With the release of the range-topping G4, LG’s competitors will need to up their game.
By Sadad Talhouni
Since it released the game-changing G2 back in 2013, LG has managed to consistently deliver exceptional upgrades to its flagship handset line. The G4, with its unique design, impressive specs, and surprisingly simple user interface, proves to be no exception.
The G4 has a wonderful ergonomic design, with its screen’s slightly curved form that’s supremely comfortable to hold being one of its major selling points. The rear volume and power keys make a welcome return, and have now become one of the G series’ marquee features. The phone comes with two removable back cover options, plastic or leather, in varying colors.
Our test version came with the black leather option, and while the material doesn’t scream premium quality (and when removed it does appear rather flimsy), we liked the feel and look of it. It will ultimately come down to personal preference.
The G4 is comfortable to hold, especially when considering the device’s expansive 5.5 inch Quantum IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen. It’s easily one of the best smartphone screens in the market, with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels and pixel density of around 538 ppi. There’s just no faulting it; it’s bright, colorful, and provides a phenomenal viewing experience.
The G4 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset, an Adreno 418 GPU, 3 GB of RAM, and an internal memory of 32 GB. You also have the option of expandable storage up to 128 GB. This, along with LG’s clutter-free user interface, combine to provide a slick and lag-free experience.
The G4’s camera receives a phenomenal upgrade, and now rivals the Samsung Galaxy S6 for quality. With a 16 MP back lens and an 8 MP front-facing lens, the camera now comes with an f1.8 aperture, which allows for spectacular low-light shooting. The camera was quick to focus, delivered high-quality photos and videos, and included an excellent manual mode that really shows off the camera’s abilities. Our test version, however, was sluggish to switch on, and the app froze up inconveniently on multiple occasions, which was a letdown in comparison to the superior photography experience we had with the S6.
Apart from the camera, the LG G4 doesn’t offer much of an upgrade in terms of features. The good news is it already had a slew of unique abilities from the G3 that it kept and refined, like the high level of customization and the much lauded “Knock On” effect, which turns the screen off and on when you double tap it.
But it also lacks some features other competitors have perfected, like fingerprint recognition found in the iPhone and Samsung flagships, or a heart rate monitor. The battery is another point of contention, as the G4 packs a replaceable 3,000 mAh unit. It certainly provides a better battery life than most flagship devices, but the screen is a heavy energy drainer, and the phone lacks wireless or fast charging capabilities.
It’s important to note that LG hasn’t yet released the optimized software upgrade for G4, and as such, minor issues concerning camera, speed, and battery life might yet be ironed out. But for now we can safely say that you can’t really go wrong with the G4, and we know it’s going to be a contender for the coveted title of 2015’s best smartphone.