Both LG and Huawei have drawn lines in the sand with the LG G6 and P10, but which handset reigns supreme? We dive in with a full review comparison!
2017’s flagship scene is an interesting space; established contenders have entrenched themselves in the market and device manufacturers have the luxury of crafting new offerings that bring iterative and innovative features to the market. Case in point are two such rivals from the East; Huawei’s P10 and LG’s G6.
Both these handsets offer something than fans of either brand haven’t experienced before. Huawei fans not only benefit from a larger Huawei P10 Plus, but further from a revised design language with a that offers ergonomic prowess in addition to a superlative dual-camera array. In LG’s case, there’s the presence of an 18:9 FullVision display, a hardier take on where the G5 failed, and an updated dual-camera array.
The premise for both these smartphones is to provide a richer, deeper offering than what we’ve experienced previously; a key question for South African consumers, then, will be the choice of which smartphone to splurge on, begging only the question – which one reigns supreme?
Let’s dive in.
Design and Build
The Huawei P10 arrives with a more familiar 16:9 display, ensconced by a larger top forehead and bottom chin. This rounds out to a far thinner profile than what one might find on LG’s flagship, and feels more like a pebble in the hand than the chisel-like G6. It’s easier to appreciate the P10 in the hand given its balance and slighter form factor; the device, overall, is far less likely to disrupt the line of one’s suit or stick out from a handbag.
The major shakeup for Huawei this year is the presence of a front-mounted fingerprint scanner found not on a button, but rather an oblong depression on the front display. On the rear, things remain silky smooth and are not interrupted by any proceeding – even the handset’s Leica-made dual-camera array sits flush with the profile of the handset.
The LG G6 arrives with an 18:9 FullVision display, and that’s the feature you’ll likely notice first when viewing the handset, and for good reason – it dominates the front panel of the handset without tapering off into an Edge display. The end result is a slate-like smartphone that has thick side panels and a gently curved rear that climaxes with a dual-camera array and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Though the handset isn’t ugly, it strays far from the beauty an all-glass display could have and is far more utilitarian in nature.
The P10 often feels like it has accomplished more with its design – leveraging a simple and uncomplicated form factor with savvy style. The P10’s aluminium unibody provides a great deal of confidence in the hand; the device feels rigid and secure, and given that that the LG G6 bears a far more weighty profile – weighing in at nearly a millimeter more on the sides than the P10 does – that’s a huge accomplishment.
Functionally, this is an interesting exercise – the LG G6 will have definite pocket appeal to those of us who find ourselves outdoors, up ladders, or in other precarious situations on the basis of its utilitarian looks – yet the P10, moreover, manages to accomplish a very similar sense of surety without requiring a complicated design. If simplicity is indeed the ultimate sophistication, the P10 is a great illustration of this principle.
Both Huawei and LG return with new iterations of their respective software skins this year, though LG has had to redouble its efforts to better cater for the G6’s 18:9 display.
The Huawei P10 rather guns straight for what we know and love, and this time around EMUI feels more akin to stock Android than other iterations of the software have previously. For instance, EMUI now not only offers consumers the ability to use an app-drawer, but further inherits the stock-style multitasking view that debuted aboard the Mate 9.
LG’s UX returns in the form of version 5.0; the South Korean company’s squircle design returns in a bid that strongly mirrors not only iOS, but further Huawei’S EMUI skin. A number of pain points remain, however – for example, LG insists on retaining uninstalled apps for its user to review at a later stage, and the presence of an app drawer can only be found after trudging through the settings menu.
The Huawei P10 has a clever ace up its sleeve – machine learning routinely analyzes frequently used apps and prioritizes the functions a user is most likely to launch; this gives the experience of a fast and rich software experience that becomes increasingly tailored to one’s own usage; a trick the LG G6 can’t replicate.
Both the G6 and P10 are unflappable smartphones – spec-wise, the P10 leverages Huawei’s own Kirin 960 SoC and similarly uses 4GB of RAM, while 32 or 64GB expandable storage options also prevail. The G6 employs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and storage options in either 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB of expandable storage.
Huawei takes an edge in the specs department by leveraging its own Kirin 960 processor, which updates the Kirin 955 found on previous efforts such as the Huawei P9. Where the Kirin 960 falls short of power management in relation to newer rivals such as the Snapdragon 835, it surpasses elder rivals such as the Snapdragon 821 – making this a level playing field.
The G6 and P10 Plus contend more closely for screen dominance; both devices offer a QHD display, while the G6 offers an Always-On display. A benefit the standard P10 enjoys is that it requires lesser brainpower to fuel its 1080p resolution, equating to longer battery life when the screen is set to dimmer levels.
The G6’s rear-facing fingerprint scanner is an undoubted convenience to those integrated in LG’s world, though the system might take some getting used to for Android acolytes diverging from front-facing units as commonly found aboard Samsung’s rival devices.
