LG has made some really good smartphones over the past few years and they always tried hard to stand out but eventually didn’t. For 2017, they decided to stick to the basics and learn from what worked, leave out what didn’t work and put it in a beautiful looking package, which brings us to the LG G6 – A stunning slab of metal, glass, and 2017 geekiness.
Special thanks to LG Gulf for the lovely LG G6
Every year, very smartphone manufacturer works on their line-up but puts special focus on their flagship. Questions like what would make it stand out, what could be done better than the competitors and so on.
Towards the end of 2016, everyone has been hinting towards edgeless displays or bezel-less displays. While there were some in the far east markets, nothing was mainstream, and LG just went for it. Hard.
Let’s talk specifications
Before we get into how the phone is and all, let’s cover the basics. The G6 comes in 3 colors, a Platinum (as reviewed), Black, with gray frame and a White, with a rose-gold frame.
The LG G6 has a beautiful premium build with a fairly reasonable 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm body that has Gorilla Glass on the front and back, with a metal frame all-round.
The display is the highlight of the design with a FullVision display sized at 5.7 inches, with the resolution of 1440×2880 and an aspect ratio of 18:9 (or 2:1). The screen is HDR10 and Dolby Vision enabled.
What makes this display significant is that it is 5.7 inches in the body of a device that would not generally have anything larger than a 5.2-5.4-inch display. They’ve done this by shrinking all the bezels and enlargening the display. They took this a step further by curving the edges of the display, for the ultimate eye-candy screen look and also claim extra screen rigidity.
The G6 weighs a respectable 163 grams, considering all the glass and metal involved.
On the inside, sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor clocked at 2.35Ghz, 4GBs of RAM, 32GB of internal memory running Android 7.0 Nougat.
On the other side of the gorgeous display, sits the best that LG could put together for a camera, or should I say, cameras and their fingerprint sensor.
There is a dual 13MP camera setup, but no Boca or black and white focus here, LG went pure functionality with a standard 71-degree F/1.8 lens and a wide-angle 125-degree F/2.4 lens – more on that later!
The G6 also has a 3300mAh supported by Quick Charge 3.0
Finally, they felt this package needed something extra… something protective, to give the owner a little peace of mind, so the G6 got the IP68 treatment, as well.
LG packs the G6 with the standard instruction manuals, USB type-A to type-C cable with a wall charger (Quick Charge 3.0), a Type-A to Type-C adaptor and a SIM ejector tool – no headphones included, which sucks as their competitors are really upping their headphones game.
A look at the G6
Let’s start from the front, as that is where you’ll spend most of your LG G6 time.
From the top of the G6, you’ll find the front-facing camera, sensors, and earpiece.
This is then followed by the large 18:9 5.7-inch display, which is all under one pane of Gorilla glass.
Moving down to the bottom, there is nothing but the LG logo, which is also placed under the glass to ensure it does not get any wear or tear.
At the bottom of the phone sits the microphone, USB Type-C port, and a downward facing speaker. Do note that the front earpiece does not act as a speaker, so you only get one audio output channel.
Flipping the phone to the back, you’ll get the dual cameras and a flash in-between them, and this is flat without a bump.
Right below that, you’ll find the fingerprint sensor, which has a raised ring but only about a millimeter or so.
On the left of the device are two volume buttons, nothing on the right but the dual SIM tray (which can be two SIM cards or one SIM and Micro SD) and on the top you’ll find another microphone, and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.
There are subtle antenna lines at the top and bottom, and LG has done a good job keeping them hidden well.
Everything about the G6 looks and feels of quality. The glass is soft, crisp and clean – not too much bendiness or curves going on, especially at the back, and it tucks into the metal frame. The front has a flat front panel. The metal frame has chamfered edges, which gives it that beautiful shine that reminds you of the metal quality build.
What’s it like to live with?
On the physical side of things, the G6 is a delight. It has just the right amount of height, width, thickness, and weight. Being that it does not have tons of curves, it fits very securely in one’s hand and does not give you the feeling that it could slip out.
One-handed operation is fairly limited as the 18:9 ratio means the screen is quite tall, but overall the most comfortable 5.7-inch display you can get. The phone slides in and out of pockets, cases, and bags easily and if I would have any comment, it would be that I wish the headphone jack was not at the top.
It lays flat on surfaces and does not jiggle about, and the fingerprint placement, in my opinion, is perfect. The only issue with it is that it is almost as flat as the cameras, which makes finding it harder. Fortunately, I have a perfectly cut case from Spigen that as just the right hole cut-outs to get it right, every time. And protection, of course.
How does it run?
This beautiful, sleek and smooth hardware can only be any good if it is accompanied by good software and this is an important section to cover.
Firstly, everyone on the internet is complaining about the fact the LG G6 is running a processor from last year, what they fail to understand is that the experience does not get better or worse depending on what hardware you have, but by how the software operates on this hardware. 821 or 835 means nothing if the experience is not good.
Fortunately, the G6 is a smooth device and is actually smoother than some devices with the updated 835 processor. It is not perfect and does have random lags and jerkiness, but as an overall smartphone experience, its one of the smoothest – and that is what matters, not the data sheet.
