The LG G4 has a great deal to live up to, not least because its predecessor was rated by some as the best smartphone of 2014. This is no mean feat in any year which sees a brand new Apple iPhone released, but many analysts and critical commentators of the mobile industry felt that the ease of use and functionality of the LG G3 placed it ahead of all of its competitors.
LG has now officially unveiled the LG G4, and it has already gone on sale in its native South Korea. But how does it compare to the previous iteration in the series, and will it be worthwhile for Western consumers to upgrade to this new smartphone release? Here is a rundown on the initial impression of this handset.
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LG G4 – design
LG has not placed as much emphasis on the design parameters of its mobile devices as, for example, Apple. But if it ain’t broke then it would be rather churlish to fix it. The LG G4 is still a comfortable device which fits neatly in the palm of your hand. Volume and power buttons are still located in the center of the rear panel, and the overall dimensions remain similar to the previous iteration of the series.
However, the LG G4 features a screen which has a gentle curve from top to bottom, similar to the previous LG Flex models. The curve is perhaps less pronounced than in the Flex range, but it is still a pleasing physical feature.
Materials utilized in the construction of the device have also been updated. The leather-backed version of the smartphone has already generated a significant amount of publicity, and it is quite pleasing in the flesh as well. LG has ensured that the smartphone is available in a wide range of colors, and the physical design of the product does create a pleasing impression.
LG G4 – specs
Naturally, LG has significantly upgraded the specifications in this device, particularly with regard to the processor. The LG G4 utilizes Qualcomm’s six-core, 64-bit 1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 SoC, which splits its six-core structure into a dual-core / quad-core arrangement. The two bundles of processors run at frequencies of 1.8GHz and 1.44GHz respectively, and this illustrates that the LG G4 is a more powerful performer than its predecessor.
The display in the device has surprisingly not been upgraded. This is almost anathema to those accustomed to the Samsung Galaxy range in particular. But LG is obviously happy with the quality of display included in the device, and the 1,440 x 2,560 pixel resolution is certainly more than adequate, and indeed superior to the market-leading iPhone series. The aim is clearly to retain the display quality from the previous LG G3, and imbue it with sophisticated and superior technology in order to deliver a more enjoyable user experience.
Other specifications include dual-band, dual-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi with support for MU-MIMO, Cat9 4G with download speeds of up to 450Mbits/sec, Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC. It would have been nice for LG to have included significant waterproofing, but pretty much all bases are covered with the basic specifications of the device.
LG G4 – camera
This was one area where the LG G3 was considered to particularly excel, and the manufacturer has attempted to ensure that the LG G4 continues this trend. Firstly, LG has upped the resolution of the snapper included in the LG G4 to 16-megapixels, which is a welcome improvement from the 13-megapixel lens which was included in the LG G3. Additionally, LG has also improved the aperture to f/1.8, which is superior even to the Samsung Galaxy S6’s rear camera.
So we know from the outset that this is an outstanding smartphone camera. But does it deliver the sort of functionality that consumers desire?
The first thing to note is that the laser-assisted autofocus remains in place from the LG G3, which helps the camera produce sharp quality images in speedy fashion. However, it is not notably superior to the previous device in the range, so this cannot really be described as a unique selling point over the LG G3.
However, optical image stabilization has been improved, and this delivers a far superior range of motion capture than last year’s LG G3. The smartphone features a 40% larger sensor to assist with optical image stabilization, and its new color spectrum sensor is utilized to detect colours and provide more realistic images.
This feature enables the camera in the LG G4 to set white balance and temperature correctly for photographs. It is noticeable that the specifications of the handset are almost identical to the Samsung galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, which means that the LG G4 will deliver similar image quality, or probably slightly better. It can be very much considered a market-leading device in this regard.
Additionally, the front-facing camera in the LG G4 is extremely impressive. The 8-megapixel unit which LG has included in the device is actually as good, at least in megapixel rating, as the rear-facing camera included in the recent iPhone 6. This is an outstanding smartphone for snapping pictures of landscapes or selfies, and definitely competes with the very best smartphones around in this department.
There are a few other useful features and functions included in the camera functionality as well, and overall this is an outstanding photograph taking device.
LG G4 – conclusion
LG G4 will compare favorably with any smartphone available on the market at the time of its release. This is an outstanding handset in every respect, with LG having given significant consideration to the appearance of the device, while still delivering a smartphone which is outstanding in spec terms.
However, considering that the LG G3 is still an extremely capable performer, consumers should consider whether the extra camera functionality included in the LG G4 is really that important to them. There is a lack of innovation elsewhere; effectively this is a faster version of the LG G3 with an attractive backing and more powerful camera. This will be enough for many people to upgrade, but it shouldn’t be seen as essential.