I’ve been testing the G4 over the last few weeks as part of the LG tester programme and my review is below.
Design and First Impressions
The phone possesses a large 5.5" screen but as the design is squarer than other phones it fits comfortably in my hand and the curved back is beautiful. It's an truly sleek design.
The slight curve of the phone allows it to fit tightly into a pocket, which is rare for the larger phones, and also comfortably in a hand. The phone isn't the thinnest, but it's not far off and the weight is impressive for a large phone.
There will be those for which a larger phone doesn't suit them, but I'd urge the rest to try it out. Other aspects of the phone have been designed around the larger screen, as with the LG G3, the on/off button and volume located within easy reach on the centre-rear of the phone. This is intelligent thinking from LG.
Despite having a removable back/battery, the phone feels unibody which means you get the benefits of changing the back of the phone and battery as well. The battery strength is good but not spectacular however I've found that under moderate use it extends to 1.5 days which is competitive for modern smartphones.
My only initial issue is that the set-up theme is pretty vile and the theme options are limited, but don’t let that put you off - after all, it's down to preference.
Under the Bonnet
The whole experience using the phone has been a pleasure. The interface is clean, the transitions are beautifully executed and the 3GB RAM takes everything in it's stride. The 5.5" screen is packed with a 2560 x 1440 resolution (538ppi) which is pretty staggering to look at.
I've been using the 32GB model, which is the minimum that new phone users should be looking to get, especially with apps becoming heavier and heavier. There is a removable 128GB option too, so you won't have any issues over storage.
Under the everday uses, the LG G4 performed extremely well. It slotted into my life quite seemlessly.
That's not to say I haven't had issues. Volume positioning does cause problems when the phone is lying on its back. I've found the stock predictive typing far less intuitive than competitors (it means I have to actually be accurate...). Some of my favourite apps still have bugs but these will likely be sorted shortly.
The battery comfortably gets me through a day on moderate-heavy use through the 3000mah battery. If necessary, the charging is lightning quick. Also, it's removable anyway so you can just carry a spare should it become an issue.
LG have adopted HTC's double screen tap to wake up the phone, of which I'm a big fan. It's also a necessary addition given the positioning of the on/off button means that its inaccessible when lain on its back.
The camera is a make-or-break feature to me in a phone, and the LG G4 certainly doesn't fall down here. The 16MPs are well utilised and the output is stunning (especially when viewed on LG's gorgeous screen). When given time to shoot, the camera is close to flawless.
Under pressure though, I found the camera to lag on occasion, especially when opening the app. The auto-focus was good for everyday images but limited for someone like myself who enjoys more control over the image. The burst-shot mode was another disappointment - when it worked, it was great but it was mostly unreliable.
The manual settings are much better - as long as you 'know' photography, with far more options for control compared to other phone cameras out there. Allowing control over ISO, shutter speed, aperture value, white balance and exposure lock is great fun. LG offer a superbly fast f/1.8 aperture, with 60% more light than the iPhone 6, that means you can make the most of faster shutter speeds, less processing to achieve exposure, thus avoiding the worst of image noise and processing.
I've always been a fan of post editing photos and the options LG provide are a dream come true. Compared to other set-ups, the post editing is certainly more complex, yet it offers a far greater level of options. The user is able to edit every element of a photo, to a far greater extent than other stock cameras. 'Selective Editing' which allowed the user to edit different parts of a photo separately had become a key tool for me and certainly given me the opportunity to improve my photo output. That was all good until the editor was removed which is an issue I'm picking up with LG.
It's a pretty good 'selfie' camera too, with 8MP being found on the front. There's a new feature that allows the user to close and open their palm to set-up a timed photo.
All in all, on day-to-day use, the LG G4 camera is strong and I've had several great snaps come from it.
- LG's 'Smart Tips' are useful and interesting for the first few occasions but they are far too regularly featured and quite repetitive. If you switch these off after a week or so, you won't regret it too much.
- LG's dual screen offers promise but doesn't quite deliver, mostly through the lack of compatible apps. It's fine for Email and File Manager, or Mail etc, but when jumping between other apps, it's rendered useless.
- QSlide is a new feature that allows pop-up, quick action apps to appear over what you're doing, such as video, calculator and messages.
- Finally, LG have enabled the standard three Android menu buttons to be upgraded to five, including QSlide and QMemo+.
There are a lot of good phones out there, but very few manage to tick all the boxes as an everyday phone. The LG G4 does.
The G4 is beautifully crafted but doesn't substitute functionality for design. It's designed for the user to enjoy with comfort, yet also for the user to show off with style.
One of the biggest compliments I can pay to LG with the G4 is that they've clearly thought about the phone and how it works for the consumer. Sounds simple, but it's something a lot of manufacters forget when chasing big numbers and shiny new features.
To be able to boast power, a stunning screen and decent battery life as a fearsome trio is quite something, and all of that whilst making a 5.5" screen feel manageable is a feat in itself.
I love to find a killer flaw with a phone, but there just isn't one with the LG G4. It's not just a jump above it's predecessor, the G3, it's a jump above it's rivals.
My love affair with the HTC One series has finally been broken.