Smartphone makers are striving hard to differentiate their product in the competitive market. One company that has managed to do this – with varied degrees of success – is LG, whose flagship products have been following a design language that’s very much their own.
Design and display
LG G4 follows its design tradition from its predecessors, the distinctive features like button-less sides which were featured on LG G3. But the company has made adjustments to the latest smartphone that makes the power button a little bit easier to find. The power button would be shorter in height, but a bit wider than its predecessors G3. The button would be raised so that the users can find it easily.
The G4 has a leathered back which gives a secure grip and the look is distinctive and feels premium. Initially, it was feared that sweat would be a problem more than any other smartphone and the leather finish will be durable than the plastic counterpart, and ripped seams will be an eyesore in a few months.
Coming to the handset’s display, the screen isn’t flat and the entire screen doesn’t make contact with the ground in case the phone drops face down. The company claims that the shape makes the handset durable by 20 per cent. The rear end of the phone is slightly mound shaped at the centre and tapers towards the edges. The handset includes a big camera sensor without the infamous bulge witnessed in other flagship smartphones such as Apple and Samsung but the G4 device is noticeably thicker as compared to LG G3. The camera sensor is protected by concentric rings.
The G4 and G3 shares an identical display and screen resolution, although LG claims to have made several improvements such as colour reproduction and contrast ratio, enhanced brightness, and more. The G4’s display has a better look than the G3.
The device runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop along with LG UX 4.0 on top, and the company claims to have a simpler UI but, LG G4 is not different from its predecessors, other than a few enhancements here and there.
The little advancement includes bundled gallery apps that come with features like memories that group images and videos from an event like a trip. The app also includes Timeline view in which users have view all their pictures at a glance. The features are reminiscent of Years, Moments, and Collections seen on iOS, and this concept has been seen on other phones and apps as well under different names.
LG has included a most useful feature called Smart Bulletin, an attempt at creating a Google Now-like interface. The feature has been inducted into the smart setting that enables the users to change settings automatically based on the location. Users can even turn off Wi-Fi as soon as they are away fro home.
The device sports 16MP rear camera with a f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization that competes with its peers. The company claims that the wider aperture allows the camera to take in about 80 percent more light as compared to the smartphones with a f/2.4 aperture. Other smartphones that offer the same aperture ratio are the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. While of the image quality, the LG G4 offers the same image quality of Samsung’s current flagships, with pictures clicked under adequate light showing excellent detail and accurate colour reproduction. But G4 produces a good quality in low light.
OIS 2.0, which means the built-in optical image stabilisation (OIS), takes into account feedback along the z-axis in addition to improvements in stabilisation along the conventional x- and y-axes seen in other phones that come with OIS. This feature is found in the G4. In a head-to-head video test with an iPhone 6, we found the stabilisation to be extremely effective, although we couldn’t compare the G4 against other phones with OIS.
The stock camera app in G 4 that comes with a manual mode and that is as comprehensive as we’ve seen on any smartphone. If users are comfortable in adjusting settings such as exposure, ISO, and white balance, you will feel right at home with the LG G4. The app allows the users to control almost similar parameter users would want and the resultant images are excellent.
However, the auto mode is a little bit dicey with the G4 at times and struggles to lock focus despite the underlying ‘laser focus’ technology. The 8-megapixel front shooter can be triggered in different ways and will keep the selfie-obsessed more than happy.
The LG G4 includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The G4 can support microSD cards of up to 2TB capacity, so the phone is as future proof as they come at least as far as storage is concerned.
The handset performed well, although we faced lagging for a couple of seconds while testing, and we had to press the home button to keep going. However, we haven’t faced any issues with call quality and we managed to test the phone on 4G networks in India. The device has its speaker on the back; the sound isn’t muffled even when the phone is lying face up, thanks to the curved body of the handset.
The device is packed by 3000mAh battery and it struggled to last for the day with a single charge. According to the operating system’s battery usage stats, most of this energy was being sucked by the G4’s QHD screen. The LG G4’ hotspot was connected with one Wi-Fi device for about 3 hours of moderate usage and its battery was left with a respectable 75 percent of its charge.
The LG G4 is an interesting smartphone; it has a unique design, an excellent display, and a camera that’s up there with the best in terms of image quality. However, it has few flaws –such as the large battery doesn’t meet the equivalent real-world usage, and the software needs some more improvements.Although, LG could fix those problems with an update, and that would make the G4 an excellent alternative to Samsung’s flagships. Until then the Galaxy S6 is a better alternative, especially considering it’s now available at a substantial discount compared to its launch price.