Review

Published on June 22nd, 2015 | by Varuna Singh

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LG G4 Review

This is the G4, LG’s flagship phone for 2015. It’s a 5.5” 1,440 x 2,560 (534 ppi) phone with 3 GB of RAM paired with Snapdragon 808 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz. The G4 has an industry first f1.8 lens. The camera is 16MP with an 8MP front facing camera.

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Screen5.5" Quad HD-IPS LCD
2560 x 1440 (~538 ppi)
Gorilla Glass 3
CPUDual-core 1.82 GHz Cortex-A57 & quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53 Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 809
GPUAdreno 418
Dimensions148.9 x 76.1 x 6.3 - 9.8 mm
155 grams
Battery3000 mAh Li-Po
Removable
Back Camera16 MP, Optical Image Stabilisation 2.0 , f/1.8, 1/2.6" sensor
Video: [email protected], [email protected], HDR, stereo sound, Color Sensor, Laser Focus
Front Camera8 MP
Video: [email protected]
GPSYes, A-GPS with GLONASS
OSAndroid v5.1 (Lollipop)
NetworkGSM HSPA LTE
SIMmicro-SIM
RAM3GB RAM
Memory32GB
microSDYES SDXC standard.
up to 128 GB
Wireless ChargingNo
NFCYes
WiFiWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot

What has changed since the LG G3?

The G3 came to the party a little later as did the G4 in Dubai. The G3 was considered as one of the best devices as well. Between the G3 and the G4, at CES 2015 LG unveiled the LG G Flex 2. The G4 is a combination of the G Flex 2 and the original G3’s design. The phone and screen have a curve to it and so does the device itself. It makes it easier to hold and certainly better looking than the G3. The G4’s design isn’t revolutionary in comparison with the G3, however LG says the G4 is about 20% stronger than the G3. It was also a tiny bit smaller than the G4.

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The G3 was the first QHD (2K display) phone. The G4 has tried to one-up that with what they are calling an IPS Quantum Display.

LG G4 screnshot Smart Bulletin smart notice UI software (6)

That means LG is able to create the most natural looking display close to 98% of true Digital Cinema Initiatives or DCI spec. In comparison with the S6, the G4’s screen looks neutrally saturated and honest. This also means the G4’s display is about 25% brighter and 20% richer than the G3. LG also claims the G4 has higher contract levels and drains even less power. This might sound like utopia and the numbers might be hard to prove, but I definitely thought the G4 has one of the best displays.

What’s different from the Samsung S6, HTC One M9, Sony Z3+ ?

The biggest worry you may have is if the G4 performs as well as the others. The G4 is powered by a 6-core instead of an 8 core CPU. The HTC M9, Samsung Galaxy S6, Sony Xperia Z3+ are all powered by an octa-core (8) processor. In reality, there aren’t many situations where you might take advantage of the horsepower and LG probably decided to prefer a slightly lower processor in favor for battery life. The phone does really well when its continuously in use and the processors are doing their work. However at times LG’s user interface hiccups a bit.

The G4 runs Android Lollipop 5.0 with its custom UI skin over. LG provides a few other services and apps on top as well. The user interface is honestly not that bad. I found myself using a lot more of the LG apps than I do on other platforms. When the G3 was announced LG put an emphasis on de-cluttering their UI. With the G4 they have de-cluttered a lot more. It looks stock and you can uninstall any apps on the G4, even if it’s from LG. LG has its own Google now style panel at the left most home screen. You can swipe to go the left most panel to see it. It’s a lot like Google Now with HTC’s BlinkFeed.

What’s unique about the G4?

Leather

“I bruise easily..”

After using the LG G4 as my primary phone, it found myself liking the leather back. It works to an extent of giving you good feedback when holding the phone. It looks and feels real and does add an interesting thought when you put it on the table. You’re going to want to show off this phone. That’s not a bad thing, but do bear in mind that the leather can bruise easily. So be gentle.

