LG Optimus Big vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Chris Davies - May 11, 2011
LG Optimus Big vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Rivalry between Samsung and LG runs strong – the two companies took thinly veiled pot-shots at each other’s neighboring booths during press briefings at the Korea World IT Show today – and so with a brand spanking new LG Optimus Big on hand and a Samsung Galaxy S II in our pocket, it seemed fitting to see how the two uberphones compare. Read on for the first foray in what’s likely to be a lengthy battle royale.

In a spec-sheet war, Samsung edges ahead of LG with its overclocked 1.2GHz processor; the Optimus Big makes do with the 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 instead. As we’ve seen from the Optimus 2X, NVIDIA’s chip is certainly capable of some power, but our time with the Galaxy S II suggests it edges ahead. Samsung’s battery optimization and clever automatic CPU throttling also does wonders, stretching a single charge out to two days of regular use in our experience. LG’s frugality, however, comes in its NOVA display, with a claimed 50-percent reduction in battery demand. We’ll have to wait for review units to know whether its 1,500 mAh battery is capable of Samsung-style magic.

Display technology comes high on the agenda for both the Optimus Big and the Galaxy S II. We’ve already waxed lyrical about Super AMOLED Plus and its vivid colors, sharp contrast and – thanks to a surfeit of pixels – detail that belies the WVGA resolution. In comparison, LG’s NOVA lacks some of the instant eye-appeal, with colors that are a smudge less saturated, though the whites are paper-bright. Still, the semi-matte finish is a welcome differentiator on the Optimus Big, making it less susceptible to reflections in strong light: while you may be able to see the Galaxy S II’s display outdoors, some poorly angled sunlight and the reflections scupper even Super AMOLED Plus’ abilities.

LG has Samsung beat on connectivity options, too, with a separate HDMI and microUSB port versus the Galaxy S II’s combined MHL/USB port. Both offer WiFi Direct along with the usual 3G and Bluetooth. Samsung gets points for launching with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, whereas the LG lags behind with 2.2 Froyo; both have some reasonably significant reskinning, which may introduce delays in future OS upgrades.

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Physically, despite having the same size screen, the Optimus Big is longer and thicker (10.1mm versus 8.49mm) than the Galaxy S II; it’s heavier, too, at 151g versus 116g. LG owners will have to make do with a 5-megapixel camera instead of the Samsung’s 8-megapixels, too, though both will shoot 1080p Full HD video (and the LG makes it easier to share it with its dedicated HDMI output).

The Galaxy S II’s waifish build, faster chip and Super AMOLED Plus display leave us leaning toward it, but we’ll wait until we have a LG Optimus Big review unit before making our final judgement. No word on North American or European release dates at this stage.

For more on the Samsung Galaxy S II, check out our full review!

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