The LG G6. It’s been about two months since the phone’s been out but with the Galaxy S8 hype around, the phone seems to have been forgotten. But should it really be dismissed in this way or does it actually give a serious competition to flagships out right now? Well, here’s my full review after 2 months of using it.
Let's start with design. At face value, its pretty good. The G6 is the first phone to rock that 18:9 aspect ratio for a taller device yet a much more compact one. Its a bit on the thicker side but that's to accommodate a larger battery, more on that later. Now traditionally, LG usually puts its volume rockers at the back but with the G6, they're on the right hand side. The buttons themselves are pretty tactile and the fingerprint scanner too is well positioned and pretty quick to unlock.
Its rocking this hybrid metal and glass construction which is quite premium looking and feeling and I really dig how the camera is flush with the body. But something that's a bit confusing is the material choice. LG's used Gorilla Glass 5 on the back, Gorilla Glass 4 for the camera cover and Gorilla Glass 3 on the screen. Its quite bizarre if you ask me and the phone is prone to picking up scratches over use so I'd recommend picking up a dbrand skin like this one or a case or two from caseology.
Back over to the front, this is where things start getting interesting. The G6 has a 5.7-inch IPS LCD display that has a Quad HD resolution. The near bezel-less look is also really neat but it falls kind of short when put next to the infinity display of the S8 series. Also, those corners were a little hard to get used to.
But the screen by itself is really nice. Colors look really natural and viewing angles are great although sunlight legibility could have been slightly better. But things get a bit hazy when you start consuming media.
The drawback to the 18:9 aspect ratio of the screen is that you'll likely to see black bars on the sides of almost every video on the internet, because they're shot in a more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. I think this takes away from the experience and effectively shrinks your screen size when consuming multimedia of any sorts. To top it off, even though there's an app scaling feature available on the G6, you can't use it for the YouTube app like on the S8/S8+ but then again, you lose detail from the top and bottom of the video anyway. That being said, if you do find videos suited for this format, you're in for an absolute treat.
The audio experience too is a bit of a mixed bag. The bottom mono firing speaker is bang on average and can easily be covered with your hand. This might be because of the G6's IP68 certification, which makes it resistant to dust and water for up to 1.5 meters and 30 minutes. Now, I've got the Quad-DAC version of the G6 so the improved audio is noticeable but only if you use some high end earphones and the ones out of the box don't really deliver that experience.
But enough with the chitter chatter, what about its internals? Its rocking the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 process, octa core at 2.35GHz and 4GB of RAM. Coupled with LG's software on top of Android 7.0, the experience isn't the smoothest nor fastest. You get the odd jitter here and there and the UI feels sluggish to me. I'll have a few speed tests linked on the cards above to give you an idea and well, the lag is most prominent when I've used two applications at once. RAM management though doesn't seem to be the issue and gaming on both 2D and 3D games was fine with minor heating towards the top of the phone.
And that's exactly where you find the camera on the G6. Well, three in fact. The primary dual 13MP camera setup is one of the best I've used on a smartphone with some great looking pictures in the day. The tons of manual controls were also pretty impressive to me but sometimes, I felt the software processing was too harsh. It produced very contrasty images, almost borderline fake looking with a noticeable blue-ish tint to them.
But where the camera really shines is when using the wide-angle lens. Its almost like magic to capture so much detail into one shot with the only sacrifice being a slight fish-eye look to pictures. At night time, the camera performs well with some good dynamic range and noise reduction and I feel like it handles the exposure of lights really nicely.
Video recording also is done at 4K and it can do a great job but sometimes, I feel like the stabilization could use a bit of work even though it has optical image stabilization.
As for the front, the camera is a very disappointing 5MP snapper. It gets the job done in ideal lighting making for some true to color pictures and also has its own wide angle mode which is good for group selfies but using it at night is quite atrocious. Pictures come out blurry and out of focus and I really wouldn't recommend it.
So then is this where the fairy tale ends? Maybe. I said the LG G6 is thicker to rock a large 3300mAh battery but over my usage, its performed very badly. I get around 4 hours of screen on time which I think is very poor for a flagship like this one even though it has a 2K display to run. And yes, you do have options like fast charging to take that percentage from 0-100 in just over two hours via USB-C or wireless charging in my case but if I'm getting such poor performance from the battery, I would have preferred a removable one just like in previous LG flagships..
And that's it.. Oh wait, the James Harden edition? yeah.. let's talk about that. James Harden had an amazing year this year, his best ever. And in any other year he would be the MVP. However, Westbrook (in this case Samsung) had an ever better year and won the title. Also, I don't trust LG in the clutch. The bootloader issues and other software bugs that we've seen just worries me. When I only have a few seconds left on the clock I rather use a Samsung than LG.