Samsung Galaxy S2 vs LG Optimus Black

Vs Paul Briden 18:04, 28 May 2011

How will the LG Optimus Black fare against the Samsung Galaxy S2? We find out

We compare the LG Optimus Black to Samsung’s Galaxy S2.

Form:

Samsung Galaxy S2 - 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm, 116 g

LG Optimus Black - 122 x 64 x 9.2 mm, 109 g

You could be forgiven for thinking both phones were designed by the same person as each seems to be inspired by the trends set by the iPhone for neat, minimalist slabs topped with glass. Both these handsets are incredibly thin and light, in fact it takes some doing to get something lighter than the Galaxy S II and the Optimus Black has achieved that here, though the Samsung still maintains its position as the thinner of the two. We like the looks of both these phones and will have to look elsewhere to figure out which is superior.

Winner - Draw

Display:

The Optimus Black uses a 4-inch IPS LCD Nova capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and dots-per-inch (dpi) rating at 233. The phone has an accelerometer and comes loaded with the Optimus 2.0 user interface (UI) and the Gesture 2.0 UI.

The Samsung’s display setup is a more advanced affair with a 4.3-inch Super Amoled Plus capacitive touchscreen reinforced with ‘Gorilla Glass’.

The Super Amoled Plus technology offers better power efficiency as well as greater colour depth and image sharpness than standard LCD screens and the Gorilla Glass should keep it all in good condition.

The display comes in at 480 x 800 pixels and 218 dpi and features multi-touch input, accelerometer and gyro sensors.

The Galaxy S2 is loaded with the TouchWiz 4.0 UI.

It’s a fairly close one here, both screens offer the same resolution, the Samsung’s is slightly larger which is a positive point in its favour but the Optimus Black has a higher dpi, however, the Super Amoled Plus screen goes a long way to compensating for the Galaxy S II’s lower dpi rating and this, combined with the additional features with multi-touch and reinforced glass makes it a preferable choice for us.

Winner – Samsung Galaxy S2

Storage:

With 2 GB of storage the Optimus Black may not have a vast archive of space like some smartphones but it should be adequate for a reasonable amount of content and is certainly better than many other handsets with less than 1 GB. RAM is 512 MB and Micro SD cards are supported up to 32 GB.

The Samsung does have a lot of space by comparison with variants available for either 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, the Galaxy S II boasts 1 GB RAM and Micro SD support up to 32GB, while an 8 GB card is included as standard.

Again, the Optimus Black is better than most without being exceptional, the Samsung though really does give you a lot of space to play with as well as more RAM to help the processor out, for those reasons it wins this round.

Winner – Samsung Galaxy S2

Operating System:

The Samsung runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and while the LG comes with the earlier 2.2 Froyo build it is fortunately upgradeable to Gingerbread - but you'll have to wait for that.

There’s no real competition here with both phones having access to the same operating system, Gingerbread is the best choice for each handset as it offers enhanced multi-tasking over previous versions along with an advanced app management suite, an improved touch keyboard which offers excellent performance and responsiveness, and a generally upgraded, faster and more intuitive user interface.

Our only gripe is the web browsing which hasn’t received the attention we would like to bring it up-to-date with Honeycomb 3.0’s smooth and tabbed browsing experience.

Winner – Draw

Processor:

LG has given the Optimus Black a single core 1 GHz TI OMAP 3630 processor, the single core shows the Optimus Black as being more of a budget option with a lower spec, still with the TI technology clocked at 1 GHz it’ll give decent enough performance even if it doesn’t have the slickness of its dual core counterparts.

Speaking of which, the Samsung packs just such a dual core power plant with 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor running the Orion chipset. This is supported by a Mali-400MP graphics processing unit (GPU).

Naturally this stomps all over the Optimus Black’s relatively humble offering, we don’t wish to discredit it as it's a good processor in its own right but it simply can’t keep up with the Samsung’s performance.

Winner – Samsung Galaxy S2

Camera:

The Samsung Galaxy S II has a really nice camera setup with an 8-megapixel primary at 3264x2448 pixels, while video quality is at 1080p. Autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection and image stabilization complete the features line-up and there’s a secondary 2-megapixel camera too.

The Optimus Black has a 5-megapixel primary camera at 2592 x 1944 pixels with video at 720p, the secondary camera is the same as that on the Samsung at 2-megapixels. Features-wise it has autofocus, LED flash and geo-tagging along with face and smile detection.

An easy win for the Samsung here but that’s mainly due to its 8-megapixel camera is the exception rather than the norm and there’s still nothing wrong with the Optimus Black’s 5-megapixels, but the Galaxy S2’s setup is far superior.

Winner – Samsung Galaxy S2

Final Thoughts:

The Galaxy S2 tends to beat most competitors save for the LG Optimus 3D, HTC Evo 3D where it draws even, and the HTC Sensation and LG Optimus 2X where it is shaken slightly but not toppled.

In this case it’s not surprising that it outranks a mid-range phone like the LG Optimus Black, but that’s not meant as a slight to the LG, it’s a perfectly competent piece of kit and it isn’t pretending to be anything other than what it is, a slightly lower spec but more affordable smartphone. It isn’t as good as the Galaxy S2 but it’s a decent handset if the Samsung is out of your budget.

If you want the better of the two though it is definitely the Galaxy S2.

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