LG just launched their LG G6 flagship phone at Mobile World Congress a couple of weeks ago and were kind enough to let me borrow one while I was there. I’ve had a bit of time to use it as my daily phone now and I think it’s time to do the review.
Check out the unlocked GSM version here on Amazon.
I’ve gotten more compliments on the way this phone looks than any other phone I’ve used in a while. And it’s not really that much of a surprise. Look at it.
From the ultra thin bezels, to the taller frame, the machined aluminum sides and the glass covered metal back, (and especially in that titanium color) it’s a sexy phone.
On top of the clean-looking frame, we have a unique screen. What makes it so unique is the aspect ratio. LG calls it 18:9 but as some of you guys have already pointed out in the comments on my hands-on of the G6, that’s technically 2:1. Which means, that the screen is exactly twice as tall as it is wide.
The benefit of this is that it gives you a larger viewing area while still making the phone easier to use with one hand. During the initial launch event, LG even brought on award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who has been pushing this concept of 2:1 aspect ratios for TVs, films, etc. since 1998, to explain his reasoning for why the phone’s screen should be that way.
2:1 (18:9) Aspect Ratio Reasoning
Essentially, it’s about film and where we view content. HD video, that of 1080P and 4K that most digital devices shoot in, has an aspect ratio of 16:9 (or 1.78:1) where as large format movies can be shot on 65mm film which has an aspect ratio of 2.2:1. Now this change in aspect ratio (along with all the other formats for film and their aspect ratios) means that depending whether we see it in a theater or on our laptop, phone, tablet screen the image has to be cropped to fit and as a filmmaker, he strongly believes that the way he shot the film, should be the way you ultimately view it.
There’s more to it in the idea of how the 2:1 aspect ratio can fit on existing film to save waste, but if you want to read more about the concept it’s called Univisium and is here on Wikipedia.
Regardless of Storaro’s reasonings, though, bigger screen, smaller phone. Check.
The screen itself is 5.7″ with a resolution of 2880 x 1440, Dolby Vision (Dolby’s software to produce better imaging according to them) and HDR. Now, HDR is a term you might be beginning to hear a lot of and I expect more and more as the year goes on. This term, which will start to be touted in the same way that 4K is, stands for High Dynamic Range and it basically means the screen is capable of showing higher contrast ratios and brighter colors and has already been announced in a few TVs.
To illustrate the differences, here is the Life of Pi movie trailer in HDR on my 4K non-HDR monitor and the same trailer on the LG G6.
So it might be hard to tell on camera, but the G6’s screen has a bit more color and contrast than my monitor.
Besides the screen, the speaker on the device is decent, not amazing, not terribly loud, but decent enough for watching a video without headphones if needed.
The camera is also a bit unique. LG went the dual camera route as HTC and more recently Apple have done with the iPhone 7 Plus, but they went about it in a different way. Instead of, like the 7 Plus, having a normal angle lens and a telephoto lens, LG gave the G6 a normal angle lens and a wide-angle lens (both of which are 13MP in resolution).
Neither option is better or worse in my opinion, it really just comes down to the shot you want. The telephoto on the iPhone 7 Plus will allow you to get closer to your subject without losing the quality you would if you were using the digital zoom (pinching to zoom) and the G6 will let you get a lot more in the shot when you use the wide angle lens. Here’s some examples from both devices to get what I mean.
Either way, the wide angle dual camera setup vs not having the option is awesome. When in Barcelona, I was able to get some really cool shots with both and being able to switch between them depending on the need is great. It’s sort of like having multiple lenses for my DSLR without having to actually disconnect and connect them.
The front camera, of which there is only one, is a wide angle 5MP camera which is wider than more front-facing cameras which, considering we’re usually using this for selfies, make sense to have so you can get more of where ever you are trying to show people you are in the shot. Just be careful to not get to close to it or, like a GoPro or other wide angle cameras, you’ll end up looking a bit wider than normal.
The G6 also has a MicroSD card slot which is a nice addition to help with storing all the photos.
The device is running Android 7.0 with LG’s UX 6.0 on top of it. Now, I probably sound like a broken record when I say this, but I’m not a fan of pretty much any of the manufacturer’s UI skins that they put on top of Android. I get why they do it – to differentiate their devices further from the sea of Android devices – but I’d rather my differentiators come from the hardware over the software and just like stock Android’s speed and look even comparatively.
Now, LG’s new skin at least isn’t as all encompassing as say Samsung’s usually is and definitely not as performance hindering, but the general aesthetic of it is a bit bubblier than I like in my opinion. You can, thankfully use themes that LG has or even do what I do and put on a custom launcher, custom messaging app, keyboard, etc. to change the majority of these things, as is the beauty of Android. Which I frankly, change all of those things regardless of the Android phone, that is up to your own personal preference.
Beyond the look of the software, the device has a Snapdragon 821 and 4GBs of RAM and, I have to admit, it’s pretty snappy and doesn’t noticeably lag when doing anything I do on it.
Powering all of this is a 3300mah non-removable battery that, at least during my usage, lasts the entire day from when I wake up until when I go to sleep, which, for me, is all I really care about. If it does start to die, it also has quick charge that will give it 50% power in 30 minutes using the USB-C charger it comes with.
Ultimately, I like the G6. It’s unique in the screen design and feels and acts premium and even looks great to boot (personally I’d go for the titanium as it stands out more than the black model but up to you). It’s also snappy and has a good camera with that unique wide angle if that’s of interest to you. I think it’s definitely a comeback for LG and going to to make most people’s shortlist of best smartphones of 2017.
Check out the unlocked GSM version here on Amazon.