WHILE LG MAY HAVE HAD a couple of months in the limelight, given the fact the LG G6's unveiling came before the Galaxy S8's, now that both are vying for your cash side by side, which should you get? We should really throw the iPhone 7, Huawei P10 and OnePlus 3T into the mix too, given the fact that there's something of a glut of excellent smartphones out now.
So what's LG's strategy for 2017? Ditch the G5's modular design in favour of a more traditional premium fit and finish, and place all the emphasis on its FullVision Quantum IPS display. But is a very wide screen and a spiffy new design enough to pull focus in a crowded phone shop?
The LG G6 is a long phone with an 18:9 display and a fantastic screen-to-bezel ratio. LG did the whole 'long phone' thing before Samsung jumped on the bandwagon with it's slightly longer Galaxy S8, and we're not just talking about the G6, we're thinking further back to the LG Chocolate BL40. The benefits of a phone packing a longer screen are two-fold. First off, it means the phone is narrower and easier to hold, all the while getting a big screen on-board. Second, it optimises the aspect ratio for video content. While this wasn't a priority back in the day, now, it's a primary consideration.
Design-wise, the LG G6 is the best looking LG phone ever - yes, even beating out the grim, leather-backed LG G4 - just why? Poor cows.
We're reviewing the Platinum Silver G6 with a brushed metal finish underneath its slightly curved glass back. That's paired with a blasted metal frame housing all the buttons and ports you could want, except for stereo speakers that is. Meanwhile, adorning the front is very little bezel and very much screen - 78.6 per cent screen to be precise. This doesn't quite win out against the Galaxy S8's 84 per cent, but it's better than any other phone you can pick up in the UK.
Even though there's an LG insignia on the front, it's tiny and inoffensive, as too is the front 5MP camera. There's also an equally demure G6 insignia around the back and a more prominent dual-camera set-up.
The phone isn't too thick either at 7.9mm, easily sliding in and out of the pocket, helped along by its high-gloss Gorilla Glass 5 back. Balanced weighting and sleek, premium looks help round things off well for the G6. Add IP68 water and dust resistance and you end up with a great looking, competitively designed phone.
Thanks to a well placed, easy to find fingerprint scanner around the back, secure unlocking of the G6 is also a breeze.
Despite looking excellent, the LG G6 fails to look better than the Galaxy S8. That said, it does feel better in the hand thanks to its slightly thicker form and flat, easy to grasp sides. So while not as svelte, it's still a partial design win for LG.
The display is what it's all about on the LG G6, a 2:1 aspect ratio panel that LG terms FullVision really does steal the show when looking at the device head-on. Quantum IPS screen technology is at the heart of it all. Translated, that's LG's own flavour of LCD. That tech paired with a resolution of 1440x2880 pixels means everything is also pin sharp with a ppi of 564 pixels-per-inch.
At 5.7in, the screen is a smidgen smaller than that of the Galaxy S8, but like the S8, this still feels smaller than a traditional 5.5in device. This is most noticeable when put alongside the likes of the Huawei P10 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, all wider phones with smaller screens.
The left and right sides are easy to reach with one hand, though the upper corners will still require some thumb contortion. For this reason, it was foolhardy of LG to over-confidently scrap the one-handed mode in the G6's UI. While it might not be as big an omission as a 3.5mm headphone jack, it's still acutely felt.
It feels excellent swiping across the Gorilla Glass 3 panel protecting the display, though it isn't the shiny new Gorilla Glass 5 found on most current flagships, at least not on the front. LG opted for the older variant on the display side, and the newer variant on the rear. This might sound like a big deal, and weird, but it actually makes sense. Gorilla Glass 3 is purported to withstand scratches better, while Gorilla Glass 5 edges ahead is in terms of shatter-proofing. This makes the LG G6 a fit-for-purpose Gorilla Glass lovechild, with a scratch resistant front and crack resistant back.
When it comes to the IPS display's picture, the screen is very cool by default, giving everything a bit of a blue wash. Personally, this works for me, but it won't be for everyone. Colour calibration options are limited - there's no custom white balance for example, though there is an eye comfort mode with a number of options present to warm things up
The LG G6's dimensions make for perfectly optimised multi-tasking, giving each split-screen app the same amount of screen real estate, irrespective of whether you're viewing the phone in portrait or landscape orientation. It's also the exact dimensions of 18:9 feature films, so the most premium content will take full advantage of every pixel on-board.
While not as deep, vibrant or punchy as the Super AMOLED laden Galaxy S8, the LG G6 display still holds its own. It looks great - better than most phones around, and offers a more traditional, curveless alternative for anyone who wants a long device without Samsung's edge.
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