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Hands-On: LG G4

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Apr 28, 2015, 12:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

LG revealed the G4 at an event in New York City today. The phone boasts an impressive spec sheet and an optional leather rear cover. LG claims the phone offers superior camera and screen performance when compared to the competition. Here are our initial impressions.

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LG reveled the G4 today, its iPhone 6, One M9, and Galaxy S6 competitor for 2015. This Android smartphone is an obvious evolution of the designs we've seen from LG since the 2013-era G2. However, LG went nuts with the specs and claims to have created a powerful multimedia device.

First and foremost: leather. Yes, leather. LG has an optional back cover for the phone that's 100% genuine vegetable-tanned leather. There's no doubt the leather gives the G4 a Game-of-Thrones look. I mean, where else is a skin-covered phone acceptable? (Motorola has been offering leather-covered smartphones since 2014.) I think the leather looks and feel great, though there surely are some who will disagree. LG will eventually ship six different leather colors, including black, brown, yellow, blue, gray/brown, and maroon. What's not clear is which carriers will offer what colors. Sprint, for example, has only committed to selling the black leather version. Perhaps LG will make the rear cover available as a separate accessory purchase.

The general shape and look of the G4 shouldn't surprise anyone who's been paying attain to LG's handset designs the last few years. The phone has a very (and I mean very) gentle curve to the overall shape. It's not full-on G Flex 2, but the curve is there. LG says this gives the phone some extra strength, and of course makes it fit better in the hand. It is a slim and lightweight device, of that there's no doubt. The G4 is basically the same as the G3, only slightly curved and covered in leather. I will say that it doesn't carry the premium feel that glass-and-metal phones (iPhone 6, M9, S6, etc.) offer. Some people will be fine with that, but I think LG is taking a slight risk in ignoring today's trends.

Body  

The screen is cray-cray. It stretches 5.5 inches across the diagonal and includes 2560 x 1440 pixels. The pixel density is absurd ad the Quantum IPS technology LG says is inside the screen works. The G4's screen offers incredible contrast, amazing color, and phenomenal brightness. It's a darned good display.

LG doesn't want to clutter up the side edges of the phone with buttons and other unsightly design elements. That's why the volume and power buttons are on the back of the phone, positioned under the camera array. This is a quirky design trait that LG seems determined to use, whether people like it or not. I wasn't overly impressed with the quality of the materials used in creating the array, but the buttons had good travel and feedback. Since there are no buttons, LG is able to taper the edges dramatically. I appreciate that they are nice and thin. The headphone jack and microUSB port are both located on the bottom of the phone. An IR blaster is visible along the top edge.

The user interface is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. LG calls it "UX 4.0." As with the hardware design, the user interface is an evolution of what we've seen in years past. The icons have a square and sharp look to them and the colors lean towards earth tones. During the few moments we spent with the phone, it is clear that the UI is slick and speedy.

Speaking of speedy, the G4 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor on board, with X10 LTE. Qualcomm says the processor/baseband combo is capable of 400 Mbps downloads over networks able to support such speeds.

Interface  

The camera has been ramped up to 16 megapixel and packs in tons of technology. The aperture is wider to let in more light, the sensor is larger to collect more pixels, and the phone uses a Color Spectrum Sensor to more accurately determine what colors should be represented in the final image. Oh yeah, focus is assisted by frickin' laser beams. It's a nice camera.

The G4 goes on sale in June, but LG didn't say for how much. It's not unreasonable to expect the full retail cost to be around $649, with carriers offering various financing options to knock that down to more palatable payments.

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Comments

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Slammer

Apr 28, 2015, 8:24 PM
edited

Really Excited.

I'm not really a glitz and glamour man. However, I do like nice things but, I don't need a phone to express my tastes. I have my house and cars to do this. My phone must retain the most functionality and self control as possible. After sale services in costs and support is more important than the device itself. Cheap battery replacement without down time and periodic inspections of the batteries are crucial to optimum performance before it's too late.

I waited to see what LG brought to the table. Our contract is up very soon and even though we enjoyed our last three Samsung S Series phones, we have elected to seriously consider LG due to retaining control over the power source and being able to allocate our memory where WE want without h...
(continues)
I couldn't agree more. I have the Optimus G Pro and it has been one of the best phones I've owned.

I want control over what I own. I don't think that what's on the outside makes a device better. It's way more important to me that a device function...
(continues)
Zpike

Apr 28, 2015, 8:52 PM
edited

I will wait and see

what happens with the Note 5. But if the battery is sealed in and there's no memory card slot, this phone will be a serious contender as my next device. I love the decision to go with leather. It seems there are premium materials that don't hinder key functionality after all. Phonescoop may think LG is foolish not to follow lockstep with the trends started by Apple, but personally I think Apple will go the way of most trends. LG has the foresight to do something not just different, but better. I applaud LG for making a better device, rather than imitating a worse one.
 
 
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