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LG V30 vs Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy Note 8: Is the V30 better than Samsung's flagships?

We compare the feature-packed LG V30 smartphone with Samsung’s most premium handsets, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, to see which boasts the best design, media functionality, camera tech and beyond.

At IFA 2017 LG launched its enticing V30 handset, the first V-series phone to come over to the UK. The V30 offers a serious upgrade over the older LG G6, boasting better specs, awesome camera features and the all-improved LG UX 6.0+ software. This adds some cool new bits like voice unlocking, as well as a huge array of fresh video modes for capturing a great-looking home movie.

Check out our full hands-on LG V30 hands-on review for our early thoughts.

Of course, while we don’t quite know the V30’s asking price, you can be sure it won’t come cheap. Which means you might be struggling to decide between some of 2017’s biggest and best Android flagship phones.

Samsung is one of LG’s biggest rivals in the smartphone space right now and the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 are two of the V30’s hottest competitors. Boasting similar specs and Samsung’s excellent camera tech, as well as the TouchWiz overlay which adds some smart bonus functionality, the S8 and Note 8 are two of the best mobiles around right now. As long as you have the cash to spare, of course.

So which premium phone is best for you? Let's compare the LG V30, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 to see how they stack up.

Check out all of the biggest new launches at our IFA 2017 hub.

LG V30 vs Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy Note 8: Specs

Phone LG V30 Galaxy S8 Galaxy Note 8
Screen size 6-inches 5.8-inches 6.3-inches
Screen resolution QHD+ 2880x1440 QHD+ 2880x1440 QHD+ 2960x1440
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes Yes
Iris scanner? No Yes Yes
Water resistant? Yes Yes Yes
S Pen stylus? No No Yes
Processor Snapdragon 835 Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8995 Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8995
Memory 4GB 4GB 6GB
Storage 64GB 64GB 64GB
microSD? Yes Yes Yes
Battery 3300mAh 3000mAh 3300mAh
Rear camera 16MP f/1.6 + 13MP Dual 12MP f/1.7 12MP f/1.7 Dual
Front camera 5MP 8MP 8MP

LG V30 vs Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy Note 8: Design

No matter which of these handsets you choose, you're gonna get quite the handful. The Galaxy S8 is technically the most compact phone here at a still-whopping 5.8-inches, although Samsung’s slick design means the screen curves neatly around the edges, which makes it surprisingly slender and comfortable to clutch. You’ll still struggle to use it one-handed of course, which is why we’re appreciative of the helpful features for shrinking the usable display.

Next on the size scale is the LG V30, which sports a 6-inch display. That mighty screen fills most of the front panel, so the handset isn’t over-sized, although the bezels are a little thicker than on Samsung’s mobiles. That means the V30 is roughly the same dimensions as the 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 8, which boasts incredibly tiny bezels.

Of course, the Note 8 is also by far the heaviest handset in this comparison at almost 200g. The V30, for instance, is just a little over 150g.

You get a shiny, gloss finish on all three of these handsets, which means they do pick up fingerprints and greasy marks quite easily. Thankfully the darker colours do a solid job of disguising this. Full IP68 water resistance keeps these phones protected against unexpected dunking, while the V30 is also MIL-STD 810G drop test certified (helped by the full Gorilla Glass 5 surfacing).

LG V30 vs Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy Note 8: Screen and media

Frankly, any of these massive mobiles will appease the most demanding of media fans.

You get a spacious QHD+ display in all three cases, offering supremely crisp, detailed visuals. The V30 sports an OLED panel, while the Galaxy phones have Super AMOLED, so you can expect vibrant, lush image reproduction, complete with solid contrast levels. Aspect ratios are stretched (18:9 for the V30, 18.5:9 for the Samsung phones), which is well suited to movie playback. That means you get less letterboxing, so the video practically fills the screen.

You also get HDR support with every phone here, although only the V30 can play the HDR10 video format. With the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offering HDR movie streaming for mobiles, you’ll have a reasonable amount of content to choose from. In comparison, the Samsung mobiles support mobile HDR, which is slowly getting support from the main streaming services.

Audio is well handled by the V30, Galaxy S8 and Note 8 also. You get a range of pre-sets for tweaking the body and balance of your music, to suit different genres and moods, although only the V30 supports Master Quality Authenticated tech for streaming high-res audio. Bluetooth 5.0 is supported no matter your choice, however, so you can stream to more than one set of speakers or pair of headphones.

