On Tuesday 28th April 2015, LG finally unveiled their latest flagship phone set to rival the Samsung Galaxy S6, the iPhone 6, plus the others, including the rather nice HTC One M9. Although Tuesday saw the official international launch event for the phone, it has hardly been a well kept secret. A series of leaked images and specs alongside official teaser videos of the LG G4 handset have been hitting the internet ever since January, and although this has left little for the launch to actually unveil, there was still an audible buzz in the air.
Confirmed! Going into the launch, we were already well aware of some of the fancier elements of the LG G4. Take, for example, the leather case on the back. This is a wonderfully classy looking change, and takes the model up into the echelons of the luxury made phones like Vertu’s. Previously the metallic feel back cover had given the LG G3 a false air of quality. Having now had the chance to hold and play with the LG G4, we can confirm that it is a thing of beauty. The leather back is superb, feels fantastically ergonomic and like it is unlikely to slip off the sofa or dashboard.
The leaked images of the leather back accompanied rumours that it took 12 weeks to make each of these cases, and to top it off, this bumps the price of the LG G4 above that of the Samsung Galaxy S6, but maybe just below the Galaxy S6 Edge. Whilst the price still remains to be confirmed, the rest of this all came out to be true. The leaks didn’t stop there, of course, with plenty of rumours confirming, pre-launch, of a 5.5” Quad HD display (2560×1440 pixels).
The display on the LG G3 was one of the best we’d seen in a flagship phone, and the LG G4 takes it a step further. Sure, we can confirm that its a 5.5” Quad HD display, on a curved handset. But what really pops is the 534-538ish PPI density, which makes the screen both vibrant and rich in both light and dark colours. Your pictures of sunsets have never looked so good, let alone those cronuts you’re snapped for Instagram. It also has something called “advanced cell touch” which means its smart enough to know when its got some rain on the screen which often makes it a touch screen impossible to use!
We were also teased about the LG G4’s camera, reported at 16mp, and packs a f/1.8 aperture lens. What the hell is a f/1.8 aperture lens exactly? Well, fancy words aside, its a rather good bit of camera kit that allows the LG G4 to take pictures in low light even faster, by allowing more light through the lens. Ultimately, it means those night shots out clubbing are less likely to be a blurred mess, and now you can quite clearly see how drunk you looked and just how strong those beer goggles were. The LG G3’s camera was a standout feature, with its fancy laser auto-focus, and again the LG G4’s camera blasts away the competition, as it also includes RAW files and more manual control than ever – it is edging ever closer to a ridiculously good DSLR style system. Similarly, you can even adjust shutter speeds on the G4, unlike any of their competition. That little sensor on the back also brings the first mobile phone colour spectrum sensor. Cutting through the photography waffle, it makes pictures more accurate in colour and more balanced. Simple!
Apparently, on the inside of the LG G4, according to rumour and the confirmed at the launch, is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processors, rather than the 810 we’ve seen in the Flex 2, and only 3gb of ram. Whilst the onboard memory of the LG G4 isn’t world beating, it does knock the wind out of the Galaxy S6 sails by allowing an external memory card to be inserted to expand it up to 160gb or there abouts! In addition to being able to add your own memory, the battery can also be removed and replaced, another feature missing in the Galaxy S6, and both this and the memory card are features never seen in an iPhone. The battery is also Qi charging enabled, meaning if you have a mat or a dock, no wires required.
The meaty insides are packing inside of a 5.9 x 3 x 0.4 inch body, which is ever so slightly bigger than the G3 in every way, and also comes in a bit heavier too at 5.5 ounces. The removable battery should give a days solid usage (although we are truly skeptical). It is hardly surprising that it is ever so slightly bigger and heavier, given that the display is curved this time around – at least it comes curved as standard, unlike those unlike iPhone 6 owners who found out the hard way about their bendy phones.
Last but not least, there’s the addition of LG’s latest software, their layer that operates on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop. This was unveiled a while ago at MWC2015, and is called LG’s UX 4.0. Although we are fans of the pure android experience without the manufacturer bloatware bells and whistles, LG’s UX 4.0 does have a few new neat touches. On top of the advanced camera controls, the ability to take a photo by double tapping the volume up button, no matter what your phone is doing, is pretty wonderful. We can imagine a 101 situations where that would be an excellent feature. It also has something called Smart Board, which collects and organises data from various apps and services, although it remains to be seen if this is actually useful at all.
Amidst all the brand talk, LG are selling the phone as a more human phone than the cold slabs of metal they see their competition as. Curved and leather bound, it is more robust when dropped, fits and feels better in the hand (without a million smudges a minute), and is stable and user friendly. Is it though? Only a proper review will tell you!