Three significant features make the LG G6, this year’s flagship smartphone from South Korea’s second largest tech company, stand out from all of its predecessors. Above all, we have its 5.7-inch QHD+ display with a 18:9 aspect ratio, the dual rear-facing camera with two 13-mega pixel lenses featuring different focal lengths and a glass finish with an aluminum frame which has an exceptionally slim bezel thanks to the previously mentioned screen.
On the other hand, LG G6 comes with Snapdragon 821 – a powerful, but not top-of-the-line Qualcomm chipset which is thought to be suitable for just the near flagship smartphone range. The G6 also uses Sony’s two-year-old rear camera sensors like we’ve seen on mid-range devices and Gorilla Glass 3 – a generation older protective layer than the one featured on the LG G5. Overall, the LG G6 still leaves us with a very positive impression and it is clearly a direct rival to Samsung’s Galaxy S8, but is a shade less powerful … and more affordable.
LG G6 Build and Design
Compared to the relative market flop of the LG G5, which was modular and had a metal finish, the G6 boasts a much more contemporary design and a glass finish. To be precise, glass covers both the front and back of the phone, while the frame is made from aluminum, with just tiny plastic slits for the antenna signal. Despite the fact that the device has a 5.7-inch display with dimensions 149 x 72 x 7.9 mm (5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 in), it is insignificantly smaller than the previous 5.3-inch LG G5 and almost identically big as the 5.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S8. Of course, the secret is that only its height has increased to an 18:9 aspect ratio, meaning that its diagonal has increased more than its real surface.
It offers the same surface as 5.5-inch displays with the old aspect ratio of 16:9. LG wanted to create a device which has the biggest possible screen size, but can be used with just one hand, which is an ergonomic plus for G6. Of course, Samsung Galaxy S8 also has a taller display, but with nonexistent left and right screen bezels, as it is rounded. LG G6 has a flat display, thus, it has a left and right bezel. That makes the G6 seem less impressive, but handling it is easier in practice thanks to fewer accidental touches and a better selection of phone cases. This is just one of those hidden advantages to traditional design that might appeal to some users.
The bad news is that under the contemporary finish is an internal spec sheet that varies based on your regional market. For example, LG G6 which supports wireless charging will hit the US market, but this option will not be available in other regions. A version with a built-in DAC will be available in South Korea, but not all other global regions. These two markets will not have FM support, but all others will. Fortunately, the device comes with the IP68 certificate on all markets, meaning it is water and dust resistant.
In terms of construction, the arrangement of the hardware is completely as expected. Only the front-facing camera, speaker for telephone calls, the LG logo and several sensors are included in the slim bezel around the screen, while the back of the device holds the dual lens camera with a dual LED flash – fully flat – just like the Power key, which can easily be reached with both the right and left hand, and a built-in fingerprint sensor. The upper side holds the 3.5-mm audio jack and a secondary microphone, while the bottom includes the primary microphone, USB Type-C connector and mono speaker perforations. The left side holds the volume control keys, while the right side includes the microSD and nanoSIM card drawer.
LG G6 Display
LG representatives intentionally claim that the G6’s model has an 18:9 aspect ratio, not 2:1, in order to emphasize the vertical elongation of the display compared to the predecessors, while the resolution is now 2880 x 1440 pixels, which is enough to create a total density of 564 ppi. The IPS LCD is indeed impressive, not only because of the exceptional pixel density and the pleasant brightness that goes up to 600 nits with automatic settings, but also because of the the outstanding contrast.
Deep, dark tones and milky clear white tones offer a high level of visibility and using the display when it is exposed to direct sunlight is perfectly pleasant. In this department, the LG G6 measures up to the iPhone 7 Plus. The only objection goes to color accuracy, which tilts towards the bluer part of the spectrum, but this won’t cause a problem in practice or an unpleasant feeling during everyday use – just a slight imperfection.
