Android 7 and LG UX 6 make the user experience tick on the G6, and the whole thing works well for the most part.
Android means excellent app support and plenty of features like Android Pay for contactless payments, excellent Google Maps support and Google Assistant, the conversational voice assistant from the big G.
The crux of the UI is a variable number of home screens which can be populated with apps and widgets. There's no application tray by default though you can bring this back by diving into the settings. Rather than have a Google Now screen to the left, LG's optional Smart Bulletin is back, with LG Health, Calendar and Music shortcuts just a swipe away, as well as limited third party support from Evernote and Glympse.
LG's interfaces have historically been somewhat fluffy and the G6's is no exception with bouncy transitions and themes aplenty. But while LG's fluffy interfaces have been prone to stutter in the past, this time around, everything flows like water making it the best iteration of LG UX to date. There are quick folder organisation options, various homescreen grid sizes and customisable quick toggles, so it feels like the G6 delivers a tweakable experience for Android fans while finally offering stability that until recently, has been reserved for iDevices.
It isn't perfect though. As mentioned earlier, the lack of one-handed mode hurts the G6 in day-to-day use. There is also a BlackBerry/iPhone-esque universal search. This can be activated by a pull down on any home screen, but proved useless for me, after it failed to index my applications. These shortcomings hurt the G6 critically not because they break the experience completely, but because this time around, it feels like everyone else has brought their A-game while LG gets an A-.
We've covered the screen in some detail - it's very good. Ideal for watching new movies on, it delivers minimal letterboxing and now includes HDR video support as well as Dolby Vision. Currently limited to a handful of Amazon Prime titles, these accolades translate to increased vibrancy and deep, yet discernable detail in the blacks and dark colours.
The screen is also excellent for gaming. Most titles are well-optimised to take advantage of its full width and even those that aren't look great. In fact, from a purely ergonomic point of view, playing games on a wider screen phone means there's far less thumb covering up the centre of the display, usually where the gameplay is centred. In fact, owing to the flat sides, I'd go so far as to say, in-hand, the G6 is the most comfortable gaming phone around.
That said, three of the LG G6's most damaging shortcomings are felt hard when gaming. The first is the mono speaker. While loud, it's far too easy to cover, making for muffled sound whenever the phone is held in landscape orientation. The second is the chipset. A Snapdragon 821 falls behind the pack for games like Marvel Future Fight, resulting in worse performance than other 2017 flagships. Finally, by default, it has 32GB storage and despite support for an SD card, will still fill up fast after installing larger 3D games and RPGs.
If gaming isn't your thing though, the G6 is excellent. Perfect for reading and enjoying content on. As for storage, stick a memory card in it for all your photos, videos and any movies you want to load up and you'll be laughing.
The dual 13MP camera set-up around the back of the LG G6 should have been the phone's highlight. Along with the G5, it offers something unique, an ultra-wide angle as well as a more narrow angle for more standard shots. It is exceptional to use in this respect, as you can quite easily jump through your entire focal range with confidence, knowing it isn't just digital zoom at play.
The fact there is extensive control over shots thanks to a comprehensive manual mode that extends to video only adds to the experience. While there's a lot to be positive about when talking about the G6's camera though, once again, a couple of shortcomings stop it from being a knockout.
The first, and most important area the LG G6 falls short is picture detail. The hyper-aggressive post-processing snuffs out far too much clarity while reducing noise, making for pictures that look mottled when you zoom in. The sad fact is, raw shots taken on the G6 don't suffer from this, so it's all down to LG's image processing decisions.
The second shortcoming, the focal ranges. The narrow field-of-view sensor is the one you will use most often as it's the only one with auto-focus. Any close-up shots, portraits or detailed pictures should be shot using it. That said, it's focal range is too narrow for most day to day shooting scenarios like group shots and objects. While you could pinch out and engage the secondary camera for a wider picture, the result will lack noticeable detail because it has a fixed focus lens, so, it's a catch 22 - less detail or less in the picture.
These shortcomings are bound into the G6's camera's strengths though, and its versatility definitely lends to compensate for them. This is also true in video, with shooting resolutions as high as 4K, optical image stabilisation, fair performance from both lenses across lighting conditions and support for full manual control too.
As for the front 5MP camera and its f/2.2 lens, the combination is fair, but nothing to shout home about with its low resolution and lack of advanced features like autofocus.
Next: Performance and connections, battery, conclusion