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LG G6 review: a great gimmick-free smartphone

T3 logo T3 10-04-2017 Spencer Hart,Ian Morris

Courtesy of T3: T3 image© Courtesy of T3 T3 image Unveiled earlier in the year at Mobile World Congress (MWC), the LG G6 is the successor to the LG G5. Obviously. But while most manufacturers choose to evolve their flagship smartphones, LG has completely scraped the G5 and started from the ground up for it’s new hero mobile.

Unfortunately, the G5 was a failed experiment, and while we appreciated its innovate modular design, consumers weren’t sold on the concept. The G6 takes a more traditional approach to smartphone design. It’s sleeker, more traditional, and feels like the most premium smartphone LG has ever made. 

LG hasn’t stopped innovating, however. The LG G6 still features the dual-camera we loved from the G5, and a new wide-angle screen with super-skinny bezels. It’s topped off with the most polished software we’ve ever seen from LG.

We've been using the LG G6 for a couple of weeks now - this is our official verdict. 

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The G6 is a pretty special design, LG was the first big manufacturer (just beating Samsung) to adopt the large screen, small bezel aesthetic, squeezing a 5.7-inch display into a phone which measures 148.9 x 71.9mm. That’s impressive, although, perhaps it’s been slightly overshadowed by Samsung’s Galaxy S8 design now. Ignoring its rivals, the G6 is still a solid looking phone, and for those who don’t like Samsung’s Infinity Edge display, the G6 can be seen as a non-edge S8.

The first thing you notice when you pick up the G6 is just how comfortable it is to hold. It’s very ergonomic, and sits in the hand nicely. You don’t feel like you’re accidentally pressing parts of the screen, despite the small bezels.

Build quality has also taken a step up. You’ve got Gorilla Glass on the front and rear of the device, with a solid metal edge. The G6 is easily the most premium feeling device LG has ever released. There is, however, a slightly hollow feel to the rear casing which you don’t get with Samsung and Apple phones. LG states this is to avoid a Note 7-style incident.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The power buttons-cum-fingerprint sensor is located on the rear in a nice central location, where your finger naturally rests.

The G6 comes in three colourways, black, white and silver. Sorry, that should be  Astro Black, Mystic White and Ice Pmlatinum. 

LG has managed to make the G6’s glass back reassuringly non-slippy, and the body is rated IP68, meaning it’s water resistant to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.

In summary, the LG G6 doesn’t have the most breathtakingly attractive design out there, but it’s a premium, ergonomic phone that is well thought out. 

Screen

The key attraction here is the display. The trend for smartphones in 2017 is to maximise the screen size while minimising the bezels, getting rid of as much wasted space as possible.

The G6 features a 5.7-inch display with a slightly odd 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s a decent size, and while there is some two-hand usage required, most of the time you’ll be able to get by with a bit of thumb stretching.

That slightly stretched aspect ratio means some unoptimised apps will have black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. This is a minor annoyance, but can be fixed in the settings menu by selecting what aspect ratio you want the app to display in.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The display itself looks great. It’s a QuadHD (1440x2880 pixels) screen with a pixel density of 564ppi. It’s bright and colourful, and particularly good for watching Netflix thanks to LG’s longstanding partnership with Dolby. The G6 will support both Dolby Vision and the open standard HDR10.

Support for HDR will need to come from sources other than Netflix, but it's a matter of simply enabling the feature on their mobile apps. There's a Dolby Vision test clip loaded onto the phone, but it's not much to write home about. Having HDR on the phone is really exciting though, and supporting Dolby is great, as it's likely most phone manufacturers won't do so. 

Camera

LG has carried over the dual camera philosophy from the G5, offering a standard camera, along with a wide-angle option. Both rear cameras are now 13-megapixel, one has a 71 degree angle and the other is 125 degrees - that's super-wide.

If you're a camera person, that's wider than a 14mm lens on a full-frame camera. Selfie-fans can rejoice too, because the front camera is very wide too, at 100 degrees. This means that large groups will be able to appear in your photos without having to crash your personal space too much. 

We love using the LG G6’s rear camera, the ultra-wide angle lens comes in useful on so many occasions. The images do look a little over sharpened, but the G6 can handle most lighting conditions well, and deliver a decent image most of the time.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. One area where LG has really gone crazy is in video. The camera on the G6 has some features that you get on pro-video devices. For example, focus peaking shows what is in focus by adding an artificial colour. It's a staple of shooting pro video, and you can use it on the G6 in both video and still mode. It's incredibly handy because it means you should always be able to get correct focus, especially in conditions where autofocus struggles. 

The G6 can record video at 4K, but adds 60fps support too. That's pretty amazing really, and means you'll be able to shoot silky-smooth video. Some people don't like this look, but if you're recording sports it can be a really good option - or anything with a lot of action. But the other advantage of 60fps is that you can halve it to 30fps in editing and get a 50% slow motion - all at 4K. 

It's also got a hybrid image stabilisation system too. Both optical and electronic methods are used to keep your image stable. The electric system uses the phone's motion sensors to detect involuntary movements and correct them. 

Other Features

The LG G6 will come running Android 7.0 Nougat. It’s the best version of Google’s mobile OS. In fact, the G6 is the first non-Google phone to launch with Google Assistant

LG's 'skin' for Android is now much less of a barrier to your enjoyment, and less ugly than in times past. It'd still be better with raw Android, but there we go. 

We also can’t finish this review without mentioning cold-hard-specs. The LG G6 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor and 4GB RAM. That’s actually a 2016 chipset (found in the Google Pixel), so it’s not quite as powerful as the S8 which runs a Snapdragon 835. Will there be any noticeable difference in speed? No, we very much doubt it.

Everything on the LG G6 feels pleasingly zippy, from the fingerprint sensor to opening apps.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. LG has opted to include removable storage as an option on the G6, which is good, because base storage option is only 32GB. 

To power all of this you're going to need a lot of juice, and LG has boosted the power from 2500mAh in the G5 to 3300mAh in the G6. It’s no longer removable, but we have a feeling that will only annoy a very small group of people.

Charging is via USB Type-C. 

Verdict

LG has finally made a good-looking, premium smartphone free from gimmicks. There are a lot of features we love here - that wide-angle screen is great, the bezels are tiny, and the dual-camera is really handy.

But it’s far from a perfect phone. LG has used a 2016 chipset, so it’s not the most efficient smartphone available, and the skin over Android Nougat is far from the best out there.

Certainly though, LG has done enough to redeem itself from the unfortunately unsuccessful G5 last year. Clearly, it’s not going to be the best Android phone released in 2017, but we don’t think you’ll regret buying it.

Full Spec

Display: 5.7” QuadHD IPS LCD

Size: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight: 163 g 

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821

Memory: 4GB 

Storage: 32GB 

Front Camera: 13 MP 

Rear Camera: Dual 13 MP

Battery: 3300 mAh 

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