While The S6 lineup is garnering all the attention in the market right now, there is yet another device that is working in the shadows. A device that caused all sorts of craze when it hit the market,and even today, it is ranked at par or even better than the other flagships in its segment. The phone I am talking about is none other than Samsung’s very own Derby rival, LG’s G4. The G4 is essentially a device that one would call flagship the moment he/she set their eyes on it. With premium build, butter smooth UI and top of the line features, this is one phone you really want to own, irrespective of the type of smartphone user you might be. So, without further ado, lets get straight into the device. But, before we get into the details, lets take a quick look at the key specifications of the LG G4 –
148.9 x 76.1 x 6.3 – 9.8 mm
5.5″(1440 x 2560 pixels)| 538 ppi
16 megapixels OIS (rear) | 8 megapixels (front)
Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808
Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
128 GB ( microSD expandable slot)
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Grey, White, Gold, Leather Black, Leather Brown, Leather Red
From the list above, one can easily see that when LG made this device, they weren’t kidding around. I would go as far as saying that if the phone had been marketed to the maximum and smartly, the world would have gone gaga over LG instead of its hometown rival. But thats in the past now, and all we can do is look into the innards of this device and determine whether or not it should be your top choice. So, lets get started –
Design – When it comes to design , the LG G4 looks a lot like its ‘Experimental’ sibling, the G Flex 2. The only thing that differentiates the two is the leather back cover on the G4. However m when you compare it to its predecessor, the G3, thats where you can compare the changes. While the G3 had more of a svelte , rounded figure, the G4 has been made a lot more macho, with sharper edges and a narrower bend. The bezels have been reduced compared to the G3, while the display has been changed to a new ‘Quantum’ Display. While the company has a slightly complicated explanation for the Quantum tech, what you have to keep in mind is that, the new ‘Quantum’ Display will do everything in its power to amplify the display performance while remaining power efficient at the same time. Another thing you might want to consider is the fact that even though the display is a handful 5.5 inches, the overall chassis is quite slim to the point where you literally don’t realise that its there once you put the device in your pockets.As far as the durability is concerned, the phone lacks the IP certifications, which means the phone is neither water proof nor shatter proof. However, you still get the Gorilla Glass 3 protection which means you need not worry about scratches and minor collisions here and there. However, if you are one of those users who make sure that their phone remains in pristine order, you are better off buying the screen guard and cover for your device as well.Coming to the back of the device, we have two panel options in Plastic and Leather. Should you choose plastic, you get the option of choosing from three colour options – Ceramic White, Gold and Metallic Gray. While a few of you might feel that the era of plastic bodies is done, the G4 brings it back with a bang. The Quality of plastic is stellar, and to add to the bling factor, LG has designed subtle diamond patterns on the back which add to the looks and give you some grip on the device as well. Another bit of detail that the Korean Giant has put into their plastic panels is that the Ceramic White panel is actually coated with ceramic paint, giving it the authenticity it so deserves. However, if the plastic option is not to your liking, LG has given you the more exclusive alternative in Leather. More recently , we saw motorola pull off the leather gimmick on their Moto X with surprisingly successful results, but it was the G4 that really brings out the best in the genre. While the G3 lacked the leather option altogether, it doesn’t look like LG felt any difficulty at all in bringing it into the mix for the G4. While the other flagships go in for standard leather options, the G4 goes a step beyond. The Leather panels in the G4 are tanned in vegetable oils, which is widely considered as the more environmental way of doing it. What should also be noted is the fact that since Vegetable Oil tanning is a highly laborious process, it is only done in the most exclusive of cases, and G4 is one of them. To take it notch higher, LG has also gone forward and acquired the threads from some of the most exquisite sources in order to give the customers a truly authentic leather feel. So, if its the leather that interests you then you can choose from the following shades – Black, Brown and Red. However, I expect that more colours will follow.All in all, the LG G4 has everything you would look for in a truly exclusive flagship phone. I would have liked the IP certifications , but it is something that is still in its rudimentary stages, so I guess we can overlook that small left out detail. So, if you are someone who is looking for a device that looks drop dead gorgeous, the G4 should be right there at the top of your wish list.
