Is bigger better? When it comes to the screens on our smartphones, yes. But when it comes to the body of the phone, not so much. That’s the reason we don’t all carry around a tablet every day. It’s also why so-called phablets often split opinion. The LG G6 laughs in the face of such concerns. It’s the phablet’s worst nightmare, because it puts a massive screen inside a truly compact body, redefining the genre and daring big-screen haters to get over their prejudices.
It’s also the follow-up to the LG G5, a phone that similarly attempted to redefine smartphones with its modular construction (but didn’t manage to do so). The LG G6, sent to me by the fine folks over at Verizon Wireless, isn’t as bold or as risky as the G5, so has LG played it too safe this time? I used the phone for a week or so, and have plenty to say about it.
A Bit About The LG G6
With the LG G6, the modular design of the LG G5 is gone in favor of a more traditional phone, one that takes multiple elements from the top handsets around, blended together to make a more prosaic (but still intriguing) handset. The G6 is a much more conservative design than its predecessor, taking the form of a sealed unit that drops the removable battery, replacing it with a larger-capacity power pack and waterproof shell.
Surprisingly, this phone isn’t using the latest chipset from Qualcomm, so you won’t be getting the full grunt of the Snapdragon 835. However, LG maintains this was a decision to benefit the consumer; using a chip it had expertise with rather than an unknown entity it couldn’t test fully. Instead, it’s going with a Snapdragon 821 option, which LG told us was a better option given it had more experience working with the chip and could thus extract more performance rather than using an untested engine.
The first thing to note against the LG G6 is that it ships with Android 7.0 and during the 2 weeks that I had the device it never did get the update to 7.1.2 which is quite disappointing. I expect a flagship device such as this from someone like LG to ship with the latest version of Android possible and there was no real reason in my opinion that this couldn’t have happened with the G6.
First LG Device To Be Water Resistant
The G6 is the company’s first dust and water-resistant flagship. It’s rated IP68, which means you can dunk it in up to a meter of water (about 3 feet) for up to 30 minutes. For the everyday user though, it just means the G6 won’t crap out after you accidentally drop it in the pool or spill coffee on it.
I dunked it in the bathroom sink for 22 minutes to test it’s water resistance. The handset kept ticking fine afterward, and it even had an incoming call during its bath. I’ve always been scared to do a water test on a review device as I always felt I would be held responsible for paying for the device if it crapped out but I felt comfortable enough with the LG G6 that I decided to take a chance and I’m glad I did to see how well it actually works.
Definitely A Device To Use As A Daily Driver
The G6 is LG’s nicest-looking flagship device yet in my opinion, which isn’t something I’ve said lately, especially given last year’s G5. But the polished G6 has a streamlined aesthetic and a smooth uni-body design (think thewith fewer seams or the G5 with fewer bumps). It comes in silver, black and white, though the white version will only be available in certain countries, not including the US. For me personally this lack of a white version in the US is disappointing as I’m not one who really cares for the typical black or gray devices.
The 5.7-inch screen is super sharp, with a 1,400-pixel resolution and 565 PPI. It takes up roughly 80 percent of the front of the phone, leaving thin margins all around. It’s also unique in that it has an 18:9 aspect ratio, aka: 2:1 (most phones are 16:9). This takes a bit of getting used to right at first, but after a few minutes you adjust and you see that it’s actually a really nice new feature.
Not all apps and games can take full advantage of this ratio at full screen and when they can’t, you’ll see black bars on the sides of the display. You can enable “app scaling” on some apps by going into Settings. The downside is that app scaling will crop content in order to fill the display, and it isn’t available for every app (it’s an option for Netflix, for instance, but not YouTube). The upside is that you can watch some things or play a few games without generating letterboxes, so the image fills the full 5.7-inch screen.
Cameras With New Features
Like the V20 and the G5 before it, the G6 has two cameras on the back. But they aren’t to take artsy “bokeh” portraits like you do with the. On the G6, you can switch between the standard 13-megapixel lens and the 120-degree wide-angle lens to capture more content in each frame.
If you’re really all about that wide-angle life, the 5-megapixel front-facing shooter has a wide-angle option as well. We’ll have to spend more time taking selfies to see if image quality is better than last year’s 8-megapixel front-facing shooter, but it worked decently enough when we tried it out.
One of my favorite things about the camera is the option to show five of your most recent photos, like a gallery stream, right on the interface (you’ll have to toggle this feature on in camera settings.) LG added a separate camera app too called Square Camera. Aimed at hardcore Instagram users, it offered a number of different tools to take neat square photos. The app’s features are also tucked in the native camera app under the Auto icon.
The main image sensor packs optical image stabilization, and appears to have a warmer image quality about it, with a faster f/1.8 aperture. The other wide-angle sensor is f/2.4 and lacks the same stabilizer, so images can come out less sharp.
Overall image quality was clear enough, without being mind-blowing. It doesn’t quite stack up to the quality of my iPhone 7+ nor even to my Google Pixel XL in most situations, but if you catch the light right and get things in the right conditions it can look really great. Good enough if you’re not some die hard photographer that really has an eye for those types of things. That’s the case with many smartphone cameras though, and you’d have to say that LG didn’t have a strong enough sensor from last year to not really add in any upgrades.
The improvement of the battery from 2800 mAh to 3300 mAh should bring cheers from anyone who wants a phone with a long battery life – LG has historically been excellent at optimising battery, so packing in more power is always going to be a welcome move.
This is where the inclusion of the Snapdragon 821 processor is going to have an effect too, according to LG, as its engineers have worked with the chipset for longer and have managed to extract more performance out of it, which leads to longer-lasting and less hot handsets. In terms of day to day use, the LG G6 is just, well, fine when it comes to battery performance. It’s as good as most on the market, better than the iPhone and about the equivalent of the Samsung Galaxy S8 which I’m currently using since I have it in for review along with the Samsung Galaxy S8+ from Verizon.
Overall I actually really like the LG G6 from Verizon for a lot of different reasons. First is the quality of the screen which I feel is really good, considering that it has this new screen ratio that other devices except the S8 and S8+ seem to have. Once you get used to that it’s a beautiful quality screen to look at as a daily driver.
The second reason is the camera, which I agree isn’t the best on the market but it gets the job done especially for someone like myself who doesn’t consider themselves any kind of photographer, not even an amateur one. I love all the different modes that the camera has as you can see in the various images above that I posted. That really adds to the camera and allows you to take different style pictures for various different things.
The hardware of the device is amazing, but then again LG has always been good when it comes to hardware in my opinion and this goes all the way back to the LG G2 which I absolutely loved as my daily driver for a very long time.
In the end, considering that it’s cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S8 I think it’s a device worth picking up if you’re looking for a new device and wanting one that is new to the market. Only real downfall I have is as I mentioned above is that it ships with Android 7.0 instead of 7.1.2 but hopefully that changes soon with an update.
Last thing I’d like to say is a huge thank you to Verizon Wireless for sending this device over to me to review. It’s been a real pleasure and now I’m off to play with and review the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ devices so stay tuned soon for those reviews coming soon!
Design And Form Factor10.0/10
Audio Support And Performance9.2/10
Graphics And Display9.7/10
- Fingerprint Scanner
- Solid Body
- Light Weight
- Beautiful Screen Color
- Camera Features
- Water Resistant Body
- Camera Quality
- Doesn't Come With Android 7.1.2
- Older Chipset
- Non-Removable Battery
- Only 32GB Models Available