As one member of the press corps that has touched the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, I’ll tell you that it’s easier to pick up and more comfortable to hold either phone than the LG G6, of which I also have a review unit. Bite me, I’ve got to pen a review rebuttal this weekend and I’m trying to hold off of making a confession.
You know what’s also a living? Breaking these phones in. Stress tests, life tests, machine tests, sales tests, everything you can measure up to the last ‘s’ in “success”. And I’m afraid that as much as I prefer holding the S8+, the phone may not be able to pass the drop test once it inevitably happens out of the blue.
Trust me, I know it will happen.
So let’s be real, I don’t ask my phones for much. Just stream a ton of video, Spotify and podcasts, and don’t choke while I browse, like, ten websites. But stripping away all the internal personality that the G6 and Galaxy S8 bring, if I were to choose one to carry on the sole basis of making sure that I don’t break it, neither one rank terribly high on my list. Both play dangerous games with the siderails of their devices. Both use finger-skating glass as prominent materials. And both will have to be pulled and pushed into jackets, pants, skirts and other clothing many, many times throughout their use life. And man, is it gonna suck when they come out the wrong way.
The Galaxy S8
Beautiful as they are, those double-edged curves prove to be a double-edged sword within themselves. While the narrow stripe of flat aluminium allows for the fingers to get complete purchase of the frame of the phone, navigating the device in-hand will subject it to an easy loss of traction coming in and out of the pocket. Using the camera on this thing may prove to be some risky business.
By way of mentioning that, we at Pocketnow don’t find a reach issue with the fingerprint sensor at back, right next to the camera. Sure, it may be poor interface design, but the index finger should be able to creep up to the reader without the need to scooch the phone a tad.
There’s no need to flip the phone around when coming out of the pocket either, as users won’t have to deal with much tangling and hand posturing if they’re using analog headphones — the headphone jack is on the bottom side of the phone. Heck, you could even charge the phone in your pocket with the USB-C port on the same side. I’ve had both I/O ports full as such before.
Finally, there’s the cradle position that your hand will most often take to interact with the slab. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t like it at all. But that’s while I’m fully aware of my phone, stationary and focused. Once you start adding in a frantic search for transit directions while correcting for a missed transfer or even a suspension of disbelief into a mini-documentary, you’ll definitely find that glass is not your best friend. It slips as you slide, unforgivingly smooth in its fashion. That’s where you’ll find the drops. That’ll be where you’ll find the broken shards.
And that’s where the new Samsung Guard S8 program would come in… if it had been announced. Any form of first-party insurance that could get you a fix for less cash and in less time would be a lifesaver and a pro against a list of cons. We just haven’t heard anything of it beyond the rumors at this point.
What a shame, too. It’d be sad to see such a pretty phone die.
So, what does the boring ‘ol LG phone provide that the Galaxy doesn’t?
For one, unapologetically thick metal edges. Even with chamfers capping the width of it, the rim’s thick enough to keep a grasp on it without having it harshly impress on your digits. That said, there’s a subtle outward arc on that rim that, in my experience, makes it somewhat of a trouble picking up the phone just by the edges. 90 percent of the time, you’ll scoop the phone into your hand. Let’s hope you don’t screw up the other 10 percent.
I love the cameras on the G6 and the ability to take wide-angle shots on either side. But I find that I keep having to shimmy my fingers out of the field of view when I decide to pull a 120°. This is when I curse LG for not going with an alternate design for the sides, be it just flat or even a concave carve-out.
The glass that tops the brushed aluminium at rear is just as slippery as Samsung’s glass, but features narrow and slight curves that don’t even care to soothe into the palm. But it’s those harsher hills that provide just a bit of extra friction to prevent out-of-control slippage. The rear positioning of the fingerprint sensor is just as fine below the dual-camera module as it was on the Galaxy S8.
As for the pocketable I/O, we’re at zero sum — the USB-C bit is at the bottom, but the 3.5mm jack is at the top. That forces users to flip their phone around during pocket cycles while wired into audio. Cirque du Soleil dare not attempt that kind of crap. Add in a few tangles, some notched clothing and you may have disaster out of your hands.
Beyond what your carriers may offer, you’re stuck with LG’s basic warranty on service with the G6. No accidents are covered.
Now, you would think that we’d be able to determine a universal winner from all of these observations, but alas…
There is no verdict
Because there is no control group. At least there isn’t a “control” we can affordably pull off when it comes to hands — you know, the things we’re born and grown with. Not some review process we can objectify as best we can. I’ve got bearclaws for potholders. You’re going to be on either side of my balance when it comes to the size of your paws. And let’s not even get to… ewughh… the natural lubrication of the fingertips with sebum — the lipids that are smudging up your screens whenever you touch them.
It will ultimately be up to you to decide what you literally can handle with the least objection. You might want to consider walking into a retailer or carrier and doing in-person comparisons or playing with creatively crafted mock-ups. Maybe forego the risk and get a case just to spurn the bougie critics! Just do what feels right. Okay, not that right.
For me, it’ll be a safer to care for an LG G6 than to risk a nightmare on the Galaxy S8. You can take my word on me — I’m an expert on me. You’re on your own now.