MWC 2018: Flagship phone comparisonBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 2 March 2018 | Categories: feature articles
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Mobile World Congress is significant for a number of reasons, chief among them being the announcement of several new Android flagship phones. With all the manufacturers vying for early superiority, there will no doubt be comparisons between all the premium devices revealed at MWC 2018.
How do their specifications stack up? We take a look at all three.
Kicking off with displays, all three phones are relatively similar in terms of size. The V30S ThinQ is the largest at 6" (2880x1440; 537 ppi), followed by the Galaxy S9 at 5.8" (2960x1440; 570 ppi), with the Xperia XZ2 finishing off the trio at 5.7" (2160x1080; 424 ppi).
In terms of specifications, the S9 is the winner in all categories, with its longer Infinity Display screen also making the viewing experience a tad more immersive compared to the other two phones. Add to that the crispness and brightness that the Super AMOLED panel yields, and this category has to go to the S9.
On the processor side of things, all three tout impressive offerings. The 'oldest' chipset, however, is found on the LG V30S ThinkQ, with the same Snapdragon 835 CPU as the original V30 found inside. Samsung has opted for its own processor, utilising the new Exynos 8910 (EMEA region only), with their chipsets historically proving one of the best we've benchmarked in recent years.
Interestingly, it is the Xperia XZ2 that gets our nod here though, touting Qualcomm's latest octa-core CPU in the form of the Snapdragon 845. This will make it one of the first devices to land locally touting the chipset, and if the performance is anything like the XZ Premium, should be one of the top phones of the year.
When it comes to camera specifications on flagship phones, the differences between them are often hard to tell. It's likely the reason why manufacturers try to imbue their devices with added features, with the same ringing true for these three new offerings.
LG is talking up the AI capabilities of the V30S ThinkQ, with its object recognition a significant aspect. Whether consumers will get good use of it though, remains to be seen.
On the Galaxy S9, Samsung has added a dual aperture feature to the mix, which the company says should up performance in low light. It also boasts 960 fps slow-mo at 720p, with the additional benefit of being able to string together multiple slow-mo videos to create one longer version.
The Xperia XZ2 is still using the 19 MP option that the XZ Premium debuted with last year, but introduces 4K HDR recording and ups the 960 fps super slow-mo to 1080p, giving it a leg up on the S9, and making it our preferred choice.
This aspect of the phones is a little harder to decipher, with each manufacturer layering on their own UI atop an Android OS. Curiously, the V30S ThinkQ will launch with (7.1.2) Nougat, whereas the Galaxy S9 and Xperia XZ2 will feature (8.0) Oreo out of the box.
As far as the UIs go, each of them have similar flaws, such as duplication of Google apps, as well as a few lingering elements of bloatware. Sony's UI is perhaps the oldest looking though, and does not come across as clean as the Samsung or LG variant.
It is the latter though that wins out for us, with LG doing well to add features to the always-on display and keeping things simple as far as menus and navigation on the device goes.
Unfortunately LG's V30S ThinkQ falls out of the running as the improvements are not significant enough to make one want to buy the phone over the original V30. Add to that the rumours of another LG flagship arriving in June, and it may be best to hold off and see what this manufacturer can come up with.
This leaves things to the Xperia XZ2 and Galaxy S9. Pretty much on par in terms of processor and camera, it is the display and overall design of the Samsung Galaxy S9 that has won us over more. The Xperia device is certainly a solid all-round offering, and if priced right in South Africa could be very tempting, but when it comes to premium feel, specifications and flagship status, the Galaxy S9 has set the early tone for 2018.
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