Overview of LG G4 Smartphone
In the era of smartphones today, talking about Android often makes people think about products from Samsung – a Korean phone manufacturer. However Samsung was not the only company from the South Korea that was successful in the last year.
2014 is considered a successful year for the smartphone area of Samsung’s fellow: the LG maker. The LG G3 which was released in the middle of 2014 has been sold at the volume of 10 million units worldwide. Good design, QHD display (G3 was one of the first smartphones holding QHD resolution) along with many software features are plus points of this handset.
However the sales of LG G3 were still much lower than of Galaxy S5 – the “failure” of Samsung, which was sold at 12 million units in just few months. Hence, to compete with a lot of changes included in the Galaxy S6, LG was compelled to create a very good LG G4.
This is expressed in the design by advanced materials (including two options: ceramic and leather) and the upgrading in cameras. However, software features and battery do not have many innovation changes, and the configuration is slightly inferior to that of top-ranking Android smartphones. One question of particular concern is whether the G4 meets users’ expectations and is capable continuing the success of its predecessor.
Detail review of the LG G4
Material, is the first excellent point in the design of the G4. The dorsal surface of this handset includes a piece of thin cowhide – which was processed to be against water and moisture, pasted up on a plastic sheet. This makes the back become hard instead of being soft like other kinds of leather goods. Compared to a plastic cover, this leather-made skin is obviously more luxurious. The two lines of sewing thread along the back cover bisect the back and make it bold.
The styling of the G4 is slightly different from its previous generation. In the G3, corners have large curvature while in the G4, they are a bit sharper and the device’s length is rather higher. And holding the G4 is still very comfortable though, as the back cover is curved and significantly beveled towards the two edges.
The screen border of the LG G4 is thin as equivalent to the G3 version, that’s why the G4’s size is quite compact compared to a 5.5 inch screen phone. Screen contour with concaved carbon-striated vignette looks pretty fancy. From the G2 generation onwards, the navigation buttons are integrated into the display.
At the above edge, besides the front-facing camera and sensors, the speaker is painted black – the same color as the front side so it looks quite nice in total. The frame is still made of glossy plastic which is so easy to stick fingerprints, and such point stands no comparison with phones using metallic frame.
Apart from novelty material, the backside of G4 is basically the same as the G3, with physical buttons located near the camera. The rear camera has a larger size and looks more “spectacular” than G3’s. G4 is a rarity among high-end smartphones that the back cover is removable to expose the MicroSIM and MicroSD card slots, with a detachable battery.
Overall, the LG G4 is a product that clearly shows its own personality and makes a difference in the smartphone market. Its design is a combination of alternative features from styling to materials, with thin screen border – an advantage from its previous generation. But the fact remains that the selection of materials (plastic edging instead of metallic frame used in majority of premium smartphones) together with rough large lines at the back are the minuses in the design of this handset.
Like LG G3, the G4 is equipped with a QHD screen resolution of 2560 x 1440, but using the a display technology called Quantum IPS. The characteristic of this technology is to recreate the color band DCI, which is broader than the sRGB. As a result, it can be easily seen that in the G4, colors are reflected more stunningly but still not so brilliantly to the extent of dishonesty like in other Samsung phones using AMOLED screen.
Contrast ratio is also markedly improved on the G4. Contrast ratio is also markedly improved on the G4. This handset has higher brightness than the G3 while simultaneously displaying deeper blacks, so the contrast in general is more excellent. The maximum brightness of the G4 (in manual mode) measured by specialized equipment is 474 nits, higher that of the G3 (421 nits). Viewing angle of the G4 also excels: the image display is not influenced while tilting the camera away.
When used outdoors with auto adjust mode turned on, the screen brightness even rises to a higher level, making the display clear and easy to see. This feature is quite similar to the Note 4 or S6 of Samsung, but when brightening to the max, colors on Samsung phones are faded rather than retain as on the G4.
Broadly speaking, display is one of the G4’s strong points: high brightness, strong contrast and brilliant color display. Quality of the G4’s screen is perfectly comparable with Samsung Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6.
The LG G4’s speakerphone has huge volume, so when used in relatively noisy environment, the sound can be still heard quite clearly. However quality of the speaker is nothing special, sound is relatively “flat”, and as being located on the back, the experience of watching movies or playing games is not as good as the HTC One M9 or Sony Xperia Z3 plus.
The G4’s camera hardware has been upgraded almost comprehensively versus the G3: higher resolution (16MP), wider aperture (f/1.8) and larger sensor (1/2.6 inch). Besides the hardware, imaging software of the G4 is changed almost completely. Unlike the simple interface in the G3, the G4 is available with 3 modes: simple, basic and manual.
Manual, which is also available on many other Android smartphones, is the mode that allows you to adjust a lot of parameters related to light (shutter speed, ISO), color and focus range with very detailed information. Simple mode minimizes manipulations – just touching the screen to capture, and in basic mode, the interface and operation are easy to comprehend.
In terms of manipulation, the G4 can open fast photography applications by pressing the volume down button twice, or switching between front-facing and rear cameras by pushing towards any directions on screen. However, this handset does not have the “capturing first, focusing later” mode that appears on the G3.
