LG has been on the rise for a couple of years now. The LG G2 was a step in the right direction, the G3 capitalized on all of the G2’s opportunities and the G4 is yet another huge step forward. I’ve always been fond of LG’s improvements to its flagships and this year is no different. Will the new camera sensor be the difference to put it ahead of its competitors? Will premium leather set it apart from the rest? Here’s what I think about LG’s latest G4.
Much like the previous year, the changes are minor but welcomed. The G4 comes in at a seemingly slimmer body since the bezels have been shaved off the sides and placed on the forehead and chin. It still has the same size screen, coming in at 5.5-inches with a resolution of 2560×1440 (538 ppi). The difference in display is noticeable since you now have the IPS Quantum display which has improved contrast, brightness and color accuracy. Its immediately noticeable. The colors pop and they don’t have the bluish tint to them like they did on the G3 and the viewing angles are improved.
As for the guts of the device, your introduced to the first device that had the hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor, which was specifically made for the LG G4 according to Qualcomm. It is also paired with 3GB of ram which gives you enough fire power to breeze through applications. All of this is covered up by, yet again, a plastic body which has its drawbacks and benefits. The first being that it is really light, weighing only slightly more than its older brother, the G3. Second, it includes that removable back and that means replaceable battery, microSD expansion and adding your own bit of flavor since you can customize the back to one of the many selections LG has to offer.
It’s also worth mentioning the slight bend in the middle of the device. It’s not as pronounced as the Flex 2, but it’s immediately recognizable when the device is in your hands. This small change actually made the device easier for one handed use. Who would have thought that such a small design change would make a difference?
LG launched this phone with the LG Optimus UX 4.0 UI (what a mouthful) which is a skin over Android 5.1 lollipop. This new software has a few aesthetic changes so that it gives a more colorful, more vibrant menu. Its actually the best software that LG has brought forth as its becoming less and less intrusive and doesn’t have a boatload of ridiculous features. Now its still not the prettiest skin around, but it gets the job done.
A few key features that are worth mentioning when it comes to software. The first being the new smart screen; recognizing when to turn on specific settings (like wi-fi) when your close to home puts your mind at ease. Dual window also makes a return and I found myself using it more this time around, though the apps that are available to use it with haven’t improved much.
Performance & Battery Life
I initially had my worries about the Snapdragon 808, being that it was an hexa-core and not octa-core. To my surprise, it actually performed very well and much like any octa-core processor phone that I’ve come across. Camera launches quickly, apps load equally as fast and playing games never showed any signs of strain. I did however experience weird slow downs when many apps were opened, but its not something that hasn’t happened to me before on other devices. If you really want to be nitpicky, let’s just say the octa-core processor is snappier and that’s the way it should be.
Battery life was also a huge concern for me with the processor that the G4 came with. Fortunately, this phone has one of the better battery lives that I’ve had the opportunity to put through its paces. Though I thought it was a fluke, I got through at least 11 hours of battery. That means I could actually go to work, abuse the phone as I usually do and get home without having to dive for my charger. We’re talking 4-6 emails constantly synchronizing, games being played, videos being watched, chatting and phone calls. I’m sure that a much lighter user will edge out a bit more juice with no problem.
This is where LG has done an amazing job in any area of improvement. The new rear camera is a 16 MP f 1.8 aperture lens is a worlds improvement over last years already amazing camera. It still brings the laser autofocus that speeds up getting that right shot and OIS 2.0 to help stabilize those shots. This time around, it brings a new color spectrum sensor which detects the white balance to ensure the closest color accuracy. But really you want to know how it performs when it all comes together?
This is easily the top device, or tied with the top when it comes to handheld photography. It handles the most difficult situations with ease and with the new pro mode, it allows you to really fine tune those settings like a true photographer. The images are some of the best that I’ve seen coming from any camera phone, especially Android. Colors pop and the images are just a pleasure to look at. It captures even the smallest detail which can make the difference of capturing a good or a great image. Its an extremely fun shooter whether you use Simple, Auto or Pro modes to get those shots.
The G4 is taking the smallest things it can fix and actually fixes them. The G4 is not perfect and some people will just judge it for its flaws and not for what it does well. This doesn’t change how competitive this device is. You get (close to) top of the line specs, an absolutely amazing camera and still have that removable battery and SD card to go along with that. You can’t really say the same about many devices these days.
- Much improved display
- Even more improved camera
- Removable back plates for battery and SD card
- Plastic design makes the phone feel cheap
- LG's software is still mediocre