|Style & Handling|
|+ Stunning screen||- Odd design|
|+ Great camera||- No fingerprint scanner|
|+ Removable battery||- Not quite flagship power|
Verdict: The LG G4 has a great camera and an even better screen, but it’s a little lacking in some other areas, making it a good but far from flawless phone.
The LG G4 is an interesting phone. It’s a flagship, so you know it’s going to be packing decent specs and features, but in an attempt to stand out from the crowd LG has also given it a fairly unique design.
Has this gamble paid off though? Or would the company have been better off keeping things simple? Read on to find out.
The LG G4 comes in leather or plastic backed versions. For the full flagship experience you’ll likely want to go for the leather one, though the geometric shapes on the plastic back look pretty good in their own right.
Yet while the leather-backed version is the more expensive and higher end one it still isn’t as classy or premium as you might expect, as the leather itself feels thin and cheap and the overall look of the phone is quite chunky, due in part to its 5.5-inch phablet sized screen.
It’s not awful and it’s a change from the metal, glass and plastic used by most phones, but compare it to the iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S6 for example and you’re not likely to leave impressed with LG’s offering.
Things get a whole lot better when you come to the screen, as the LG G4 has a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 QHD IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 538 pixels per inch.
The size just about puts it into phablet territory, though it’s smaller than many rival devices like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.
It is however big enough that you’ll generally want to use two hands with it. That’s not always ideal but on the flip side it’s a gloriously big canvas to make the most of apps and media on.
Being QHD it’s also impeccably sharp, delivering truly stunning visuals with impressively natural colours. Is it the best smartphone screen around? Probably not, we’d still say Samsung’s recent QHD displays have it beat, due to their richness and vibrancy, but the LG G4 really isn’t far off.
The LG G4 doesn’t feel lacking in power, as it can blaze through any app or game available and even comfortably multi-task, but you might still feel a little short changed, as it has a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor, with four cores clocked at 1.44GHz and the remaining two running at 1.82GHz.
That’s a pretty speedy chip, but it’s dwarfed by the octa-core Snapdragon 810 and Exynos 7420 that most other recent flagships use.
That Snapdragon 808 processor is paired with 3GB of RAM, which is flagship-worthy, but only just, as some phones are starting to push things up to 4GB.
If the screen is one of the LG G4’s highlights the camera is its other. It has a 16 megapixel sensor on the back, capable of taking great shots even in low light. It can also focus quickly thanks to a laser autofocus and counter camera shake with optical image stabilisation.
But the software is every bit as impressive as the hardware, because there’s also a powerful manual mode, letting you tweak and customise various shooting settings, such as the ISO, exposure and a whole lot more besides.
If you’re more into snapping selfies you’re well served there too, as LG has outpaced most of the competition with an 8 megapixel front-facing camera, allowing you to take detailed shots.
Taking photos is easier than ever too, as the LG G4 supports both gesture controls and allows you to launch the camera with a double press of the rear key.
Video is no less impressive, as the LG G4 can shoot in 2160p at 30fps, so it really is one of the best camera phones around.
Like many Android handsets the LG G4 has a custom UI over the top of Android Lollipop. It’s occasionally intrusive but sometimes genuinely useful, especially with features like Knock Code, which lets you both turn the screen on with a tap and set a tap pattern for unlocking the phone, even when the screen is off.
There’s also a nifty hardware feature on the LG G4 in the form of its rear keys. These are essentially the power and volume buttons you’d find on any other handset, but being on the back makes them easier to reach without changing your grip on the phone.
The LG G4 has a 3000 mAh battery which will get you through a day of moderate use but not much more. That’s pretty much in line with other recent flagships, so not awful but not great either.
However, the G4’s juice pack is removable, which is becoming a bit of a rarity. That’s nice to see for two reasons. One you can carry a spare battery giving you twice the lifespan between charges and two if the battery ever wears out you can easily replace it, rather than having to replace the whole phone.
Memory comes in at 32GB plus a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 128GB, so storage is plentiful.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and infrared, but sadly there’s no fingerprint scanner. A year ago that wouldn’t have been an issue but now most flagships seem to be including one and with Android Pay launching a scanner is becoming ever more important.
The LG G4 impresses in a lot of ways, particularly when it comes to its stunning screen and powerful camera. But with a divisive design, a not quite top tier processor and no fingerprint scanner it’s not quite the complete package.
It’s still a clear flagship and you’re unlikely to be disappointed if you buy it, especially if you’re all about photography and media, but there are better phones out there.