Samsung Galaxy A71 vs. LG Velvet vs. OnePlus 8

What 5G phone is best: Samsung Galaxy A71, LG Velvet, or OnePlus 8? We’ll walk you through each phone’s user experience, movie watching capability, and more.

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Tshaka Armstrong
YouTube Host, Mobile
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December 10, 2020
5 min read

5G signal: do you have it where you live yet? What I mean is: do you have enough of it that you're considering purchasing a 5G phone? If you are, listen up because you don't have to pay thousands of dollars or more. I'm going to take you through three 5G phones, and by the end of this article, you'll know which one's for you.

Overall 5G Connectivity

Each of the three 5G devices produced great speeds for me here in Metro Los Angeles. Both the Samsung Galaxy A71 and LG Velvet have Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chipsets, which support three spectrums of 5G. Compare these two phones to the OnePlus 8, which has the faster 865 chipset that supports up to five spectrums of 5G. What that means is that while networks are still ramping up their 5G connectivity, you may experience slower 5G speeds on the Samsung Galaxy A71 and LG Velvet than you would on the OnePlus 8.

So, for overall 5G connectivity, OnePlus 8 is your winner.

User Experience

The user experience on the three 5G devices is an interesting mix of specs. Both the LG Velvet and Samsung Galaxy A71 have a 60Hz refresh rate, while the OnePlus 8 screen runs at 90Hz. Of the three 5G phones, the latter two are your most fluid experience even though the OnePlus has a higher refresh rate.

Like I said in my full review of the Samsung Galaxy A71, Samsung has done an outstanding job working through One UI. It is a joy to use daily. But it is no clear winner over the OnePlus 8. Moving between camera modes and menus, and scrolling screens is top notch. That’s not to say that the user experience on the LG Velvet is bad or subpar, but once you've used a 90 or 120Hz phone—or in the case of the Samsung Galaxy A71—using a 60Hz phone is a noticeable difference.

Do you know what else is a noticeable difference? Customization experiences on the devices. Samsung has a cornucopia of options for themes and on-display images and different icon packs. Clearly, Samsung wins for depth of content. But in terms of the actual customization features, the OnePlus 8 and the LG Velvet actually have a few more options for levels of customization than the Samsung Galaxy A71.

Watching Movies and YouTube Videos

Now, let's talk about watching movies and YouTube videos on 5G phones. The LG Velvet had the brightest reproduction of content on Netflix, while the OnePlus 8 had the darkest. The mix of brightness, color depth, and detail on the Samsung Galaxy A71 provided me with the most satisfying viewing experience of the three displays.

Sound Quality

The superior sound experiences were found in the LG Velvet and the OnePlus 8, both of which come with a front-firing speaker grill, which throws sound directly at you and allows for a fuller stereo image. This means that the listening experience is much more immersive.

There’s no clear winner between the two 5G devices, as they both sound great. But how you most often listen to and watch your videos and movies is going to determine which 5G phone you’re going to buy.

If you're generally using earbuds or headphones, then the display is going to be most important. If you're listening to the phone itself or mixing it up, then you're going to want the best mix of bright, rich display and immersive sound. In this case, the LG Velvet comes out ahead.

If you're into anime and gaming, brightness is a non-issue. CGI-based content fares better across all devices, and the OnePlus 8 has the high-end Snapdragon 865 processor with a better graphics processor as well. So, if you're a mobile gamer and aren't plugged into headphones all the time, the OnePlus 8 is probably going to be your choice when it comes to media and sound.

Battery Comparison

The award for the largest battery goes to the Samsung Galaxy A71 with a 4,500 milliamp-Hour battery. The other two 5G phones pack 4,300 mAh batteries. All three of these 5G phones have solid batteries, so there’s no outright winner.

That said, the only phone that supports wireless charging is the LG Velvet. And at price points between $600 and $700, I absolutely think wireless charging should be included in the spec. With all three 5G phones, you can expect all-day performance and rapid charging, with the Samsung Galaxy A71 and the LG Velvet supporting 25-watt rapid charging. The OnePlus 8 supports the Warp Charge 30T charger at 30-watt rapid charging.

Storage Capacity

Both the Samsung Galaxy A71 and LG Velvet feature removable storage—one and two terabytes—but the OnePlus 8 does not. The good news is it starts at 128 gigabytes, and you can go up to 256 gigabytes of storage. But you're going to pay $100 more. In the area of storage, the LG Velvet and Samsung Galaxy A71 are the winners if you're a big video and photo-taker.

Phone Cameras

Samsung Galaxy A71 has the best all-around camera between these three 5G devices, with the OnePlus coming in second, and LG Velvet in last. In optimum conditions, they all take beautiful images, but the devil is in the details, as they say. The true test came when these cameras were faced with blown out or overexposed images or pesky reds with no detail.

The best front-facing shooter goes to OnePlus for warmer colors, but that's really a preferential thing. The Samsung Galaxy A71 did just as good a job with detail and handling hotspots.

Overall, the OnePlus 8 only slightly edges out the Samsung Galaxy A71 for rear camera picture quality. They both handle loud colors pretty much the same, and in great light, the images are hard to tell apart. I give a slight edge to the Samsung Galaxy A71 because that sensor and software does so well with handling troublesome issues like hard light.

All three 5G phones all do relatively well in night mode, but Samsung Galaxy A71 does the best with keeping darker areas of photos low noise. When there's a bit of light in the photos, things go all right, but it's the details and the darker areas of photos where the sore spots show up.

Final Verdict

I thought the LG Velvet would be my pick for best overall 5G device because of its ability to use the dual-screen and an active pen. But buying that dual-screen accessory and the pen will run you at least an additional $250 over the $600 retail price, placing it at an even higher price point than the OnePlus 8 and putting you into LG V60 territory. And if you're going to pay $850 to get the LG Velvet, the dual-screen, and a $50 active pen, I'd tell you to just go with the LG V60 dual-screen with that same $50 pen purchase.

If you are a serious multitasker and can find the LG Velvet for a decent deal, then I would get the dual-screen. Gamers, the OnePlus 8 is going to be the 5G phone for you. It's going to be the fastest processor, look fantastic, and sound amazing. For those looking for a fantastic front-facing and rear-facing camera, in other words, phone-tography, the Samsung Galaxy A71 is your 5G phone.

Soon we’ll take a look at Google's Pixel 4a in comparison to all three of these 5G phones.

Tshaka Armstrong
Written by
Tshaka Armstrong
Tshaka is a nerd and Griot. Founder of the non-profit digital literacy organization Digital Shepherds, he’s also been a broadcast technology reporter, writer, and producer. In addition to being an award-winning broadcast storyteller, he’s also covered tech online and in print for everything from paintball gear technology, to parenting gadgets. He blathers on about his many curiosities on social media everywhere as @tshakaarmstrong.

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