There is quite a list of cool features on the G6 and I will try to cover quite a bit here:
From the left, you see the standard home screen. Being at this aspect ratio, there is a lot more real-estate, and on-screen navigation keys make it look even better.
The drop-down menu looks standard and is fully customizable – missing though, is the ability to have a tiny sub-menu under each of the shortcuts.
The settings section is fairly extensive and allows a huge amount of customizations with quite a good search function.
Being a dual-SIM phone, it allows customizing ringtones, vibration patterns and more depending on which SIM is being used.
An important thing to highlight is not all applications are compatible with an 18:9 aspect ratio and LG has included its own scaling software, capable of adjusting applications to fit the resolution – this is whether they natively can or be stretched, but the choice is totally up to the user which is great.
The G6 does not have an OLED screen, which means individual pixels cannot be lit up for an always on display, but they still included a low-power alternative, which lights the entire screen but still does quite a great job. The point to note is, turning this off is an issue since the G6 does not have a LED notification light.
The navigation keys fortunately and brilliantly can be fully customizable based on your needs.
Being such a big gorgeous and bright display, using it at night or in bed can be harsh on your eyes, so LG included a comfort view mode, which is also customizable. What sucks is that this cannot be scheduled to come on automatically.
The streak of customization continues with the ability to select a home screen with or without an app-drawer and a simple mode.
Smart settings enable users the ability to automatically adjust system settings based on where the device is or devices connected to it – this is a solid win!
If you share your device with kids, friends or SO, you can create profiles with customizable settings, layouts and more.
Fingerprint settings allow you to save multiple fingerprints and behaviors.
Let’s take a moment and step into the camera, which is now as simple as can be on the G6!
There are several modes such has food shots, panorama, pop out and others which empower your photography with cool features.
If you need more technicals, the settings allow you to change how your camera works all together. There is a manual mode if you think you know how cameras work.
As a stand-alone app, LG has included “Square Camera” which has a lot of individual features, entirely based on taking square images allowing you to match images side by side, on top of each other, create funky grid shots and take a regular square image – ready for your Instagram needs
The regular interface is very clean, simple and has main triggers on the right, ability to switch from standard to wide-angle lens on the top, quick toggles on the left, and due to the FullVision screen real-estate, a preview of the last 5 images appear on the left as a guide to the images you’re taking.
Getting back to the app scaling topic, in this instance, Angry Birds 2 does not fit the whole screen.
If you swipe to reveal the navigation buttons on a full-screen application, there will be an app scaling toggle to quickly adjust how you want to view this app.
Why 18:9? or 2:1? It is the perfect aspect ratio to enable side by side apps (or stacked on top of each other) where both screens are the same size and can be actually usable.
This is very smooth, fluid and switching between left and right is instantaneous.
Speaking of smoothness, benchmarks show how a device generally performs, and this was taken after 2 months of use. I would like to mention once again that having the fastest processor and higher benchmarks do not always mean a better overall experience, it involves a lot of software optimization too.
And finally, we get to battery life. There are days where the G6 lasts me till I am back home (~10 hours) with light use, but in most days it manages to last about 8 hours. There are ways to reduce battery consumption by turning off the always on display, disabling some features and ensuring to only turn on what is needed, but I like to use my device to the fullest and I have GPS always on, Bluetooth, WiFi, and Mobile Data is always on, as well.
How’s the camera?
Simply put, it’s awesome and I love it.
For the standard lens, you have a ton of general features, settings, and modes which allow you to play around, but the fact remains that most people, myself included, keep things standard and in automatic. The G6 does an incredible job in well-lit and dark situations but does get quite noisy in those situations.
The party-piece of the G6 is definitely the secondary camera, which is a wide-lens. What this means is that you have a 125-degree lens to capture more. There is a plus and a minus to this; the lens captures more due to being wide-angle and gets some gorgeous shots but it misses out on some of the quality and detail.
I loved the camera, and with the standard application, you get the best feature of them all – the ability to see a mini camera roll on the left with the shots you’ve just taken. Some might find this useful, some might not but to me, it was incredible. I was able to know if the shot was taken if it was clear and if my current shot matches the same color, exposure, and brightness.
Switching from the standard lens and wide-angle lens is pretty smooth, with little stutter.
Video on the G6 is quite good too! It has good audio utilizing the dual microphones, and the user can easily switch between the wide-angle and standard lens quite smoothly within the video itself. Slow motion and fast forward features also are available for those super cool video effects.
What does this all mean?
What all this means is that LG has created a smartphone that qualifies to play the match and is actually on the field kicking balls, instead of being on the sidelines like before.
The LG G6 is every bit of a flagship for the rest of the manufacturers but they won me over with the sheer simplicity, elegance, display, and experience. It may not have the latest specifications, but the software works brilliantly with the hardware to deliver a great experience at least 98% of the time.
I could have easily experienced the G6 and moved on, but I kept it. I like it. It works, does what it does well, has been reliable and overall is a no-frill smartphone that stands out. Welcome LG, I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next!