In fact our device got a little bit of scratch at the back and it makes me think if that will get worse or not. Leather is not the only option, LG does have a metallic looking and ceramic back covers. The leather itself is the back cover. It can be replaced and you can easily experiment with different back covers. Overall the device is very plastic-y. It is 20% more durable than the G3 and knowing how strong the LG G Flex 2 is, the G4 will not break easily. In fact it might stick around longer than any other phone. But the sensitive leather back and basic plastic feel might put initial customers off.

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Curved display

Another unique bit about the G4 is that its curved. The display is curved which almost feels like you have a curved TV in front of you. It somewhat adds a little depth and appeal when watching videos, but I not trippy about that. All in all the curves of the G4 make it easier to hold and its larger size is almost unnoticeable.

What’s annoying about the G4 ?

LG’s own user-interface and apps such as photos try to offer similar Google services. For example the Gallery app has its own Moments that automatically curates albums based on your location and date. This is very similar to Google’s Photos online service.

LG G4 screnshot Smart Bulletin smart notice UI software (1)

A notification or a calendar alert can come in more than one place. I could have the Calendar app notify me, Google Now notify me, and LG’s Smart Notice and Smart bulletin notify me.

Smart Notice however does a great job by telling me how my phone is behaving. For example it will alert me if say my GPS app is taking a lot of battery. It would say something like “Here maps is consuming 20% battery every hour”. I can then take actions on it. It’s really smart that way. LG also has Health built in that doesn’t annoy or demand your attention. I like how LG has made settings and quick actions like Music playback, current health stat and calendar for today on the LG Smart Bulletin.

How is the camera?

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The camera does a fantastic job when taking pictures. Here are some of the pictures taken in broad lighting conditions: LG G4 camera sample shots (8) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (12) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (10) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (4) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (11) (Large)LG G4 camera sample shots (14) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (20) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (22) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (16) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (24) (Large) LG G4 camera sample shots (25) (Large)
The camera does take a long time to focus in areas which complicated lighting and dark areas. Needless to say the picture always comes out quite good. It would be great to see a quite shoot mode with fixed infinite focus in dark areas.

“Excellent manual mode”

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Which brings me to the manual mode. A lot of inspiration has been taken from Nokia and SLRs. It’s very intuitive and after a few minutes with the interface you really get the hang of manual mode. The mode does effectively let you accurately set different ISO, exposure and other technical bits while taking a picture. A lot of these controls cannot be done while taking a video, but that might be far away.

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“Decent Video, no manual mode for Video”

Recording video was very accurate and it focused very well. The white balance and colour was never off and the optical image stabilization worked really well. Needless to say this is probably the best camera on an Android device but it definitely is not the fastest when it comes to focusing.

How is the battery life?

LG G4 screnshot Smart Bulletin smart notice UI software (5)

I firmly believe that battery life should grow with generations. The G4’s battery is very industry average. In fact it’s a little annoying. A 5.5 QHD screen with 25% more brightness options makes me want to experience the phone in its full potential. It also drains the battery.

“Is Average good these days?”

The LG G4 has a 3000 mAh battery which is the highest in comparison to other 2015 flagships. Yet, it is only able to offer not more than a day’s worth of battery. That doesn’t make the G4 an incapable device, it just puts it at an average scale. I was not very impressed with the battery life.

Should you buy it?

LG G4 camera sample shots (8) (Large)

I’m really impressed with the above picture. The picture above was taken by the G4. However at AED 2699, the LG G4 is not a major update. The changes are welcome and more aesthetic than functional. If you think the leather options can add a little color in your life then the G4 might be a good option. If you’re looking for the best camera and screen experience, the G4 is perfect for that.

If you have a G3 and wondering if you should get another flagship this year? The G4 doesn’t offer much in comparison to the G3.

Cons:

  • LG Smart bulletin and Smart Notice, Google Now, Android Notifications can be a little redundant.
  • Battery almost lasts a day
  • Leather can bruise easily
  • Slight software hiccups are noticeable

Pros:

  • Some LG UI tricks work and are useful (Smart bulletin and Smart notice)
  • Great camera in high and low light
  • Decent video capture
  • Almost no dropped calls
  • Performs really well even when pushed.
  • Leather feels good

 

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About the Author

I work with technology in Education. I also write stuff. I love design and people. @varunasingh



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