LG G4 Review: A Competent, Capable Android Alternative

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

LG's G4 feels like an Android phone, through and through. Over the years, Android has enabled those who wanted more flexibility to achieve exactly that. Tweaks to their home screen that Apple would never allow were possible on Android. The ability to swap memory cards and batteries were commonplace. Removable, plastic backs that were durable and light were found across the board. In recent years, the perception of Android has shifted, with handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 being far more polished and buttoned-up. The G4 bucks that trend and goes back to what made Android so lovable in the first place, which ensures that it'll resonate well with a certain crowd.
LG G4 Android Smartphone
Performance wise, we have few gripes with the G4. While the Snapdragon 808 within gets a little toasty under duress, it operates cooly and quickly in normal use. Everything from gaming to switching tabs in Chrome to activating two apps at once happened in a flash. In terms of general usage, we're big fans of the rear buttons that control volume and power, though we do wish that LG would include a dedicated camera activator along one of the edges as Nokia did when it was still in the smartphone game. However, the phone's volume down button double-tap feature provides some utility at least.

LG G4 back side

There's a lot to love about the G4. The stunning 5.5-inch display sits atop a pedestal in terms of comparative quality, while its 16MP rear camera sensor is as good as it presently gets on Android. The ability to switch out batteries and memory cards is a quality that's becoming rare, which makes it even more special here. Despite its plastic rear panel feeling a bit chintzy compared to the refined back side build of the GS6 and One M9, LG's assortment of leather cases adds a much-needed dash of pizzaz and protection.

Finally, the other area the LG G4 really excels in is battery life. This phone is well-balanced in terms of horsepower, a big gorgeous display, and longevity, which is a hard combination to hit cleanly.

LG G4 Home Screen Buttons

The only thing holding the G4 back is the question of price. At $650 off contract, it's hard to believe that a mainstream user would opt for this phone over the One M9, GS6, or iPhone 6 Plus. However, LG is still finalizing the G4's MSRP for on-contract pricing with the major carriers, so there is opportunity for it to compete on price as well. The obvious market for the LG G4 is the hardcore Android user that demands flexibility, and perhaps that's exactly who LG is targeting. With a goal of 8 million units this year, it'll probably sell that many to niche users who want a more flexible, capable phone. This, combined with its gratuitous use of plastic, is a bit of an conflict for us. If eventually priced on contract more like an upper mid-range phone, the G4 will be a no-brainer and a unique option in the market, though that still remains to be seen.
hothardware approved 
  • Removable battery
  • Stellar camera performance
  • microSD expandable storage
  • Solid general performance
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Android skin sometimes gets in the way
  • Not water or dustproof
  • Slippery, plastic exterior

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