LG G4 Review: A Competent, Capable Android Alternative

Article Index

Introduction and Specifications

Calling the smartphone market "mature" is likely misguided, even if you consider its increasing saturation levels. In the U.S., however, much has changed over the past half-decade, but more important perhaps is what has become commonplace. While the initial players all jockeyed for their share of the smartphone pie, companies such as Kyocera and Sony have all but vanished, while Apple and Samsung are the only two options that some mainstream users even consider.

LG G4 HH GTAV

LG's mobile CEO is aware of the current landscape, stating recently that it hopes to sell around 8 million G4 handsets by the end of 2015. Apple sells 8 million iPhones in a good month, so the scale and scope is well-defined. The LG G4, the phone we'll be looking at here today, may not be bound for world domination. Not every smartphone is targeted as an iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6 killer, nor does it need to. In fact, these days, many are considering phones that have more modest sales ambitions, as those phones are sometimes more specialized in terms of features. Indeed, the rich, diverse feature set on the G4 is likely only there because it seems to target a more specific user base: folks who fell in love with Android for its natural flexibility.

lg g4 590 official

LG G4
Specifications & Features

OS
Android 5.1 (Lollipop) with LG's custom overlay
CPU
64-bit six-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC
GPU
Adreno 418
Memory
3 GB RAM
32GB built-in flash eMMC storage
Display
5.5-inch Quad HD (2560x14400 pixels)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Rear Camera
16 MP Rear-facing Camera
Optical Image Stabilization v2.0
"Laser Auto Focus"
2K (30 fps) and 1080p (60 fps) video recording
Front Camera
8MP Front-facing Camera
Network
GSM / HSPA / LTE
2G bands     GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G bands     HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
4G bands     LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 8(900), 20(800)
Speed         HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE Cat6 300/50 Mbps
Wireless
NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz), A-GPS, GLONASS, Optional Qi wireless charging
Ports
3.5 mm stereo audio jack, micro-USB 2.0 (SlimPort 4K) port
Size
155 grams (5.47 ounces)
148.9 x 76.1 x 6.3 - 9.8 mm
Battery
3000 mAh
Color Options
Grey, White, Gold, Various Leather Backs
Price
$649.99 off-contract, MSRP on contract not released yet
 
Since the LG G4 is being marketed as a high-end, flagship device, you may wonder why there's a six-core Snapdragon 808 within rather than an octa-core Snapdragon 810. Recently, a Qualcomm spokesperson answered this very question: "The difference between the chips is that the 810 is scaled for end-to-end 4K and it’s our flagship. The 808 scales for end-to-end 2k and it still captures 4k video but it’s not built to display 4k natively on a screen."

In other words, the LG G4 apparently was engineered to work efficiently with its 2560x1440 Quad HD display.

With an off-contract starting price of $650 (2 year contract MSRP not final yet), it's right in line with other hero devices like the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S 6. We'll seek to answer two primary questions in this review. First, is the G4 worthy of being classified in with flagships such as the afformentioned? Second, is the G4 somehow differentiated enough to be the go-to choice for a smaller niche that want features like expandable storage and a removable battery? Let's find out.

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