LG G6 Performance & Battery Life
The LG G6 comes with Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 821 chipset with two Kyro cores running a 2.35 GHz clock and a 1.6 GHz clock. This is Qualcomm’s second best chipset, after Snapdragon 835 was revealed at CES and yet another detail stating that practicality is more important than bleeding-edge specifications. Thus, the phone scored 1730 on GeekBench at a single-core test, and 4210 for multi-core, which approximately matches rival models with the same SoC, like HTC U Ultra or last year’s flagship from Samsung, the Galaxy S7 edge. In everyday work, LG G6 is absolutely fluid and acts as a full-blooded flagship.
The phone is equipped with the Adreno 530 graphic system, just like last year’s G5, which is also a shade poorer variety than what is possible at the moment – Adreno 540, featured on Samsung Galaxy S8 intended for the US market (the one which does not use Exynos, but Snapdragon 835). It comes with 4 GB of RAM and is available with humble 32 GB of memory storage or somewhat more pleasant 64 GB, but also has a microSD card slot. The mentioned Qualcomm SoC enables LTE Cat 11/12, i.e. a downlink peak data rate of up to 600 Mbps and an uplink peak data rate of 150 Mbps.
The 3300 mAh battery is one of the phone’s biggest attractions. Its capacity is 18 percent greater than what was featured on the previous model, while the biggest power consumption part of the whole handset – the display – has increased by just 8 percent. When precise battery life tests are done, the LG G6 provides 25 percent more run time than the LG G5, which is a significant advancement and you can expect it to last two whole days without the need to be recharged. Even with exceptionally intense use, brightness level set to the max and plenty of video playback, the G6 will make it from the morning until late in the evening. QuickCharge 3.0 is delivered with the phone, declared at 9V/1.8A, thus enabling a 47 percent battery recharge in just 30 minutes.
LG G6 Camera
The dual camera reveals a significant novelty compared to what we have seen on previous LG models with two rear-facing cameras. Now, both cameras have an identical 13-mega pixel sensor, but different optical features. Therefore, the primary camera has an aperture of f/1.8 and focal length of 30 mm (expressed in units equivalent to 35 mm film), creating a field of view of 71 degrees, while the other camera has f/2.4 and a 125-degree field. In addition, the primary camera also comes with optical stabilization in three axis with autofocus, while the second camera does not have this feature.
When it comes to image quality, I expected more from LG. The sensor in both rear cameras is Sony’s two-year-old IMX258, which is often used in significantly cheaper devices than this one, but smaller than what was the case with the previous model. This is mostly evident on photos taken at night, which suffer from significant amounts of digital noise or grain. On the other hand, color interpretation is very precise, while this sensor takes images that look fine in the daytime.
LG no longer uses the so-called laser autofocus, but G6 has phase detection on the primary rear-facing camera. Using dual back cameras is still in the experimental stage on the market and all manufacturers are toying with this feature. It seems that LG has selected the features and specs the company believes customers like most.
LG also took advantage of the new aspect ratio when it comes to the smartphone’s software, thus many native applications come with the option of splitting the interface into two squares. For example, after shooting an image, the photo application will display it on one half of the screen, while the second half will be active as a view finder for the next picture. Still, the dual rear-facing camera software does not support the bokeh effect, which is a shame. The front camera has a 5-megapixel camera and a 100-degree field of view.
LG G6 Final Thoughts
Although it seems like an imitation of the Samsung Galaxy S8 with its elongated display, LG’s G6 is a very good smartphone which will mostly appeal to those who want something different, with the emphasis on what is practical. The LG G6 offers above average battery life and a good balance of the software and hardware even if the specifications don’t match up to those of the most up-to-date top models. This will result in the G6 ageing before its time, i.e. it will lose its value sooner than a smartphone with true flagship hardware. This is why the LG G6 is a good pick for users who have the habit of frequently changing their phone.
- Beautiful display
- Good battery life
- Solid performance
- Not the latest hardware
- Poor image quality in low light
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