the focus speed, image quality and low-light performance are all pretty special. LG hasn’t exactly slouched either though, with a dual-sensor setup featuring both 16MP 75 wide-angle and 8MP 135 wide-angle cameras on the rear with f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures respectively, as well as a return of LG’s now-familiar laser autofocus, optical stabilisation and 4K video recording. As with previous implementations of dual-cameras the idea here is capturing a LOT of visual data and then allowing plenty of clever post-processing and editing after capture.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Verdict

This is a really difficult one to call. Arguably, the Galaxy S7 is the better handset as it has the best display, amazing battery performance and plenty of additional USPs besides. It has also sold the most too, which, of course, is a significant point of contention when discussing phones. However, I am a HUGE fan of the LG G5. I actually prefer it to the Galaxy S7, would rather own it than the Galaxy S7 and, given the choice, would also recommend it over the Galaxy S7.

Why? I don t really know. There is just something about it that I really loved. As soon as I saw it at MWC 2016, I was completely won over by it. The modular aspect is a bit clunky, but I didn t really use this. Instead, I just used it as I would any phone and I had a blast testing it.

I also prefer the LG G5 s dual-camera to the one aboard the Galaxy S7. The handset, though not selling in great numbers, has so many awesome features buried inside it it really is a joy to live and work with every day. On paper, the Galaxy S7 probably has it beat, but only just. In my heart, though, I d always go with the G5. Both handsets are excellent, so whichever you go for you will not be disappointed. Just PLEASE do not let the G5 s sub-par sales put you off.

It is a belting handset!

Qualcomm aware of ‘QuadRooter’ since February; Sony Mobile, BlackBerry release statements

Yesterday it was reported that over 900 million Android devices running Qualcomm chipsets1 were at risk because of a potentially serious security flaw.

However, it seems that Qualcomm has been aware of this for months, and has been on the case as well.

Cyber-security company Check Point said that the “QuadRooter” risk is “a set of four vulnerabilities that gives attackers complete control of your Android” device.

In response to queries from Khaleej Times, Qualcomm provided the following statement:

“Providing technologies that support robust security and privacy is a priority for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc (QTI). We were notified by the researcher about these vulnerabilities between February and April of this year, and made patches available for all four vulnerabilities to customers, partners, and the open source community between April and July. The patches were also posted on CodeAurora.

QTI continues to work proactively both internally as well as with security researchers to identify and address potential security vulnerabilities.”

The San Diego, California-headquartered telecommunications equipment maker also provided the CodeAurora links containing the information, which you can read here, here and here (though it just might be a bit too geeky for most of us).234

Meanwhile, Sony Mobile also responded to Khaleej Times’ request for comment on the QuadRooter issue.

“Sony Mobile takes the security and privacy of customer data very seriously. We are aware of the ‘Quadrooter’ vulnerability and are working to make the security patches available within normal and regular software maintenance, both directly to open-market devices and via our carrier partners, so timings can vary by region and/or operator. Consumers are recommended to continuously upgrade their phone software in order to optimise performance of their Xperia smartphone. Users can take steps to protect themselves by only downloading trusted applications from reputable application stores.”

UPDATE: BlackBerry has sent this statement to Khaleej Times regarding the matter, pledging immediate action:

“BlackBerry is aware of the Quadrooter flaws and the vulnerabilities that affects the majority of Android devices. A fix for BlackBerry’s Android devices was integrated and tested in our labs immediately after the report was received and we will expedite it to customers as soon as possible.”

“BlackBerry is not aware of any exploits for this vulnerability in the wild and does not believe that any customers are currently at risk from this issue. More importantly, this issue shows how ‘secure’ is not a target, it is a continuum. ?The complex nature of software makes it prone to exposures and vulnerabilities.

That means to achieve BlackBerry’s standard of being the most secure, we must practice and enable these tenets5: security by design; continual and fast security updates; and total control and visibility of your privacy and security.”

– alvin@khaleejtimes.com

References

  1. ^ 900 million Android devices running Qualcomm chipsets (www.khaleejtimes.com)
  2. ^ here (www.codeaurora.org)
  3. ^ here (www.codeaurora.org)
  4. ^ here (www.codeaurora.org)
  5. ^ tenets (blogs.blackberry.com)

Are 900m Qualcomm-powered Android devices at risk?

Qualcomm’s processors are powering over 900 million Android devices globally, which would be a haven for hackers should a vulnerability can be exposed and exploited.

Apparently, that could be the case, according to a not-so-inspiring report.

Cyber-security firm Check Point says that it has uncovered1 a set of four vulnerabilities affecting almost a billion Android devices that use Qualcomm chipsets.

The company called the issue “QuadRooter2“, which, according to them, is “a set of four vulnerabilities that gives attackers complete control of your Android smartphone or tablet”.

“These vulnerabilities are found on out-of-the-box devices and can only be fixed by installing patches when they become available,” the report added.

The company listed the following devices as among those that can potentially be compromised: BlackBerry Priv; Blackphone 1 and 2; Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P; HTC One, M9 and 10; LG G4, G5 and V10; the new Motorola Moto X; OnePlus One, 2 and 3; Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge; and Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

While there has been no proof so far that these vulnerabilities have been used for illegal means, it could happen “in the next three or four months”, Check Point head of mobility product management Michael Shaulov said in a BBC report.

In the UAE, the devices listed are available either from retailers, online or both.

However, latest figures from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) show that there might not be much of a concern here in the UAE.

The TRA report3, released on August 7, revealed that in the first quarter of 2016, 68.9 per cent of handsets registered on the UAE’s networks were smartphones, with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5 – which use ARM chipsets – being the most used at 4.48 per cent and 2.39 per cent, respectively.

The Samsung J100H/J1, which uses Spreadtrum, and the iPhone 6s were third (1.81 per cent) and fourth (1.69 per cent), respectively. The Nokia 108 feature phone was overall the second most-used phone at 2.92 per cent.

The report added that Samsung is the most widely-used brand in the UAE in the January-to-March period, boasting a 33 per cent share of all registered handsets. Nokia was second at 28 per cent, followed by Apple (14 per cent) and BlackBerry (two per cent).

However, no specific device breakdown was provided.

As at Press time, the TRA was unreachable for comment.

Khaleej Times also sought statements from device manufacturers listed in the Check Point report.

BlackBerry says that its engineers in its headquarters in Canada are looking into the matter, while LG Gulf says it has not received any statement from its corporate offices in Seoul.

HTC, Samsung and Sony Mobile did not respond to requests either, while Qualcomm has yet to release a statement on the report.

Shaulov is just hopeful that those who would find the bugs first are the type who would squash them.

“It’s always a race as to who finds the bug first – whether it’s the good guys or the bad.”

– alvin@khaleejtimes.com

References

  1. ^ uncovered (bit.ly)
  2. ^ QuadRooter (bit.ly)
  3. ^ TRA report (bit.ly)
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