The LG G6 is a device running on Android 7.0 Nougat out of its box. It comes with a 5.7-inch IPS LCD display, 1440x2880 resolution, and 565ppi index. It is equipped with a 2.35 GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, and the Adreno 530 GPU. There is an onboard storage of 32GB plus a microSD card slot for memory expansion. For photos, the device has two 13MP rear-facing cameras with 4K video recording. Another camera is available in front with a 5MP resolution. Other notable features included in this device are a non-removable 3,300 mAh Li-Ion battery, a fingerprint sensor, and NFC. There is an IP68 certification for dust and water proof, along with water resistance for up to 1 meter and 30 minutes. Colors available include Mystic White, Astro Black, and Ice Platinum.
From quad-HD displays (G3), to eccentric leather backs (G4), to a modular design on the G5, LG’s elite phones have made their mark in respects to uniquely odd features. For LG's newest release, G6, the prominent feature is its large screen display. And, from the looks of it, it seems that the G6 has more promise of gaining popularity than its predecessors.
G6's Quirky Screen Display
The screen display on the G6 could be described as a little quirky. Instead of the 16:9 ratio shared by nearly every smartphone on the market, the LG G6 has a 18:9 screen display ratio. Basically, LG wanted the G6 to have a taller display in a smaller body.
The display panel on the G6 is larger (5.7 inches compared to G5's 5.5 inches) and is noticeably smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. The result of merging a bigger screen into a smaller shell required that the G6's panel shape be rounded instead of squared. Overall, the new panel shape complements this phone's natural curves but looks better on the black model than the white model.
On the white model, the black border stands out more between the panel and the bezel and its rounded corners aren’t symmetrical.
The G6 delivers an attractive resolution of 2,880 x 1,440 to sync with its stretched display. Even though the panel isn't AMOLED, it still produces colors from bright to deep black with amazing accuracy. It’s also the first phone with Dolby Vision support and is HDR10-enabled.
Shades of black don't display as deep on the G6's screen (IPS LCD) as they would if this phone had an AMOLED panel. It's a shame that LG didn't take advantage of their expertise in this regard. Unlike the Pixel, LG's G6 isn't compatible with Google’s Daydream VR platform. To the G6's credit, high dynamic range (HDR) media can be delivered significantly brighter and darker scenes show a great deal of details more than expected.
LG says that Amazon and Netflix's HDR content will work with the G6, but this will require an updated app for the phone. As of yet, LG hasn't released when that will be.
The biggest dilemma of G6's increased screen size is that it's rather complicated to create an app that will fit a 5-inch screen properly. Apple had this extremely annoying problem for quite some time when it swapped a 4-inch screen for a 5-inch screen on its iPhone. The standard solution to this problem is to place thick black bars at the top and/or at the bottom of media apps. For example, YouTube videos typically have a 16:9 ratio and are bordered by black bars on either side. Amazon Prime's app media is bordered by a thick single black bar at the bottom. Moreover, there is existing software that can widen video within certain apps so that scenes take up most of the screen. Regular apps don't pose a problem, due to native resizing features in Android but games will either need to be updated or played with black borders at the bottom. So it'll be interesting to see how LG works out the bugs with this specific issue.
G6 has the capability to extend videos to a degree, so you can stretch games out to fill the entire screen.
All of LG’s apps are updated. The UI design is two squares on top of each other since the aspect ratio is 2:1. This supports Android 7’s native split-screen multi-tasking which provides each app with more space. However, LG's UI design has some "character flaws", so to speak, resembling a fusion of TouchWiz, EMUI(Huwaei), and iOS. On the positive side, G6 does have Google Assistant, like the Pixel. Also, the user can swipe down on the G6's homescreen to take a search peak inside apps. The phone doesn't include an app tray.
LG G6's Sleek Design
The G6's sleek design is a visual improvement from earlier LG elite phones' thick bezel and the metallic plastic showcased on the G5 is also gone. The G6 features Gorilla Glass 3 on the face but Gorilla Glass 5 on its rear. Rigid metal rimming can be found around the sides of the phone to give it more durability.
The back of the G6 has a standby switch with a fingerprint pad tucked inside. Unlike many capacitive pad phones, the G6's standby switch actually presses inward and provides decent feedback. The fingerprint sensor is placed right below the camera. The biggest issue observed with the G6's fingerprint scanner is its speed and sensitivity. Accidentally pressing the scanner is going to happen a lot when either holding the phone or carrying it in a pocket or purse.
Although the LG G6 is pleasing to look at, it doesn't really feature anything in its design that would make waves compared to other smartphones. The rear-glass design trimmed with metal on the sides has been seen time again, and the black, white, and platinum-blue phone color choices lack creativity. Basically, the G6's front looks great but everything else is visually mediocre.
