News by Luke Jones on Tuesday April 28, 2015.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
LG has officially announced the G4 flagship, almost a year after the company wowed the smartphone world with the G3. As you would expect the G4 features the best that technology can muster right now and it is certainly a stellar handset in all aspects. However, since the G3 threw down the gauntlet last year, Korean rival Samsung has responded with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Can the G4 match those? Only time will really tell, but in the meantime how does LG?s new flagship match up to the competition.Design LG promised that the G4 would be a radical redesign over the G3, but it is not. Yes, this is a new handset, there are no HTC One M9 style tricks here, but the G4 definitely follows the design ethos LG has been employing since the G3 launched last year. It?s not necessarily a complaint, more an observation, because the G4 still looks elegant, but is it among the best in terms of looks? Last year the G3 landed as one of the most complete looking smartphones on the market, it just looked slick. The G4 certainly does not lessen that appeal, but the market has changed since and there are plenty of good looking flagships out there right now. Indeed, the G4 arrives as the only flagship of this year launched with a plastic build, other companies (even Samsung opting for metal, plastic, or a combination of both). Again, it?s not really a problem, but it will undoubtedly put some off the G4 right from the start, especially considering how delightful devices like the Galaxy S6 look and feel. LG has tried to up the premium factor with the addition of real leather covering the back plate (plastic versions will also be available) and it is beautiful and gives the G4 a touch of class. We think, based on first impressions, that this is a nice looking device, but falls behind key rivals in terms of looks. Specs The LG G4 arrives with the same 5.5-inch Quad HD screen that made its debut last year on the G3, but this time the company has tweaked and improved it. That means such things as color gamut, brightness, contrast ratio, touch function, power consumption, and thinness and the results are a bunch of statistics. For example, there is 50% more contrast ratio, 120% better color gamut, and a 30% rise in brightness. That's all great, but the really good news is it translates to the panel and the G4 boasts arguably the best smartphone screen on the market. For those who were unhappy with Samsung omitting a micro SD card slot on its Galaxy S6, you will be pleased to see that LG has included one here, meaning you can expand storage capacity with the G4. The rear leather plate is removable, but the 3000 mAh battery is unfortunately not removable. In terms of other specs, LG has surprised many by putting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 in the G4 and not the newer Snapdragon 810. Both are 64-bit, but the 808 is hexa-core, while the 810 is octa-core. With 3GB of RAM there should be little in the way of noticeable performance different and the G4 should be every bit as nippy as its rivals from Samsung, HTC, and beyond. However, this is a damning decision for the Snapdragon 810, a chipset that was also overlooked by Samsung because of persistent overheating problems. LG used the 810 in its G Flex 2, but the company obviously does not trust the processor enough for its flagship. Qualcomm is likely to be paying attention to this, so expect the Snapdragon 810 to have a lesser cycle than normal. Around the back and in the middle of LG's now familiar rear button configuration sits a 16 megapixel camera with a wide aperture of f/1.8 and OIS. That aperture is slightly better than what Samsung offers on the Galaxy S6 and LG says the G4 is a triumph taking shots in low light conditions. Of course, we will have to put the handset through its paces before making any lasting conclusions. For the selfie crowd, LG has generously slapped a sizeable 8 megapixel snapper on the front, which in terms of megapixels at least is what the iPhone 6 boasts on the rear. Software and UI While the G3 as a whole brought LG into the big leagues of the smartphone market, for our money it was the UI that finally told consumers that the company was ready to make that leap. The simplified take on the Android platform was a refreshing change from the likes of HTC's Sense and Samsung's TouchWiz, as well as several other such skins. LG has taken that UI and improved apparently improved it with UX 4.0, and we really think that it is a UI that could divide opinion. It is not as polished as those offerings from HTC and Samsung, but then UX 4.0 looks easy to use and is likely to have a low impact on Android Lollipop, which incidentally comes out of the box with the LG G4. Again, it is hard to make any lasting impressions, so we will wait for that review unit to land in the office before deciding either way on UX 4.0. Availability and Price The LG G4 will not roll out until the end of May, with the company's South Korea homeland getting the device first. A global roll out will follow with the handset ready to land in 170 countries around the world. Leaked prices suggest the handset will cost north of $600 for the base 32GB model, while on contract in the United States it will almost certainly come to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint for $200.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.