For a flagship phone, a lot rides on its design and hardware. When someone sees it or holds it for the first time, they make a snap judgement of the device. Every thought about the phone after that is colored by that initial impression, so it’s important that it delivers a quality build. With the LG G4, one of 2015′s biggest flagships, it’s time to take a look at the design and see if it lives up to its flagship status.
Starting at the front, the G4 features an expanse of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 that covers a 5.5-inch display with black glass bezels that have an ever-so-subtle dot pattern to them. The bottom bezel plays host to a reflective LG logo, while the top bezel holds a simple metal speaker for calls, the front-facing camera and an array of sensors.
The sides of the phone are a dark gray plastic with a reflective finish that catches the light quite attractively. Because of the G4′s rear button setup, its sides are completely free of buttons. The top edge holds a microphone and IR blaster, while the right edge simply has a small cut-out to indicate where to pull the back cover off. The bottom edge is the only one with ports, sporting a headphone jack and microUSB charging port as well as a second microphone.
Flipping around to the back, we can find a curved piece of plastic with a dark gray metallic finish and a diamond pattern that’s just barely noticeable to the touch. (Editor’s note: the review unit we were provided with came with a plastic back rather than the leather option that’s also available. We can’t speak to the design of that as we haven’t had a chance to actually try it out.) The materials and curve feel pleasant to the touch and the phone’s design fits well into your hand, much like last year’s G3.
A single speaker rests on the bottom left of the rear, with a G4 logo centered next to it. The back also sports a Verizon logo and, unsurprisingly, a 4G LTE logo, as Verizon can’t help but overly-brand any phone it touches. In the top center area is the camera and button array. The square camera rests above a rectangular button setup that features a central power button and a volume rocker above and below. Flanking the camera are an LED flash and a sensor for the laser auto focus.
The rear button setup may take a little getting used to, but it’s actually quite comfortable once you remember where it is. Your finger generally rests directly on the power button while holding the phone, making it easy to control. If you’re still not a fan of a rear power button, the G4 does come with the ability to turn the screen on and off by simply double tapping.
Once you do turn on the screen, you’re in for a treat, as LG knows how to make a great phone display. The G4 features a 5.5-inch QHD (2560×1440) IPS Quantum Display with a PPI of 538 that places it up there with the cream of the crop. Brightness is extremely high, even in sunlight. Due to the use of LG’s Quantum Display, the G4 gives you a rich color experience that contains 98 percent of the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) color gamut. Pair that with well-improved contrast and you have a winning display on your hands.
One final aspect to touch on is the speaker. With only one speaker, the G4 isn’t quite up to par with some of its competitors that offer dual speakers. The positioning isn’t great, with the speaker sitting in the bottom rear corner, making it quite easy to cover up with your hand. Nonetheless, it can get surprisingly loud and actually has less distortion than some other phones, such as the Nexus 6. In any case, this is a phone speaker, and hopefully you won’t be doing too much listening through it to begin with.
When it comes down to it, the LG G4 has a great design that’s paired with hardware that matches it in quality. The G4 looks great and more importantly, feels great, allowing you to have an experience that makes it a pleasure to use.