Learning its lesson from the G5 last year, LG is hoping to make a strong comeback this year with the G6 — its flagship handset for the first half of 2017.
In a bid to make launch the G6 ahead of its competitors, though, LG has had to make one major compromise: it has had to launch the phone with a Snapdragon 821 chipset. But LG more than makes up for it with other improvements which are going to be more appreciated by consumers in daily use.
Firstly, the G6 does away with the modular ‘friends’ design that LG debuted last year. Instead, like Samsung and possibly the upcoming iPhone 8, LG has gone for a glass design that sandwiches an aluminium chassis. The aluminium chassis and the rear glass design make the G6’s design similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and mid-range Galaxy A series of devices. But then there is only so much you can do with a glass design on a phone. LG’s dual camera module and the power button — which also acts as a fingerprint scanner — at the rear do help to a certain extent in distinguishing the design of the G6.
The glass design helps in giving the G6 a very premium look and feel, something which the G5 lacked. Even better, taking a cue from the Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 7, LG has made the G6 water and dust-resistant. The IP68 certification of the device is as good as things can get, and it ensures that the device will work even after you dunk it in fresh water in a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes.
As for the glass used, the rear of the G6 makes use of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 while the front is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. To avoid the camera lens shattering issue that many V20 users reported, LG has used Gorilla Glass 3 for the camera setup.
The IP68 certification and glass design do mean that the G6 is the first major flagship from LG since the G2 to not come with a removable battery. The Korean company has more than made up for it by using a bigger 3300mAh battery. Plus, there is also Quick Charge 3.0 support which can charge the phone to 50% in just 30 minutes.
The highlight of the LG G6, however, is not its new design but the 5.7-inch Quad HD+ FullVision display at the front. The 18:9 aspect ratio display has almost non-existent bezels on its left and right edges, with the top and bottom bezels being the bare minimum. This leads to the G6 being extremely compact — we are talking about screen-to-body ratio here that rivals Xiaomi’s Mi Mix. So, despite the handset coming with a 5.7-inch display, the G6 is smaller than the 5.5-inch Google’s Pixel and the iPhone 7 Plus. The phone is so compact for its size that you will doubt whether the display is actually 5.7-inches large or not. You will still struggle to reach the extreme ends of the display, but the lack of bezels mean that the problem will not be exacerbated further than say what you would face on any other device with a 5.5-inch display.
LG has also made nifty use of the extra real estate provided by the higher resolution display and the new aspect ratio in some applications. In the camera app, for example, you can preview the last few photos you took without having to open the gallery app.
The lack of bezels on the front means that the G6 comes with a mono bottom-firing speaker. Don’t frown on its location since the speaker is very loud and will be easily audible at all times.
LG UX 6.0
With the latest iteration of its skin, LG has worked on making it look more colorful and lively while also adding new features that better take advantage of the 18:9 aspect ratio display. I am not particularly fond of the default white theme but LG has bundled a variety of themes, including a black one. Also, instead of working on its own AI-powered digital assistant like Samsung and HTC, LG has pre-loaded Google Assistant on the G6 — the first non-Pixel handset to feature it.
LG’s home screen now brings up a Spotlight-esque search menu with a simple swipe down gesture that provides handy suggestions and the ability to quickly do a Google search or In Apps search. And as with on the Google Pixels, you can quickly trigger Assistant by long pressing the home button.
The UI is still far from perfect, but LG has worked on reducing the clutter and making things simpler to use. The additions that the company has made to its skin to take advantage of the 18:9 aspect ratio display are also particularly noteworthy, including the camera app previewing the recently taken photos on the viewfinder itself.
The G6 is an amalgamation of last year internals paired with 2017’s display technology and camera setup. LG took this step to ensure that it is first to the market to release its flagship phone in 2017. And if priced right, LG potentially does have a winner on its hand. What do you think about the handset and its bezel-less design? Drop a comment and let us know!