LG has long succeeded in placing large screens in relatively compact enclosures. In the form of the G6, they come with a superlative.
In previous years, LG tried to distinguish itself from the competition by adding unusual options to the aircraft. This had, to say the least, a varying result. With the G6, LG focuses on the 5.7 inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and as little space around it as possible.
Content of the box
Adapter (model MCS-N04EP)
USB C cable (DC12WB-G)
SIM lock removal tool
Furthermore, the device is dust- and waterproof and has 32 GB of storage memory, a double 13 megapixel with a standard and a wide-angle lens, quad-core processor running at 2.4 GHz and combined with 4 GB of working memory. At first glance not a very spectacular list of specifications, but if LG has managed to get the most out of it it can nevertheless result in a great smartphone.
This will have to be done in order to compete with that other smartphone from a Korean manufacturer that is known for the edges of its displays and just after LG also released a device with a display of unusual proportions. We are of course talking about the recently tested Samsung Galaxy S8. Will LG be able to take on that other South Korean superpower?
With the arrival of the G5 LG finally made the switch to metal devices and now has water and dust resistance. Even though the G6 no longer has a full metal casing and the support for expansion modules and an exchangeable battery has been separated. Our test model was made in Ice Platinum (grey). The colour can be seen on both the front and back of the device.
The G6 has a screen-to-body ratio of 79.8% just below the Galaxy S8. Nevertheless, this is still an impressive percentage. On both sides of the screen a minimal edge is visible. In contrast to the S8, the space under and above the screen of the G6 is not exactly the same, but a fraction higher at the bottom. Here is still space found for the LG logo. At the top left of the screen is the selfie camera and next to the speaker a couple of sensors. There is no notification light present.
All around, the G6 is wrapped in a sturdy metal rim that is a bit wider at the top and bottom than at the sides. The edge is very slightly curved and is ground at the front and back giving the unit a solid, industrial look. It also looks a lot thicker, especially compared to the S8.
On the left side of the camera there are two buttons that serve as volume buttons and shortcuts for opening the camera and QuickMemo+ when the screen is turned off. These shortcuts cannot be adjusted. The tray for the SIM card and MicroSD card is exactly opposite on the right side. The headset needs to be plugged in on top of the device and at the bottom we find the USB-C port and the speaker.
The back of the G6 is covered with Gorilla Glass 5 and has a slight bulge. A bit like we saw in the past with Samsung's Note 5. The camera module with two cameras is completely level with the rest of the back. This also applies to the fingerprint scanner that is located right underneath it and is of modest size. It also serves as a power button.
The G6 breathes to be a rugged phone in everything. It can also be characterized as 'rude' but it still manages to remain manageable with one hand. Because of the rounded corners and sturdy sides, the phone feels very solid.
The G6 runs on the Snapdragon 821 processor. This is an updated version of the processor where most of the top models of the previous year were powered. LG chose this because the availability of the latest type of processor from Snapdragon was still limited during the production of the G6. Nevertheless, in combination with 4 GB of working memory, there is no noticeable reduction in processor power. However, this type of processor may consume a little more power and does not support the slightly faster Quick Charge 4.0.
The G6 has a battery with a capacity of 3300 mAh. This is slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy S8. Despite the perhaps slightly less economical processor, the endurance is just a fraction better. With a screen on time of more than six hours, we achieve a usage time of 36 hours. That should be more than enough to get through a long day carefree and perhaps two quiet days is also feasible.
There is a power save mode that can be activated automatically at 5% or 15% remaining battery level. When this is the case, screen brightness, vibration and refreshing apps in the background are limited. There is also a special battery saver for playing games that adjust video resolution and frame rate.
A new habit for manufacturers is to provide an application to monitor the phone. LG does that with Smart Doctor. This gives an overview of the use of storage and working memory. There is a button to optimize the device after which the memory is cleared. This can be easy for inexperienced users but is not really necessary for high-end phones. Furthermore, there are buttons to check battery usage, power save mode, hardware testing and diagnostics. Although for the latter two it is not clear what exactly they do.
The most striking feature of the G6 is of course its display. It measures 5.7 inches diagonally but because of an 18:9 aspect ratio it is also extra elongated. LG was previously the first to provide a phone with a screen with Quad HD resolution and this is already very generous in smartphone screens, but because the G6 has such a large screen, LG had to raise the resolution a bit further to 2880 × 1440 pixels. This is an LCD screen that not only scores very well in terms of details, but also in terms of color and contrast.
Unlike Samsung devices, the screen resolution cannot be manually reduced to save power. Also colour tone is not adjustable, although this will be less necessary for such an IPS screen. However, there is a blue light filter that can be set to three intensities. Unfortunately it is not possible to turn it on and off automatically.
The screen has rounded corners but the curvature does not flow smoothly to the sides. There is a small kink in it. This is not really disturbing but still a small beauty flaw. The unusual aspect ratio does mean that some apps and content are not optimized for it. For most apps this does not cause any problems, but for photos and video, part of the screen will remain black. There is a possibility to scale opposing apps. According to the information mentioned there, downloaded apps can be shown in 16.7:9. So 1-2-3 we couldn't find a sample app for which that was necessary.