Display – Mobile phone displays have come a long way since the dawn of the devices it self, and today, we are looking at smartphones donning the same resolution as high end TVs. When we talk about the resolution of flagship devices these days, its the QHD that takes the win as people want the maximum for the money they putting in. Of course, you could argue that Full HD (1080p) isn’t exactly extinct, but to be honest, if I was to choose between a flagship with 1080p resolution and a flagship with QHD resolution , I would choose the latter any time. The LG G4 is one of the latter. Armed with LG’s new ‘Quantum’ display and a stunning QHD resolution ( 1440 x 2560 pixels ), this is a device that will give you one of the most immersive viewing experiences of your life. Whats more, it even boasts a rich pixel density of 538 ppi. Now, for those who are new to the world of smartphones, the human eye saturates at around 300 ppi, which is aptly known as the retina ppi. Anything more than 300 ppi cannot be perceived directly by human eyes. However, if you really want to see the effects of such a pixel density, you can try zooming in on your images or webpages. Rest assured, you will find zero pixelation. Now that we have the basic outlook of the display package, lets go into LG’s trump card – The Quantum Display.LG’s new ‘Quantum’ display is something similar to the Triluminous display of Sony, quite obvious considering the fact that both of the companies re at loggerhead sin the TV business as well. The difference though is that while Sony was quick to release their Triluminous tech into their devices, LG took their time, and only when they were certain of hitting a home run, they made the swing. For the development of this Quantum display, LG turned to DCI ( Which normally works with the likes of professional TV studios ) to calibrate their displays. Turns out that the Display on the LG G4 achieved 98% of DCI’s coverage standards , which means you will get accurate colours with almost zero over saturation.The Quantum display also fixes two of the most niggling problems that were found in the display of the LG G3 – Lack of saturation and contrast. The colours are punchy ( but not oversaturated), while the viewing angles are near perfect. The brightness levels have been retained , but the new display is less reflective , which means you get some incredible sunlight legibility.Overall, LG has made sure that G4 users are well equipped with the best in the business when it comes to the display. While some of you might find the brightness settings bit dimmer than expected, its not really a nagging problem as such. A few tweaks with the brightness bar should give you the results you desire. Other than that, the display is a big thumbs up.
Connectivity – Connectivity is one of those no-brainer sections for any smartphone manufacturer. The funny thing however is the fact that there are still a few smartphones out there that are lacking in a section such as this. Is the LG G4 decked up or does it fall short ? Lets find out -The LG G4 comes with a complete connectivity package. You have 4G/LTE connectivity, in supported regions. If your region doesn’t support 4G yet, don’t fret, once it does , your LG G4 will be able to use it to the fullest.WiFi 802.11ac is no surprise at all. I mean , where is the sort in smartphone is it doesn’t support something as fundamental as WiFi , right? Anyway, you can connect to any router there is , plus you also get Bluetooth 4.1 for faster Audio streaming.If you are into Wireless content streaming, then you also have DLNA and Miracast ( Which basically mirrors your phone screen on your TV or any compatible display ).Lastly, you have the very nifty IR port , which will allow you to control your TV , Audio devices, DTH devices and even Air conditioners from your device. I have used the IR ports on various devices, but I must hand the win to the Q Remote that comes with the LG flagships.
So, if I was describe the connectivity package of the LG G4 in one word it will be – Perfect.
Performance – If you look at the quick spec list above, you will see that the LG G4 comes loaded with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset, while its sibling, the G Flex 2 comes with the newer 810 chipset. So, the question is, why didn’t LG equip their flagship with the top dog of mobile chipset, and instead gave it the second best ?Well, to tell you the truth, I feel LG did the right thing by doing this way because , while it may be true that the Snapdragon 810 is definitely better than the 808, performance tests have revealed that the 810 has temperature issues, which lead the chipset and in effect, the entire device to heat up , which degrades the performance of the device in the long run. The 808 may be a subdued version of the 810 but it will give a consistent performance going forward, and its still a visible upgrade over the LG G3. Technically speaking, the Snapdragon 808 is built on the big.LITTLE architecture, where we have two Cortex A-57 cores in the big cluster , and four Cortex A-53 cores in the LITTLE cluster. We also get the Adreno 418 GPU, which is one of the best in the market, but when it comes to rendering QHD, it might have its work cut out. I am not saying it can’t render QHD, I am saying that there may be times when it will feel slightly overwhelmed.When the phone was taken through the routine performance benchmark tests, there were times when the Snapdragon 808 absolutely smoked the Snapdragon 810, but that was mores due tot he inefficiency of the latter than the brilliance of the former. However, when it came down to performing against the Galaxy S6 and its newly refurbished Exynos Chipset, The G4 stood no chance.So, when it comes to commenting on the performance package, all I can say is that, if you are someone who doesn’t like going too much into details about the performance benchmarks, and is only bothered about zero lags and a decent gaming experience, you can happily go for the LG G4. However, if you really want the best performing phone in the market, I would suggest that you consider the Galaxy S6 over the LG G4.
