LG launched its latest flagship phone – the LG G4 – at the NSCI Sports Complex in Mumbai which was relatively packed by media persons and guests, despite the heavy Mumbai rains. LG G4, which was first announced towards the end of April in the Korean market, will be the successor to the LG G3. LG managing director Soon Kwon, present at the event stressed on the fact that he expected LG G4 to do as well as the previous two generation flagships such as the G3 as well as the G2. The phone’s innovative features were presented by Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who also showcased some of the pictures he had clicked with the LG G4.
Post the event, we got to play around with the LG G4. Considering the demo zone was placed in an area which had harsh lighting and with promo music playing in the background, we didn’t really get a chance to check out the image quality of the camera or the audio performance of the speakers. But nonetheless, here are our first impressions of the LG G4.
Build and Design
LG G3 had a beautiful design and the LG G4 just builds upon it. The slim arc aesthetic around the edges, paired with the hand-crafted leather back, gives the phone a good grip, something we felt was missing in the LG G3 with its slippery grip. According to LG, it uses vegetable tanning on the leather which helps keep the quality immune from future damage by either moisture or hot weather. The stitched centre with the G4 embossing on the bottom right hand corner adds a bit of class to the already good looking phone. Apart from a leather back, you also get a plastic back cover. There are three colour variants with the plastic as well as leather backs and they are removable.
The button placement, which has become a standard with LG phones since the G2, is on the rear side. The power/standby button in the centre is surrounded by the volume rocker buttons. Just above this is the camera which we will come to later. On the front, you have a 5.5-inch IPS Quantum display and just like we have seen with the G3, the bezels are thin at the top and bottom thereby giving a higher body to screen ratio.
LG G4 has a 5.5-inch Quad HD display which gives you a high 535 pixels per inch. The colours appear vibrant and there was no pixelation whatsoever even on close observation. The text also appears crisp, without any dithering on the fonts. According to LG, this is an IPS Quantum display which tends to improve on the contrast ratio and vibrancy of the display over competition. We will have to check that for ourselves when we test the phone. But overall, the display looked quite good.
Powering the LG G4 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset which has a dual-core ARM Cortex A57 and quad-core A53 with processor with 64-bit support and also houses Adreno 418 GPU. This chipset is one-tier below the Snapdragon 810, but during the brief time that we used the phone, the response was buttery smooth despite the custom skin, application launches were quick, camera launched quickly and so on. So hopefully there should be little to no issues with lag, but we will have to use it in real world cases, run the relevant benchmarks and put the phone through the rigmarole of tests to arrive at a final conclusion.
The processor is paired with 3GB of RAM which will be more than enough for all your tasks as well as heavy apps. The LG G4 comes with 32GB storage and out of this around 20.4GB is available to the user, but LG has added in a microSD card slot in case you feel the capacity isn’t much.
LG G4 comes with Android 5.1 OS and naturally you will get LG’s custom UX 4.0 skin atop the Android OS. The iconography and the flat design theme is the same as was seen on the LG G3 and its variants. But swiping to the left most home screen will get you to the Smart Bulletin screen. This basically has a lot of LG specific app data such as pocket calendar, Music settings, LG health, Quick remote and so on. Once set up, you can access data relevant to these apps in the Smart bulletin run down or else you can also get it as part of Smart Notice which will send you birthday reminders, appointment data, weather alert, LG health notifications and so on. If this sounds familiar, then it is. Hint: Google Now.
The phone comes with Qualcomm X10 LTE chipset for 4G LTE SIM cards. It has a dual SIM configuration. Apart from this, you get Wi-fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, A-GPS and the regular set of sensors in addition to the colour spectrometer sensor.
If there is one thing that was talked about the most, then it has to be the camera. A 16MP camera with laser-detect auto focus feature graces the rear side of the G4, present just above the volume rocker buttons. On the left hand side of the camera you have a laser AF port and on the right hand side, you have the LED flash unit and a colour spectrum sensor. According to LG, this infrared-sensitive colour sensor ensures that the colours seen by the camera are accurate under most lighting situations. Considering the lighting around the demo zone was terrible we did not really get to experience this. We will need to hold our thoughts on this till we see it in action.
The laser auto-focus ensures that the AF acquisition time is minimal. As we had noticed with the LG G3, the AF speeds on the G4 are also quite fast. In the dim lighting, the LG G4 was still able to capture focus quickly. It will be interesting to put the camera through its paces. The rear camera also comes with optical image stabilisation chops along three axes. On the front face you have an 8MP camera for selfies and it supports gesture based shooting. Making a fist closing and opening gesture for instance clicks four selfies in a second.
The camera user interface is the same as we had seen with the LG G3. You get the manual mode as well in case you want to tweak the settings yourself. You can also save the manual mode pictures in the RAW format. Apart from this, the video camera is capable of shooting 4K videos.
LG G4 offers a 3000 mAh Lithium ion battery which is removable, something that we don’t generally see with flagship devices these days. We did not see any dedicated power saving mode apart from the battery saver feature which is present on most Android 5.0 handsets.
The LG G4 looks and feels every bit the flagship device that one expects. Although the design playbook hasn’t changed much from its previous flagship iterations, the hand-crafted leather back will surely attract a lot of prospective buyers. LG G4 comes at a steep Rs 51,000 price point, which was somewhat expected considering the LG G3 had also launched around Rs 48,000. Will the G4 justify the price point, and does its camera have the armour to knock the socks of that of its competition? We will have to reserve that opinion till we get our hands on a review unit and spend a considerable time with this flagship device.