Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. LG G2: Neighbor squabble

GSMArena team, 16 September 2013.

Benchmarks

Time to see how the two flagships perform according to synthetic benchmarks. Well, not two but three - remember that the Galaxy S4 has two versions (one with Snapdragon 600 and one with Exynos 5 Octa), but both were tuned to have about the same performance.

So, the LG G2 should take an easy victory here because it has a newer chipset, the Snapdragon 800. By the way, Samsung has a Galaxy S4 with Snapdragon 800 too, it's just not available internationally (but crucially, it's available in South Korea).

Let's list the parts for those who don't know them by heart.

  • LG G2: Snapdragon 800 with 4x Krait 400 cores @ 2.26GHz, 2GB RAM and Adreno 330 GPU
  • Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4: Exynos 5 Octa with 4x Cortex-A15 @ 1.6GHz, 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz, 2GB RAM and PowerVR SGX544MP3
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4: Snapdragon 600 with 4x Krait 300 cores @ 1.9GHz, 2GB of RAM, Adreno 320 GPU

The Krait 400 cores are faster than the Krait 300 ones even at the same clock speed, which is obviously not the case. The GPU on the Snapdragon 800 is also more powerful as well.

Then, there's Exynos 5 Octa that has four powerful Cortex-A15 cores at 1.6GHz and four power-efficient Cortex-A7 cores at 1.2GHz. At the moment only the A15s or only the A7s are active at any one time, but Samsung is working on an update to enable all 8 cores to work simultaneously. There's also 2GB RAM and a GPU of a different family - the PowerVR SGX544MP3.

Note that we're missing a few benchmarks for the Exynos 5 Octa version of the Galaxy S4.

Let's kick off with CPU benchmarks. The LG G2 is the first phone we've tested that goes under 100ms on BenchmarkPi, beating even the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, which has the same chipset. The Samsung Galaxy S4 (both versions) is about 30% slower in single-threaded performance.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • LG G2
    99
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    115
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    130
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    132
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    132
  • HTC Butterfly S
    135
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    147
  • HTC One
    151
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    166
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • HTC Butterfly
    266
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • HTC One mini
    293
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    330
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    359
  • Nexus 4
    431

Linpack puts the multi-threaded performance a hair above that of the Z Ultra and well ahead of the Galaxy S4s again by about 30%). Geekbench 3 doesn't quite agree - it puts the Sony Xperia Z Ultra on top, but the LG G2 is still ahead of the I9505 Galaxy S4 by about 20%.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • LG G2
    1054
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1034
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    818
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    791
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    788
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    743
  • HTC Butterfly S
    669
  • HTC One
    646
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • HTC Butterfly
    624
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Oppo Find 5
    593
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    413
  • HTC One mini
    320
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    214.3
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • HTC One X+
    177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175.5
  • HTC One X
    160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141.5

Geekbench 3

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    2670
  • LG G2
    2243
  • HTC One
    1972
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    1869
  • LG Optimus G
    1623
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1315
  • LG Nexus 4
    1288
  • HTC Butterfly
    1257
  • Oppo R819
    1047
  • HTC One mini
    887

Quadrant puts the LG G2 on top, with the Samsung Galaxy S4s trailing by quite a bit. AnTuTu scores confirm that the gap in overall performance is noticeable.

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • LG G2
    19815
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    18177
  • HTC Butterfly S
    13130
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    12446
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    12376
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    12105
  • HTC One
    11746
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    11346
  • Sony Xperia Z
    8075
  • HTC One X+
    7632
  • LG Optimus G
    7439
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    7153
  • Oppo Find 5
    7111
  • HTC One mini
    6048
  • HTC One X
    5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    5916
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    5450
  • Nexus 4
    4567

AnTuTu 4

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note III
    35180
  • LG G2
    35125
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    27555
  • HTC One
    26238
  • Nexus 4
    17006

Moving on to the GPU benchmarks to try and see how both versions of the Adreno do against each other and against the Power VR.

The first offscreen test - GFXBench 2.5 Egypt - shows a solid 10fps lead for the new Adreno 330 in the LG G2 and even more in the Xperia Z Ultra. Meanwhile, the PowerVR SGX544MP3 practically matches the Adreno 320.

The newer 2.7 T-Rex benchmark shows a closer gap - 5fps - but proportionally it's the same (25-30%). Keep in mind that 1080p is the actual screen resolution on these devices.

GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    23
  • LG G2
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    17.1
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    17.1
  • Apple iPad 4
    16.8
  • HTC Butterfly S
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    16
  • Google Nexus 10
    13.9
  • LG Optimus G
    13.9
  • Sony Xperia Z
    13.5
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    13
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    12.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    6.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    6.3
  • HTC One mini
    5.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    4.9

Let's see how Epic Citadel does - it's based on the Unreal Engine 3, same as the new Infinity Blade III, which unfortunately isn't available for Android. Still, it shows real-world gaming performance.

The LG G2 scores 51fps, which is very close to the 60fps software limit. The Samsung Galaxy S4 (with Snapdragon 600) meanwhile achieved an average of under 40fps, meaning complicated scenes are not all that smooth.

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    54.9
  • LG G2
    51
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    37.2
  • HTC One
    35.6
  • HTC Butterfly
    29.6

The JavaScript performance gap and the HTML5 one measured by SunSpider and BrowserMark 2 respectively isn't all that big, considering the CPU and GPU performance demonstrated so far.

Vellamo, however, found it easier to tell the two phones apart - the LG G2 scores around 2,900, while both Galaxy S4s are around 2,000 (that's nearly a third less).

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    750
  • LG G2
    902
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    1046
  • HTC One
    1174
  • LG Optimus G
    1293
  • HTC One mini
    1375
  • LG Nexus 4
    1379
  • HTC Butterfly
    1397
  • Oppo R819
    1423
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    3858

BrowserMark 2

Higher is better

  • LG G2
    2718
  • LG Optimus G
    2555
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    2438
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    2419
  • HTC Butterfly S
    2378
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    2338
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    2314
  • HTC One
    2262
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    2170
  • HTC One mini
    2164
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2107
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2093
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1801
  • Oppo Find 5
    1797
  • Nexus 4
    1794
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    1774
  • Google Nexus 10
    1773
  • HTC Butterfly
    1475
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1247

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    2944
  • LG G2
    2908
  • HTC Butterfly S
    2592
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2418
  • HTC One
    2382
  • HTC One mini
    2252
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    2078
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    2060
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    2056
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    2019
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    1936
  • HTC Butterfly
    1866
  • Oppo Find 5
    1658
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Nexus 4
    1310

Section winner: LG G2

The benchmarks results are unanimous and it was hardly unexpected. The Snapdragon 800 inside the LG G2 is easily the most powerful mass market mobile chipset. A Snapdragon 800 version of the Galaxy S4 (and S4 Active if the rumors are to be believed) will make things more interesting in this department.

That's not to say the I9500 and I9505 Galaxy S4 phones are slow - they are not, they're just slower than the G2 when the chipset is pushed to the limit.

Loudspeaker

We've covered the positioning of the loudspeakers on both phones and explained the pros and cons. Now let's look at just how loud those loudspeakers are.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is louder in two out of three tests than the G2 and scores a Good mark, while the LG G2 only managed a Below Average. Note that this is with the loudspeakers not muffled - if you place the Galaxy S4 and the G2 on a table, the difference between the two gets smaller. As we already explained, the S4 loudspeaker tends to get muffled on flat surfaces.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Sony Xperia Z60.1 58.361.6Below Average
LG G265.7 62.266.2Below Average
HTC Butterfly S66.7 61.972.2Below Average
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini66.3 64.875.1Average
HTC One69.3 66.675.9Good
HTC One mini68.0 68.778.1Good
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S470.6 66.277.3Good
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active72.7 66.678.1Good
LG Optimus G74.671.382.7Excellent

Section winner: Samsung Galaxy S4

If you don't completely muffle the poorly designed loudspeaker grille, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be easier to hear when ringing or playing music out loud. It's not by a big margin, but there is no two ways about it, the LG G2 is quieter.

Audio output perfectly clean, but not very loud

The LG G2 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 showed perfectly clean output in both parts of our traditional audio quality test. The smartphones got excellent scores all over the field with the Galaxy S4 taking the slightest of edges.

The scores stay close to perfect even when you plug in a pair of headphones. The stereo crosstalk of the G2 worsens a bit more than on the Galaxy S4, which combined with the slightly higher volume levels on the Samsung flagship gives the Galaxy s4 the win here.

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
LG G2+0.03, -0.28-91.991.90.0097 0.011-91.3
LG G2 (headphones attached)+0.07, -0.03-91.591.80.037 0.041-54.3
Samsung Galaxy S4+0.03, -0.08-95.993.20.0030 0.0092-96.4
Samsung Galaxy S4 (headphones attached)+0.03, -0.08-96.093.30.0031 0.089-77.5

LG G2 frequency response
LG G2 frequency response

Samsung Galaxy S4 frequency response
Samsung Galaxy S4 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Section winner: Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S4 wins this one around, courtesy of its slightly louder and cleaner output. Again, it's a win by a small margin.

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