The P10, ironically, makes the interesting decision to port its traditionally rear-facing fingerprint scanner to the front of the device. The P10’s fingerprint scanner is one of the fastest and most accurate units we’ve ever had the pleasure of using; often requiring briefest of split-seconds of contact before unlocking the device. An intriguing bonus for those looking for a slice of the future is the ability to use the P10’s fingerprint sensor to accomodate gestures that replicate the functions of Android’s soft-touch keys, which functions well in day-to-day use.
Both the Huawei P10 and LG G6 excel as smooth and steady contenders – though both these handsets are aimed at differing consumers. Where the LG G6 is aimed at those who are comfortable to leverage the Snapdragon 821 and work through LG’s interface, the P10 instead offers an experience which tailors itself to its user – a novel approach in today’s market, and one that greatly ingratiates itself with a user going forward.
The main bone of contention between the P10 and the G6 is, undoubtedly, which camera setup is best; we’re dealing with two high-end smartphones that both have their own, unique take on what should make for a compelling dual-camera array.
The Huawei P10 espouses the same camera setup the P9 leveraged, in that one 12-megapixel lens captures colour, while another 20-megapixel monochrome unit takes on the job of tackling black and white detail and balancing shadows and highlights.
The LG G6 offers a dual-camera setup based on the principle of zoom; one camera is a 13-megapixel standard lens, with the other unit is a 13-megapixel wide-angle shooter designed to equip smartphone photographers with the ability to quickly adjust their scope.
This is arguably a war of vision; both LG and Huawei have differing ideas as to how a dual-camera array should perform, and both the G6 and P10 are epitomes of each idea.
The Huawei P10 is built around a determined focus on quality, and that’s something users will appreciate when capturing rich snaps where detail and colour pop.
The LG G6 emphasizes convenience rather than pure, objective quality – the ability to zoom between standard and a wide-angle lens is useful while on-the-go, though one is forced to work harder with the handset to match the same tonality the P10 offers.
Despite both of the LG G6’s cameras leveraging the same 13-megapixel sensor, raw quality can – at times – take a sharp nosedive when images are captured through the wide-angle lens. Noise distortion becomes far more apparent, and colours can easily wash out in dim settings.
The P10 loses some of the convenience of having a wide-angle lens aboard, but is both far more subtle and, arguably, clever in its outcomes. The 20-megapixel monochrome sensor excels at capturing detail in dimly lit settings, and both sensors together are able to extract rich colours from even the darkest of environments.
The P10’s selfie camera is a more crisp effort, capturing richer tones and sharper detail; a warm, nearly cinema-grade colour palette emphasises light and scope. LG’s wide-angle selfie camera is a benefit for those seeking to capture images with friends on a night out on the town, but can lack versatility when capturing a single subject, and can be prone to offering overwhelming luminosity.
In terms of video, both the LG G6 and Huawei P10 can capture rich 2160p footage; this time around, the P10 can leverage both its cameras at the same time to capture richer detail, while the G6 can use either lens to facilitate zooming in our out.
While happy-go-lucky snappers will enjoy the G6’s wide-angle tricks, the P10 consistently offers refined images that are of exceptional quality for a mobile device. Where we loved the P9, the P10 constantly iterates for the better and captures remarkable images with rich tones and savvy hues.
Though Huawei typically has a penchant for cramming in massive batteries on its devices, LG has used the G6’s extra legroom to one-up its Chinese rival; where the P10 has a 3,200mAh battery, the G6 offers a 3,300mAh unit.
In day to day use, both handsets perform amicably and can stretch well into the 16-20 hour period; where LG has a slightly larger battery cell with which to work, Huawei has the expertise of software and integrated deep-learning to more amicably relegate performance duties, giving greater bang-for-buck value.
Both the LG G6 and Huawei P10 can perhaps best be described as still waters that run deep; both of these handsets are powerful, yet unassuming – capable, but not demanding.
The P10 makes its big splash in the name of style and sophistication – this is an elegant and sturdy handset that carries with it an imaging pedigree direct from the hands of Leica. Retailing at R12999, this is a proposition that punches well above its weight and offers both a feature set and design that can tackle challenges above its station.
The LG G6 wins points for ruggedness; initially retailing for R14629, the G6 recently had its price dropped to R12099 – making this an equitable contender.
While both of these phones have their unique appeal and will find a home in the hearts of many, the P10 can take an easy lead over the G6 for a number of reasons; its refined build quality, software smarts designed to improve the performance of hardware, and its excellent camera pedigree are all factors that give Huawei’s caped crusader an edge over its rivals. Read: Huawei P10 Review: Hitting the high notes
Have your say!
What are your thoughts? Would you buy the Huawei P10 or the LG G6? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA