Latest update: The LG G4 could be "radically different" to what's come before, with a metal shell and a new interface. We're also hearing that it might launch in April... and could it be getting a fingerprint scanner?
The LG G4 missed MWC 2015 but it looks like we may see it as soon as April, so the wait is hopefully almost over.
It should be worth the wait too, with talk of a premium new design, a super-sharp display and a whole lot of power. Plus this is the company which brought us the LG G Flex 2, so a curved screen is never entirely off the table.
With the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 out the way LG G4 rumors are heating up and flooding in and we're hopeful that it can stand up to such tough competition.
Cut to the chase
What is it? LG's next flagship smartphone
When is it out? Possibly April 2015
What will it cost? It will command a high, flagship price - but cheaper than the competition
LG G4 release date
It looks like the LG G4 could be landing in April if rumors are to be believed. That would make sense, as the LG G3 was launched in May, so given that LG has so far taken to releasing one flagship a year we'd expect the LG G4 will arrive in or around April or May 2015.
Having said that the LG G2 launched in September 2013, so LG has been a little inconsistent with its dates so far.
LG's mobile chief Juno Cho has stated that the G4 will be "radically different" to anything that's come before, with those changes including a metal casing rather than a polycarbonate one.
It makes sense for LG to upgrade its flagship's build quality, especially as most rival phones are now sporting metal exteriors.
LG G4 screen
It could be goodbye bezel on the LG G4, as the South Korean firm has launched a display with a super slender 0.7mm of fat around its perimeter. The screen in question measures 5.3 inches, which is a jot smaller than the 5.5-inch G3, and we'd prefer this smaller size as it would be easier to handle.
The LG G3 has 1.15mm of bezel either side of the screen, so this new display could make the G4 look visually stunning.
LG is apparently also preparing a fleet of bendable phones for 2015, following in the footsteps of the LG G Flex and the LG G Flex 2, and links are being made between this and the rumored G4. In fact LG quietly took the covers off a three sided smartphone at CES 2015 in Las Vegas - could this be our first glimpse at the LG G4?
We can speculate that the G4 will probably have at least a QHD screen, given that the LG G3 has one, though one wilder rumor based on a leaked specifications screenshot tied to the G4 suggests that it will have a 3K 1620 x 2880 display.
LG G4 rivals
As a flagship Android phone the LG G4 will have the Samsung Galaxy S6 as a major rival and if it ends up being curved then it could also have some direct competition from the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.
Of course the HTC One M9 will give it a run for its money too with its stylish build and similar specs to those the G4 is rumored to pack. The Sony Xperia Z4, which may well arrive at a similar time to the LG G4, could give it pause for thought as well.
Then there's always the iPhone 6 and the looming threat of the iPhone 6s for anyone not married to Android. In short the LG G4 is going to have some serious competition.
LG G4 camera and battery
Best intelligence, from a batch of leaks, suggests the LG G4's camera will be boosted from the 13MP resolution of the LG G3 to 16MP.
Though G4Games reports that LG has unveiled a new 20.7MP sensor, which could be headed for the LG G4. The key question then is how the brand will use this new technology after the snapper on the G3, which should have been awesome, was woeful compared to the competition.
Another rumor, this time stemming from inews24, is that the LG G4 will have dual rear cameras a bit like the HTC One M8, though we'd take that claim with a huge pinch of salt.
LG G4 OS and power
LG's mobile chief Juno Cho has stated that the G4 will use the LG UX 4.0, which is a new UX system, set to be announced before the handset.
Early rumors suggest that the LG G4 could be a powerful phone too, with talk that the handset will sport a Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM.
That all seems likely, given that the HTC One M9 has arrived with exactly those specs and even the LG G Flex 2 uses the Snapdragon 810.
The LG G4 is also bound to run Android 5.0 Lollipop straight out of the box, which is good news if you want a handset that comes with Google's latest mobile operating system.
LG G4 other features
One particularly spurious LG G4 rumor suggests we may see a fingerprint scanner on the back of the handset. This would seemingly be a last minute decision and LG officials have denied the rumor, but with Samsung and Apple both including them in their flagships there's a possibility that LG could follow suit.
There is also a suggestion that the LG G4 may pack a stylus in its body, but we'd be surprised if LG put this on its core flagship device. It's probably something that will arrive with a variant, like the LG G3 Stylus.
LG G4 what we want to see
While we're fleshing out the details of what will be coming with the LG G4, here's what we want to see when we do:
A metal chassis
The LG G3 sure does a good job of looking metallic, but that's all it is, an effect, and as soon as you pick up the phone the illusion is broken, so much so in fact that it actually winds up feeling cheaper than the LG G2.
So we really hope the LG G4 will go the whole hog and have a shell crafted from actual metal. Even Samsung's sticking metal in its phones now so LG really can't afford not to.
We'd also appreciate it if they gave the G4 a unibody rather than having a removable back, as it's likely to feel more solid and premium as a result.
Improved battery life
The LG G3 had good battery life, but it was actually slightly worse than the G2's battery and that's not a trend we like to see. There's steeper competition here now too, with Sony in particular doing well with the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Compact, both of which have a whole lot of juice.
A battery saving mode
Battery saving modes are all the rage these days, whether it's Sony's Stamina mode, HTC's Extreme power saving mode or Samsung's Ultra power saving mode, but the LG G3 doesn't have one.
Now it already does a good job of conserving battery on the fly, by adapting the display and slowing down the processor when the extra horsepower isn't needed, but it would be great if the LG G4 went even further and had additional options that could be toggled as needed, just to squeeze even more juice out.
More power is an obvious wish and an increasingly redundant one as most high end phones are levelling out and delivering near faultless performance. But the LG G3 actually did noticeably lag at times.
Maybe that's down to the QHD display, maybe it's just down to poor optimisation, but whatever the reason we really hope LG sorts it out and gives us a faster phone in the LG G4.
A slicker interface
LG could also afford to do some more work on its interface. The G2's was a cluttered nightmare and the G3's was a big step in the right direction, but still not as slick as it could be.
In particular we'd like to see improvements made to Smart Notice. This sits below the weather widget on the home screen and gives you tailored advice and suggestions, for example it might give you more details on the weather or suggest you add someone to your contacts if you call them a lot.
The problem is it just doesn't work that well, often providing irrelevant advice, so LG should make it smarter or ditch it, we already have Google Now after all.
A better camera
On the whole the LG G3 has a pretty great camera, complete with optical image stabilisation and a laser autofocus. But while it performs well in bright light it's not so good in low light, relying on software to unconvincingly smooth over noisy shots, rather than taking good photos to begin with. So hopefully the LG G4 will improve in that area.
Recent rumours have suggested that we'll be getting what we wished for, with the LG G4 coming with a 16 megapixel snapper.
We'd also like to be given more manual control. The LG G3 is great if you just want to point and shoot, but there aren't many options for those who want to adjust the exposure or ISO for example.
A superior screen
This one might seem strange, after all the LG G3 is already QHD, but we're not talking about more pixels. Rather we'd like to see improved performance from the pixels that are already there. In particular the LG G3 suffers from a noticeable loss in brightness when not viewed square on, so if LG can sort that for the G4 we'd be pretty happy.
Water and dust resistance
While not exactly a headline feature, water and dust resistance are undeniably nice things to have. We have to wonder how many people ever actively make use of the fact that they can submerge their smartphone, but knowing that it can survive a little water gives us some peace of mind.
Here in England it rains all the time and sometimes we'd actually like to be able to use our phone while outside, without first crafting a makeshift shield from whatever else we happen to be carrying / wearing at the time.
Knock Code Improvements
We love Knock On – the ability to wake up your phone with a tap, but Knock Code, which takes things further by letting you also unlock your phone with a series of taps, just doesn't work all that well.
The main problem is that if you touch the screen when picking the G3 up it registers that touch as the first tap and causes the pattern to be interpreted incorrectly. We're not quite sure how LG can get around that so it's a good thing we're not designing the G4, but hopefully LG has a solution because a feature which doesn't work is just an annoyance.
With support for high quality audio the LG G3 already does a great job when listening to music through a good pair of headphones, but its speaker isn't so hot either in terms of positioning or quality.
For the LG G4 we'd like to see dual front-facing speakers, like those on the HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z3. It's a much more logical place for them, especially when you're watching something or playing a game. If LG can make the sound crisper and richer too then all the better.