Camera – At the time of release, the LG G4 boasted of having the most advanced mobile camera in the world. However, when their neighbours, Samsung released the S6, the fight got real. Anyway, the LG G4 comes loaded with a powerful 16 MP rear camera sensor , complete with Laser Autofocus, and Optical Image Stabilisation. To get a better picture, lets see what the G4 has over its predecessor, the LG G3.For starters, the G4 comes with a bigger 1/2.6″ sensor, which is positioned behind a wider f/1.8 lens, which is credited of letting in 80% more light than the G3. next thing that the company upgraded was the Optical Image stabilisation ,which now works around 3 axis instead of 2 in the G3. The Laser Autofocus feature has been brought back along with a new Colour Spectrum sensor, which basically detects ambient light for more accurate white balance.While the hardware has been given a very big revamp, the software is not far behind. The UI has been further simplified, and now features three primary modes – Simple, Basic and Manual. The first is plain old point & shoot with no options at all , then Basic gives you the usual phone camera options and finally, Manual gives you full control of the capable camera. The new camera comes with the 16:9 aspect ratio, which means that you end up covering more area horizontally , but not vertically. Also, LG has drastically increased dynamic range on the device, which means you don’t necessarily have to go for the 100% zoom tactic. However, if you really want to see the true prowess of the new camera, wait for night to come and whip out your G4 for some good old low light photography. Going a bit more technical, what happens is that the mare sensor takes the noise reduction levels all the way down, resulting in a lot of visible noise when you hit 100%. What happens due to this is that the G4 ends up preserving a hell of a lot more of detail than the G3, which is a big Plus.Another thing to note is that if you had a G3 and you wanted to do some low light photography, you would have to resort to the in built Night mode. However, if you have a G4 and you want to carry out the same task, you don’t need the Night mode at all. The camera acts off its own and shoots at 1/10s shutter speed, while the OIS keeps things stable.Next up, Selfies. Smartphones these days are being used for selfies than anything else, and thats why, it has become imperative for smartphone manufacturers these days , to cater to this whim of Users. The LG G4 shines here as well. The 8MP selfie snapper is one of the best join the business, and clearly outclasses the 2 MP shooter that came with the G3. Better Dynamic range, better details capture and better lighting settings means only one thing – Enviable Selfies.
Coming to the Video capture capabilities of the G4, I am happy to tell you that the G4 is well equipped in this segment as well. The device tops off at 2160p recording @ 30 fps. As a top up, you also get a slow-mo mode which records 720p @120fps. One thing that is definitely missing is the 60fps recording option, even at 1080p. That notwithstanding, we still get some high quality videos with the G4.
Overall, I would say that other than the lack of the 60fps recording option, the Camera package is arguably the best in the business at the moment . So, if its a camera phone you need, the G4 is the right choice. You can definitely argue that the Galaxy lineup has a better camera setup, but little things like the improved Dynamic range give the G4 a slight edge here.
Memory and Platform – One of the most important things for the average smartphone user today is the memory available in the device, more so in the flagships. If you look at the current trend, you will notice that flagships these days don’t come with the MicroSD card feature, which is a deal breaker considering the amount of money people put into smartphones these days. Thats where the LG G4 capitalises. With 32 GB of in built memory and the memory expansion option going all the way to 128GB, this is one smartphone that features cheap memory expansion, which should come as definite good news.Another thing that performance enthusiasts look at these days is how capable the smartphone is when it comes to multi tasking. While the G4 may not have 4Gb of RAM like the recently launched Zenfone 2, it still rocks the multi tasking segment with a solid 3GB of RAM. So , when you couple 32 GB of in built memory with upto 128 GB of memory expansion and 3 GB of RAM, you get a device that has been fully primed to cause ripples in the smartphone market. The Cherry on the top however, is the fact that the device runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, which is the latest on the block at the moment, and when you look at the hardware and software specifications of the G4, you can be rest assured that you will be awarded with future OS upgrades as well.Overall, there is nothing you can complain about in this department, as you have everything you would ever need when it comes to the Memory, RAM and of course, OS.
Battery – Finally, we have the battery. The LG G4 comes with a strong 3000 mAh battery, which, in today’s world, is a lot of juice for a flagship. The features in today’s phones are increasing everyday, and its only apt that the company gives their flagships enough battery life to help the device go through all its tasks with ease. While LG did go for some really bold changes in the rest of the devices, this is by far the best decision that they have taken. How?Take for example, the extremely powerful Samsung Galaxy S6. It has every single feature in the books and more, but the one thing it clearly lacks is a decent battery. At 2550 mAh, one really wonders how long the phone can pull before giving in, which is why you see many S6 users move around with either a portable charger , or the wireless charging pad. In case of the LG G4 however, its a whole different story. Some might say that even 3000 mAh is not enough to power a true flagship , but it is surely more than what its rival can pull off, so that mater can be closed. When we come to the actual performance of this battery, we let the numbers do the talking.But before we get into the G4’s battery figures, its interesting to note that LG has stuck to the same battery through three of its flagships in a row, namely , the G2, G3 and now, the G4. While the G2 was the undisputed king of Battery life in its day, the G3 just couldn’t give the user its absolute best with the same battery. So, if you carry on the trend to the G4, you will notice that you might be in for a hassle as well with the battery. Battery Tests show that the G4 can do 16 h of 3G, 8 h of Web Browsing, and 7.5 h of Video playback. Sure, it may not seem like much, but its the price every user must pay in case he/she goes for this device. Don’t worry though, you are not alone in this plight, because as it turns out, every major player in the smartphone market is facing the same problem regarding the battery life.Overall, I would say that while the battery may not sound like much, it is what you are going to have to stick to. Of course, you could go in for one of those higher rated batteries made by out of market players, but do so at your own risk.
All in all, I would say that the LG G4 is truly a device worthy of sitting on the Iron Throne of the Smartphones. The alternatives to this are quite few , making this device definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Sure, the battery could have used a much needed upgrade , but with portable chargers and wireless charging pads now in the market, I don’t think its going to be much of an issue. So, if you are someone looking for a powerful flagship, with a crisp display, good performance and an enviable camera package, the LG G4 is your best bet.