We have been lucky enough to have our hands on the brand new LG G4 smartphone for the past couple of weeks and have been putting it through its paces. The G4 has to compete head on with the Samsung S6 and iPhone 6, the question is does it stand up to its rivals and could the G4 the phone for you? Let’s find out.
The LG G4 comes in a neat little box that has an Apple feel about it – minimalist packaging that is all about the phone. Bundled with some great looking headphones, a very simple quick start guide and the removable battery, it takes just a few seconds to get you up and running.
The phone is a large and slightly curved device with a very big focus on the beautiful 5.5 inch screen. The phone has a rounded back making it very comfortable to hold. We reviewed the grey plastic backed version which has a great diamond like pattern in the back plate which still feels really solid. There are also two leather backed versions if you prefer a more tactile experience.
The first thing I noticed was the weight of the G4, lighter than expected but still just heavy enough to give you that quality feel.
If you haven’t used an LG before, getting used to the lockscreen and volume buttons being on the back of the phone can take a bit of getting used to. However after a few days it feels very natural to adjust the volume easily while holding the device. Having these buttons on the back of the device gives the G4 an unparalleled sense of symmetry with its sleek exterior lines not showing a single break.
The device has a slight curve to it which provides the great feel in the hand as well as ensuring the screen is at the optimal angle. The screen itself spans 5.5 inches leaving hardly any bezel at all. Overall the LG G4 is a beautifully designed handset which is sure to turn a few heads.
The LG G4 comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop installed (Google’s latest Android version). It is a great improvement over previous versions providing some great new features such as the ability to switch between different user profiles instantly. After booting up the phone your are shown the usual Android start-up screen where you can sign in with your Google account or even just tap your G4 against your previous phone and transfer your settings across using NFC. This moves across your account settings and contacts but unfortunately doesn’t sync all of your apps and content.
I was surprised when I started using the phone to find that there was surprisingly little bloatware – all the pre-loaded apps and content that ships with the phone – unlike other manufacturers (I’m looking at you Samsung and Sony).
LG did load up UX 4.0 with all of your favourite software additions, such as Q-Slide and Dual Window. You can have two apps open at the same time, making multitasking really easy and not limited only to a few apps. Smart Bulletin, which is pinned to your home screen upon first boot up, houses LG Health stats, your Calendar events, a music widget, and QRemote access which provide some great additional functionality.
While the LG setup has some great built-in functionality, I’m still a fan of Android’s infinite customisation and would recommend firing up Nova Launcher or similar and sprucing up the look and feel to something more stylish.
The LG G4 really packs a punch with some impressive power under the hood.
The G4 features a 5.5″ QHD Quantum IPS display, Qualcomm-made Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, microSD slot with support up to 2TB of storage, 3,000mAh removable battery, NFC, Quick Charge 2.0 technology and optional wireless charging. Looking at the G4’s specs it’s clear that it is a beast on and off paper. It performs exceptionally well, as you would expect from a flagship phone in 2015.
There were some questions surrounding LG’s choice of the Snapdragon 808 over the controversial 810, but the 808 is flagship level on its own and provides the power needed to create a fluid and snappy experience. In comparison to the G3 from last year, LG stepped up the device in all major categories, bringing a better display, improved processor, and vastly updated camera tech.
One of the best features is the beautiful IPS LCD quad display screen. LG have managed to squeeze the LCD and touch sensors into a single layer, improving both the colour representation as well as the touch sensitivity. I stumbled across a hi-res video embedded on the phone (presumably to show off the screen) and it really took my breath away. The colours, contrast and clarity of the images shown on the G4’s 2560 x 1440 resolution screen is really astounding. If visual performance is your thing then the G4 will impress you without a doubt.
A crucial part of any modern smartphone, the G4 does not disappoint. The G4 features a 16MP back camera with a f/1.8 lens that features optical image stabilisation (OIS), as well as laser auto focus and phase detection. The camera is extremely responsive taking pictures instantly with almost no hesitation, putting it up their with my Canon DSLR for taking quick action pics. The ability to switch to manual mode is something that photographers will enjoy, allowing you to increase the aperture or adjust the ISO settings to make the most of a bad lighting situation. Add to that the ability to save and export images in RAW format and you have everything you need for a serious camera enthusiast.
The photos the G4 produces are crisp and vibrant with excellent contrast, you can expect to be using a lot of #nofilter hashtags on Instagram. Feel like snapping a selfie – LG has you covered with an 8 megapixel front camera that doesn’t compromise on image quality. Take a look at the gallery below to see some of the unedited images we captured with our LG G4:
Related: LG G4 Camera Review
The G4 has a 3000mAh battery which is superior to many of its competitors. You can expect the phone to cope with a full day’s heavy usage, however with the brightness turned up on that beautiful display, don’t expect more than a day. Only the Sony Xperia range manages to beat the G4 on battery performance, with a 3100mAh showing.
The addition of Quick Charge 2.0 is a major plus for us, as this technology dramatically speeds up the charging, meaning you don’t need to have it plugged up to the wall forever. In addition, the device features support for wireless charging, which is another bonus for anyone who happens to own a Qi wireless charger. Just keep in mind that you will have to buy a separate wireless charging back to enable it.
Overall the LG G4 is a fantastic smartphone and easily my favourite Android device of 2015, putting it comfortably ahead of its rivals in my opinion. If you are thinking of upgrading do yourself a favour and give the G4 a try. Its sleek design, strong specs and excellent camera make it a great contender for this years phone of the year.