LG G6: First impressions, camera samples and hands on video

The LG G6 is the latest flagship from the Korean smartphone maker and it looks and feels like a promising device.

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    • Google Assistant out of the box
    • Unique 18:9 display
    • All glass build

LG India officially launched the LG G6 to the Indian market today, announcing that the phone will go on sale on 25th of April 2017. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 51,990, but there are a few offers available that could bring the cost of owning this phone by as much as Rs. 10,000. The phone has a number of features that work in its favour, but then there’s the concern of the LG G6 being powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and not the current flagship, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. Regardless, we got to spend some time with the phone after the launch and are some important considerations about the LG G6.

The All-Glass Tank
The LG G6 is a smartphone that utilises aluminium (Series 6000) and glass for its body. The band running around the phone is aluminium, the front is covered with Gorilla Glass 3 while the back is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The choice to go with the newer, tougher protective glass shield for the back doesn’t make any sense to us as of now. The glass curves into the sides, where the metal frame locks them in, creating a support system. If the glass front and back were to end at the edge of the frame, bending the phone would make either of the sides shatter. By tapering the edges into the side-frame, LG has reinforced the glass as the metal would withstand the effects of bending far more than exposed glass.

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Overall, the phone looks like one of the most elegant, well-built phones in the market as of now. LG claims that besides an IPX68 rating, the phone is also tested against the US Military standards for drop tests and passes them with flying colours. We’re going to take a step back and say that it is never recommended to drop your phone, regardless of what a company might claim about its build strength, but we surely will put the phone through a drop test once we have a review unit.

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All that Display
The primary  USP of the LG G6 is what LG calls the Full Vision display. The 18:9 aspect ratio, coupled with the lack of any buttons on the front, allows LG to achieve a 5.7 inch diagonal screen size in a form factor that is slightly smaller than that of 5.5 inch phones. Unlike most flagships in the Android ecosystem, LG has chosen to stick to IPS-LCD screens, instead of going AMOLED. With a resolution of 2880×1440, the novel aspect ratio could present some issues for existing content. To address as much of that as possible, LG has created UX 6.0 which is specially designed to leverage the aspect ratio and give you the best experience. We’re not really sure how the various aspect ratios (for photos and video content) will play out on the LG G6, and that’s something we’re going to definitely test in our in-depth review of the LG G6.

The LG G6 with a 5.7-inch screen next to a OnePlus 3T with a 5.5-inch screen
The LG G6 with a 5.7 inch screen next to a OnePlus 3T with a 5.5 inch screen

The Dual Camera Magic is here to stay
LG has continued its tradition of dual-cameras for the back, but the setup on the G6 has two 13 megapixel sensors, instead of the 13 and 8 Megapixel combination we saw on the LG V20. As we noted in our camera review of the LG V20, the choice to go with a wide and super-wide angle lens setup offers plenty of unique, creative options. The LG G6 improves upon that by offering two 13-megapixel sensors (we’re happy about the higher resolution of the super-wide lens for sure). We got to test drive both the front and the rear cameras and the initial results look good. Do note that this is not a comprehensive review of the LG G6’s camera, so once again, we’re going to refrain from providing any conclusive verdict. What we did note while using the G6 was that the camera offers multiple aspect ratios to shoot in, with the default being 18:9, resulting in images with a rough resolution of about 9 megapixels. We only realised this after we had transferred the files to another phone and noted the “weird” aspect ratio. We then proceeded to shoot a few more samples in 4:3, which leverages the full 13-megapixel resolution. Samples below for your viewing pleasure.

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In Conclusion
The LG G6 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor paired with 4GB of RAM. While the SoC is no longer Qualcomm’s flagship, it is by no means a slouch when it comes to performance. The Samsung Galaxy S8 was launched a few days ago in India, powered by the Exynos 8895 processor, which is very similar to the Snapdragon 835, making some wonder if the LG G6 is worth the money when you can get a newer processor for slightly more money. The truth of the matter is, at this point, we do not know if the LG flagship is going to lag behind the Samsung Galaxy S8 when it comes to performance. Software had a major role to play in how the hardware performs. The LG G6 offers a whole lot more than just a processor. From the initial impressions, it feels like a phone that continues LG’s tradition to experiment with design, while ensuring there’s something of interest to everyone. The LG G6 has something for audiophiles, photographers/filmmakers, business oriented users and even the avid gamer. How well it delivers on these aspects is something we will determine in our full in-depth review. In the mean time, you can check out our short hands-on video below.