The speed of capturing and saving images is pretty fast, but will be slower when the HDR is turned on, especially when compared with smartphones like Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6. The G4’s ability to focus is somewhat unstable or quite slow, despite being equipped with laser focus technology, particularly in poor lighting conditions.
In sufficient lighting, snapshots have high definition, details on margins are still sharp. A photo with crisp details may create good impression with onlookers, but LG seems to slightly abuse software to increase the sharpness. This is demonstrated more clearly when taking pictures in low light environments slightly: images are interfered sometimes, especially visible when viewing in large size. However, this phenomenon does not occur frequently, mainly with evening shots.
The G4’s light band is relatively harmonious, images are bright and not harsh even when shooting outdoors. Another satisfying point is this handset receives and preserves colors when shooting outdoors quite well. In basic mode, the process of metering and white balance is amazingly fast and standard, making photos more accurate to reality.
Ignoring the slow shutter speed, the quality of HDR images is sterling, which expresses scenery quite honestly.
LG G4 is also one of rare smartphones supporting RAW image output (only supported in manual mode). When opened in Photoshop, the editing application receives image file immediately and allows you to adjust a lot of parameters about brightness, colors and sharpness. This is a big plus for those who prefer to retouch photos.
The interface of front-facing camera is similar to that of the rear one, with an extra “beauty” slider near the shutter button. This slider works to smooth the skin, but you real should not overuse beauty features.
In addition to the on-screen shutter button and two volume buttons on the back, LG G4 offers two more ways to take a selfie: voicing and gesturing. It is deferent from Samsung phones that by hand gestures, you can command the camera to take one or four consecutive photos. Selfie quality of the G4 is generally enjoyable, towards eye-flattering rather than dishonest way as Lumias’.
Efficiency and Battery life
The G4 is not equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processing system like the HTC One M9 or Sony Xperia Z3 plus, though it is also one of the top smartphones released in this year. Instead, this handset uses the 808 Snapdragon processor, Adreno 418 graphics core and 3GB RAM.
The G4 handles well all tasks on the Android such as opening / switching applications, surfing the web and Facebook, playing high-configure games like the UFC or Dead Trigger. Also, the phenomenon of being shocked or hanging image does not occur while using. It can be said that performance of the G4 is not inferior to other top Android phones such as HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6.
Another advantage of the G4 is that this device doesn’t become hot when handling most of tasks, even playing games or charging. This is the superiority over phones using Snapdragon 810 like the HTC One M9. The only one rare task that makes the G4 warm is filming, especially in Full HD resolution.
The G4 can be used to surf the web or social networks over 3G Internet in about 3 hours. It can be seen battery life of G4 is equivalent to Galaxy S6’s, but still inferior to current leading phablets such as Galaxy Note 4 or iPhone 6 Plus.
The G4’s adapter is not the kind of fast charging, so the charging time of this handset is slower than its competitors such as the Galaxy S6. Specifically, from the state of out of battery (power off), the G4 battery will reach 9% after 10 minutes, 32% after 30 minutes, 60% after 1 hour and be fully charged after 1 hour and 55 minutes.
The LG G4 uses Android version 5.1, together with the LG UX 4.0 interface. In the main view, the leftmost screen is a special screen to display information and called Smart Bulletin. Unlike Samsung’s or HTC’s phones, this screen does not display the news but only user’s information such as health applications, calendars, music, or TV remote.
The phone interface is more colorful and eye-catching than the G3. Application icons and quick set buttons are still flat and simple while symbols are also synchronized. Other than the default settings of Android Lollipop, users just simply scan once from the top of the screen to open the Quick Installation section.
LG has outfitted two “smart” features for users: Smart Settings và Smart Notice. Smart Settings offers several settings available based on site, such as changing the WiFi, Bluetooth or audio when coming / leaving home, or applications when plugging headphone. Smart Notice is the display of notifications based on user’s habits such as weather, messages, etc. but not really useful.
The trend of many Android manufacturers is the default integration of “cleanup” features for memory, RAM and battery life. LG group these apps into a folder called Management, including features such as memory cleaning, using process monitoring, battery saving, and LG Backup software to help users be convenient to access.
Among phones which are genuinely distributed in Vietnam, LG G4 is the only high-end smartphone equipped with two SIMs. Features and settings for the two SIM cards are integrated right on the outside: virtual keyboard has default keys – which also appear in the quick setup, to switch between SIMs. Due to very fast switching manipulation, in calling or messaging applications, it is defaulted that there is no individual calling / sending button for each SIM, and you must switch manually.
The old and useful software features are still remained, such as QSlide and Dual Window (split-screen features for multitasking, but the list of applications that support these features is not much, so they are not really useful), KnockOn and KnockCode (unlock feature by tapping the screen).
LG G4 is a comprehensive upgrade versus the G3. The handset is equipped with more excellent screen, better quality camera, newer updated configuration and preferable battery life. If you are a fan of LG, the G4 is an upgrade worth every penny.
In comparison with the current top smartphones, the G4 also has certain advantages. The display of this handset can be classified in the best group, while photography capability (both in speed and quality) is also very good. However the personal design of this G4 maybe not enough to persuade users to ignore the lack of metallic elements in the body frame. Its battery life is also not convincing, which is a limitation of a phablet.
However, if you are looking for a high-end smartphone that is dual-SIM, LG G4 is almost the only option at present.