It has now been a full year since the ill-fated launch of the G5, a device that aimed too high yet fell too short of it’ potential. After the device’s launch, it was mired by reports of questionable build quality and firm competition.
Now at MWC 2017, LG Electronics is back with some major changes to the design and user experience of their flagship line-up, this time with no trace of modularity.
|Device Name:||LG G6||Android Version:||7.0 Nougat|
|Chipset:||Snapdragon 821||Display:||5.7” 18:9 (2880×1440 / 564 ppi) 600 nits|
|Memory:||4GB LPDDR4||Battery:||3300 mAh (non-removable)|
|Storage:||32GB, 64GB1||Charging Method:||Qualcomm QC 3.0, Type-C 3.1 compatible|
|Rear Cameras:||13MP wide angle (F2.4, 125°) / 13MP Standard OIS 2.0 (F1.8, 71°) Sony IMX258||Max Charging Speed:||50% in 32 min, 100% in 96 min|
|Front Cameras:||5MP wide angle (F2.2 / 100°)||Dimensions:||148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm|
|Colours:||Ice Platinum / Mystic White / Astro Black||Misc:||Google Assistant, IP68, Hi-Fi DAC2, Wireless Charging3, NFC, SD support. Dual SIM4|
164GB variant is only available in the following markets: Korea, HK, ASIA (except Optus and Telestra Australia) India & CIS.
2HI-Fi Quad DAC is not available in the following markets: US, EU, SA or MEA.
3Wireless charging is only available for the US market.
4Dual-SIM is only available in the Middle East and CIS.
Things may seem confusing as you read the spec sheet, because LG has seemingly left the specs race with the G6 as shown by the use of a Snapdragon 820-era chipset, which have powered three of their flagship devices. A spokesperson for LG stated that they believed that this was the right decision for both them and their customers, as their engineers are now experienced with this particular SoC, allowing them to decrease boot times by 10%, reduce power consumption by 10%, and visibly improve scrolling and browsing performance (as always, we’ll be the judges of that). The 835 may be the superior hardware, but for now, LG feels that they can offer a better experience without the bump in specs and we certainly hope that it lives up to expectations.
Quite a few features of the G6 are region-specific. The phone will only feature dual SIM support in the middle east and CIS, the larger storage option is mainly for the Asian market, the US is the only region getting wireless charging and HiFi quad DAC is not available in the vast majority of the world as well. When questioned on the matter, LG had the following to say “We see different needs in different markets, we chose to support these needs individually to be more local to the markets. Most markets don’t appreciate DAC.” To justify the lack of wireless charging outside the US, they stated that other markets prefer the speed of charging with cables over the ease of wireless charging.
The first thing anyone handling this device will notice is the unique 5.7-inch display, which with an aspect ratio of 18:9 (1:2), appears to be much taller and slimmer than that of its predecessor (this also means you don’t get the same amount of horizontal space as a regular 5.7-inch display). This new aspect ratio, which they predict is becoming a new standard, is justified by LG through the desire to make a large-screen device that can still be used one-handed — a clear return to the philosophy of the LG G2 and LG G3. The unusual choice of ratio means that content can still be viewed at 16:9 or more while still keeping the navbar present on the screen. This new ratio should allow for more content or text to be viewed in apps or usecases such as Facebook, instant messaging, and article-based websites. While most apps will automatically scale to 18:9 without any problems, LG are not leaving it to chance, and heading to the settings of the device you can find the option to open specific apps in different aspect ratios including 16:9, 16.7:9 and of course 18:9. To make the most of this new ratio, LG has recreated their UI around the concept of having two squares to utilize. In the stock media player you will notice that the screen is divided 50:50 with the artwork taking the top half and media controls taking the lower half. Likewise, the stock email and SMS apps when held horizontally will split down the center showing the inbox on the left and message content on the right (who types an email like that, though?).
Those of us who consume huge amounts of video content on our devices will be glad to hear that the G6 supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision playback, the latter of which provides brighter and sharper video content while using 10% less bandwidth than HDR. At the current time both Amazon Video and Netflix offer a moderate amount of supported content for both but they are continuing to grow.
Following industry trends, the G6 has stayed away from previous design choices. The iconic leather back seen on the G4 doesn’t return and neither does the rubberized back of the V10 nor the metal back of the V20 (and thankfully, the primer coating of the G5 is dead and buried), with LG instead opting for a sleek panel of Gorilla Glass 5. Having considered adding a refracting pattern under the glass, they decided against it which gives the device a minimal, professional aesthetic. An interesting choice of design was the rounding of the corners of the display, which is a very nice effect on the black unit as the bezel and black border merge into one. However, on the silver and white units, the display corner does curve at a different angle to the black border as seen in image four in the gallery below. To try the rounded corner concept for yourself check out the app Cornerfly in the forums, it works best with AMOLED displays and black slab fronts.
The rear of the G6 features two 13MP cameras, each using 1.12 micron pixels, meaning that unlike the G5 when you switch to wide angle you are not losing quality. The device’s predecessor featured both a 16MP standard angle camera and an 8MP wide angle meaning you saw a significant drop in quality when switching to the latter. Now switching between the two cameras should be far more consistent and with greatly improved image post-processing, so even the standard angle camera should provide superior images to the G5’s. The cameras also offer 2x optical zoom and 16x digital zoom.
The device also ships with a new set of options in the stock camera, and these are all based on the new square design that comes with the 18:9 ratio. Known as square mode, these options consist of effects that are useful for heavy users of apps such as Instagram and include:
Grid shot: This option allows you to take four photos or videos and combine them in a 2×2 grid
Match shot: This allows you to take 2 photos and connect them side by side, the ability to take one on the front camera and one with the rear cameras allows you show both yourself and what you are looking at, at the time.
Guide shot: this places an overlay over your cameras such as a plate of food or a hand holding a phone this allows you to take multiple photos with the same composition.
Snap shot: This mode takes a square photo and then displays the full image in the lower half of your screen while keeping the top half free to take more photos.
Build Quality and Repairability
Having learned from the mistakes of the G5, LG has doubled down on the build quality increments we saw in the V20, this time adding an excellent IP68 finish which means that the device is certified as protected from dust and water damage when submerged in 1.5 metres of water for 30 minutes. LG also stated that the device has survived the same tests in both fresh and salt water. The Glass back of the phone feels incredibly sturdy in hand, with no creaks or flexing, and the dreaded camera bump is now entirely gone. The sides of the phone are Aluminium with the SIM tray sitting flush, which is an issue commonly seen across the industry. The front of the unit is made of Gorilla Glass 3 (unlike the previously-mentioned GG5 on the back) which stretches from edge to edge only being disrupted by a small logo above the charging port.
Interestingly LG has moved the antennae bands away from the corners with this device. The bands now sit 18mm from the corners unlike many devices, this is intended to reduce the possibility of severe damage when dropping the phone. According to their research, 48% of phone drops result in the device landing on one of its corners, and by moving these weak points they aim to significantly increase the device’s durability.
As a community, XDA tends to be more DIY when it comes to repairs than most people, that being said if you were hoping that, in the event of your battery wearing down or your display being damaged, you could replace parts of the LG G6 yourself, then you are out of luck. While the device is simple enough to disassemble in just a few minutes with the right tools, the battery and display are just about the only two parts of the phone you couldn’t replace. The battery is held firmly in place and any attempt to remove it could result in damage, the display is built right into the frame of the unit and so cannot be replaced easily either.