The current kings of Android, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5, both have a new always-on display feature that makes it easier to check your latest notifications, but how useful is it and which one works best?
What do the always-on displays let you see?
Both the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 let you quickly check your latest notifications without unlocking the phone or even turning the screen on, but there are some differences in what you’ll see.
Right now, the Galaxy S7 will only show notifications from Samsung’s apps, like the built-in text messaging and calling apps. Samsung says it’s released the code for always-on notifications to app developers, but for now you’ll only see missed calls, voice mails and texts.
The LG G5, by comparison, will show all your notifications on the always-on display. What’s more, when a new notification comes through, it gets a bigger symbol than old notifications before gradually shrinking in line with the others. That means the G5 is more helpful with keeping on top of things.
How much can you personalise the always-on displays?
Samsung may not have the most content available on its always-on display, but it does have more options to customise it.
While the LG G5 only lets you choose whether you want to see the time or your signature alongside the notifications, the Galaxy S7 gives you the option to have a clock, calendar or image – and you can customise each of those too.
There are seven clocks and two calendars to choose from, and if you’re just showing the clock you can choose a background image too. If you only want an image with your notifications, there are currently three to choose from, but you can download themes that give you even more options for the always-on display.
Which always-on display is best?
It depends on what you want from this interesting new feature. It’s great that the LG G5 shows you all your notifications, and it’s equally cool that you can personalise the Galaxy S7.
Samsung also has the advantage that its screen is a bit easier to see in always-on mode, so you really can just glance at it.
But that comes with its own problem – to stop the always-on image burning into the screen, it moves. That means you keep noticing it out the corner of your eye, which makes you think you’ve got a notification.
Overall, we’re just happy to see a new, genuinely useful feature coming to a range of new smartphones and look forward to seeing how they develop with time and competition.