You get plenty of storage space with the LG and Samsung blowers too, including full support for microSD memory card expansion. Good news if you don’t have lots of data and want to download shows to watch on the go.

LG V30 vs Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy Note 8: OS features

Android Nougat comes pre-installed on these handsets, yet an upgrade to the latest version 8.0 Oreo should be available by the end of the year, in all cases. Of course, the general user experience and feature set changes considerably between the V30 and the Galaxy phones, as LG and Samsung use their own in-house overlays.

LG’s UX 6.0+ serves up incredible customisation, as does Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. You can tweak the on-screen buttons, desktops, themes and pretty much every aspect of these handsets. Resource management is strong too, with tools available to free up storage and memory in either case.

When it comes to security, both LG and Samsung offer multiple ways to unlock your phone. The V30 boasts an easier-to-find fingerprint sensor on the back end, while the S8 and Note 8 shove it away in a slightly awkward position, off-centre near the top of the rear plate. LG owners can also use facial recognition and now voice recognition too.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 offer facial recognition too, plus iris recognition via the IR lens above the display. This works well in the dark although can occasionally be thwarted by glasses and movement.

The Galaxy S8 and Note 8 can be docked to convert into mobile desktop machines, which is handy if you can’t (or don’t want to) carry a laptop around with you. You also get the Bixby AI assistant, which can help you get organized and deliver any information you demand. Well, almost any, at least. And Samsung’s Game Launcher feature is pretty cool too, with the ability to stream your games sessions online and smother any distractions except for emergency messages.

Of course, the Note 8 offers even more functionality via the excellent S Pen stylus. This can be used to sketch a masterpiece on the move, edit documents, create GIFs and plenty more besides. Impressive pressure sensitivity and full water resistance makes this an indispensible tool for creative users and professionals.

The V30 sports quite a few LG additions, and although there’s no special AI, you still have the Google Assistant to hand. LG’s Quick Memo feature allows you to quickly scribble notes, while the pull-out on-screen tray gives you fast access to your favourite contacts and apps as well as handy media controls and other functions.

LG V30 vs Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy Note 8: Performance and battery

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chipset is packed inside all three of the phones in this comparison, although the Note 8 boasts more RAM than the other two handsets. Regardless, you can expect a smooth performance from the V30, S8 and Note 8, including a nippy frame rate when blasting through games.

You can even take on virtual reality games with any of these smartphones. The LG V30 supports Google’s Daydream VR platform, while Samsung has its own Gear VR headset for virtual reality experiences.

As for battery tech, all three phones support fast charging as well as wireless charging, if you can't stand cables.

LG V30 vs Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy Note 8: Cameras

The Galaxy S8 sports a single-lens 12-megapixel rear camera which can capture impressive detail in a wide range of conditions. The f/1.7 aperture means the S8 sucks in plenty of light even when conditions are dim, so you still get a usable shot, helped along by the Optical Image Stabilisation for reducing blur. The Dual Pixel autofocus is also very nippy, so you can take loads of photos with no delay and in quick succession.

For the Note 8, Samsung upgraded the snapper to a dual lens camera. This offers similar specs to the S8, including a f/1.7 aperture lens, backed up by a zoom lens that can capture close-up detail without any drop in quality. These lenses can also work together to produce some solid bokeh in the background, although the S8 replicates this trick with the depth of field feature, despite its single lens.

In both cases you can add funny AR masks and effects to your shots. Always hilarious if you happen to be under 12.

The LG V30 also offers a dual-lens camera, this time with a standard and wide-angle lens for capturing either a portrait or a gorgeous landscape. The main 16-megapixel lens boasts an f/1.6 wide-aperture lens, so we’re expecting solid low light performance to at least rival the S8 and Note 8. You also get OIS again, as well as a laser-guided autofocus. However, we did notice some lag as the V30 processed images.

As with the G6, you get loads of bonus modes for capturing collage shots and so on. You can even combine the images from both camera lenses into one, which is quite a bizarre effect.

All three phones here can shoot 4K video, although the V30 adds some funky bonus features for your home movies. For instance, you can add movie-style filters, which gives your video a very different look and feel. And you can also zoom into specific areas at any point, with a smooth slider transition.

Check out our full Galaxy S8 camera review, hands-on Galaxy Note 8 camera review and hands-on LG V30 review for all you need to know about these smart snappers.

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