The G6 also has an Always-On display. Earlier we saw this at Motorola and Samsung, where it works very well on AMOLED displays, because only the glowing part of the display consumes power. On the G6 it will therefore require a bit more power, but the design is very neat. The turned off screen shows a clock, date, battery percentage and icons of notifications. When a new notification is received, the icon of the relevant app is displayed enlarged. In a pocket, the Always-On display is not active.
The G6 runs on Android 7.0 with a pretty thick layer of cosmetic adjustments of LG over it. That shell was pretty good a couple of years ago, but in the meantime LG has been surpassed by most other manufacturers. LG doesn't just seem to be standing still but even descending to the level of Huawei/Honor. For example, when the G6 was released, there was no application menu available in the interface. This is still the case when the device is put into use. To be able to adjust this, the launcher first needs to be updated. Next to the start screens, an extra screen with information can be shown in the form of LG's Smart Bulletin. However, it is still not really 'smart' because it can only display information from your calendar, LG Health, Evernote, smart settings and the music player.
By default, the interface is rather inflated. Fortunately, this can also be adjusted one position smaller. If you want to lose a fifth app in a row in addition to four, you will have to dive into the Home Screen settings. By default, app icons take the shape of a rounded square. This doesn't give really ugly results, but it can also be turned off.
The quick settings menu has fortunately been modernized. When you drag the status bar down you have six buttons and a slider for screen brightness available. By swiping it open even further, up to eleven more icons, divided over two tabs, will appear.
LG's keyboard is adaptable to personal preferences but still fails to automatically insert a space after a punctuation mark or after correcting a word. The automatic word selection when entering by swyping also leaves something to be desired.
LG has still not penetrated the benefits of providing/imposing as few apps as possible. An extra e-mail app in addition to Gmail is a reasonable choice, but apps such as LG Friends Manager, LG Health, LG Mobile Switch and RemoteCall Service really don't need to be used all the time. The addition of Evernote next to LG's own QuickMemo+ is also a bit of a good thing. Then there is also an extra app store in the form of LG SmartWorld. Moreover, none of these applications can be removed. The only possibility you have is to hide them. As a result, they are completely disabled and disappear from the application menu.
The G6's fingerprint scanner is insanely fast. You hardly get a chance to press the power button. When the device detects that it is in your pocket, the scanner does not work. So you cannot unlock the device by accident. The scanner is somewhat difficult to find by touch because there is no clear edge around it. However, this is not really a problem because the scanner sits in an ergonomically natural place and does not need to be completely covered to work. Even a moving or damp finger can't disorient it.
The screen of an LG phone can also be activated by tapping it twice. This still works very nicely. You can also lock the phone by tapping it twice, but this has to be done on an unused part of a start screen. To turn off the screen with the button on the back, it is important that you hold the phone firmly so that you can press the button.
The G6's standard storage memory is relatively lean at 32 GB. The user has a little more than 22 GB at his disposal.
The current flagships practically do not avoid each other when it comes to photo quality. LG therefore tries to distinguish itself with two instead of one camera. Although they are not unique in this either. The two cameras now both have 13 megapixels but are not used at the same time to capture more depth or contrast, for example. Instead, one of the two is used each time. The difference between the cameras lies in the shooting angle of the lenses. You can choose between a fairly regular 71° standard angle and a 125° wide-angle lens. The former does have optical image stabilization and the latter does not.
The camera with the wide-angle lens is used as standard. There is some distortion in the wide-angle lens so it is not really suitable for close-up shots. With two icons in the interface, you can quickly switch from one camera to the other. While zooming out, this transition is almost seamless. The 5 megapixel self-image camera can also be switched to a wide angle position, but this is not a separate camera. The selfiecamera has a lens with a range of up to 100 degrees. Besides adjusting filters and exposure, you can also adjust the ringtone in the selfiecamera. Although the latter will rather mean skin tone.
The interface of the camera is a bit cumbersome and unpolished anyway. There are four recording modes. In the basic mode, both shooting and filming can be done and HDR can be set to automatic. To do so, you need to open the settings. The automatic, panorama, 360 panorama, food, pop-out, snap, slow motion and timelapse modes are also available here. Besides basic, there is also a mode for square recordings and for manual photo and video. For square shots, thanks to the G6's large screen next to the viewfinder screen, a preview of the previous shots can be shown at the same time.
In manual photo mode, images can also be captured in RAW format. However, this must be enabled separately in the settings. The same applies to recording with higher quality sound in manual video mode. So if you want to use all of this, you have to switch back and forth a lot. This is not really necessary because the results of the automatic mode in basic mode are very neat. With less ambient light, the camera with wide-angle lens performs less and especially slower than the standard camera.
The G6 is LG's best smartphone in recent years and as far as we're concerned, LG is back at the top of the rankings. The manufacturer has abandoned the futuristic additions and has created a more traditional all-rounder with a large screen in a relatively compact housing. The casing may not be very spectacular in design, but it is very effective and easy to use.
Endurance is solid. The camera works well and has a lot of features, although it is a bit short on features due to the cluttered interface. The fingerprint scanner is lightning fast and functions almost flawlessly. The quality of the monitor is excellent and the format, although not too much extra functionality, is pleasant to use.
Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S8 you could see it as the slender dressage horse with its graceful lines while the LG G6 is more of a robust workhorse with a solid build and powerful appearance. Moreover, at the time of writing, the G6 is over 100 euros cheaper than the S8.