LG G4 Review – Leather and All
LG in the past years has emerged as a true Android champion. A South Korean counter brand to the kingship of Samsung, especially in the Android smartphone market.
LG came into light after their partnership with Google on building the Nexus 4 and then the Nexus 5 along with LG’s own iterations of the handsets for the global consumer markets. All four of the devices by LG led them into a high stake position in the Android rat race.
Last year however, LG fell off the map with the LG G3, it also had a fall out with Google, who then decided to go with Motorola to manufacture the Nexus 6.
This year LG is back and they want vengeance, pitting up points in almost all areas, LG tried to reach the top of the ladder with their new flagship, the LG G4. But, just as the relevance of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, on the stage at the time of launch, LG didn’t seem to think this through.
The LG G4 is an iconic design from LG, while many companies have attempted to make leather looking handsets (Note 3 and Galaxy S5), LG actually made a smartphone with a genuine leather back panel.
LG also one upped Samsung with their interesting fast aperture camera and lens, with 16 MP and a f1.8 lens setup vs the f1.9 on the Galaxy S6 and Edge.
The LG G4 also has dual sim (certain regions) and a removable and replaceable battery along with micro-SD expansion all of which is lacking in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
|Hardware Specs||LG G4|
|Display||5.5-inch Quad HD LCD|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440 PX|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 with X10 LTE|
|Primary Camera||16MP f/1.8 aperture|
|Front Camera||8MP f/1.8 aperture|
|Expandable Up to||2 TB|
|Operating System||Android 5.1 Lollipop with LG UX 4.0|
|Bluetooth||4.1 LE (APT-x)|
Design, Build and Aesthetics
The LG G4 is designed in a new way, the introduction of a genuine leather back panel may have mixed reactions in certain religious countries. For example in India, LG has refrained from mentioning that the leather back panel is made from cow hide, which may prevent some people from buying the handset. The use of leather however is done in a brilliant way. The back panel takes 12 weeks to manufacture and uses a new technology for a process which normally takes a few days.
Made from only the top layer (epidermis) of high quality cow leather, the back features tiny 0.001 micrometer pores for breathability. The end result is a smooth, soft touch back that should feel unlike any other smartphone on the market, while still allowing heat to dissipate.
Although some have mixed opinions about the design and use of leather, LG has done it rather tastefully and not only does is look impressive, but also feels great in the hand. There is also a Ceramic white which might become the preferred option, also because it is about 100$ cheaper (Rs. 6000 approx)
The front houses a LG G3-esque minimal bezel design from LG which is highly applauded on their previous smartphones, and the LG G4 is expected to have the same outlook.
The construction, however seems a lot less sturdy compared to previous generation G phones from LG. Gorilla Glass 3 has been used in place of Gorilla Glass 4 found on the Galaxy S6 and Edge.
The back panel is removable and replaceable, which means that it can be swapped out if damaged. Also reports of the leather weathering faster than ever, however we faced no such nuisance.
The buttons remain on the back, volume rockers and the main power button, which can also be used as a selfie mirror, sort of.
The phone also lacks premium materials, made mostly from plastics. In an age where Samsung’s flagship is a premium metal and glass device the LG G4 is sub-standard, and less premium.
Performance, Gaming and Display
Here is where the leather laden phone from LG, faces the first from the competition. The underpowered Hexa Core Snapdragon 808 is far inferior than expected. LG’s optimizations to improve battery have further reduced the performance output of this chipset.
In our Benchmark test the G4 stood last with the poorest score. when compared to HTC’s devices and Samsung devices.
The GPU works overtime to deliver high resolution to the 2K display, therefore reducing the graphics quality displayed during gaming.
Although the affect is minimum, but if have been playing on other devices like the HTC M9+ and the S6 you will notice the considerable amount of difference.
The UI is fast and snappy, transitions are quicker and lag is virtually non existent. We still find LG’s UI a little cluttered, and non easy to navigate.
Phone and Battery
The LG G4 in India comes with Dual Sim LTE, which means that both cards can run LTE networks. Networks speeds are weak, due to network strength issues, but we got 14 Mbps downloads in health network areas.
The dual sim setup is handy for a lot of people and on the LG G4 works well. However battery life is adversely affected by the G4 SIM usage, mostly from network searches.
LG is offering a spare battery with an external charger in many countries, this is justified thanks to the poor battery performance. The battery will barely last you a day, and the drain is massive due to the display and the network searches.
- Talk Time : 3 Hours
- Standby : 24 Hours
- Internet : 3.5 Hours
- Music : 9 Hours
- Gaming : 2 Hours.
Honestly, the battery is a big let down for us. You cannot have a flagship, running lower spec hardware, with a poorly performing battery.
The highlight of LG’s new-gen smartphones, and especially the G series smartphones has been the camera and optics. With the new G4, LG continues to use laser autofocus, but improves the camera considerably. Low light performance is excellent, thanks to a f1.8 lens, whereas the Galaxy S6 only manages a f1.9. The front camera however is not as wide on the G4 as on the S6/edge, but seems to have great capture capability.
Dynamic range is much improved, however we feel that indoor image quality needs to be better. The way the software is processing the images, they feel a lot more digital. Outdoor images are high in detail and contrast.
Images will almost always be in focus and sharp, thanks to the laser sensor, which is accurate and super fast.
Video is captured at 4k but to limits of 5 minutes to prevent the chipset from overheating. Finding the 4k option is slightly difficult for the first time around, as the phone records 1080p out the box.
The front camera has a brilliant image quality and works well for “selfies” in low light conditions. The gesture shot allows you to click a picture by making a fist in front of the camera. This allows for a better image, which is less shaky.
Android and UI
With a lot of things built in as smart features, the usability of the LG G4 as a daily driver is easy. Android 5.1 comes out of the box and the UI is highly customizable.
Lg also allows you to customize individual icons, using inbuilt set of icons or your own images can be converted into an icon for any App.
Smart features also allow you to auto-magically enable or disable features as per your usage requirements. For eg. “When at Home turn on Wi-Fi” will automatically enable Wi-Fi on the G4 when you arrive at your’s home’s geolocation. While these features can be really handy, they are an added drain on the battery.
There is still a lot of clutter on the UI as LG is trying to do a lot. Qslide Apps sit in the notification panel, along with quick toggles. There is just so much happening on the G4, that you really want to simplify the usage.
LG’s included apps are also handy, like LG Health for fitness enthusiasts and LG Backup for security of data. Qremote lets you use the inbuilt IR blaster on the top of the phone to control your electronics and appliances, like a TV, Dish box, Air-Con etc. The Qremote turns out to be more useful than mentioned.
Just like each year before this, LG has maintained high quality and managed to make the phone good looking. However, the leather back restricts buyers and the phone may be too any for the female audience.There is a pink leather back cover as well as a red one, which also are more easily handled by men than women. The ceramic white drops the leather for a more LG plastic (they call it polycarbonate) approach.
It is distinctively a man phone, with features which are slightly lower than the competition. A price tag which is higher than the competition and a not so impressive performance and battery life. It does excel in the camera department, only if you are an outdoorsy kind of person. The UI is much more refined than seen in the past and the array of customizations is extensive. But, our money is well spent elsewhere.