While the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the all-metal iPhone feel the same in the hand the G4 feels and looks different which is very refreshing in this world of metal and plastic smartphones.
The New LG G4, is smart and the slightly curved screen and back allows the device to sit comfortably in the hand and like it predecessor G3 this device has the key control buttons on the back, which I personally prefer as they are easy to access and deliver highly functional buttons on the rear where your finger often sits when holding a smartphone.
Two other standout features are the inclusion of a removable battery and microSD card which in several new model smartphones are being built into the device.
With 32GB of on-board storage, most people won't have a massive problem with the capacity of the G4 anyway, but adding a microSD card is cheap, and can gives you 128GB of extra storage.
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It's worth pointing out that anyone opting for the leather back will also get a plastic case included in the box, so you can switch around as you see fit.
The screen is bright and has a very minimal border on the left and right of the handset. This means that you get a large screen in the hand and because of the curve on both sides of the device it stands out which is what you want with a smartphone.
The colour saturation of the screen is also impressive, what you get is near-OLED levels of vivid colour.
LG has tweaked the LCD panel it uses in this device, and while it hasn't improved the resolution on this device over the G3 which was an award winning device, it has made changes that deliver a significantly improved display and colours appear to be significantly brighter.
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The G4 is also larger than the G3. Because the back is now curved, it has some parts where it's less thick, but at its deepest point it's bigger than the G3.
Like the G2 and G3, LG has retained the rear-mounted volume controls. This is good news, because it's another one of those features that no other company thought of, but yet it adds something to the handset that seriously sets it apart.
LG has also added another feature to the rear control button in the G4.
Double press the down button quickly, and the camera will launch and snap a photo as quickly as it can check for a subject to focus on.
This is a nice idea, and appears to be a trend among smartphone manufacturers.
The instant double tap on the Samsung G6 appears to be faster than the G4, but we won't know this until we do a full review.
Processors: Qualcomm 808 vs. the 810
There has been a lot of conversation about the lack of Snapdragon 810 in this handset, and some pointed to it as a failure of the new Qualcomm QCOM -0.68 processor to maintain a sensible working temperature.
Qualcomm disputes this and said in an interview at Computex last week they said that LG had ordered its processors for the G4 a long time ago, and that's one of the reasons it uses the 808, not the 810
The spokesperson also said that, in fact, the 808 is designed to drive the screen resolution LG is using in the G4, where the 810 is aimed at higher resolutions.
The G4 is as nippy as the LG Flex which I saw at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona and I cannot fault the speed of this device. LG has included 3GB of RAM and this adequately delivers the performance that you need when managing pages in and out of the memory on this device.
There is no fingerprint scanner and this is a plus.
I have hated the fingerprint scanner on most of the phones I've used especially when you are trying to activate a smartphone on a mount in a car.
LG doesn't even bother, and I can see why because it uses its knock code to simplify unlocking your device while maintaining security.
The Knock code is very good, you simply set a pattern which you tap on the lock screen, it's simpler and with the screen off you can still tap the code on the screen, and the phone will unlock and drop you straight onto the last open app. This is a timesaver, and a really great feature.
Again, this is an area where LG has massively improved the performance over the G3.
The camera on the G4 is pretty amazing and is in fact better than a great deal of the point and shoot compact cameras out there. I will even go as far as saying that this seriously takes on some bottom end digital SLR cameras.
I like the fact that you can choose simple, auto or manual. In manual mode you can adjust the exposure compensation, ISO and shutter speed manually.
Usually I dread manual mode on phones, but here I found it actually very pleasant to use. I usually shoot manually on my SLR, but there you don't get the full preview on screen. On the G4 you can tweak the settings until you get what you want.
LG has retained the laser autofocus from the G3 too, but in addition it has added in a colour sensor which it claims is able to help the camera balance colour perfectly and give you an image that LG says is created in a similar way to the human eye. In fact, the results can be very good indeed.
Colours are nice and natural for one, and there is a lot of detail in the images, without any of the softness you see on cheaper phones.
Using the manual mode works well. Today is overcast and murky so auto focusing struggles due to their being less light and reduced contrast. The he simple control meant I could override the camera's idea of what was correctly exposed, and get a much more vivid image even in overcast conditions.
This is great if you're feeling creative, but HDR mode will give you great results too if you care to use it.
As with the G Flex 2, the G4 has the same automatic selfie mode for grabbing natural-looking photos of yourself. Open the camera app, flip to the front camera and open and close your fist, when you do that the phone will count down and snap your selfie. A new feature allows you to do the open and closing of your fist twice, and get a series of four shots. This feature works better when you are further away from the front facing 8MP lens.
The G4 also has RAW image support which means that designers and photographers can shoot a master image and then manipulate it in Photoshop without compromising the resolution when they blow the image up.
There's not much wrong with the battery in the LG G4. It's got a decent capacity of 3000mAh however I have not had time to seriously use it for a full day, but if it is anything like the G3 three it will seriously deliver the battery life you need. For me I now carry around a compact battery pack that allows to me to easily top up my phone or tablet in minutes, great for trade shows or conferences.
One of the major advantages of the Samsung Galaxy S6 is its universal support for wireless charging, which is far more useful than I would ever have thought it would be. Now, I tend to have a wireless charger on my desk, by the bed and another in the kitchen. Out of the box, the G4 doesn't have a wireless charging back, although that can be added with a case at a later date. It's not clear if any of the plain backs will have wireless charging yet, but I suspect this will come in the future which is disappointing as the G3 had charging and anyone upgrading is going to have to take a step backwards.
At first I struggled to work out how to activate the NFC but with a little help from LG I got it active very quickly, however I do want my Westpac tap and pay capability which is on the Samsung S6.
The UI tweaks are all great additions to this device and LG has proved that they are prepared to take risks and that their design teams are capable of producing unique design and features for a market that is cluttered with plastic and metal smartphones that are all starting to look alike.
If you've owned LG phones before, then you'll be pleased to know this is its best yet, both from a design prospective and a day to day operational prospective.
In my opinion this is another 5/5 smartphone from LG.