I finally got my hands on the LG G4 and unboxing this new bad boy was a pleasure. First off, the LG G4 is a huge improvement over last year’s LG G3, which in my opinion had one of the best smartphone cameras with its laser-focus and 4K with OIS.
The LG G4 has pretty much all of those features from last year with a 16MP back camera (from 13MP last year) and F1.8 lens (from F2.4 last year) touted as the fastest camera lens for a smartphone ever.
The LG G4 comes with a 3000mAh battery, which is plenty to go for a full day and its removable battery allows the user to easily go for days with multiple batteries and external charger, probably the best way to keep your batteries last longer also.
For charging, the G4 comes with a 5V 1.8amps AC adapter, which doesn’t support fast charging like many of the competition but since it has removable battery, it’s not all that bad.
Of course, the camera lens with F1.8 is what makes the LG G4 stand out above the rest. In my initial photo/video tests, the F1.8 edged out the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in clarity and brighter photos with its faster lens. As we have expected before, the G4 does live up to its promise and F1.8 does what it says.
Curved screen? Yes, the LG G4 actually has a curved screen! Not as curved as the G Flex 2 but if you place the phone face-down on your desk, you will certainly see some gap and the curved screen. It’s definitely a cool factor and does help out in viewing angles, especially when playing games or viewing videos in landscape mode. Not as pronounced as G Flex 2 but this was definitely one of the cool features that I liked about the G Flex 2.
While Samsung has decided to go with no removable battery, micro-SD card slot, LG has kept its battery/storage advantage in-tact. This could be number one reason why Samsung users may start using LG G4.
The feel of LG G4 is similar to last year, very good. The curved back makes it very easy to hold and fits naturally to the curve of your hands and fingers. There’s nothing we can complain about the feel of this device, and I am looking forward to the leather back also soon.
The G4 has gotten slightly fatter this year. It is slightly wider and taller than last year’s LG G3 but other than that, the design has remained nearly the same. I see nothing wrong with this, LG always had good ergonomics and design I couldn’t complain about with very little bezels.
The LG G4 introduces one of the most advanced manual mode for a smart camera. You can control everything from ISO, shutter speed and white balance manually. Also the ISO starts at super-low 50 and goes up to 2700. The shutter speed control will also help you add great effect for night shots by slowing it down. Did we mention a histogram and on-board exposure meter just like on a DSLR? Those two features make the manual mode on the G4 most advanced ever.
The only thing missing?
If LG would have added the manual mode to its video recording, it would have put the last nail in the coffin as the best smartphone camera ever. But no, manual mode only works for photos, you will get automatic ISO/shutter/white balance for video recording. Still, LG G4 comes out on top probably as the smartphone with best camera this year in my opinion.
LG G4 supposedly comes with the brighter LCD than last year. Upon actual testing with my LUX light meter, I found that the LG G4 is actually 20-25% less brighter than last year’s LG G3 with brightness of 372 lux at full brightness setting (compared to 422 lux on LG G3). You can check out our HighOnAndroid LUX page here.
(You can see with the naked eye that the LG G3 on the right is brighter than the LG G4 on the left.)
Performance on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor is very breezy. Although we only scored 44,234 on Antutu (it could be because we did the test right after unboxing and the phone was still hot, most users report around 48K), there’s absolute no lag in running many apps and multi-tasking. The G4 runs flawless through most tasks/apps and you will not have any performance issues on LG’s UI, which is near stock Android and with little bloatware. Now, the benchmarks come nowhere close to HTC One M8 or Galaxy S6/S6 Edge but LG G4’s camera abilities and removable battery/micro-SD card certainly make up for it.
If you want the fastest smartphone in the world right now, I think you would be better off with Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge but if you wanted the fastest camera lens on a smartphone (in other words, the best camera), without a doubt it’s the LG G4. I tend to take a lot of videos and having removable battery/micro-SD comes in side-by-side with 4K video recording as you can easily extend the recording times by swapping out extra batteries/micro-SD cards.
Samsung has really fell out of the practical boat with its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and LG G4 is the new smartphone for people who care about practical things, not just copying the hell out of iPhone. Overall, I am very impressed with LG G4. It’s certainly not perfect (as no phone ever is) but the F1.8 rear camera is as good as it gets if you want to take professional-quality photos with your smartphone. I should have a full review on the G4 soon but in the meanwhile, it’s definitely a “go”!