The G6's Core Performance
Taking into consideration that the phone reviewed is a pre-production unit, the G6's performance hasn't been greatly improved internally compared to the G5. However, it still has formidable speed, with no noticeable operation issues. It appears that the rumors swirling about the G6 using Snapdragon 821 CPU were true, with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of basic storage as well as a microSD slot. It's a little disappointing that the 835 CPU wasn't fully adopted by LG's G6, especially if this phone is going to sell at a similar price as the Samsung Galaxy S8.
LG G6's Camera
The camera on this model has been tweaked a little, but not to the point where it would be considered as a major improvement to an already impressive setup. The G6 has two sensors sitting beside each other on the back of the unit. One is the typical camera that has 13 megapixels, OIS, and f/1.8 aperture whereas the other camera has a broader viewing field. The second camera delivers the type of professional wide-angle shot that looks impressive on the display screen.
It appears that LG upgraded their G6's camera's pixel sensor (from an 8-megapixel sensor to a 13 pixel sensor) with much thought. They came to their final decision after observing that almost half of smartphone consumers exclusively use the wide-angle camera. Unfortunately, the G6 camera doesn't have OIS (produces less blurry images and smoother video) and has a much narrower f/2.4 aperture. The translation of these feature setbacks is that pictures in dim light won't turn out as good as expected. The camera also doesn't have auto-focus, but this really doesn't pose too much of an issue since the camera's focal point is very wide.
The great news is that LG has collaborated with Qualcomm and extracted some of the dual-camera benefits of 835 CPU and utilized them in the 821. This results in a seamless process when switching sensors, as if the user were only using one camera.
Switching sensors still causes a noticeable change in color temperature and the wider-view camera is worse at capturing pictures in dimmer light. The result is pictures that look busy and out of focus.
The LG G6's cameras have a couple of color detail issues. Picture detail is relatively decent, but occasionally colors can look dull and the dynamic range isn't at the same level as other elite Android phones.
In terms of visual depth, picture quality, and ease of use, the Pixel still surpasses the G6. LG needs time to bring their A-game in these respects and hopefully will improve its software in time. For now, it takes way too long to open the app, focus and capture a picture.
In some pictures, the camera shows plenty of detail. In other pictures, the colors look washed out. Pictures taken with good lighting look great.
The LG G6 Battery Life and Sound
Prepare to be annoyed with the G6 if you live in Europe. The European and UK version of LG's G6 are missing some very handy features that G6 users who live elsewhere will enjoy. The following features missing from the phone include:
No option for wireless charging – Wireless charging is a feature exclusive to the US.
In respects to improved sound quality, the Quad Hi-Fi DAC feature is also missing which is only available on the Korean G6. The US version of the G6 comes with wireless charging support and rivals the S7 in its recharge speed when it's not docked with wires.
Of course, features like wireless charging support and Quad Hi-Fi DAC aren't critical to the function of the G6. They are rare treats that would've been a nice touch for all G6 versions. Interestingly, neither one of these features adds more thickness or weight to the device.
Another annoying thing with the G6 is that its battery can no longer be removed. LG has permanently affixed the 3,300mAh cell behind the device's glass. But this action was not really a shocker since the G5's removable battery took away from its visual appeal. In a way, sealing the battery behind the glass was a good thing. The G6 can be typecast as being water-resistant. Really, a water-resistant phone provides more value (shares the same IP68 rating as the Samsung Galaxy S7) than the option to remove the battery in the long run anyway!
According to ET News, the battery life is about 12 hours while browsing “standard internet.” To say the least, the battery life could be better. Hopefully, this issue will be addressed to make the G6's operating time more robust.
First Impression Verdict
All in all, LG did the right thing when they axed the modular design. There were many shortcomings that came with this design in its handling and so the G6 has a much greater chance of being a hit with users.
Overall, the G6 has all of the features that make for a nice smartphone, like its eye-catching thin bezel design, and camera setup with an upgraded pixel sensor. It wouldn't be hard to imagine that the 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio will catch on and might even become the new standard for phones in the near future.
Still Some Bugs Remaining
As with any newly released phone, there are a few bugs that still need to be worked out. It's too early to proclaim the G6 as the must-have phone for 2017 just yet. Couldn’t LG have waited to integrate Snapdragon 835? Maybe. But the G6 has most of the features that smartphone users will appreciate. Missing features on the European G6 was a huge surprise since it wouldn't have been a complicated task to add in wireless charging and the Quad DAC on its model.
To be fair, the G6 could be the best phone LG has released in a long time. Rival phones are constantly upgrading and improving their models too. Actually, the LG G6's price may prove to be the one factor that sets it apart from its competitors in order to be a sweeping success.
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